I think we all did this when we first started out with Netgalley, didn't we? We requested anything that mildly took our interest. We were all incredibly click-happy and went wild. I know I did. And where did it get me? It got me to a place two years ago in which my feedback to approval ratio was under 15% That's where it got me.
Now, what I do, is I'll look at the Recently Added shelf. I'll look at the books in the categories I like. And if I see a book that sparks my interest, I'll keep a tab open to that book. And I'll carry on with whatever I'm doing on my laptop. If, in an hour's time, that title STILL sparks a massive interest in me, I'll request it. If I'd forgotten that I was excited about that book in an hour's time, I close the window and carry on.
Because a lot of books interest me, I've also placed a reasonable limit for myself. Right now, that limit is 5 books. In order to request MORE books, I'll need to read and review the five books on my Reading Shelf. Once I get into a better routine in which I automatically read and review these books without placing ridiculous rules and restrictions on myself, I might raise this to 8 titles or 10 titles depending on how often I'm sending in feedback. You'll know what's right for you.
There's so few things worse than being incredibly excited to read a book only to request that book on Netgalley and to be declined. What a terrible feeling. Usually when this happens, I'll look at the Approval Preferences of that particular publisher and see if there is anything I can do to improve my chances for next time.
Some good tips for not being declined in future is to have an up-to-date and informative profile which includes an email address and a profile photo. I'd recommend linking to all appropriate websites and profiles. Your blog, obviously. But also Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and anywhere else you might discuss books. Remove all of those personal details in your Bio section and focus on follower numbers, average page views and awards/achievements. Write that Bio and use it to really sell yourself. Let publishers know why you should be approved and what kind of influence/reach you have.
And, of course, improve your feedback to approval ratio! Which leads me to the next problem...
-Having a low feedback to approval ratio
As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, two years ago I had a feedback to ratio approval rate under 15% Right now? At the time of writing this blog post my percentage stands at 73% It's not quite the preferred 80% but it's close. And I'm auto-approved for 7 different publishers and I can't remember the last book that I was declined for. I'm doing okay! But that was definitely not always the case!
If you have a low feedback ratio, what I'd recommend doing right now is to look closely at your Reading Shelf. If there are any books that you never downloaded because the title was archived soon after your approval, leave feedback to the publisher to explain why you haven't given feedback. If any of the titles have formatting issues or missing letters which make it difficult to read the book, leave feedback to the publishers to let them know you won't be reading because of these issues.
If any book there is over a year old and you've not read it, move on. But before you do, leave feedback. Always leave feedback. I think a lot of people's problems with Netgalley is that they feel under pressure to read every book, finish every book and write full reviews of every book. And while that is preferable, it doesn't always happen. Nor should it always happen, I don't think.
Some of my feedback is quite short. Something like 'I was approved for this title and two days later it was archived and that didn't give me enough time to read and review it.' 'I was very excited to read this book, however, some of the formatting or missing letters included in my copy of the book made it difficult to read which made it impossible to finish reading the book.' 'I gave this book several attempts but something about the characters/writing style/situation/setting didn't quite grab my attention or excitement. I'm sure that it will capture the imagination of other readers but it is not the right book for me at this time.'
Even with books I love, sometimes I keep it quite short. Once my list of Netgalley books is cleared to a more acceptable number, then I'll be able to focus more time and attention on certain titles. But I won't get that opportunity if I still have 40 other Netgalley titles hanging over my head!
-Keeping up-to-date with Netgalley books
That leaves me with this final Netgalley problem. Hopefully you've gotten your profile sorted out, your feedback percentage to a good number, you're limiting what you're requesting but how do you keep up-to-date by continuing to read and submit feedback for these books?
Some people join Netgalley reading challenges. I think those are always fun and something like Netgalley November is a great way of clearing a big chunk of titles off your reading lists. Or you could just add in, say 2-3 titles to your monthly TBR lists and chip away at things are regular intervals. Add in publication dates/archive dates to your calendars so that it will pop up with reminders for you. I do all of these things and they help in different ways. I hope this has helped in some way!
Do you have any tips or suggestions to add?