Is NetGalley Worth It?

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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 $399 for a six month subscription, to $599 for a year subscription.  They also offer marketing services which includes being featured in a catalog that is sent out to libraries and reviewers all over the country.  However, I’ve found authors who’ve paid premium prices and have gotten very little in return.

Most Common complaints:

  • It’s expensive.
  • The reviews don’t always end up on Amazon (prime real estate).
  • Less than half of the people who download galleys actually end up reviewing them. You can literally give away hundreds of galleys like this author and wind up with only a handful of reviews.
  • Many librarians and teachers are looking for galleys as a try before they buy tactic.

NetGalley is not for Everyone

This site is not for those wanting specific media coverage or reviews.  This does not take the place of querying podcasters, bloggers and reviewers.

Also, one 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 is a new Hunger Games book, guess whose galley is getting passed up?

Alternatives to NetGalley

Instead of spending $399-$599 just do a BookBub ad if all you’re looking for is buzz.  Another way to create hype is to do a prelaunch event on Facebook or Google+ to find beta readers or bloggers looking to help you promote your book.

The Takeaway

I don’t recommend paying for GN because you can end up getting burned rather easily.  You can literally spend hundreds and wind up with a ton of negative reviews which will leave you feeling like a complete fool.

For those looking to sell your books to libraries or get big media coverage this probably isn’t the route to go.  You’ll still have to hire a PR professional or book shepherd to do that.  For $599, many of them will at least do a basic phone consultation.

Okay, now it’s your turn, have you used NetGalley and if so, what was your experience?


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