Focus On: Indie Reads

NetGalley offers a wealth of insightful data that sheds light on the latest trends and preferences, and we’re thrilled to focus on Independent Books & Publishers this month. If you haven’t browsed these categories recently, you may be missing out! In 2023, indie publishers added nearly 2,500 new books, generating a lot of engagement and excitement from the NetGalley community.

Read on for a glimpse at some of the Most Requested and Top Performing Indie Reads

Most Requested* Indie Reads

On average, books by independent publishers receive about 280 requests and auto-approvals. This includes activity generated when a publisher invites a reader to access the book using the NetGalley widget or makes the book available to ‘Read Now’, in addition to organic requests from NetGalley members. The Feedback Ratio (amount of Feedback returned based on all types of approval) is 24%.

Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on December 2023.

Top Performing** Indie Reads

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in December 2023.

Case Study: Every Day is Christmas by Karen Schaler

A beloved name in Christmas romance, Karen Schaler’s newest book is bringing joy to readers everywhere. Was Every Day is Christmas love at “frost” sight for NetGalley members too? Let’s find out! 

  • 180 Feedback as of February, 2024
  • Over 3,300 Impressions
  • 100% of approved Librarians recommend the book through Reader’s Advisory, book clubs, events.
  • 11% of all readers requested the book due to word of mouth recommendations!
  • See Karen’s previously listed books with Hawktale Publishing on NetGalley here!

Case Study: Avocado Magic by Taltal Levi

Beautiful illustrations, family sweetness, and learning about avocados– what’s not to love! NetGalley members praised Avocado Magic for being a heartwarming story about patience and believing in yourself.  

  • Love this book’s cover? We did too! Avocado Magic was featured on our Homepage for a full week!
  • 95% of approved Educators recommended their students read or purchase this book
  • 100% of Booksellers are likely to handsell this book
  • The book’s illustrations were by far the thing NetGalley members loved most about this book in their reviews
  • Check out NorthSouth Book’s other books on NetGalley here!

Case Study: So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan

From Booker Prize Finalist and bestselling author of Small Things Like These, NetGalley members called this book of short stories “succinct yet impactful” and “profound”. Here’s what NetGalley members thought of So Late in the Day: 

  • 369 feedback as of February, 2024
  • Over 6,700 impressions
  • 100% of Booksellers who submitted feedback suggested they would purchase this book for their stores
  • 92% of Reviewers would recommend this book/author to their audience
  • 277 four and five star reviews were generated from NetGalley members
  • Check out Grove Atlantic’s other books  here! 

Promotions for Indie Reads

Launch your frontlist or leverage your backlist! We have both on-site and email promotions for every budget, goal, and type of book. Learn more or view the full Media Kit here.

This newsletter was sent to 25,500 members who are interested in Indie Reads, and saw a 66% open rate!

Information in this article is from December 2023unless otherwise specified. Data includes details from NetGalley.com.

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Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC Welcome New Chief Technology Officer

Longstanding book publishing tech companies continue to invest in strengthening their technology team with appointment of new CTO, Tom Shawver

FOR RELEASE

Newburyport, MA (January 11, 2023)—Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC—each a strategic part of the Firebrand Group collection of companies owned by Media Do International (MD-i)—announced today the appointment of Tom Shawver in the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). As CTO of both companies, Shawver will lead and refine the overall technology strategy, ensuring scalability, security, and efficiency across multiple product lines. Shawver’s official start date is January 16, 2024.

“I’m excited to be part of two companies so pivotal to book publishing and helping publishers reach their audiences in the growing digital space,” said Shawver. “Strengthening the way readers find and enjoy new stories, information, and perspectives is both a professional and personal passion of mine. Firebrand and NetGalley define the industry standard with a collection of tools absolutely vital to their publishing partners and distribution network, and I’m both humbled and invigorated to have the opportunity to expand and streamline that platform with such an experienced team.”

A lifelong technologist, Shawver has spent over 15 years leading companies of all sizes—ranging from seed-stage to the Fortune 500—in embracing cutting-edge solutions to drive growth. Before Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC, Shawver was the Chief Technology Officer at 360 Media Direct, working with both book and magazine publishers to drive digital content adoption among readers.

Starting at the ground level of the cloud computing boom, Shawver has specialized in building software platforms that scale globally, react quickly, and stay highly integrated with other industry-leading software. He maintains and contributes to widely used open source software products that power thousands of companies worldwide, focusing on security and customer identity. He holds a degree in Computer Science from Albright College, where he also studied in the Music and Digital Media programs.

“We’re beyond excited for Tom to join our teams as Chief Technology Officer,” said Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC CEO Angela Bole. “Our unique, community-focused approach to technology development creates an optimal atmosphere for innovation and product success. I’m certain Tom’s experience and personal aptitude will fit in perfectly and prove vital to the future of our companies as we continue to adapt to serve our clients’ needs.”

Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC are fully-virtual technology companies working in and for the book publishing industry. In partnership, the companies have been helping publishers manage their internal workflows, digital distribution, and marketing efforts for over 35 years with technology solutions that touch the lives of thousands of print, ebook, and audio professionals every day.

In February 2021, Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC were 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. Bole, former CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association, succeeded Fran Toolan as CEO of Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC on February 1, 2023. Toolan remains on the companies’ board.

About Firebrand Technologies

Firebrand Technologies—a strategic part of the Firebrand Group collection of companies—is dedicated to providing leading software and services to help publishers succeed. Title Management tracks titles from pre-acquisition through post-production, marketing, and sales. Eloquence on Demand is the industry gold standard for implementing ONIX and maximizing control of how data reaches the marketplace. Eloquence on Alert’s proprietary title performance monitoring service collects key, hard-to-access details about your products from major online marketplaces and review sites, and puts all of that information directly at your fingertips. Firebrand Flywheel harnesses the power of AI-supported technology to identify hidden opportunities for driving backlist sales, precisely when it matters most. For more information, visit firebrandtech.com.

About NetGalley, LLC

NetGalley helps publishers and authors promote digital review copies and audiobooks to book advocates and industry professionals. Hundreds of thousands of members rely on NetGalley’s secure, sustainable, and easy-to-use platform to discover books, share reviews, and champion literacy. The NetGalley team coordinates closely with publishers on targeted promotions, and provides training, strategy, and consultation for incorporating NetGalley into overall marketing and publicity efforts. NetGalley is a strategic part of the Firebrand Group collection of companies, which together provide leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. To learn more, visit netgalley.com/tour.

About Media Do International (MD-i)

Media Do International (MD-i) owns the Firebrand Group, a collection of companies including Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, LLC, and Supadu Ltd. that provide leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. MD-i is itself 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. Media Do Co. Ltd.’s mission is to make more content available for more people. For more information, visit mediado.jp/english.

Here’s a special message from Tom!

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Focus On: Cooking, Food & Wine

NetGalley offers a wealth of insightful data that sheds light on the latest trends and preferences, and in this holiday season we’re focusing on Cooking, Food & Wine. If you haven’t browsed these categories recently, you may be missing out! In the last 12 months, publishers have added over 270 new books, generating a lot of engagement and excitement from the NetGalley community.

Read on for a glimpse at some of the Most Requested* and Top Performing** books in these categories!

Most Requested Cooking, Food & Wine

On average, books in the Cooking, Food & Wine category receive about 158 requests and auto-approvals. This includes activity generated when a publisher invites a reader to access the book using the NetGalley widget or makes the book available to ‘Read Now’, in addition to organic requests from NetGalley members. The Feedback Ratio (amount of Feedback returned based on all types of approval) is 24%.

Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on November 27, 2023.

Top Performing Cooking, Food & Wine

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in September 2023.

Case Study: Wine Witch on Fire by Natalie MacLean

Hailed as a heartfelt and inspiring journey, Dundurn Press promoted what would become a National Bestseller on NetGalley pre-publication. Here’s what NetGalley members toast to about Wine Witch on Fire

  • 90 feedback as of November 2023
  • Nearly 1,600 impressions
  • 80% of Media/Journalists said they are interested in the author for interviews/events
  • 96% of Reviewers would recommend this book/author to their audience
  • 81 four and five star reviews on NetGalley

Buzz Beyond NetGalley

Promotions for Cooking, Food & Wine

Launch your frontlist or leverage your backlist! We have both on-site and email promotions for every budget, goal, and type of book. Learn more or view the full Media Kit here.

This newsletter was sent to over 24,200 members who are interested in Cooking, Food & Wine, and saw a 39% open rate!

Information in this article is from September 2023unless otherwise specified. Data includes details from NetGalley.com.

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Focus On: Mystery & Thrillers, Horror, and True Crime

NetGalley offers a wealth of insightful data that sheds light on the latest trends and preferences, and in this spooky season we’re focusing on Mystery & Thrillers, Horror, and True Crime. If you haven’t browsed these categories recently, you may be missing out! In the last 12 months, publishers have added nearly 5,000 new books, generating a lot of engagement and excitement from the NetGalley community.

Read on for a glimpse at some of the Most Requested* and Top Performing** books in these categories!

Most Requested Mystery & Thrillers

On average, books in the Mystery & Thriller category receive about 320 requests and auto-approvals. This includes activity generated when a publisher invites a reader to access the book using the NetGalley widget or makes the book available to ‘Read Now’, in addition to organic requests from NetGalley members. The Feedback Ratio (amount of Feedback returned based on all types of approval) is 29%.

Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on October 27, 2023.

Top Performing Mystery & Thrillers

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in October 2023.

Most Requested Horror

Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on October 27, 2023.

Top Performing Horror

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in October 2023.

Most Requested True Crime

Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on October 27, 2023.

Top Performing True Crime

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in October 2023.

Case Study: The Ballad of Old Joe Booth

by William Pauley III

Horror meets poetry, this Doom Fiction audiobook has NetGalley members atwitter with four and five star reviews. Here’s how The Ballad of Old Joe Booth has made some spooky waves:

– 89 feedback as of October 23, 2023

– Over 2,000 impressions

– 100% of approved Booksellers nominated this book for the Indie Next List

– 95% of Reviewers would recommend this book/author to their audience

– The word “recommend” was in the top list of words used in NetGalley reviews! 

View this book on NetGalley!

Buzz Beyond NetGalley!

Note: The cover of this book was updated since these reviews were written.

Promotions for Mystery & Thrillers, Horror, and True Crime

Launch your frontlist or leverage your backlist! We have both on-site and email promotions for every budget, goal, and type of book. Learn more or view the full Media Kit here.

This newsletter was sent to over 38,000 members who are interested in Mysteries & Thrillers, and saw a 77% open rate!

Information in this article is from October 2023unless otherwise specified. Data includes details from NetGalley.com.

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The Benefit of Reader Reviews

Guest post by Corrin Foster, Sr. Director of Book Marketing & Promotions, Forbes Books

No book marketing initiative exists in a bubble. While each has a purpose, benchmarks, and expectations, how a book marketing strategy works together to build book visibility and sales momentum as a whole is what’s most important. At the center of this philosophy, reader reviews are the golden thread that ties together every element of a successful book marketing campaign. These candid reviews penned by avid readers hold the power to transform casual browsers into buyers and from buyers into fans, followers, and author devotees. They guide readers through the millions of reading choices, to the book that most meetss their needs, whether that’s solving a specific business problem, providing the best gluten-free recipes, or offering a fantastical escape from everyday life. 

Reader reviews are the golden thread that ties together every element of a successful book marketing campaign.

Need more reasons why reviews are vital to a successful book marketing campaign?

  • Reader reviews are the social proof that helps to convert browsers into buyers. They make readers feel confident in their buying decision and excited to read a new book. Generally speaking, the more reviews a book has, the more people read that book. And no matter where they are buying or borrowing the book, they’re likely checking the reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads before doing so. 
  • Reader reviews help advertising convert to sales at a higher rate. If ad dollars are being spent to drive potential buyers to Amazon to buy your book, those potential buyers need proof that the book is worth buying. Ads generally begin to convert to sales at a higher rate once there are 15+ reviews on the book page, so make that your first reader review goal. 
  • Reader reviews have legs. They get shared online on retail sites, reading communities, blogs, and social media. They get shared offline between friends at brunch, at book club meetups, and in chit-chat with coworkers. 
  • Reader reviews keep books active in Amazon’s product recommendation algorithm. Reviews create page activity. The page activity tells Amazon that there is interest in a book and they should recommend that book to more potential readers. 
  • Reader reviews lead to more reader reviews. When readers see other readers sharing their opinions, they want to join in that conversation. That’s called buzz! 

You never know when or where someone will sing a book’s praises, but that cannot happen without actively engaging with reading communities like NetGalley. 

Here are some ways you can get started connecting with readers.

  • Make your book available on NetGalley. NetGalley is the first touchpoint between authors, publishers, and readers. They are enthusiastic readers, supporters of authors and independent bookstores. They are responsible for the success of many books. 
  • Proactively seed books with your author network. Identify 15-20 people who would be willing to review the book the week of publication. Give them a copy of the book 4-6 weeks prior to publication so that they can begin reading and be ready to review.
  • Take advantage of the giveaway functionality of reading communities like Goodreads, StoryGraph, and LibraryThing. Every book you giveaway is a potential review and every review is an opportunity to attract a new reader. 
  • Respectfully follow up with readers the week of publication.Thank them for their interest in the book, share any wins that may entice them to make it their next read (great trade review? Amazon bestseller? Readers love to know that!). Encourage them then to share their honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever they choose to engage. 
  • No hounding readers for reviews! Every avid reader has a stack of books to read and yours might not be at the top of that stack. Give them time to read, enjoy, and form their opinion. And remember that sometimes the best review is no review. 
  • Encourage honest reviews. As a publisher, we never like to see a critical review for one of our books, but readers should be free to share their opinions. Diversity in reviews not only helps books appeal to the right readers, it deters the wrong readers from buying a book and leaving a future critical review. Remember, it’s not about avoiding criticism, it’s about embracing the diversity of opinions that ultimately guide the right readers to your book while helping others avoid a mismatched reading choice.

Reviews act as a bridge between the author and the reader, offering valuable insights into the book’s quality, appeal, value, and relevance. They create a buzz; an ever-expanding conversation that draws more readers into the fold. To harness this potential, engaging with reading communities like NetGalley and proactively involving your network in reviewing your book are essential steps. 

In a world where readers have more choices than time, the importance of reader reviews cannot be overstated—they are the underlying heartbeat of long-term book sales and visibility.

In a world where readers have more choices than time, the importance of reader reviews cannot be overstated—they are the underlying heartbeat of long-term book sales and visibility.

Corrin Foster, Sr. Director of Book Marketing and Promotions, Forbes Books

As the Sr. Director of Book Promotions and Marketing at Forbes Books, Corrin Foster develops and executes strategic book launch marketing campaigns and works directly with authors to help them build their brand, establish authority, and connect with readers. With nearly 20 years of branding and digital marketing experience, Corrin holds an MBA from Indiana University, completed the Yale Publishing Course, and was a Publishers Weekly Start Watch Honoree.

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Case Study: Yes, Chef by Waitlyn Andrews

How a debut author found her fans on NetGalley

Waitlyn Andrews’ Yes, Chef received nearly 400 reviews in less than three months. Read on to hear her journey from writing 3,000 words per day, to learning about book-specific marketing and engaging with her reviewers—even going so far as to change the ending of the book!

Your debut romantic comedy, Yes, Chef, was self-published August 3rd, 2023. What role did NetGalley play in your early promotion of this book?

NetGalley has been my favorite pre-launch promotion tool, so I’m happy to gush all about it. I did a little research on YouTube to find best practice advice from other authors, and in the process found a lot of native content by NetGalley explaining the whole thing! I was several videos deep and convinced I needed to try it out.

Since this is my debut, I started from ground zero. I knew in order to build an audience from scratch, I had to invest in intentional marketing. My day job is in the digital marketing world, but the book world is a whole new industry, so I had a lot to learn. I make most of my personal reading choices based on reviews and ratings, so I chose that as the most important social proof to invest in pre-launch. I went from zero people knowing about my book to an email list of 1,300+ all because of NetGalley, and I’m not even mad about having to upgrade my free mailchimp account because of it!

I went from zero people knowing about my book to an email list of 1,300+ all because of NetGalley, and I’m not even mad about having to upgrade my free mailchimp account because of it!

Yes, Chef is described as “an upbeat, closed-door sizzling-with-chemistry, romantic comedy that will have you believing in the magic of a 90’s Rom-Com again.” What about ’90s rom-coms appeals to you? How do they influence your work?

There’s an inherent optimism in 90’s rom coms that I wanted to dwell in. It’s not that they’re without drama, but I grew up on the idea of strong female leads in occupations that I wanted falling in love with the right guys who support them in that journey.

I’m a huge, huge Nancy Meyers junkie, and one of the things she does best in her movies is plant the audience in a lifestyle so immersively that you become a mini expert in random fields and locations, so much so that you find yourself suddenly wanting to wear only linen or become a wedding dress designer, and I attribute that to her attention to detail in the setting. Based on the reviews I received from NetGalley readers, that seemed to be the case in Yes, Chef. Those were definitely my favorite reviews to read because it means that those readers got it, and those are my people!

Yes, Chef saw thousands of impressions on NetGalley, even before your planned Featured Title promotion. To what do you attribute this immediate success?

Based on the stats (which my husband and I watched like hawks because it was all so exciting) the top two reasons people selected the book were the cover and the blurb. And can I just say, that was a MAJOR sigh of relief on both accounts!

I dabble in illustration, but I know my own limits and when my version of the cover somehow included comically over-proportioned cheesy chef hats and hands that looked nothing like hands, I knew I needed to hire it out. The cover artist I worked with was a gem and she took my talking points and RAN with them. The result is something that I frequently just sit and stare at in disbelief.

As for the blurb, I went a little against the grain in the standard back-cover description, but I felt like the internal dialogue that happens in a single-POV book can quickly introduce the readers to the writing style and thought process of the character they’re about to invest their time in. Apparently it resonated well because it received high stats across the board. That had me grinning from ear-to-ear for weeks. I can get away with a lot because I’m in the indie space, but that also means I don’t have a sounding board to run these things by (other than my sweet, patient, husband and my kind, kind editor who answered my midnight emails). NetGalley ended up being the vote of the people and becoming that sounding board for me, so those early impressions validated a lot of the risks I took.

NetGalley ended up being the vote of the people and becoming a sounding board for me, so those early impressions validated a lot of the risks I took.

As of this writing, 18 out of 21 Librarians who have submitted Opinions on NetGalley indicated they would order Yes, Chef for their library! In your experience, in addition to Reviews, how do NetGalley members’ Opinions help you as an author?

Each category of opinion helped tell me a different story from a different perspective. The reviews helped me look critically at the content of the book based on people’s personal preferences. But, the opinions from Librarians helped me get a pulse on the perception of the book from people who are professionally in the space, and what they know from their experience with library patrons. Ultimately, getting the Opinion of one Librarian felt like getting a rating from 100+ reviewers all in one. Seeing the 18/21 result net so far beyond the positive spectrum of what I expected, I was genuinely shocked for this debut. I very much expected to be in a niche category, so I prepared myself for niche stats, but those Librarian stats exceeded my expectations.

I hear you have history with the prolific author Marie Force! Could you tell our audience a bit about that?

Oh, she’s the best! I’ve grown up watching her lifestyle and author journey on social media (she hosted my baby shower for my parents, so when I say my whole life, I mean it!) and I’ve always thought being an author was the ultimate occupation. She’s also an educator and ring-leader in the space, so her content frequently has an educational element that I’ve been gobbling up for years.

She came down to visit my parents a few years ago and we all went to dinner. She talked about her 3,000 words a day rule, and I thought surely I could try that. But the post that ultimately got me started was her recounting what her dad said to prompt her to start writing herself: She had two young kids and wanted to start her first novel but felt she didn’t have the time. Her dad asked her, “Well, what are you doing between the hours of 12pm-2am?” Now, with small kids of my own, I get it. My kids are in-and-out awake anyways, so why not start now?

Yes, Chef was born in those hours, and the sum of 3,000+ words a day eventually added up to a book, just like she said! When I told her I published a book she was wildly supportive, and having someone to watch do the actual thing throughout my life made me feel like I could jump in and try it out myself.

You’re a savvy social media marketer; even just glancing through your Instagram and TikTok, that much is apparent! What are some of your strategies for using social media to engage your audience? What have you learned works best for you and your book?

Thank you! I’ve worked in the digital marketing space for almost ten years now, but as I mentioned before, the book industry is a whole new world, even in the social space! I have general best practices I like to follow, but for my author account I just decided to have a little fun with it. In my day job, I follow the consistency rule (I could spend way too many words elaborating here but ultimately “consistency > creativity” works for most companies) but for my author account, I decided to only speak when I had something to say, and use it as a place to show readers the settings they can expect to read about because I’ve been to them, insight in the the writing process, and then pepper in book promotion content. And my cat. He’s kind of the star of the show. I think I’ve only posted the cover of my book 11/90 posts and that is NOT what I’d ever recommend in any other company or brand, but it’s been fun for me to be much more fluid and organic in my author space.

But the place I’ve loved being a little more strategic is in Reels and TikToks. I have an embarrassing amount of short-form videos from other authors saved on my personal accounts. These stack up to be my own personal TBR list. Making my own version of those videos has been so fun. Those videos always seem to spike my Kindle Unlimited reads so I’ve taken the reviews from NetGalley readers who talked about their favorite book moments and turned those into short-form videos to share on both platforms.

What was an unexpected takeaway from your experience publishing your debut novel?

There were so many unexpected moments for me, but what really got me were the social shares from NetGalley readers! I expected reviews translating to GoodReads and my Amazon page, but seeing my book out “in the wild” on social media floored me! I’d squeal every time I saw one come in, and WAY more came in than I ever expected.

I had a feeling diving all-in to NetGalley would be the best way to grow from zero, and it surpassed all my expectations.

I had a feeling diving all-in to NetGalley would be the best way to grow from zero, and it surpassed all my expectations.

When your Featured Title Promotion ran the week of August 7th, Yes, Chef enjoyed dozens of requests each day. How impactful was this NetGalley Promotion for you and Yes, Chef?

The promotion was crucial in getting my book in an above-the-fold location. The timing of the promotions couldn’t have been better. It ran a week after my public launch and about a month after my original NetGalley launch, and my requests nearly 5x-ed daily for the week of the promotion.

The above-the-fold space also put me on the same landing page as some better-known authors with similar cover styles. So for a week I had the pleasure of seeing my book on the same page with “some of the greats,” as I’d put it, and that type of proximity was extremely helpful to getting adjacent author audiences aware of my book. Did I screenshot the page every time my book landed somewhere near an author I obsess over? Yes, yes I did.

For a week I had the pleasure of seeing my book on the same page with “some of the greats,” as I’d put it, and that type of proximity was extremely helpful to getting adjacent author audiences aware of my book.

What is one piece of advice you would offer to your fellow self-published authors using NetGalley?

I would say go all in with it! Take special note of the cover and the blurb. Since I found such success in those two elements I will definitely pay close attention to those for the next books I make available on NetGalley.

And then since I’m a chronic word vomiter (occupational hazard, I guess) I’ll offer the second piece of advice: Do not be afraid to be firm in your writing style while also paying attention to criticism that could ultimately be helpful.

I wrote a ridiculous happy ending. I knew it was a swept-up, tie-all-the-loose strings, leave-no-room-for-doubt kind of happy ending and that’s a writing style that I greatly enjoy because illogical third-act-breakups make me want to hurl my e-reader across the room (lovingly). That’s my writing style, and it’s a polarizing style, but I know there’s a niche of people like me out there that use books for escapism, and happy places are the nicest places to escape to. But I did notice that about 30% of the reviews that came in said the ending felt rushed. At first I thought, well, that’s just me! That’s how I’ll write! And then I marinated on it a little bit more and realized the people just wanted a bit more and, really, if that’s a criticism I’m working with, why not adjust? Before launching the book to the public I ended up adding two more chapters and about 12,000 more words because one of the best things I can take away from so many reviews is an open mind and ability to think critically about what’s being asked of me while not changing the foundation of what I create. When I emailed all of my reviewers that I’d updated the book with more content, I got an overwhelming amount of support (even from those who didn’t think it was rushed!) and at the end of the day I feel closer to my readers for understanding what they want and then acting on it.

I realized the people just wanted a bit more and, really, if that’s a criticism I’m working with, why not adjust? … At the end of the day I feel closer to my readers.

 What’s next for you? What do Wailtyn Andrews and Yes, Chef fans have to look forward to?

One of the reasons it took me so long to get into writing in the first place was the disbelief in my ability to think of scenarios, people and contexts different enough to produce more than one book. But once I opened that dam, things started flowing.

The next book on the horizon is about half way done. It’s a cowboy romance that my husband already says is his favorite (he says that about every book). My parents grew up in Northern Colorado, cowboy country, and my whole life I’ve grown up adjacent to the culture, so this has been a fun genre to work in.

Within the Yes, Chef world, Lucy is actually next up! Her MMC (male main character) is exciting for me because their meet-ugly will be the altered-just-enough-to-be-fiction version of the way I met my husband. Let’s just say he had to work hard to convince me he was actually interested in dating, and Lucy’s MMC will have quite the fun hill to climb.

After that I’ve got a few others in the works (like Evie and Gabe, I promise they’re coming!) but pacing-wise I think I’ll launch about two books a year—with a very large caveat that this year we have another member of our family joining in January, and he will likely be very demanding and require lots of attention if he’s like our first two kids.

Waitlyn Andrews is a pen name author who created an entire personality niched in the idea of fully diving into every reading-loving trope there is, unapologetically. Her books are built on the foundation that reading should be an escape that you walk away from having learned empathy for someone’s way of life and an inherent belief in the optimism of making your own life better.

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Focus On: Comics, Graphic Novels, & Manga

NetGalley offers a wealth of insightful data that sheds light on the latest trends and preferences, and this month we’re focusing on Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga. If you haven’t browsed these categories recently, you may be missing out! In the last 12 months, publishers have added nearly 650 new books, generating a lot of engagement and excitement from the NetGalley community.

Read on for a glimpse at some of the Most Requested* and Top Performing** books in these categories!

Most Requested Comics, Graphic Novel, Manga

On average, books in the Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga category receive about 150 requests and auto-approvals. This includes activity generated when a publisher invites a reader to access the book using the NetGalley widget or makes the book available to ‘Read Now’, in addition to organic requests from NetGalley members. The Feedback Ratio (amount of Feedback returned based on all types of approval) is 31%.

Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on August 9, 2023.

Top Performing Comics

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in August 2023.

Top Performing Graphic Novels

Top Performing Manga

Case Study: It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth

by Zoe Thorogood

Image Comics added It’s Lonely at the Center of the Earth to NetGalley on June 29, 2023. In just two months, this graphic memoir has seen some amazing activity

– 64 Feedback, primarily 4 or 5 stars

– 1500 + impressions

– 100% of booksellers nominated the book for Indie Next List

– 89% of Librarians would order for their library

– 53 “thumbs up” on the cover image

Plus, Image Comics enhanced their title record with a Press Release and Reading Guide, maximizing the resources available to NetGalley members. 

View this book on NetGalley!

 

Buzz Beyond NetGalley!

Reviews for It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth on Instagram, Goodreads, TikTok, and individual blogs

Promotions for Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

Launch your frontlist or leverage your backlist! We have both on-site and email promotions for every budget, goal, and type of book. Learn more or view the full Media Kit here.

This newsletter was sent to over 35,000 members who are interested in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga, and saw a 36% open rate!

Information in this article is from August 2023unless otherwise specified. Data includes details from NetGalley.com and NetGalley.co.uk.

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Case Study: A Perfect Vintage by Chelsea Fagan

Using authentic, creative enthusiasm to connect with new audiences

Having previously published nonfiction, Chelsea Fagan knew she’d need to tap into a new audience with her novel. Creating an author platform is no easy feat, and in this interview Chelsea shares more about how she pivoted to reach fiction audiences with organic, authentic efforts.

What were your initial goals in listing A Perfect Vintage on NetGalley? Did those goals change or evolve over time, and if so, how?

My initial goal was to reach a wider audience with my novel – since my previous books and current platforms are in the nonfiction space, I wanted to find new readers in my new genre (romance) in an organic and mutually beneficial way. This didn’t particularly change with time.

A Perfect Vintage is your debut novel, but it’s not your first book. How did your prior experience inform your independent publication process this time around?

I’m very familiar with the publishing process, and have always been extremely hands-on with my other books, even when traditionally published. So I basically knew how I wanted to do everything, and really enjoyed the ability to have control over the creative and marketing decisions.

A Perfect Vintage was named a 2023 Harper’s Bazaar Best Beach Read, received praise from bestselling authors like Ashley C. Ford and ST Gibson, and was covered in BookRiot and The Skimm, among others! What role did you as an independent author play in securing media coverage for A Perfect Vintage?

I’m lucky that I’ve worked in media essentially my entire career, and I have a fabulous marketing partner with whom I’m profit sharing on the book, so between the two of us we were able to secure a lot of really organic, authentic media coverage between people we knew or had worked with over the years. I took a lot of care in sending out galley mailers with personalized notes and ribbons, even doing themed gift boxes for some recipients – and though that whole process took a lot of time and energy (and standing in line at the post office), it was hugely worth it. People respond to authentic creative enthusiasm.

What strategies, tools, or features in your NetGalley client account did you find most useful in turning NetGalley members’ impressions and requests into Feedback and reviews?

I found it to be quite seamless all around, but I did like being able to see a bit about the profiles of people requesting – if they’re someone who doesn’t at all read my genre typically, that person might be a lower priority than someone who is a big fan of the space.

Now that A Perfect Vintage is published and out in the world, do you have new or additional goals while you continue using NetGalley as your title is still active on the platform?

Making sure it has as wide a level of visibility as possible with booksellers and librarians!

As we alluded to earlier, in addition to your work as a novelist, you are the founder and CEO of The Financial Diet. How did founding and running your own business prepare you for your debut novel’s publication?

I’m very organized, thorough, and single-minded when it comes to pursuing professional and creative projects I’m passionate about. I understand media, I understand creating healthy business models, and I know what I can afford to invest (both in terms of time and money). I also enjoy a four-day workweek at my primary job, so I was able to dedicate regular time to this project without overwhelming myself.

On a personal note, I am obsessed with your cover image! Could you tell us a bit about it? Who was the artist? Did you go through multiple drafts?

Thank you! It’s an original oil painting that I commissioned from the artist Elizabeth Lennie (whose work I love, and whose paintings have previously been licensed for books such as Every Summer After). I hope to continue working with her throughout my romance career, as the cover has been such an integral part of this book’s success!

A Perfect Vintage was selected for free Homepage Placement on NetGalley about a month and a half before its publication. Two weeks later, it was a Featured Title on NetGalley in the Beach Reads (Fiction) theme. What effect did NetGalley Promotions have on your book’s performance?

It automatically reached a much wider audience – when I began this process, I was very reliant on my own platforms, which luckily are sizable. But those features especially allowed me to meet readers who weren’t previously aware of my work.

I understand music was a key influence for A Perfect Vintage — it has its own playlist! How has music shaped your writing?

In every way! As my primary work is more serious, educational content about finance, I want my romance work to be purely about vibes! Enjoying myself while writing is of the utmost importance, and having a fabulous playlist to accompany the process is essential to maximizing the joy. (And people have really loved it, about 1,500 people have saved it on Spotify alone and a lot of people have told me it’s been their favorite summer playlist – I’m honored!)

What’s next for you? What do your readers have to look forward to?

Really exciting things are happening over at The Financial Diet – a fall tour (the theme will be money & love, tying together my two big focuses this year), a totally revamped video series, etc – and then I’m starting work on my next summer romance, which I’m excited to place on NetGalley as soon as it’s ready!

Chelsea Fagan, author of A Perfect Vintage

Chelsea Fagan is a writer, home cook, and the co-founder and CEO of The Financial Diet. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and dog.

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NetGalley Community Update

July 2023

Over the past year, NetGalley has diligently focused on re-engaging our community to ensure members actively return again and again to discover and request books, and share their reviews and feedback with publishers as well as their wider audiences. We also introduced some important changes to our Member Types (and subtypes), including better visibility into each member’s primary audience, to provide more meaningful ways for you to find the right audience for your books on a micro-level. We are thrilled to share the most updated stats about the NetGalley community!

With approximately 550,000 active* members using NetGalley.com, our diverse community of reviewers, booksellers, librarians, educators, media/journalists, and book trade professionals all share a common passion for books. They eagerly provide early feedback and enthusiastically promote books they discover to their respective audiences.

About 150,000 of these members also indicated their interest in audiobooks! This is an increase of 375% since summer 2021 (which was 1 year after audiobooks were first introduced on NetGalley).

150,000 NetGalley.com members have expressed interest in audiobooks, a 375% increase since 2021.

Members who listen to audiobooks are very likely to submit reviews & feedback. The Approval-to-Feedback rate for audiobooks is 53%!

All activity on NetGalley is like a funnel: The more Impressions a book has, the more overall activity it will receive. Once members submit requests, it’s up to the publisher to approve requests so they can start to read. Depending on how many requests the publisher approves, a portion of them will result in Feedback. For digital review copies (DRCs), NetGalley.com members submit over 90,000 reviews and other feedback each month, on average**.

NetGalley.com members submit over 90,000 reviews for DRCs each month.

Beyond the NetGalley platform, our members extend their influence across various channels, including on social media, retail sites, Goodreads, and their own blogs/vlogs or more traditional media, as well as using their powerful word-of-mouth with customers of their bookstores or patrons of their libraries. Our members find fulfillment in helping books succeed!

We are proud to partner with the American Library Association and American Booksellers Association to verify NetGalley members who are also members of these (and other) organizations.

10,700+ verified ALA members use NetGalley to browse, request, and purchase books for their libraries.
Librarians on NetGalley generate nearly 6,000 LibraryReads nominations monthly!
1,400+ verified ABA members use NetGalley to browse, request, and purchase books for their stores.
Booksellers on NetGalley generate nearly 1,200 Indie Next Nominations monthly!

NetGalley members read a wide variety of books, and can browse and sort the NetGalley catalog based on category, pub date, most-requested status, and more to find exactly what they’re looking for. Category or genre popularity on NetGalley closely mirrors the market as a whole. The charts below show the most popular fiction and nonfiction categories among members using NetGalley. Data includes NetGalley.com members who have opted-in to promotions in these categories, as of June 2023.

 *Based on member category survey conducted February 2023.
 *Based on member category survey conducted February 2023.

Our members love to be notified about books that match their interests! 56% of NetGalley.com members are opted in to receive newsletters and campaigns about books in their preferred categories, and our promotional programs are highly valued for their strong engagement rates. During Q2 2023, our U.S. eBlasts averaged a 59% Open Rate with 5% CTR! 

Our popular promotions continue to deliver outstanding results while remaining at a competitive price. Learn more in our 2023 Media Kit. It includes more examples, stats, and pricing! 

56% of active NetGalley.com members are opted in to receive newsletters and campaigns about books in their preferred categories!

Just as we feel privileged to work with publishers, authors, and your books, it’s also our sincere pleasure to work with our reader members! They are passionate book advocates who are excited to participate in each book’s success. As our community continues to grow and evolve, we’re committed to continuing to support them in this endeavor—while also guiding them to provide valuable reviews and feedback, all with the goal to help other readers learn about a book, and decide whether they want to read it. With this in mind, we continually provide tips and best practices like the following, which you’re welcome to share with your readers, too!

THERE’S EVEN MORE INFORMATION! Click here to view the full July 2023 Community Update.

All stats are from June 2023 unless otherwise noted.

*NetGalley.com Members with activity since April 2020

**Based on average monthly numbers for DRCs from June 2022 – June 2023 on NetGalley.com

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Focus On: Children’s Books

NetGalley offers a wealth of insightful data that sheds light on the latest trends and preferences, and this month we’re focusing on children’s books. If you haven’t browsed the Children’s Fiction, Children’s Nonfiction, or Middle Grade categories recently, you may be missing out! In the last 12 months, publishers have added nearly 4,500 new books, generating a lot of engagement and excitement from the NetGalley community.

Children’s and Middle Grade books receive a lot of interest from reviewers, educators, librarians, booksellers, and media who use NetGalley to discover new books to share with their audiences.

In the last 12 months, publishers added nearly 4,500 new books to NetGalley in these categories!

Read on for a glimpse at some of the Most Requested* and Top Performing** books in these categories!

Most Requested Children’s Fiction

On average, books in the Children’s Fiction category receive about 71 requests and auto-approvals. This includes activity generated when a publisher invites a reader to access the book using the NetGalley widget or makes the book available to ‘Read Now’, in addition to organic requests from NetGalley members. The Feedback Ratio (amount of Feedback returned based on all types of approval) is 25%.

* Most requested status changes regularly. Books listed in this article were among the most requested on June 16, 2023.

Top Performing Children’s Fiction

** “Top Performers” refers to the amount of Feedback titles received. Books listed in this article were among the Top Performers in May 2023.

Most Requested Children’s Nonfiction

On average, books in the Children’s Nonfiction category receive about 52 requests and auto-approvals. The Feedback Ratio is 29%.

Top Performing Children’s Nonfiction

Most Requested Middle Grade

On average, books in the Middle Grade category receive about 96 requests and auto-approvals. The Feedback Ratio is 17%.

Top Performing Middle Grade

Promotions for Children’s & Middle Grade Books

Launch your frontlist or leverage your backlist! We have both on-site and email promotions for every budget, goal, and type of book. Learn more or view the full Media Kit here.

This newsletter was sent to over 33,000 members who are interested in Children’s and Middle Grade titles, and saw a 44% open rate!

Information in this article is from May 2023, unless otherwise specified. Data includes details from NetGalley.com and NetGalley.co.uk.

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