Written by: Joanne Biju
Goodreads is home to plenty of reviews, many of which are posted on a new book’s release date. Are people spending hours reading books on release day just to get a review up by the end of the night? Perhaps. But chances are there’s a little disclaimer attached to the review, disclosing that the reader secured a copy of an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) through NetGalley.
NetGalley is a website where authors and publishers provide ARCs for figures like librarians, journalists, bloggers, and book influencers in exchange for reviews. The concept is similar to being a beta reader, although reviews are made public rather than sent straight to authors. While not many review-based changes are made to those ARCs, simply because it’s so late in the publishing process, NetGalley users help create buzz for upcoming releases.
While lesser-known authors may be more generous with their distribution, securing an ARC through NetGalley can be somewhat competitive. Readers need to create bios reflective of their audience-scale or media credentials; despite having a bookish column at The Daily Campus, my requests for Carley Fortune’s Meet Me at the Lake and Emily Henry’s Happy Place were both denied.
It’s really easy to get excited about NetGalley access and dive into a request spree. While there is no limit to the number of ARCs you can request, it’s important to request sparingly. This is because ARCs expire, leaving you with a finite amount of time to read and review. If you don’t review an ARC before its expiration date, your feedback ratio — a statistic publishers look at when granting requests — will probably plummet. The higher your feedback ratio, the more likely you are to have your ARC request fulfilled.
NetGalley is far from the only way to secure ARCs. When I worked at Barnes & Noble, the employee break room was stocked with ARCs and press kits. It’s also an option to email an author’s publicity team and ask to be added to their mailing list. For the most part, however, being gifted an ARC requires a review in turn — just something to keep in mind.