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%.
Top Performing Cooking, Food & Wine
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
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%.
Top Performing Mystery & Thrillers
Most Requested Horror
Top Performing Horror
Most Requested True Crime
Top Performing True Crime
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 is a writer, home cook, and the co-founder and CEO of The Financial Diet. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and dog.
How much Feedback should I expect for my Audiobooks?
Since NetGalley introduced Audiobooks on our platform in 2020, publishers have been interested to know answers to these questions and more. Over the past two years, we’ve been paying close attention to how audio publishers are using NetGalley, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned so far!*
How early should I upload my Audiobook to NetGalley?
The most frequent comment we get from audiobook publishers is that there is a much smaller pre-pub window for Audiobooks because of the production requirements for this format. Files are not usually available until very close to the pub date.
First, let us emphasize that books can be promoted using NetGalley if they’re already on sale, or even deep backlist. We encourage publishers to add any of their books to NetGalley, regardless of pub date.
Upon analysis, we have seen that most Audiobooks are uploaded to NetGalley within the one-month period before the pub date. However, some are made available much earlier!
We know from conversations with our clients that some publishers are starting to adjust their pub dates to add some pre-pub buffer time so they can benefit from opportunities to build early buzz, and we’ve also spoken to publishers who are experimenting with AI to create early audio files using realistic synthetic voices. Using early AI files is an effort to quickly get the content in the ears of important early listeners, without having to wait for the final version of the Audiobook. These types of strategies contribute to the number of Audiobooks added to NetGalley much earlier than the pub date.
How long do Audiobooks remain Active on NetGalley?
Regardless of when an Audiobook is uploaded, a little more than half of them have remained Active on NetGalley for six weeks or less.
Although just over half of the Audiobooks uploaded to NetGalley are active for six weeks or less, it’s still a close split. Nearly 650 titles remained active for longer, resulting in higher Impressions, Requests and Feedback.
Does time on site impact Impressions?
YES. The longer a book remained Active, the more Impressions it received.
There are many factors that may impact Impressions, in addition to how long the book remains Active. Publishers may have scheduled NetGalley Promotions, or directly invited their own list of Audiobook fans to access the book on NetGalley. There may be strong appeal if it’s read by a popular narrator, or written by a bestselling author. Time on site is just one of many pieces of the puzzle.
Activity on NetGalley is a funnel, which means that 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 listen. Depending on how many requests the publisher approves, a portion of them will result in Feedback.
Generally, the more you fill the funnel with Impressions, the more requests you can choose to approve, and the more Feedback you can expect.
In this chart, and those below, we are comparing four similarly-sized Audiobook publishers. Each of these publishers uploaded over 100 titles to NetGalley between August 1, 2021 – August 10, 2022.
In all cases, you’ll notice the funnel of activity in effect but there’s one interesting exception related to time on the site. Although Publisher 4 kept their titles Active for 77 days on average, their Impressions and overall activity are much lower. This publisher actively limits which types of members can request their titles, which is a very different strategy from the other publishers. Keep this in mind as you view the other comparisons below. You’ll really start to notice that activity is directly impacted by how the NetGalley tools are used.
How much Feedback can I expect for my Audiobooks?
As you saw above, the strategies you employ will directly impact the activity your books receive. This makes it challenging to share specific expected stats for any particular book, but we can glean some insights from digging further into these four publishers’ activity.
Each publisher has a different strategy for managing requests, as well as how they incorporate other types of approvals like Read Now, Auto-Approving members, and using the Widget. These strategies may differ on a title-by-title basis, too.
As we saw before, Publisher 4 chooses to limit their reach into the community. Here we see that they are also the only publisher who declines more people than they approve, even within their already-limited requests. In the previous chart, we saw that Publisher 2 has fewer requests than 1 and 3, but they approve nearly all of them.
So, how does that impact the Feedback Rate?
Here, we’re looking at the total number of Approvals compared to the total amount of Feedback received. These numbers make perfect sense with the funnel we’ve seen so far—the more Approvals granted, the more Feedback is submitted.
Although Publisher 2 approved nearly all of their requests, they still only had about half the total number of requests as the other publishers. Their books’ average time-on-site was also half as long as Publisher 1.
Publisher 3 has the highest feedback rate: 50% of approved members submitted Feedback, with Publisher 1 close behind. If we look at the strategies used to achieve this: books were active for more than one month and Approval Rate was close to 70%.
Since Publisher 4 is such an exception, we’ve separated their Feedback Rate from the rest. These numbers are on a very different scale than the other three. For instance, Publisher 4 approved a total of about 650 requests, compared to nearly 45,000 by Pub 1. As a result of their limited use, their Feedback Rate is relatively low as well.
Keep in mind that their goal may not be entirely related to Feedback! Success on NetGalley can be defined any number of ways. Some publishers may rely on NetGalley as the secure digital fulfillment tool they use to offer a book to a very specific list of existing contacts, whether to drive trade reviews from one particular outlet, or offer an audio format to help booksellers more quickly assess content in their TBR pile. Others are taking advantage of the NetGalley community to fill a need for more widespread reviews for the Audiobook format, and still others are using NetGalley to drive discoverability and awareness of their books across all formats.
What’s next for Audiobooks on NetGalley?
Audiobooks can be promoted to all types of members in any NetGalley Newsletter! We also offer seasonal Audiobook Newsletters, targeted specifically to members who indicated an interest in audiobooks. Boost your consumer marketing efforts by activating our highly engaged community to generate both reviews and sales. The 2023 Media Kit is available here!
Keep an eye out for a Spanish-language category coming soon. We are excited to introduce an easier way for members to discover and request these books.
DRM for Audio
In 2023 we anticipate adding DRM protection to Audiobooks available on NetGalley. This will add an extra layer of security to our already-secure NetGalley Shelf app. The NetGalley Shelf app is the exclusive way that approved members can access Audiobooks.
We love digging into our data to help answer your important questions, so we’ll continue to update you on how Audiobook publishers are using the NetGalley tools. What other questions can we answer for you?
*Dataset for the charts in this article included 1,452 Audiobooks uploaded to NetGalley between 8/1/2021 – 8/10/2022. Audiobooks that were never added to the Find Titles catalog were removed from this dataset.
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
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
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!
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.
How Penguin General (UK) used NetGalley to create positive word of mouth before publication, as well as making sure there were an unmissable number of reviews when the book was finally released.
Osman made his name as a television producer and performer, but his high profile
did not necessarily guarantee his debut novel would be a success. Penguin General
therefore created a stand-out campaign that blended celebrity-style publicity
(television, radio, print interviews) with a more traditional crime fiction promotion,
of which NetGalley was an integral part.
Taylor, Senior Campaigns Manager, and Ellie Hudson, Campaigns Officer, from
Penguin General share how they helped make The Thursday Murder Club the
bestselling fiction title of 2020.
were the key goals for The Thursday Murder Club?
Our key NetGalley goals for The Thursday Murder Club were
reaching a core bookish audience; building buzz and excitement
pre-publication, and accumulating a large
number of consumer reviews to confirm the book’s quality.
Osman already had an existing fan base, but we also wanted to reach a general
fiction reader – and we know NetGalley is a great way to do this. The Thursday Murder Club is an uplifting,
funny, brilliant novel that matches Osman’s quintessentially British brand and
reads like Agatha Christie meets The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. We
knew we had a fantastic debut novel and we wanted to ensure that general
readers weren’t put off from what they might perceive as “celeb fiction” so
building reviews pre-publication was a key aim from the very beginning of the
is often tempting to keep a title ‘exclusive’ when you have a big book. Why did
you decide to proactively look for reviewers and other influencers?
were confident that we had a brilliant novel and we wanted the online bookish
community to fall in love with The Thursday
Murder Club as much as we had. We also knew that this was the
beginning of a series and one of our campaign goals was to establish Osman as a
brand author. It was therefore important that we introduced as many readers as
possible to The Thursday Murder Club. We
didn’t want the book to feel exclusive or elitist – we knew that NetGalley
members who read and enjoyed the book would then go on to champion it online
and that was far more valuable to us.
you coordinate the NetGalley campaign with a physical proof mailing? Or was
that complicated by the pandemic?
NetGalley became a lifeline during the first lockdown when our warehouses were closed and we were unable to send out physical proofs for a while. During this time, we used NetGalley to send DRCs out to press and media, but we kept the title private until later in the year. We wanted to wait until the eBlast in July before we made the title available to Request to make as big a ‘moment’ of it as possible. We wouldn’t normally run an eBlast just 2 months before publication date, but we suspected demand would be high and waiting would allow us to work the eBlast into the buzz-building campaign we were running in the lead up to publication.
eBlast featured links to request and to pre-order. What was the thinking behind
ran the eBlast for The Thursday Murder Club in July, following lots of
buzz and excitement for the title online (film news and lots of endorsements
from respected authors) so we suspected that there would be some NetGalley
members who would want to order a physical copy as well as request to read a
digital version. We therefore linked to the Waterstones special edition, which
also allowed us to support an important retailer.
entice NetGalley members to request the book, we used a creative that
highlighted the numerous, amazing endorsements from big-name, well-respected
authors, which highlighted its quality and portrayed our confidence.
did you go about managing requests for such a popular title?
our dedicated eBlast, we received 1,064 requests to read the book in under 24 hours,
which was greater than we could have hoped for! We wanted the novel to be
widely available to all bloggers and reviewers, as previously stated, but in
order to manage such demand for a title, we raised our usual benchmarks for
approval, granting access to those who had a higher feedback percentage. For
those whose requests were therefore declined, we created a sampler of the first
few chapters and included a link to this in our Decline Email.
NetGalley reports or analytics are most important to you and your team? How do
you use them?
and I work on commercial fiction at Viking, Penguin General, so NetGalley is
always a key tool in our campaigns. Reader reviews are incredibly important to
us and the reach of the NetGalley platform allows us to engage with the wider
book blogging community.
on NetGalley can often shape how we are positioning a title and in some cases,
very early feedback has even prompted us to tweak the content of the book if
there is a particular scene/plot point that readers are struggling with. The
wider analytics are also helpful and we monitor them frequently, but we find
that taking the time to read the reviews – good and bad – is most valuable. We
gain a greater understanding of how consumers are responding to elements, which
can then be utilised in our messaging, and we frequently use them as a gage of
how successful we think the overall campaign will be.
Georgia Taylor is a Senior Campaigns Manager at Penguin General, delivering marketing strategies and campaigns for commercial fiction brands such as Richard Osman, Cara Hunter, Josie Silver, Tana French and more. In her spare time she writes and manages a bookish YouTube channel called Rose Reads.
Ellie Hudson is a Campaigns Officer at Penguin General, creating and implementing buzz-building marketing campaigns for debut and established authors including Richard Osman, Cara Hunter, Jane Corry, Lizzy Dent and more. In her spare time, she shares her love of books on her Bookstagram page @Ellie.is.reading.
Interviews have been edited for clarity and length. Read the rest of the NetGalley case studies here!
Why a self-published, New York Times bestselling author didn’t tell her audience her latest book was on NetGalley
Author of the New York Times bestselling Hearts series, Claire Contreras, had never considered using NetGalley until she was getting ready to share the first book of her new series, Half Truths. When most authors use NetGalley, they use it to broaden their reach to new audiences and engage more deeply with the readers who are already following their work. Claire Contreras did something completely different. She didn’t make any announcements to her social following or newsletter subscribers about her latest book being on NetGalley – instead, she’s using it exclusively to find new readers.
In this case study, Contreras shares her unique NetGalley strategy, plus her perspectives on self-publishing versus traditional publishing and how she uses social media to connect with her audience.
I’d seen my friends who are published traditionally on NetGalley in the past and figured the publishing houses must have a good reason for using NetGalley, I just didn’t think it was something available to me. I spoke to a friend of mine who’s hybrid (traditionally and self-published) and she told me a lot of librarians read her books via NetGalley and that sold me on it. Before that conversation, I didn’t know how to reach librarians. Once I got on [NetGalley], I realized it wasn’t only librarians, but also media and educators as well as bloggers I wouldn’t normally have reached. That was when I realized NetGalley was a brilliant concept.
How did you get the word out to your audience about your NetGalley listing?
I didn’t. I used NetGalley solely for people I couldn’t reach myself. I feel it really puts the book in front of people who otherwise wouldn’t have seen it. I wanted to get more attention from librarians, media specialists, editors, and [other] people who don’t normally read me.
One of the reasons I didn’t announce to my readers that my book was on NetGalley was that I wanted to see how many new readers I would gain from the site. I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the members had never read me before, as that was one of my initial reasons for turning to NetGalley. I have incredible readers, but there’s always room for more. I think in this particular case, the cover drew a lot of attention.
[I was most surprised by] the amount of people that requested the book. I was in complete shock to see Half Truths on the front page of most requested for weeks!
Half Truths is going to be part of a series. How are you using NetGalley to build anticipation?
With Half Truths specifically, I knew from the start that I would turn it into a series of standalones (standalone books in the same “world” – academia, different secret societies).
Because I’m using it as a promotion tool for the series, I’m approving a specific group of people. When I get closer to releasing information about book two, I’ll give away a lot more copies to readers (non-librarians/media) for reviews. I like to test things out and give it time to settle so I can see what’s working and what’s not.
I [also] have a mailing list – a snail mail list – that I put together when I was promoting the first book and I fully intend to use it again to send clues out in the mail to my readers as to what they can expect.
I believe pre-marketing and post-marketing are both powerful. However, I hope to have my next book in this series up on NetGalley a lot sooner than the first.
You are both a self-published and a NYT-bestselling author. Tell us a bit about why self-publishing is right for you.
When I first decided to publish, I fully intended to go the traditional route. My college professors and mentors were completely against me self-publishing, and I understood why. It was frowned upon and not something we completely understood. I decided to take a chance and self-publish my first book on a whim, just to see what happened. I figured if no one read the book, I could always take it down and query agents. The book did better than I anticipated and I gained a pretty steady readership, so I stuck to it. It was unexpected, but so far the control and freedom [I’ve gotten from] being self-published has been great. That’s not to say I wouldn’t go the traditional route. I would definitely love to work with traditional editors and be with a traditional publisher when the time is right.
I use social media as a get-to-know-me tool. I find that a lot of people follow me there because they want to know what I’m doing or what my thoughts are on certain things (as random as they may be). I’ve also built a following from my cancer journey, which I shared from the time I was diagnosed in 2014 to today. I keep them up to date with my health and some of my personal life because I think it’s important for people to know that they’re not alone. Sometimes it’s hard to conceive that others are going through struggles when you see them smiling all the time in pictures, so I keep it real with them.
What (or who) are the resources you go to to keep up with industry trends and to make your books as polished and professional as possible without the infrastructure of a traditional publishing house?
I don’t follow trends. I write things that I can’t stop thinking about and try to package them in a way that’s appealing to the masses, but as far as trends go, they are constantly changing and I can’t keep up with most of them so I try not to pay attention to them. I pay attention to the things I can control, which means making sure I have good editors, proofreaders, and cover designers.
When can members expect to see the next book in the series on NetGalley?
I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say . . . You’ve been summoned 😉
Claire Contreras is a New York Times bestselling author who
traded her psychology degree to write fiction. Don’t worry, she still
uses her knowledge on every single one of her characters. She’s a breast
cancer survivor (x2), who was born in the Dominican Republic, raised in
Florida, and currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband, two
adorable boys, and French bulldog.
*Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.
How an indie author and online writing coach kept engagement high for her debut novel across platforms, turning her audience into a launch team
By the time Abbie Emmons was ready to publish her first book, she had built up an audience as a blogger, YouTuber, and Bookstagrammer. But having an audience doesn’t automatically mean success; eyeballs don’t equal engagement. So when Abbie Emmons was getting ready to publish her novel about two teens with disabilities who fall for each other, she knew she was going to have to work to turn her audience into her launch team.
Emmons strategically engaged with her audience across platforms during her pre-publication push for 100 Days of Sunlight. She kept her community in the loop through her writing process, with the cover reveal, and once she had review copies. As soon as 100 Days of Sunlight was available on NetGalley, Emmons brought her pre-existing community there, as well as finding a new audience of NetGalley members browsing for their next read.
As a writing coach, Abbie Emmons has thought a lot about strategies that independent authors can use to launch their books with limited time, budgets, and resources. And as an author, she was able to put those strategies into practice.
What was your path to becoming an author? What about a writing coach/educator/resource? Which came first and how did you make the pivot to the other?
I fell in love with stories at a very young age. My mom introduced me to the world of reading, and I was enraptured by the magic of storytelling. I started writing stories of my own as soon as I learned how to hold a pencil, and I haven’t stopped since.
Becoming a creative writing coach was a natural “next step” for me – it blossomed out of my passion for storytelling. In 2016 I started blogging about writing, which turned into creating videos, and it’s been about one year since I launched my YouTube channel. It’s been amazing to connect with other writers all over the world and share my insight and my authoring journey.
I mostly provide coaching through my video content, but I’m in the process of creating digital products to provide my community with the opportunity to go deeper and learn more. WritersLife Wednesday also has a Patreon community, which allows me to connect more personally with committed writers and offer them a one-on-one experience. Within the Patreon, there’s a private Facebook group where I connect personally with followers and also a monthly podcast where I answer specific story questions real-time.
Tell us a bit about your YouTube channel. How does it intersect with your work as an author?
My YouTube channel, WritersLife Wednesdays, is all about making your story matter. Through my videos, I teach writers how to harness the power and psychology of storytelling and transform their ideas into a masterpiece. I also share my experiences of the publishing process to help other authors take the next step with their book.
I love teaching about story because it intersects so beautifully with my writing. I’m constantly learning and improving my own writing processes, which helps me give better, clearer advice in my videos. It’s a journey of experience and growth, and I’m so thrilled that other writers are joining me in this pursuit of writing meaningful books.
In September, 100 Days of Sunlight was the #1 best seller in Teens & YA fiction about Disabilities and Special Needs on Amazon. What do you think resonates with readers about your representation of disability in the book? Did you focus on reaching audiences who might be interested in narratives about disability? If so, how?
I wrote 100 Days of Sunlight in hopes that it would resonate with every reader – whether they have a disability or not. That’s the reason why I focus so much on my characters’ emotional journeys in the book; because even if you’re not going through a physical challenge like Tessa and Weston, you might be very familiar with the feeling of fear, despair, or helplessness when life takes an unexpected turn.
My research process involved tons of reading and investigating. Not only did I reference experts for medical details, I consulted real-life accounts and experiences of people with the disabilities I wrote about. I read lots of blog posts, articles, watched videos, asked questions, read more, and constantly referenced true experiences throughout the writing and editing process. Researching this book was a fascinating and educational journey, and I’m humbled and honored to be able to include representation of these disabilities in 100 Days of Sunlight.
After the publication of 100 Days of Sunlight, I did actively target readers who are interested in the Special Needs genre and who love comparable titles and authors. I was so thrilled to see 100 Days reach #1 best seller in its category on Amazon!
How did NetGalley fit in with the rest of your launch plan for 100 Days of Sunlight?
I found NetGalley at just the right time – about 4 months before my release date. I was seeking a way to efficiently deliver my book to my ARC team, with as little back-and-forth communication as possible. As an indie author, I have to manage a lot on my own, and I knew my ARC team was going to be sizable.
I was able to send everyone from my YouTube channel over to NetGalley to request the book, and that first rush of requests helped me to rank high in my category [appearing in the Most Requested section], which in turn gave my book more exposure to new ARC readers. I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out!
How did you determine the right timing for 100 Days of Sunlight‘s time on NetGalley with regards to its pub date and your other marketing and publicity efforts?
Every author has a different publishing timeline that best suits their schedule, but mine is roughly 6 months – starting the moment my book returns from my editor, and ending on the pub date. Of course, there’s post-release marketing, but that’s another animal.
Because of my shorter timeline, I decided that 3 months pre-publication would be a perfect amount of time. I wanted the book to still be fresh in my ARC readers’ minds when the release date rolled around, to create more buzz and conversation around the book launch.
100 Days of Sunlight has nearly 400 reviews! How did you get the word out about it once it went live on NetGalley?
I told all my people, multiple times. I made kind of a big deal out of the announcement – posting on my blog, YouTube channel, social media, and contacting all my email lists. I also continued to remind my followers on social media, urging them to go to NetGalley and request to read my book if they hadn’t already.
I received a lot of requests and happily accepted most of them. The result was a huge, fabulous ARC team who was excited to share their reviews of my book. I think it’s also worth noting that I had built up the hype for this novel long in advance, teasing it on my blog and YouTube channel – which made my audience all the more excited when it came out.
How have you kept momentum up for 100 Days on NetGalley throughout its time on the site?
Throughout the book’s listing on NetGalley, I continuously reminded my followers and fans to request to read the book. I also created an ad campaign on Facebook directly targeting librarians and teachers, sending them to NetGalley request my book. A book launch is really all about conversation – the more conversation you can create about your book, the more people will pay attention.
I worked hard every day to keep that conversation going, and it paid off. The number of requests I received for 100 Days helped move it up in the rankings in both the Women’s Fiction and YA Fiction categories. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!
How have you engaged with members who have requested or reviewed? Have you followed up with them or shared their reviews?
I personally reached out to readers who loved the book and asked them to share their reviews on Amazon and BookBub, as well as NetGalley. They were happy to crosspost their reviews, and it greatly helped the book’s early days on Amazon. I also continue to share excerpts from reviews in outreach and marketing campaigns for 100 Days of Sunlight.
We love that you have a dedicated website for your press kit and for supplemental material. Tell us why this digital presence is important to you and how you went about building it.
We live in an age of immediate access to all the information we need – and I knew that my book and author presence had to meet that standard. If someone comes to my website looking for specific information and materials, I want them to be able to find what they need as quickly as possible. It’s one of those small things that can make a huge difference.
How have you been leveraging your reviews outside of NetGalley? Have you been sharing them on social media or elsewhere?
Reviews are social proof, and nothing is more powerful when you’re trying to get people to pay attention to your book. I share reviews on my social media, my blog, my website, and in all the marketing campaigns I produce, such as Facebook ads and influencer outreach.
Positive reviews are invaluable and I have NetGalley to thank for connecting me with so many amazing readers, as well as librarians, educators, and booksellers.
What is your top tip for authors listing their books on NetGalley?
Send as many of your people as you possibly can to request your book on NetGalley as soon as it’s available! That first rush of requests is vital to rank higher in your category, and thus gain more visibility on the site. New readers will discover your book and the word will continue to spread organically – and, I hope, exponentially. I recommend NetGalley to all my author friends and followers – it’s an absolute necessity if you want to make your book launch successful. Best of luck, fellow authors!
Abbie Emmons has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pencil. What started out as an intrinsic love for storytelling has turned into her lifelong passion. There’s nothing she likes better than writing (and reading) stories that are both heartrending and humorous, with a touch of cute romance and a poignant streak of truth running through them. Abbie is also a YouTuber, singer/songwriter, blogger, traveler, filmmaker, big dreamer, and professional waffle-eater. When she’s not writing or dreaming up new stories, you can find her road-tripping to national parks or binge-watching BBC Masterpiece dramas in her cozy Vermont home with a cup of tea and her fluffy white lap dog, Pearl.
*Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.