Don’t miss the Firebrand Group Community Conference in Baltimore!

NetGalley is thrilled to co-host the Firebrand Group Community Conference next week (Sept. 26 – 28, 2022) in Baltimore. We can’t wait to present you with this stellar lineup of sessions, featuring speakers from across the industry including keynote addresses from Kirsty Melville and Alistair Croll, plus an introduction to incoming CEO, Angela Bole!

Connect with Your Audience: Marketing Sessions

Building & Scaling Influencer Programs Effectively: TikTok, Instagram, & More

Presented by: Emily Lyman, CEO & Founder, Branch & Bramble

Activating social media influencers is one of the fastest and most effective marketing tools to drive awareness—but it can also be one of the most time consuming and challenging. This session will focus on the tactical elements of building influencer programs based on individual titles as well as entire genres across TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Learn how to scale collaborations and maximize budgets with long-term partnership advice, negotiation tactics, and efficiency ideas.

Insights Into Action: The Making of a Bestseller

Presented by: Andrea DeWerd, book marketing strategist, consultant, author

As publishers are competing with streaming services, TikTok, podcasts, and every other hobby for consumers’ attention, book marketers have to adapt new technology for the competitive edge. In this session, book marketing strategist and consultant Andrea DeWerd will present a simple and effective approach for leveling up your organization’s MarTech stack to streamline and scale campaigns for success. We’ll look at the audience insights that drove a New York Times bestselling cookbook, as well as the steps to:

  • Become a data-informed marketing organization
  • Solicit buy-in for new technology at every level of the organization
  • Create a culture of teaching, training, and learning for new tech adoption

Beyond the Book Review: Leveraging Media Placements for Lasting Author Success

Presented by: Publicity Manager Andrea Kiliany Thatcher and Marketing Associate Olivia McCoy, of Smith Publicity

While securing book reviews is a major goal for almost every author, what happens after is just as important. During this session, discover how to leverage book reviews from NetGalley and other sources for well-rounded author success. Topics include:

  • The different types of reviews including endorsements, trade, media, and consumer reviews and the impact each has an on author’s brand
  • How consumer reviews affect retail algorithms
  • How to leverage reviews to line up author events, speaking engagements, etc.
  • The long-lasting impact of book reviews—reviews serve as a foundation to further opportunity
  • Placement and use for NetGalley reviews

Finding Your Audience/Growing Your Community

Presented by Tarah Theoret,  Senior Director, Community Experience, and Kelly Gallucci, Executive Editor, We Are Bookish

Join the NetGalley Member Experience team to learn how targeted acquisition efforts can help expand your audience. This session will explore using data (from NetGalley as well as external sources like Google Analytics, social media platforms, & newsletter subscribers) to identify product/brand champions and inform your community engagement and retention strategies. 

Discussion: Maintaining Momentum Beyond the Pub Date

Book publishers know that they have a wealth of IP in their backlist, but what is the most effective way to mine it? In this session, we will explore creative ways to surface the most relevant backlist titles of the moment, in order to drive their momentum when the time is right. For this group discussion, we hope attendees will come ready to share their concerns, ideas, and successes!

NetGalley 101 

Presented by Darcy Piedmonte, Senior Sales Manager, NetGalley

Rediscover the roots of your NetGalley publisher account! Kristina Radke, VP of Business Growth & Engagement, will guide you through each important moment of a book’s life on NetGalley. We’ll cover everything from creating new titles, setting Availability, incorporating the Widget in your day-to-day efforts, managing requests, building your Auto-Approved List, as well as looking at and using the robust reports available to you. 

NetGalley Promotions Overview

Presented by Lindsey Lochner, Executive Vice President, NetGalley

Learn how publishers use NetGalley Promotions to launch their frontlist and leverage their backlist to reach trade professionals and early influencers, generate reviews, run giveaways, collect pre-orders, advertise around the pub date, and connect directly with their audience. With advertising options for every budget, goal, and type of book, NetGalley’s popular programs are highly valued for their strong engagement rates—delivering outstanding results while remaining at a competitive price. 

More sessions will be announced as they are finalized! While you wait, be sure to talk to your colleagues about attending the Firebrand Group Community Conference. Each track focuses on different aspects of the publishing process.

  • Connect the Dots with Data | Sessions for data analysts, business ops, and marketing teams, including Eloquence on Alert and NetGalley users.

Register today to ensure your space and take advantage of the Early Bird Discount rate! A Group Discount is available for multiple team members attending from one company. Please email us for details.

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Meet the NetGalley Team: Katie Versluis

Originally Posted on We Are Bookish.
Visit We Are Bookish for more team interviews!

The NetGalley team has shared our staff readsour favorite audiobook narrators and book adaptationsfun facts about our company, and our most-anticipated reads of the year. And now it’s time to properly introduce ourselves! Throughout the year we’ll be profiling different members of the NetGalley team to share what we’re working on, our best tips for members, and more. Here, we want to introduce you to Customer Success Manager Katie Versluis!

Meet Katie

Role: Customer Success Manager

Years at NetGalley: Six and a half!

Book you recommend to everyone: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

An indie bookstore you love: TYPE Books in Toronto, where I spent a million hours during publishing school. Mabel’s Fables, the stuff that dreams are made of! Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest queer bookstore in the world. And I can’t forget my local indie, Someday Books, where I’ll be buying out their entire stock of board books. Sorry, did you say just one?

What does a typical day at NetGalley look like for you?

I work with publishers—both large and small—to ensure that their books and audiobooks reach the hands of book advocates and influencers. On the day-to-day, that means an inbox full of questions from publishers about how their books can see the most success on NetGalley, troubleshooting tech questions, and queries about how to best use the tools we offer to their advantage! I also do lots of one-on-one training with publishers, strategy calls, sales calls… all the calls. 

What brought you to NetGalley?

I actually began using NetGalley as an intern for Second Story Press, a feminist publisher. It was my job to manage requests, and I had a blast doing it—sometimes falling behind on other projects because I loved using NetGalley so much. Studying members’ profiles and book blogs really appealed to me. After my internship was over, a sales assistant position at NetGalley happened to open up, and my former manager at the internship pushed me to apply! Nearly seven years and many job title changes later, here I am!

What recommendations do you have for anyone looking to follow a similar career path?

It was equally important to my career that I had a background in tech, as well as other more obvious publishing experience, like editorial and marketing. If you’re going through publishing school and they offer a technology specialization—take it! These types of jobs are in high demand and can be so fun and interesting. I love the tech side of my job. 

What is your number one tip for new NetGalley members?

Utilize the Reader Recommended carousel on each Category page! This is where the real gems are. They’re highly rated books that were vetted by other NetGalley members, so you know they’re good! I find a lot of my future reads here, and I have yet to be disappointed. 

How do you make time for reading?

That’s been a big struggle for me over the last few months! I’m currently 9 months pregnant and it can be hard to not fall asleep when I really want to be reading. A big help has really been my book club. It was formed during the pandemic and was not only a way to connect with my friends during that time but also helped me keep my eyes on a book regularly and in a way that kept me motivated and excited. 

In what ways have you seen the industry change since you first started, and in what ways do you hope it continues to evolve?

I really love how much audiobook accessibility has grown over the last few years. From the dinky little one-shelf section at your local bookstore to the enormous amount of digital availability that we have now, it’s been a joy to watch the growth in this particular section of the industry. 

And of course, I’m a firm believer that audiobooks are books, and listening to audiobooks totally counts as reading. Physical copy purists are just jealous we can read and eat snacks at the same time. 

Do you have a 2022 reading resolution?

To find the best baby book of THEM ALL!! Seriously, my kid isn’t even born yet and his dad has read him half the library already. 

Five Favorite Graphic Novels

Maus by Art Spiegelman
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
From Hell by Alan Moore
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

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Angela Bole to Succeed Fran Toolan at the Firebrand Group

Angela Bole, current CEO of Independent Book Publishers Association

(Manhattan Beach, CA & Newburyport, MA – June 9, 2022) – The Firebrand Group (firebrandtech.com), the book industry’s leading technology company for cutting edge software and services that enable publisher success, announced today that Angela Bole, current CEO at the Independent Book Publishers Association (ibpa-online.org), will succeed Firebrand CEO Fran Toolan on February 1, 2023. Toolan, who founded Firebrand as Quality Solutions, Inc. in 1987, passes the reins to Bole after 35 years as the company’s sole CEO. He will remain on the Firebrand Group Board of Directors post transition. 

Today, the Firebrand Group includes Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, and Supadu.  Firebrand Technologies Title Management Enterprise Software and Eloquence on Demand service headline a group of technologies that help publishers track and manage titles from pre-acquisition through their long tail of sales. NetGalley helps provide excitement about titles by connecting eBook and audio content with reviewers. And the newest addition to the Firebrand family of services, Supadu, is the leading provider of publisher e-commerce solutions in the US and UK. 

Upon launching Firebrand Technologies, Toolan understood that the publishing industry was a unique and creative business that needed efficient tools and workflow processes to thrive and be profitable. “These tools must accentuate the creativity in publishing,” he said at the time, “not hinder it.”  

Fran Toolan, current CEO of the Firebrand Group

In February 2021, Firebrand was acquired by Media Do International (MD-i), the US-based subsidiary of Japan’s Media Do Co., Ltd, one of the largest ebook distribution companies in the world retaining the largest share of Japan’s $4.5 billion eBook market.  

“With the support of MD-i, the Firebrand Group is growing and innovating at an unparalleled rate of speed,” said Toolan. “The opportunities in front of us are very exciting, and I’m equally excited that Angela will be here to guide us going forward.” 

Said Daihei Shiohama, CEO of MD-i: “Both here and in Japan, we are so excited to have Angela succeed Fran. We are determined to provide utmost support to Firebrand Group with Angela as new CEO. With the annual growth rate of close to 20% in Japan’s digital publishing market where NFT, XR, and other diversified elements stimulate the publishing industry, we are convinced that Angela will lead the group to uplift the global publishing industry’s expansion.” 

Bole, a 2019 Publishers Weekly notable person of the year, began her career at an independent bookstore in Jackson, WY before moving to NYC in 2005 to pursue a Masters in book publishing from New York University. While in NYC, she held various positions with the Book Industry Study Group (BISG)–including a stint as interim executive director–where she spearheaded research into consumer attitudes toward ebook reading, oversaw initiatives supporting the industry’s transition to ISBN-13, and developed best practices and other documentation for use of the ONIX and EPUB standards. Bole served as treasurer of the International Digital Publishers Forum (IDPF) from 2011 to 2014, before moving to Manhattan Beach, CA to become ED and later CEO of IBPA, where she has stabilized and grown operations for the past nine years. 

“During her years leading IBPA, Angela has transformed the organization into the leading association for advocating and supporting the growing community of independent publishers,” said current IBPA Board Chair Karla Olson (Director, Patagonia Books). “During the last two challenging years in particular, Angela made certain IBPA provided innovative and essential member support and increased efforts to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion within all aspects of the association. IBPA will be forever grateful to Angela for her leadership, her vision, and her passion for publishing.” 

Bole officially assumes the position of Firebrand Group CEO on February 1, 2023. When asked what she hopes to achieve, she said, “Firebrand has been powering the publishing industry for over 30 years through quality software solutions and a dedicated and committed staff. Given all we’ve learned over the past few years, I hope to build upon what’s already working to enable even more efficiencies for the companies Firebrand serves. I know this will be a team effort; I couldn’t be more excited to join and lead the team.” 

About the Firebrand Group
The Firebrand Group, consisting of Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, and Supadu, provides leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. The Firebrand Group is owned by Media Do International (MD-i), the US-based subsidiary of Japan’s Media Do Co., Ltd, one of the largest ebook distribution companies in the world retaining the largest share of Japan’s ebook market. For more information, visit firebrandtech.com. For more information on Media Do’s services and corporate divisions, visit mediado.jp/english. The Firebrand Group’s bi-annual Community Conference shall be held in September this year in Baltimore, MD. For more information, please visit firebrandtech.com/conference.

About the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 4,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industry. For more information, visit ibpa-online.org

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Keynote Addresses Announced! Firebrand Group Community Conference

Join us for a very special opportunity to connect with the NetGalley team and your peers from across the publishing industry! We have two very exciting keynote addresses for you during the Firebrand Group Community Conference, September 26- 28 in Baltimore!

Kirsty Melville

Kirsty Melville, President and Publisher of Andrews McMeel Publishing

When we connect, we feel less alone – Rupi Kaur, author of Milk and Honey

The term “Instapoetry” is used to describe short form, accessible poetry on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. It has been derided as superficial, and “not real poetry” because it originates from social media. Yet the “Instapoetry” label masks the incredible depth and intersection of creativity, marketing, technology and human connection represented by this form of expression.

In this talk, social poetry publisher Kirsty Melville provides a behind the scenes look at how this contemporary poetry phenomenon emerged, and how its impact reflects a significant shift in the publishing dynamic between authors and publishers. Rupi Kaur leads her poetry peers in kicking down the walls of publishing, and we have much to learn from their power to connect and engage with readers worldwide.

Alistair Croll 

Alistair Croll is a founder, bestselling author of Lean Analytics, and conference organizer.

It’s no secret that the arrival of digital technologies has upended most aspects of human society, from how we live and learn, to how we fight and play. The pace of change can be overwhelming, and indeed has overwhelmed many of the established businesses across a wide range of industries. But these changes can be harnessed—if only we have a framework for understanding them to which we can align our organizations.

In this wide-ranging talk that borrows from science, philosophy, and technology, bestselling author Alistair Croll offers an unexpected—and often hilarious—look at how innovation actually happens. You’ll learn more about horse manure, lab-grown meat, tea clippers, the economics of coal, YouTube unboxing videos, child seats, and baggage carousels than you ever thought you wanted to.

Along the way, get a structured approach to different kinds of change, from keep-the-lights on incremental improvements to the unknowable discontinuities of complete transformation. You’ll leave with concrete concepts you can put to work immediately as Alistair shows you how to adjust your thinking so you can thrive amid rapid change.

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Sessions Announced! Firebrand Group Community Conference

Join us for a very special opportunity to connect with the NetGalley team and your peers from across the publishing industry!

We are thrilled to announce some of the sessions that will be presented at the Firebrand Group Community Conference, September 26- 28 in Baltimore! Experts from across the publishing industry will be speaking about topics critical to your work. This track is dedicated to book marketers and publicists, including NetGalley users, and is specifically designed to help you connect with your audience.

Building & Scaling Influencer Programs Effectively: TikTok, Instagram, & More

Presented by: Emily Lyman, CEO & Founder, Branch & Bramble

Activating social media influencers is one of the fastest and most effective marketing tools to drive awareness—but it can also be one of the most time consuming and challenging. This session will focus on the tactical elements of building influencer programs based on individual titles as well as entire genres across TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Learn how to scale collaborations and maximize budgets with long-term partnership advice, negotiation tactics, and efficiency ideas.

Insights Into Action: The Making of a Bestseller

Presented by: Andrea DeWerd, Senior Marketing Director at Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins

The Harvest lifestyle marketing team at HarperCollins has adopted a unique MarTech stack to streamline and scale campaigns in a traditionally very old-fashioned industry. Please join us for this session with Senior Marketing Director Andrea DeWerd and learn how this team adopted new technology to launch a New York Times bestseller and leads the organization in marketing experimentation driven by audience insights and data synthesis.

Key Takeaways:

  • Becoming a data-informed marketing organization
  • Soliciting buy-in for new technology at every level of the organization
  • Creating a culture of teaching, training, and learning for new tech adoption
  • The path to a New York Times bestselling cookbook

Finding Your Audience/Growing Your Community

Presented by Tarah Theoret,  Senior Director, Community Experience, and Kelly Gallucci, Executive Editor, We Are Bookish

Join the NetGalley Member Experience team to learn how targeted acquisition efforts can help expand your audience. This session will explore using data (from NetGalley as well as external sources like Google Analytics, social media platforms, & newsletter subscribers) to identify product/brand champions and inform your community engagement and retention strategies. 

Discussion: Maintaining Momentum Beyond the Pub Date

Book publishers know that they have a wealth of IP in their backlist, but what is the most effective way to mine it? In this session, we will explore creative ways to surface the most relevant backlist titles of the moment, in order to drive their momentum when the time is right. For this group discussion, we hope attendees will come ready to share their concerns, ideas, and successes!

NetGalley 101 

Rediscover the roots of your NetGalley publisher account! Kristina Radke, VP of Business Growth & Engagement, will guide you through each important moment of a book’s life on NetGalley. We’ll cover everything from creating new titles, setting Availability, incorporating the Widget in your day-to-day efforts, managing requests, building your Auto-Approved List, as well as looking at and using the robust reports available to you. 

NetGalley Promotions Overview

Learn how publishers use NetGalley Promotions to launch their frontlist and leverage their backlist to reach trade professionals and early influencers, generate reviews, run giveaways, collect pre-orders, advertise around the pub date, and connect directly with their audience. With advertising options for every budget, goal, and type of book, NetGalley’s popular programs are highly valued for their strong engagement rates—delivering outstanding results while remaining at a competitive price. 

More sessions will be announced as they are finalized! While you wait, be sure to talk to your colleagues about attending the Firebrand Group Community Conference. Each track focuses on different aspects of the publishing process.

  • Connect the Dots with Data | Sessions for data analysts, business ops, and marketing teams, including Eloquence on Alert and NetGalley users.

Register today to ensure your space and take advantage of the Early Bird Discount rate! A Group Discount is available for multiple team members attending from one company. Please email us for details.

NetGalley is a member of the Firebrand Group, which provides leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. In addition to sessions geared toward marketers and publicists who use NetGalley, the Firebrand Group Community Conference will include tracks dedicated to users of Firebrand’s Title Management and Eloquence services, as well as Supadu’s website and ecommerce solutions.

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Cory Verner on the Growth of Audiobooks

BookSmarts Podcast

Get smarter about your books! The BookSmarts podcast features discussions about publishing data and technologies and interviews with industry experts, deep thinkers, and doers, bringing you insights that will help you sell more books.

Episode 24: Cory Verner on the Growth of Audiobooks

Cory Verner is the CEO of ONE Audiobooks, a publisher of audiobooks and a turnkey audio services provider. Cory has been working in the audiobooks industry for over 20 years, and has seen the changes in technology, the changes in focus, and the growth in sales as the format has taken off in the last 6-7 years. Cory and I talk about some of the reasons for that growth, the demographics of listeners, and some specific differences between the Inspirational Books market that he is closely connected to compared to the general audiobooks market.

Transcript available here.

We also talk about how the audiobooks industry has changed over time, including technology changes that have driven much of the recent growth, and we discuss the risks publishers take on when they create their own audiobook program.

You can learn more about ONE Audiobooks at oneaudiobooks.com (corporate site) and oneaudiobooks.app (customer engagement tools).

Joshua Tallent is an acclaimed teacher and guide on the role of data in publishing, and a vocal advocate for high quality book metadata. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing complex board games, playing Minecraft, and fiddling with his 3D printer.

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Sustainability – a challenge for all.

At the 2022 London Book Fair there were four separate sessions devoted to sustainability in the industry, making it one of LBF’s most debated topics. At the start of the second panel discussion, Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publishers Association, summed up the common theme that bound them all: “We want our industry to be around for as long as possible,” he said. “This is clearly the challenge of our time.” The question is, how do we all rise to meet it?

Open book with a tree growing from its pages

The answer, as those LBF panels attested, is complex, and comprises a huge range of potential initiatives and strategies. The one thing that everyone seems to agree on, however, is the importance of taking action now. As EJ Hurst and Julie Raddysh from New Society Publishers said in a recent interview, “It is imperative. Business will only thrive on a stable, healthy planet”.

Where once sustainability might have been primarily a moral or ethical consideration, or something multinationals might add to their Corporate Social Responsibility statements, it is now a commercial imperative too: consumers are demanding ‘greener’ products, just as much as environmental groups are urging root-and-branch changes to the way products are made and distributed. This means sustainability is no longer something to be deferred: everyone, from boutique house to corporate monolith, is implicated and impacted.

In software company knk’s Publishing and Sustainability 2022 whitepaper, two key areas of concern were identified: one, the polluting nature of physical book fulfilment; and two, the problem of power consumption from data centres. While the latter can be mitigated by using providers who provide more renewable energy and better systems, industry responses to how best to print, store and ship books will come to define how sustainable the publishing world really can be.

There are many disparate factors that need to be addressed here – from paper stock to print on demand; from where books are printed to more effective warehousing and distribution channels – but for many, the decisions taken on a daily basis are the ones which will ultimately shape the future. One of the most important of these is pre- and post-publication reading copies.

Exact figures are hard to come by, but, were publishers in the UK and US to produce the same number of physical ARCs as they made digital copies available on NetGalley, this would equate to around 3 million books*, the vast majority of which are packaged and mailed to individuals around the world. Notwithstanding the huge cost of printing, then sending these books, the ‘book miles’—the environmental impact of their shipping—accrued by this strategy are staggering. Reducing the number of ARCs produced and sent is a quick and easy way to increase sustainability—but at the same time, it requires a mindset shift from all stakeholders in the process. Publishers must reiterate to influencers that physical ARCs are not the norm, while authors will have to understand why only a small number of ARCs are being printed. Influencers might need to accept that they need to read at least some of a book digitally before requesting a physical ARC, while publicists might have to change the decades old practice of stuffing envelopes with books and press releases. It is a small part of the puzzle, but one that will reap huge benefits if taken seriously by all players.

*Total number of digital review copies approved on NetGalley.com and NetGalley.co.uk from March 2020 to February 2021

A former bookseller, editor and marketer, Stuart Evers is Director of NetGalley UK. He is also an award-winning writer of short fiction and novels. 



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Mark Herschberg How Books Might Escape the Page

BookSmarts Podcast

Get smarter about your books! The BookSmarts podcast features discussions about publishing data and technologies and interviews with industry experts, deep thinkers, and doers, bringing you insights that will help you sell more books.

Episode 23: Mark Herschberg How Books Might Escape the Page

In this episode we are joined by Mark Herschberg, publisher at Cognosco Media, author of The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You, and the developer of a new app that is attempting to promote a new take on reader interaction with book content.

Transcript available here.

I was a bit skeptical of Mark’s approach from the offset, having seen so many ebook apps and new ideas about digital engagement flame out over the years. However, Mark and I had a great conversation about how the relevant content in a book might be more or less than the actual page count, how so many new technologies are just like sticking a fake horse head on the front of an automobile, and more. Mark shared some of the ideas behind his app, most notably the notifications feature that can help readers recall key points from books they have read.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out Mark’s publishing company, Cognosco Media (https://www.cognoscomedia.com) and take a look at both his book and the related app (https://www.thecareertoolkitbook.com).

Joshua Tallent is an acclaimed teacher and guide on the role of data in publishing, and a vocal advocate for high quality book metadata. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing complex board games, playing Minecraft, and fiddling with his 3D printer.

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Industry Spotlight: Cynthia Shannon on Book Marketing, Early Reviews, and Cookbooks

Originally Posted on We Are Bookish.
Visit We Are Bookish for more industry interviews!

NetGalley members don’t just love books, they’re fascinated by all aspects of the publishing industry. That’s why in our Industry Spotlight series, we’re asking publishing professionals to tell us more about what a day in their life looks like and to share invaluable tips for members who interact with them through NetGalley. Cynthia Shannon, the Senior Marketing Manager of Food and Lifestyle at Chronicle Books, discusses the importance of early reviews, what her team looks for in member Profiles, and how to best review lifestyle books.

Cynthia Shannon, the Senior Marketing Manager of Food and Lifestyle at Chronicle Books

Meet Cynthia

Years in the industry: 15 (OMG)

First book you worked on as a publicist: The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. Working on it provided me with a great foundation right as the traditional media industry was getting disrupted. Pitching a journalist via Twitter was a novel concept at the time!

Current (or most recent) book you’re working on: Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow 

An indie bookstore you love: Omnivore Books in San Francisco

What does the role of a senior marketing manager entail? What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Marketing is about making sure the right message gets to the right people at the right time, and everything I do comes down to optimizing those three aspects for our food & lifestyle products. I love working with the creative and talented authors and my co-workers at Chronicle Books. I’m inspired every day to think differently about what we can do to improve our marketing efforts and raise awareness of all our amazing products.

People outside of the industry can have some funny or odd assumptions about our jobs. What do your friends and family think you do, and what do you wish people knew about your job? 

I think many people—including some authors—don’t realize why it takes so long to publish a book when many self-publishing platforms make it seem so simple. So many people are involved in bringing a book to market, and there’s a lot of expertise that goes along with it. I love reading the acknowledgments section of a book to be reminded of everyone who made a book happen: the editor and agent, designers, photographers, stylists, copy editors, operating managers, sales, marketing, and publicity staff. I’m always touched when I see my name listed there.

Help us take NetGalley members behind the curtain: What does the NetGalley request approval process look like for Chronicle Books? What should members keep in mind when making requests? 

This might be somewhat unique, but I set most of my books as available to Read Now. I have never seen an issue with getting our books into the hands of more people, especially pre-publication. The NetGalley community is made up of trusted readers and influencers, and their feedback—good and bad—is incredibly valuable as we gear up toward launch.  

How do the reviews that are published by members on NetGalley impact the pre-publication marketing you work on?

The pre-publication reviews are helpful in a number of ways:

1) They’re the first honest reviews we get from outside our publishing team, which helps us gauge actual consumer interest in the title and confirms our hunch in identifying an emerging trend from years ago.

2) They surface key aspects of the book that resonate the most with consumers, which helps us adjust the messaging and emphasize those aspects in media pitches.

3) They can flag mistakes in our messaging, which helps us pivot while there’s still time. 

For example, a few seasons ago there were some early reviews of a cookbook where reviewers were disappointed to see recipes that included meat. They had thought that it would be a vegetarian cookbook based on the cover, title, and description. While it was too late to change the cover or title, we were able to update the description to clarify that the cookbook contained recipes with meat. We also made sure to emphasize it in media pitches. Reviews improved after that, and it was a good lesson to learn internally as well.

What’s the most common misstep you see from NetGalley members that leads to a declined request?

While I set most of my titles as available to Read Now, my colleague Carrie Gao, School and Library Marketing Coordinator, says that having high approval and feedback percentages are certainly advantages and will usually lead to automatic approvals for any requested title. We will decline requests when we suspect the reviewer is probably not the right audience for the book: For example, when we see someone who mostly reviews Adult thrillers requesting a middle grade contemporary title about a pet shop. 

What advice do you have for members who are unsure of the best ways to review nonfiction books such as cookbooks or lifestyle books?

Anyone can Google a recipe for a dish that they feel like making. Good cookbooks will inspire you to try new dishes and build your confidence in the kitchen. Reviewers don’t need to make sure the recipes work—we have actual recipe testers for that—but they should scan the table of contents, read through the recipes, and follow the urge to run to the kitchen to see if they already have the ingredients on hand. Depending on what kind of cook you are, you may gravitate towards recipes that are quick, easy, and practical (like from the upcoming book A Dish for All Seasons by Kathryn Pauline) or specialized and time-consuming like perfecting your own bagels or masa (thinking of those in Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow and the forthcoming MASA by Jorge Gaviria). 

Lifestyle books range from the quirky to the practical and should be approached with that type of mindset. Discover books that speak to you, whether in parenting, astrology, or self-help. Also ask yourself, would you buy this book as a gift for yourself or a friend? 

What can newer NetGalley members, who may not have a high Feedback Ratio or strong blog/social stats yet, do to stand out to publishers? 

I would recommend having a full and complete profile. My colleague Carrie agrees, adding: Include any link to external sites you might own, including blogs and social media, as we’ll check them out to see how consistent of a reviewer you are or what your social platform might look like elsewhere. Be as accurate in your profile as possible. Make sure your member type is correct. We’ll take into account how long you’ve been a NetGalley member, as being relatively new could explain a low ratio and wouldn’t necessarily cost you any points.

Who are some book influencers you think are doing really cool things in online book reviewing spaces?

I follow several NetGalley members who cross-post their reviews to Goodreads, as it’s always interesting to see what other books they choose to review. I also queried my colleague Ailyn Pambid, Marketing Assistant (and respectable book reviewer in her own right: @wheresdabooks). Ailyn noted how there are some great book influencers on YouTube (such as Regan from @PeruseProject, Adri from @perpetualpages, and Cindy form @withcindy) and Instagram (Sol from @thesolreader, Oscar from @booksteahenny, Angela from @baosbooks, Hayle from @bookishbluebird, and Esther from @estherhfung). 

Is there anything we didn’t cover here that you’d like to add?

I rely on NetGalley to start the flywheel of pre-publication buzz. I’ve noticed that approximately half of my NetGalley reviews show up on Goodreads, and the Goodreads ratings feed into Edelweiss, giving sales reps some built-in support when meeting with booksellers and librarians. NetGalley also helps raise awareness with a core and influential readership. 

Thanks for chatting with me, Cynthia! 

​​Editor’s note: The above opinions represent the specific viewpoint and strategy of one particular publisher. Publishers and authors use NetGalley to help accomplish a variety of goals, and incorporate NetGalley into their overall marketing and publicity efforts in different ways. 


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How to Stay Informed and Push Back Against Book Bans

Originally Posted on We Are Bookish.
Visit We Are Bookish for more Bookish Lifestyle content!

Book bans and attempts at censorship are currently spreading across the U.S. and are disproportionately impacting diverse titles and authors from historically marginalized communities. Both as publishing professionals and as readers ourselves, the NetGalley team stands against book banning and wants to ensure our members have tools at their disposal to fight back against censorship in their communities. Book banning touches every member of the NetGalley community from library workers and educators to authors and readers, and all can use these tips to work together to protect intellectual freedom.

Listen to those most affected
The impact of a book ban is far-reaching and touches different communities in unique ways. It’s important to listen to those affected in order to put your own efforts towards making a positive change. 

Although not exhaustive, here’s a short list of places to start listening and learning: The Stacks Podcast has an excellent series of interviews—featuring authors, students, educators, politicians, and booksellers—that explore everything about book banning from a legal standpoint to activism. Former librarian Kelly Jensen’s coverage of the ongoing bans is incredibly informative and packed with resources and action items. Penguin Young Readers put together this document of resources for educators and library workers.

Request books from your library
If you see certain books or authors missing from your branch’s shelves, ask your local librarian about submitting a request for the library to acquire them. This not only helps put those books on your library’s shelves, but it’s a trackable measurement of community interest that library workers can use if a certain book is challenged.

Show up
Find out when your local city council, library board, and school board meetings are being held. Attending these meetings allows you to stay informed and gives you the opportunity to not only speak out against book bans but to voice support for the library workers, educators, and politicians in your community who are working to protect intellectual freedom. Your voice can be a source of much-needed support to those who are pushing back against censorship.

As you begin to attend meetings, you may find yourself wanting to take an even more active role. Consider joining your town’s council, library, or school board.

Vote
In the upcoming elections, use your vote to support candidates who are actively working against censorship. Pay close attention to local elections, which have a major impact on your community. If you notice that a candidate doesn’t have information available regarding their stance, ask!

Keep your community informed
Chances are that your friends, family, and coworkers care about these issues as much as you do. Invite them to attend board meetings with you, or if they can’t attend, update them on what you learned. Talk together about candidates you think will make a difference in the community and make a plan to go vote together.

Follow and support those making a difference
Whenever you find yourself frustrated and wanting to help make a change, first look to those who have already been hard at work making a difference. Organizations such as the National Coalition Against Censorship have valuable resources for readers, library workers, educators, and students to use when facing censorship in their community.

You can also look to organizations such as We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit that advocates for inclusive changes to the publishing industry. They’re currently offering grants to educators who need financial support for diverse literature programs, as well as those impacted by COVID. You can donate to support those here.

Donors Choose allows you to help specific educators in need. Teachers share what their classrooms and children require—including many requests for donations that will go towards stocking classroom libraries.

These tips are just a starting place—help us share more!

What advice do you have to help stop book banning in your community?

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