In a recent conversation in my authors group, the question of NetGalley came up. One author wanted to know was it effective in securing reviews?  Soon, other questions arose like; how much does it cost and how do you use it?  I was curious too, so I did a little digging and this is what I came up with…

NetGalley is a site for librarians, reviewers and journalists looking for book galleys.  Its purpose is to help publishers and authors secure buzz before launching their books.  The price for a membership ranges from $450 for a six month subscription, to $849 for a marketing plus plan.  They also offer marketing services for authors in the U.K. as well as Canada.  

The General Consensus In The Indie Community

I’ve found authors all over the place who’ve paid premium prices and have gotten very little in return. In my Facebook group we’ve had this discussion multiple times (both in 2019 and 2021) about NetGalley and only one author could say that the services they offered paid off. However, she went through a program in Kobo where she paid only $39 and got placement in their catalog. If you want to learn more Kobo has a blog post here where they explain their deal with NetGalley.

Most Common complaints:

  1. It’s expensive.
  2. Reviews don’t always end up on Amazon (prime real estate).
  3. Freebie seekers who never review anything. You can literally give away hundreds of galleys like this author and wind up with only a handful of reviews.
  4. There’s no guarantee the industry professionals you want to reach are on the site.

NetGalley Is Not For Everyone

This site is not for those wanting specific media coverage or an exact number of reviews. It’s also not an ideal way to market a book if you have a small budget. Another important thing to consider is that you’ll be competing with many legacy publishers who are also on the site pushing their galleys.  So if there’s a new Hunger Games book, guess whose galley is getting passed up?

If You Want To Get Your Book Into The Library

It’s true that NetGalley offers a range of marketing services and one of them includes a catalog that goes out to publishing professionals as well as librarians. However, that’s not the only way to get into the library, there are other steps involved which I discuss in my post: How To Get Your Book Into The Library, I strongly recommend you read it before putting any money down.

Alternatives to NetGalley

I understand that NetGalley is a way that indie authors secure editorial reviews but there are easier and cheaper ways to do that. Below I’ll list some sites that will do an editorial review for free:

Distributing Your ARCs

These days it’s really easy to distribute your ARCs via your website, social media accounts, or email list without paying hundreds of dollars. In fact, there are services that will allow you to build a sales or landing page where you can send readers to download the ARC in various formats. Here are just a few services that indie authors love to use:

  1. BookFunnel
  2. Story Origin (free)
  3. Prolific Works (free)

The Takeaway

As you can see, I don’t recommend paying for NG because you can end up losing money rather easily.  You can literally spend hundreds and wind up with very little to show for it. If you need reviews, I have a post called: How To Get Book Reviews where I list a ton of resources for indie authors. Anyway, I hope this blog helped you, if it did, please like and share it.