Netgalley

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

lizmonster

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There are a couple of older threads on this, but I wonder if anyone's used them recently.

I've got a book I'm planning to self-pub early next year, and I was planning to make it available on Netgalley for about 3 months. I ran across this blog post from someone who poured a fair amount of cash into Netgalley's packages for his debut - it's 4 years old, so most of you have probably already seen it, but he does report getting some traction.

I'm fortunate in that I have some money budgeted for this kind of thing. I'm also fortunate in that I have a recognizable last name, and three books that were trade pubbed in 2016/2017. I've got a tiny bit of name recognition I might be able to exploit. I just want to figure out the best way to exploit it.

OTOH, Goodreads giveaways might be a better investment than Netgalley packages.

Has anybody here tried any of Netgalley's pay-to-play tools?
 

MaryLennox

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I have been wondering about Netgalley. Thanks for sharing that blog post, it was very detailed. But I definitely don't have the cash for what that writer did! lol
 
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TulipMama

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Something the poster doesn't mention (that I saw), and I would be very curious about, is the return on investment.

They threw thousands of dollars into this promotional site, and the book was reviewed, but what are the sales analytics? Did they recoup much of their investment? Was the point to just have their book read with no intention of making money back? They mentioned Amazon, so I would assume that they sold the book to some degree.

Where's the spreadsheet!? I want to see numbers!
 
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lizmonster

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Yeah, that's a big omission, and gives me some pause. My goal is readers rather than money, but one expects the latter to follow the former, at least to some extent, even if the investment isn't recouped.

The other thing I found odd was the author's recommendation to list the book on Netgalley after it was available on Amazon. I'd always understood Netgalley was for ARCs. This author seems to have used it to acquire post-release reviews.

I will probably try it, although not to the extent this author did. I'll report back if I do (it won't be until the end of the year, though).
 

MaryLennox

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I also went and looked up the author on Goodreads to see if they had any other books come out. It seems like so far, this is their only book. It seems like a lot to invest in a single book. I think it would make more sense to have other books ready to release shortly afterwards (or already have a few books out), so if anyone who got this book for free and enjoyed it they might actually buy your second, third, or fourth books. But if your next books don't come out for years afterwards, it's kind of a missed opportunity?
 
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lizmonster

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I also went and looked up the author on Goodreads to see if they had any other books come out. It seems like so far, this is there only book. It seems like a lot to invest in a single book. I think it would make more sense to have other books ready to release shortly afterwards (or already have a few books out), so if anyone who got this book for free and enjoyed it they might actually buy your second, third, or fourth books. But if your next books don't come out for years afterwards, it's kind of a missed opportunity?
I too noticed the age of the book, and I agree: it's a better bet to use your time to write something new.

It's the eternal struggle, though, isn't it? How do I connect with my potential audience? How do I let them know I have something they might like to read? There aren't a lot of knobs there for self-publishers, and if Netgalley can boost word-of-mouth, it might turn out to be worth spending a little.

OTOH, if it worked consistently, everyone would do it.
 
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TulipMama

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Maybe it's the price that prevents most people from using it?
I know it's giving me a lot of pause. I didn't like spending $50 for my Pro-Writing aid subscription, and I have a full time, well paying job.

From my perspective (as somebody who has no intention of publishing overly soon, and has not yet published anything) I'd want to explore less cost intensive, but more time intensive, avenues first. From what I've researched, authors who do that often swear they'll never do it again, because it's a lot of work, and still costs SOME money.

Maybe after I'm two books in, I'll change my tune and look at $600 of advertising like a reasonable expenditure. It also stated that most of the people who use Netgalley are the types who have published, recognized titles already. Perhaps lesser known writers, or those of us who are yet to really commit to getting the word out, are just less likely to use the service.

Probably mostly the money though. Jiminy Christmas, that's a lot of cash to throw around.
 
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MaryLennox

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Also, I thought I'd mention I've used the free service of Booksprout before: https://booksprout.co/ There is a short thread on AW here: https://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php?threads/booksprout.341278/

So far, my experience was that only 3 ARCS were downloaded but I believe all three posted reviews. The reviews can be quite short, only about 2-3 sentences, but I still think a short review is better than no review. It was also free and super easy to use.

Both of my books I put on Booksprout were MG, one a collection of short stories and the other a ballet novel for MG readers. This may play a big part of why I got so little reviews, because it seems like romance is the biggest genre being posted there. Also, my target audience of middle graders are most likely not using this service! I didn't post on any of my social media that I had ARCs available, which I would probably do next time. I was just testing it out with these two books.

The free service allows up to 20 ARC requests (and 3 pen names). If you think you'll get more requests (or reach 20 and want to release more) then you have to pay a monthly membership fee. You get to choose where they post their reviews and you get reminders from Booksprout to send reminders to the people who downloaded your ARC that their reviews are do soon, and then another saying their review is now due.

Another feature I liked is that if the people who got your ARC liked your book, they can choose to follow you and be notified when you have a new ARC available.

The only thing is, never send an ARC to someone who private messages you, because they are probably a scammer who wants to pirate your book. I only had this happen once and I reported them.
 

lizmonster

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Thanks, Mary - this is super helpful. I'll check them out. The genre may be the biggest issue - I write SF, which it turns out is a pretty small market overall (compared to romance, fantasy, or just about anything YA).
 
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MaryLennox

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Oh, I guess I should also mention - it's mostly just indie authors posting on Booksprout, so the reviewers using the service and reading these ARCs are used to reading indies and obviously like them. You are also just competing against other indie authors, not big name authors, like you would be on NetGally.
 
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