Free books. Doesn’t that sound AMAZING.
Did you know, with a little work, you can get free books – sometimes highly anticipated releases – before they are formally published!?
In all likelihood, if you are reading this, you have some knowledge of the book blogging world, perhaps you run a blog and read reviews of people receiving these mythical ARCs, getting their hands on books you can’t find yet!
Well I’m here to give an introduction to the wonderful world of NetGalley. Be warned though. This is a cautionary tale.
- ARCs – what the heck are they?
The term ‘ARCs’ is actually an acronym – it stands for Advanced Readers’ Copy. These can be physical books, audiobooks or EBooks, though NetGalley is primarily EBooks and, more recently, audiobooks.
Be warned though. Often these books have not been through their final edit, sometimes the formatting and spelling is all over the place. It’s usually pretty easy to contend with but I’ve had a few books that were almost unreadable.
NetGalley is first and foremost built on reviews. Make sure you’re willing to review books after you’ve read them before you join up. If you’re not, it will affect your chances of getting other ARCs you might want.
2. Sign Up!
Yep, before you can do anything you need to sell your soul to the site, i.e. give them your email address and a password (which you will almost certainly forget after a week, don’t worry, we’ve all done it).
Head to either UK NetGalley or US NetGalley depending on where you are in the world. I think there are more links, but if you head to either of these, NetGalley will give you a link to your local site!
Then, you’re in!
3. The Home Page
Welcome to NetGalley’s home page. you will have a taskbar, which looks something like this:
It might be tempting to jump in straight away, but we need to sort some things first. So head to the top left of the page, and next to the ‘Sign Out’ and ‘Help’ buttons, will be your name. Click on this – we’re going to set up your profile and sort out where to send your ARCs!
I’ll leave you to set up your profile yourself, but on the right will be a menu. We need to head to ‘Reading Preferences’:
Once there, scroll right to the bottom,and read the instructions. You can add your kindle email (to find this, go to your devices on Amazon, they have a whole tutorial on how to find it) or you can download the NetGalley app.
4. You’re Ready to Read!
You’re all set up, now to get to the good bit, the books. Head back to the dashboard, you will see a search bar, and a drop down menu:
You don’t have any books yet, so it’s time to find one you like, if you know what you want, go head and search for it, otherwise you can just browse through the recommended books on the homepage.
Once you find a book you’re interested in, make sure to check that it’s available in your country. Then, hit request!
5. The Waiting Game
Now, we wait.
Publishers can take a long time to approve requests, so don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t happen quickly. Sometimes I don’t get approved until after the book has released.
6. So, You Got Approved?
Congratulations, you got your email! You’ve been approved for an ARC of the book you wanted.
Make sure to read the email carefully, it will mostly likely to have instructions on what to do with your review on the book. BE CAREFUL! Sometime the publisher will want the review at a specific time, so make sure to take extra care with this.
Next, head to ‘Your Shelf’ to send/download your book to the platform you registered with.
And now, read the book! But, once you’ve finished, don’t forget to head back to NetGalley and click ‘Give Feedback’ next to the book to let the publishers know what you thought.
It’s important to do this, it’s the primary use of NetGalley, and the reason we are allowed ARCs. Don’t be afraid to say what you thought though, it won’t affect your chances of getting other books.
Then, repeat the process over again, and enjoy your books!
Before you start though, here are some things to bear in mind.
7. Some Things to Bear in Mind
- Take note of the publishing date of the books you’re requesting and don’t request too many all at once, although believe me, I know it’s hard. You can very easily get overwhelmed by the number of books to read all at one time, in my experience it leads to procrastination. so just start with one, and build up from there!
- Keep an eye on your feedback rate – this has a direct impact on whether you get approved for some ARCs – general thought is that around 80% is the optimum feedback rate, so try to always give feedback on the books you’re reading in order to increase your chances of being able to carry one.
- You don’t always hve to finish the book before release date. It’s good if you can, but don’t stress over it. Read it when you can and make sure to give feedback. That’s the most important thing.
- Badges! NetGalley gives you badges for certain achievements. they are displayed on your dashboard and look like this:
- Enjoy the experience – it’s cool to be able to read unreleased books, but make sure the THANK THE PUBLISHERS in your reviews, they have, after all, trusted you with an unreleased book. Whatever you think, be polite and say thank you. Manners don’t cost a thing.
We’ve reached the end young padawan, and now I set you free. Have a play around with the website and familiarise yourself with the interface and search functions.
Don’t be afraid to ask me or any of the lovely bloggers online for help, we’re always happy to assist someone!
Comment any questions below, I’ll be happy to help! And why not try the NetGalley app, it takes a lot of the stress out of reading!
Credits: The NetGalley logo is the sole property of NetGalley.com, all images used here, though generated by myself, are from the NetGalley website.