Should you list your book on NetGalley?
NetGalley is a platform where you can upload your ebook (PDF, ePub, or Kindle) and make it available to thousands of users (librarians, booksellers, educators, reviewers, bloggers, and media), so that they can download, read, and review it.
Sounds great, right? Well, in theory NetGalley is a one-stop shop for all your book review needs, putting it out there for readers to find and saving you hours of work in pitching your book out to potential reviewers. However, something that sounds this good must have a catch. We have several points that may help you decide whether using NetGalley is the right decision for you.
The cost of using NetGalley is probably the biggest consideration. Last we checked, it was $450 to list your book on NetGalley for six months, or you could purchase a Marketing-Plus-Title listing bundle for $699 for the same service, plus one spot in a NetGalley newsletter. Keep in mind that these prices are only for listing your book; NetGalley does not take care of any leg work for you. You are still responsible for uploading your book, managing your account and handling inquiries.
When you first publish your book on NetGalley, it is listed under ‘Recently Added’ and featured on the NetGalley homepage. For this short period (only a day or two), you will be flooded with review requests from those who see your cover when they first log on to the site. Depending on your book, you can expect to receive anywhere from 1-200 review requests within the first few days of adding your book to the site. Even though, say 200 people download your ebook, that doesn’t mean all 200 are going to review it, so don’t get your hopes up! Typically, only a handful may actually decide to publish a review of your book.
Once your book is no longer on the homepage, review requests will be far and few between. Reviewers will only come across your book while they are searching under specific categories, where your book will be lumped with hundreds of other similar titles. Your requests will drop drastically and NetGalley may no longer be of any use to you.
Here is our bottom line: if you have the money to spend, NetGalley can be a good resource. However, paying $450 for six months of service when the bulk of responses only come in the first few days may not be worth it. Another important note to keep in mind: the reviews gained from NetGalley are not enough to ensure your book’s success. You may get a handful of good reviews for your book, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to any book sales. We’ve used NetGalley for 3 years now, from 2014 to 2017, and looking back, it was a complete waste of time and money. Yes, we got a few reviews for our books, but nothing worthwhile. It’s a lot of money to spend, for very little in return.
At the end of the day, gaining exposure for your book takes much more than just a NetGalley subscription. You may be better off hiring a publicist, especially when the rates are reasonable in comparison, or you could consider doing the more tedious PR work yourself.