How did I get on, and was the extra month worth it? Read on to find out!
Previously, on NetGalley…
I went through the basics of NetGalley in my previous post, but as a quick refresher, it’s a web site where you upload your book for a not insubstantial fee, and readers hopefully grab a copy and review it. I signed up for the BooksGoSocial NetGalley scheme, which charges by the month, and also promotes your book through Twitter and Facebook. This cost me $89 (plus VAT), with a ‘one month extra free’ promotion.
At the end of your month, BooksGoSocial gives you a set of really handy reports on how many downloads you got, why they downloaded it, and what sector they are from. Here’s mine:
A day after my report came out, another review came in (a 5* one at that!), making the total so far a very respectable 12.
A vital part of trying to market your book is the cover and blurb. Over 90% of people who voted liked my cover, and half downloaded because of the description, so that’s a good start. Also, 8 out of 10 reviews would buy my book, apparently, which is also good news.
The extra month.
So what did the extra month give me? Lets look at the downloads:
As you can see, there was a massive drop off in downloads in the second month of the promotion. From my total twelve reviews, two were from Month 2, which is about the same percentage as for month 1 (16% vs 15%).
Fantastic reviews and where to find them!
If you’re after unbiased reviews (ie not from friends, family and associates on social media), NetGalley is a great place to find them. Reviewers have no stake in the outcome, and will therefore hopefully leave honest and useful feedback. If your book sucks or hasn’t been edited properly, they’ll be sure to let you know. So, how did my book do?
Pretty good! Half the reviews gave Jack Gilmour: Wish Lawyer 5 stars, and the minimum it received was 3 stars. Everyone seemed to like the premise, and overall the characters and story were well received. I’ve posted one below and you can read all the reviews here!
One pet theory I’ve often harboured is that the longer it takes someone to get around to reading (or finishing) a book, the lower the score will be. Does this hold true?
Not really! Three reviews of different scores all came in after 19 days, and the review that took the longest to be posted was 5 stars. It’s not exactly a huge dataset, though, and would be interesting to test the hypothesis with all of the data BGS has collected.
So, I got plenty of good reviews, but will anyone ever see them? With a bit of digging I was able to find out where they ended up.
And this is my one bugbear with the current NetGalley system. There is no obligation for any of the reviewers to post their reviews anywhere other than NetGalley itself. Although over half of them were posted to GoodReads, for self-published authors our main shop window is Amazon, and out of the twelve reviews only two ended up there.
BooksGoSocial provide you with the email addresses of the requesters, but even when I contacted them from the first report, only one of the five responded. I’ll contact the remaining ones in the future and hopefully I’ll get a better response.
Conclusions and final thoughts.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with NetGalley and found it a useful feedback tool, as well as providing some good soundbites for advertising purposes. For a hobbyist writer like me, it offers some validation that I don’t completely suck at writing, and that people I don’t know enjoy my stories. The following caveats apply, however:
- The extra month was a good freebie but I’m not sure I’d pay for it, given the large drop in downloads.
- Where the reviews are posted outside of NetGalley is at the discretion of the reviewer. This can limit its potential as a selling tool for other promotions that require a minimum number of reviews on Amazon, or shoppers who want more social proof before buying.
Even given the above, I’ll most likely be using NetGalley for future releases.
Hopefully this and my previous post has given an insight into how NetGalley works and the results it can produce for newbie writers like me (ie not those with a huge following who have thousands of fans ready to devour their next book – maybe one day!). And just before I go, a big thank you to everyone who took the time to review my book. It’s greatly appreciated!