Ah, NetGalley. Who would have thought that an online platform would be both a boon and a bane for book bloggers? It must have been a little over a year ago when I heard of the website and I went crazy! I’m not alone when I say that I need help when it comes to my reader ratio. After many months and perhaps a lot of restraint, I have finally managed to get my ratio above the required 80%. So how did I do it? Read on to find out.
So what exactly is NetGalley? NetGalley is an online platform that helps publishers and authors promote their books to readers. You could say they act as a middleman and help connect authors and publishers with “readers of influence” like bloggers, reviewers, and librarians. You can read more about Getting Started On NetGalley here. If you are a book blogger, I’d definitely recommend you join the site and join hundreds of other bloggers who get to read books before they release into the mainstream market! Because who wouldn’t like to read something before the rest of the world?
Now in order to get approved for more ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies) you should maintain an 80% review ratio. This means that at any point in time you should have reviewed at least 80% of the books that have been approved for. Sounds easy right? Well, it isn’t because we make it harder for ourselves. But fear not my blogger friends! It is possible to maintain a perfect NetGalley ratio, all it takes is a little planning, knowing your reading habits, and self-restraint. So how have I managed to maintain my ratio of about 80 for the past few months? Here are my tips for maintaining that perfect NetGalley ratio.
Plan Ahead And Limit Your Requests
On average how many books do you read per month? Do you read ARC’s or you have a couple of your own books on your TBR as well? Are you taking part in any promotional activities or blog tours that month? According to how many things you got to do that month, decide on a number of books that you can actually cover that month. I usually request 2 books a month and keep space for other tours and books that I have in mind. If I do have more time on my hands I can always request more titles later on. If I have already requested two books that release in a particular month, I don’t ask for anymore titles until I have either been accepted or rejected for the same.
Request Titles That You Know You Will Read
I know it hard to control yourself when browsing through the catalog and I find myself getting distracted many times. There are so many options to choose from. Maybe there is a particular book that is trending and you want to be a part of those who have read it or maybe a certain book cover stands out and makes you want to request a copy. But before hitting that request button ask yourself, are you really going to read this book? Is the plot satisfying enough to you that if accepted, you will actually read the book?
I have included this point because I have found myself requesting titles that on a normal day I wouldn’t actually read. These are usually ones that are trending and which aren’t in the genres that I enjoy. Don’t do this! Because if you do get accepted for it then you have to review the book which you may not enjoy doing. NetGalley does include an option to not review a title but in the end, this does affect your ratio so try to avoid using that option.
DO NOT GO ON A REQUESTING SPREE
Needed to capitalize this one because aren’t we all guilty of this? In my early days on NetGalley I requested every single book I thought I’d like. Sometimes without even reading the summary because the book was either trending or looked pretty. This was before I realized how important the ratio was and how it would affect my reading score on the site. My reason behind the spree was to keep a “backup” of titles that I may get approved for. This strategy worked well until I suddenly got several approvals at the same time. This took my NetGalley ratio from 75% to somewhere between 20 to 30%. And the worst part? I realized I did not even like the books I had asked for. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and annoyed because I knew I made a mistake and I knew this was going to cost me future approvals.
It took me forever to get my score back to 80% and that is when I started strategizing my requests properly. I try to limit myself to 2 or 3 books a month and I only request books I know I will love to read.
One Out – One In Rule
To maintain my NetGalley ratio I try to follow the one out – one in rule. This means that I only request another title after I submit a review for a pending book. It is pretty simple and easy to implement. The only thing is you need to have a lot of self-restraint at this point when browsing. Because I truly mean only ONE BOOK. It helps maintain that ratio and keep it leveled. Another thing you can do to avoid the temptation of requesting more books is to not keep NetGalley bookmarked in your browser. I used to access the site quite often only to “browse” and it was very convenient to log on when it was bookmarked. Try not to access the website if you are currently reading a book or are behind on your titles. This helps to break the temptation of requesting more.
Review Every Single Book
Now I know this might seem a little obvious because why wouldn’t you review a book you have been approved for? This scenario usually arises when you have been approved for a book that you do not seem to like. While NetGalley does offer a choice to not review a book I wouldn’t recommend using it. Not reviewing a book does affect your ratio. While you may think that you have submitted a review (since the title will no longer show up on your currently reading shelf), the title will still show up in the total books that you have been approved for. My suggestion to overcome this is, if you feel you do not like a book or cannot finish it, rather than mark it as a no review, give a review of 1 or 2-star rating along with your reason why.
This not only gives your review ratio a boost but is also insightful to the author/publisher of the book. Remember, NetGalley is for authors and publishers too and your feedback is very crucial to them. That is why you have been given the opportunity to read the advance copy before it hits the market. Another thing I’d like to point out over here is to try and submit a review before the date of publishing. This is really helpful to the author/publisher and it gives them enough time to make changes, if needed.
Download The Books On Time
I have kept what I feel to be the least important tip for last. While this has never happened to me, I have heard of many bloggers talk about not being able to download the ARC on time or that the approved title had already been archived by the time they could get to it. To not let this happen to you always download the book as soon as you can. I usually send all my approved titles to my Kindle immediately. If you cannot do this then make note of the Archive date and make sure you download the book before then. The titles will still show up as your approved reads even if you have not been able to get them on time.
The higher your review ratio, the higher your chances of getting approved for your next book. Getting your NetGalley ratio to 80% is pretty easy and if you follow the tips I have mentioned above I’m sure you will reach yours in no time at all.
So here’s wishing you all the best! Let’s clear those backlog books and start the next year with a great review ratio!