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  • C. J. Walters

"Life is a journey, not a destination." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Updated: May 21, 2021

It’s me again, the anxious author. Today, I’d like to share my experience with NetGalley to help other indie writers decide if it’s right for them.

Prior to my book launch, I had no online presence and a small advertising budget. After hours of research, I decided to try out NetGalley, even though some author’s reviews of their experiences were not favorable.

For those of you who don’t know, NetGalley is a site where authors pay to upload their eBooks, to get feedback—often on advanced reader copies (ARCs)—from librarians, booksellers, educators, media professionals, and reviewers.

Once I uploaded my book, I had the choice to grant access to requesters on a case-by-case basis or let anyone download it. I chose the former—fearing those who don’t like my genre would download it and give me unfavorable reviews (something I read happens in other authors’ blogs).

As of today, here is a screen shot of my NetGalley feedback:

The positives:

- I’m at a roughly 11% request rate. My understanding is 10% is normal for an author (through unconfirmed research, so I’m pleased to be slightly above that)

- I received only positive feedback on my cover (45 thumbs up)

- My description was the reason most often cited for requesting my book, which makes me believe my synopsis is catching people’s attention

- My limited feedback from all types of reviewers has been positive and my average rating is a 4.6

- I met two fabulous authors through this site (they reviewed my book and I connected with them on Goodreads). Both were instrumental in helping me create my Instagram account, which has been such a wonderful support system

The concerns:

- My feedback ratio is SUPER low at 7%. From what I read, around 30-40% is average. Here comes my anxiety; this makes me worried many reviewers read it and hated it, but refrained from giving me a one or two star review.

Final thoughts: At this point, I hid my title from receiving new requests. I can't justify continuing to approve requests unless something changes with my feedback ratio. In fairness, some of the reviewers have only had the book two weeks, so I am hoping to receive a few more reviews.

I'm giving NetGalley another month before I call it an official success or failure, but honestly, as a debut author with no following, I’m pretty sure I would do it all again even now. Besides giving me a few reviews that were also posted on amazon and goodreads, it’s given me some invaluable feedback and connections I never would have had.

Publishing a book is a bit like ripping out a piece of your heart and sharing it with the world. It's terrifying, but it's also exhilarating. Each day brings its own challenges, but also good, and I am so happy to be on this journey.


In my next post, I will share my honest feedback on my Goodreads giveaways (spoiler alert: they've done worse than NetGalley in terms of return on investment).

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