Mummy Ramblings

So You Wanna Review Books? A Guide to Netgalley

So you’ve done it. You joined Netgalley! You’re a “professional reader”! But what does that mean? How does it work? How do you get your hands on those pesky books? And what the heck is this 80% feedback ratio everyone keeps going on about??

These are some of the questions I asked myself back when I first joined, and some that I hope to shed some light on for you now.

Let’s begin!

So how does it work?

Netgalley works as platform for publishers and authors to share (mostly) yet to be published e-books with ‘readers of influence’, i.e.: you, in order to build a strong publicity platform for their titles.  In plain terms, they pay Netgalley to offer you free books, which you must then review for them.  Simple? Eh…. Kinda.  You have to ‘request’ books that interest you, and the publisher will then decide whether to aprove or deny your request.

But How do I get approved?

The first thing to do, before you even think of placing a request, is to set up your profile. Think of this as your reader CV. This is one of the things that publishers look at when they see your request. This is not the place to talk about your cat (he’s adorbs), where you were born (Portugal), or how much you’re into yoga (totes into it). Tell them where you post your reviews,  and if you have a blog. If you have a strong reach (traffic, followers, subscribers, etc), mention those numbers too. Adding a photo, or a blog logo, is also a good idea.

Choose your categories carefully. It may be tempting to add all book genres under the sun to your profile, but are you really interested in Home & Garden? Keep the list short. In this case, ‘specializing’ in a few of your favourite genres will help you net books you actually want to read.

Publishers may also have specific approval requirements, so if you have a favourite publisher, check out their profile to see what they look for.  Another important thing to keep an eye on is your feedback ratio.

Yeah, that. How do I get (and keep) an 80% feedback ratio?

Let me just tell you, getting to 80% may be easy, keeping it there… Not so much.

Here’s how it works.

The feedback ratio calculates the percentage of books you’ve reviewed from the total number that you’ve been approved to read, meaning that for every 10 titles you are approved for, you need to provide feedback for 8 titles to get an 80% ratio. Cool? Cool.

Here’s the problem. It’s hard to get and keep an 80% ratio if you’ve been approved for very few books-or none at all. The answer, my friends, is the Read Now tab.

The Read Now tab does exactly what it says on the tin. Here, you’ll find books you can have access to immediately, without needing a publishers approval. All you have to do is read and review these, and you’re good to go! Instant feedback ratio!

If you’re going to request books, beware of the ‘newbie frenzy’ you will most definitely experience. I get it, it’s pretty tempting to go around clicking ‘request’ with wild abandon, I mean FREE BOOKS!!! But don’t. Trust me. Requests can take a while to be processed, and in a weeks time those babies are coming home to roost, and you’ll end up with a pile of books you’re never gonna get round to reading.  Say buh bye to that 80% ratio, my friend!

Take into account how much time you can actually set aside not just to read those books, but to also review them.  The ratio is a delicate thing, and it can plummet overnight if you go a little crazy. I try not to request anything new if I’m under 80%, not because I fear I might not get approved, but because I know if I do, my ratio will drop even more. Try to maintain a good balance of request/review. Case in point, yesterday I had a ratio of 83%, today, a single request came through, and now I’m on 79%, which means I got some reviewing to do. Dems the breaks.

Another few things to check before clicking that ‘request’ button:

The archive date: Once a title is archived, it can’t be downloaded, and it will sit there, bringing your ratio down and there’s little you can do about it. So make sure you check, and download it ASAP! Books sent to kindle don’t expire (in my experience) but books downloaded for other devices won’t be accessible after 55 days. If you can’t read 10 books in 55 days, maybe don’t request them all at once.

Region: Some books on Netgalley are only available to certain regions (UK, USA etc.) Check to make sure you’re in the right region. If you come across a book that’s not available for you, try doing a title search, as some titles have separate listings for different regions.

So now I can start reviewing?

Damn straight! But be honest. Publishers appreciate honest feedback. And remember to include a disclaimer.

Don’t forget to include links to any places you’ve also shared your review on, including Goodreads and your blog, when you post your review on Netgalley.

Now review tiny one, review like the wind!



4 thoughts on “So You Wanna Review Books? A Guide to Netgalley”

  1. You made everything sound so easy. I never tend to read the about us section of any website, but I guess I should have done it with NetGalley before signing in, or before I started requesting so many books… I have now 6 books to read, including an excerpt, even though I HATE READING EXCERPT (I don’t know what I was doing) and quite honestly, I am not extremely excited about them, not at this exact moment, as I found one that I really really want to read, and that one is not in NetGalley, as the book is around 3 years old, but it is actually something I have been wanting to read since I finished another from the same author.
    Anyway, thank you for putting 20,000 words in a simpler form.


    1. Haha yes, the newbie clicky frenzy. I had 8 books to read in my first month! It was a bit crazy… Excerpts are an easy way to bump up the ratio too!


  2. Brilliant review. I finally get the 80% thing. Before I was confused. I also went on a newbie frenzy and as I’ve only got about 5 books and still on my 2nd I’m only 25% *cries*. All the best for your blog!


    1. Thank you! Glad I could help 😁 Newbie frenzy, I’ve been there, haha! It will get better eventually… Best of luck!!

      Liked by 1 person

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