|Victory Editing runs a NetGalley co-op. This co-op has been in existence for over five years. NetGalley is one of the largest eARC-distribution sites out there. A huge advantage is that it gives you access to people you might not otherwise reach, such as reviewers for major publications like USA Today and Publishers Weekly, as well as libraries and booksellers.I’ve assembled some basic information below regarding what NetGalley is and how our co-op works. If you have additional questions not covered below or you’d like to join the co-op, please drop me an e-mail.
Some quick links with more info / reflections on being in a co-op:
Victory Editing’s NetGalley Catalog
Q What is NetGalley?
A: In a nutshell, it’s a digital review-copy distribution site. Review copies are also known as ARCs–Advance Reading Copies.
Q Does NetGalley only distribute ARCs to reviewers?
A: No. NetGalley’s Readers are comprised of reviewers, media professionals, educators, librarians, and booksellers. To that end, I’ll refer broadly in this FAQ to Readers, unless I specifically mean reviewers.
Q Does that mean it’s a pay-per-review site?
A: Absolutely not. We’re paying to have titles listed and distributed to Readers. Readers choose (or not) titles based on their own needs and interests.
Q Do you have to let people have access to a title?
A: No. Readers request a copy of the title. You can accept or decline based on whatever criteria we set. Readers also are able to set up a profile, and we can use that to determine whether we okay them or not.
Q Do reviewers have to cross-post reviews to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, their blog, etc.?
A: No. However, they aren’t reviewing titles just to do us a favor–they’re trying to build their audience. Because of that, a review that they don’t actually post outside of NetGalley doesn’t really do them much good. Also keep in mind that many Readers are reviewing for purposes of purchasing decisions (e.g., for a library, school, or bookstore), and so they may never leave a review, although they will hopefully leave you feedback letting you know of their plans.
Q Why shouldn’t I just keep on submitting to blogs / posting to Goodreads, etc.?
A: Nobody says you have to stop doing those things. If you’re seeing success with it, carry on. But more and more indies are noting that it’s becoming harder and harder to get reviews, especially on popular blogs, and ad money is also not going as far as it once did. At least this way, reviewers are coming to us and not the other way around, which is a huge shift in the balance of power, and it’s not a bad place to be. It means they’re asking for something from us and we decide, as opposed to us going to reviewers, hat in hand, begging for a review.
Q What if my book isn’t chosen?
A: NetGalley is a catalog of sorts. If you look at the site, you’ll notice that it’s set up very similar to a library catalog or bookseller catalog. Your covers are going to get you views, and descriptions and categories will get requests. That hasn’t changed.
Also of note, certain genres seem to fare better on NetGalley. As far as I can tell, Romance and YA that’s what I’d call “girly” YA tends to better. And no, girly YA isn’t an official genre, I’m just talking about YA that is clearly aimed at female readers. Mystery, Political Thrillers, guy Fantasy (again, not an official genre, just the demographic), Women’s Fiction, for whatever reason, those don’t tend to do so well.
Q What if I get a sucky review?
A: It’s going to happen. You can’t please all the people and all that. Do what you can to mitigate that by having a good product is all I can tell you. Also, you’ll cut down on some of the one-star drive-bys with a selective process that matches the reviewer to your titles. Notice they don’t like cliffhangers, which your book features? Don’t approve them. There’s nothing wrong with trying to match your book to your audience.
Q Does listing my title on NetGalley affect my copyright?
A: No. Neither I nor NetGalley have any claim to the copyright on your book aside from the fact that you are granting permission as the copyright holder to list your title in the NetGalley catalog. You still retain your copyright and can pull your title at any time.
Q When does the subscription run?
A: Our subscription is up for renewal in May of each year, and we commit to one year at a time. You can do less (for anyone considering doing their own co-op), but year-to-year is the best solution for me.
Pricing & Tiers:
Q How much does a NetGalley slot cost?
A: A full year of NetGalley costs $375.00. I do have a couple of “floater” spots that may be available, so do feel free to ask if you need a slot for just a month or three.
Q So-and-So is only charging XYZ.
A: There are co-ops out there that only charge the base fee. I charge a bit extra for admin stuff (signing contracts, uploading titles, handling money, liaising with NetGalley corporate, etc.)
Q Will we be billed monthly if NetGalley charges monthly?
A: No. Your fee is a once-per-year fee. It will cover twelve months (ie. June through May, not May through December).
Q Will you be holding our money?
A: No. I collect everyone’s money during “recruitment month,” and as soon as everyone pays their invoice, I hand the money for a year’s subscription over to NetGalley.
Q Can I buy multiple slots?
A: Absolutely. If you write multiple series, under multiple pen names, whatever, you may want a second slot.
Q Can I sublet my slot?
A: Sure.If you do so, you must either manage your slot still (requests, widgets, so forth) OR vouch for the person you invite into the group.
Q Can I do multiple titles throughout the year?
A: Yes. You can only have one ACTIVE at a time per slot, but you can swap titles in and out. I do ask that you be reasonable with this, though–i.e. swapping titles every other day is going to drive me nuts, and it won’t do you any good. Once a title is archived, reviewers can’t request it or download it any longer. A general rule of thumb, however, is one month per title.
A: NetGalley encourages Advance Reading Copies (ARCs). If you do your own formatting, this will be welcome, as it will hopefully help with building advance buzz. It’s advised to add an ARC page that typically says something like “This is an unproofed advance reading copy. It is not for resale and changes may be made between now and publication,” or similar. My personal suggestion would be to use your version that you have after edits but before proofreading / final-pass reading.
Q Can we put up older titles or titles that have already been published?
A: Absolutely. A quick note – just because you don’t do ARCs and will be waiting until you publish doesn’t necessarily mean you have an “old” title. A new release is a new release 🙂 And putting up backlisted titles or the first book in a series works, too–use NetGalley to support your marketing plan; don’t let NetGalley dictate what you’re doing.
Q What information will I need?
A: Most of the info you need is standard: Title, Series Name, Author Name, Publisher, Publication Date, Retail Price, Edition Type, etc. The big thing you need: You MUST have a unique, 13-digit number (if you have an ISBN, that’s perfect). ISBNs can be acquired via Smashwords, or you can come up with a 13-digit number on your own if you so choose.
Q Do I have to have an ISBN?
A: No. You can come up with a 13-digit number on your own if you so choose. There are random number generators available on the Internet. The number just has to be unique to NetGalley.
Q Will we all be under one catalog?
A: Yes. We are all listed under “Victory Editing” if you browse by publisher in the NetGalley catalog. You can still list your publisher on your actual title listing.
Q Will other people be doing admin duties?
A: No. Each author (or their admin assistant) will administer their own title, to include requests, widgets, and following up with reviewers. This is vastly preferable, in my opinion, to having a service that does everything for you. Your review quality goes up the more you can match your title with potential reviewers, and someone vetting large numbers of requests across multiple titles just isn’t going to put in the same amount of care that you will, nor will they be as familiar with your audience.
Q Can I have a Reader account as well as accessing our Publisher account?
A: Yes. In fact, I encourage you to do so for multiple reasons. First, it lets you see how NetGalley works from a Reader perspective. Second, it lets you test widgets, and third, it helps to be familiar with the Reader side of the service in case you need to troubleshoot for a Reader, should they contact you.
Have other questions? Feel free to drop me an e-mail!