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Netgalley Comparison Review - Is it Worth an Author's Money and Time?


NetGalley has over 175,000 reviewers, media, booksellers, bloggers and librarians! 


NetGalley is a conduit for authors to get their books noticed, read and reviewed. Many years ago, I was a reader for NetGalley. I thought it was a great deal - getting free ARCs in exchange for honest reviews. However, what I found was that I would load up too many ARCs and then eventually lose interest in writing reviews.

I'm sure there are many readers on NetGalley who have experienced the same initial enthusiasm followed by a decline in activity. That's why if you're going to invest in NetGalley, you will want to have control in choosing your own reviewers. Reviewers are rated on their activity, so you can sort through those who don't follow through using the NetGalley dashboard.

NetGalley offers an incredible dashboard that allows you to control who gets your books, which also ensures the readers getting your novel are interested in your genre. Readers who aren't might give your book a negative review because the genre conventions won't please them.

The drawback to getting access to the dashboard is that you'll have to dish out hundreds of dollars. Not a bad thing if you get enough of a response --enough reviews to put your book in a good light and open doors to the next step in promotion, which would be BookBub.

I spent a few weeks combing the service, thanks to their excellent customer responses and detailed email, as well as looking at other options to access NetGalley. What I found in terms of service and costs and access is listed in the comparison chart below.

NetGalley Comparison Chart Prices 



Months
Titles
$ per title  per mons
$ per month
Netgalley Newsletter?
Additional $
Total
Control?
Provider
Plan
12
10
$41
$410
no
0
$4,920
y
1 year Subscription
12
5
$65
$325
no
0
$3,900
y
1 year Subscription
6
1
$142
$142
Y
0
$849
y
Standard listing + newsletter bundle
6
1
$75
$75
n
0
$450
y
Standard listing
6
1
$88
$88
n
$129
$530
n
IBPA membership + Listing
3
1
$109
$109
n
$129
$328
n
IBPA membership + Listing
1
1
$100
$100
N
0
$100
N
NetGalley Connect
1
1
$65
$65
N
0
$65
N
XPressoBookTours NetGalley pkg
3
3
$60
$60
N
0
$180
n
Switch book each mon + Soc Med and XBT NL Blast
1
1
$150
$150
N
0
$150
N
BookBuzz Promo + NG

The cheapest costs per month with total author control is $41 a month for 10 titles over the course of a year. This costs the most up front, but you can rotate your titles, switching other books of yours or other authors in during the 12 months.

The cheapest short run with total control was 1 book for 1 month at $100 through the NetGalley Connect program.

 NetGalley Connect


  • $100 / month listing in catalogue
  • Read "now" access - no preauthorizing of readers needed
  • NG mails you stats and reader feedback / no access to dashboard
  • Consolidated report at end with feedback from readers

If you don't have that kind of money to put up front, you might want to try paying an affiliate of NetGalley and getting additional marketing features. Options are below:



Through IBPA with $129 US / year Membership


1) Six-Month Title Listing:
  • 6 mos listing on NetGalley platform
  • $399/ 6 mos / 1 title -- ($530 US with membership)
  • IBPA mails you stats / no access to dashboard for author

2) Three-Month Title Listing:
  • 3 mos listing on NetGalley platform (exclusive offer)
  • $199/ 3 mos / 1 title  ($328 US with membership)
  • IBPA mails you stats / no access to dashboard for author

Through Xpresso Book Tours
  • 1 mos listing for 1 book = $65
  • 3 month listing for 3 books (1 per month) = $180
  • Xpresso Book Tours sidebar AD cover linked to Netgalley page (32K views/month)
  • Social media NG promo: Xpresso Book Tours’ Facebook (11,000+ Likes), Xpresso Book Tours’ Twitter (11,000+ Followers), as well as Xpresso Reads’ Twitter (19,000+ Followers).
  • Newsletter burst to 2000+ 2x a month

So which to choose? 


For me, I would probably go with Xpresso. Newsletters are key in getting responses to your promotions. But before I spent my money, I wanted to know what kind of results I might get. 

  • The NetGalley correspondence said she could not guarantee results. Fair enough.
  • Posting on Reddit showed most authors receiving  3-4 - 6 - 7-12 reviews per campaign 
  •  BooksGoSocial saw 13.5% of views resulting in a download, and 8% of those downloads actually writing reviews.  In actuality, that resulted in about 5 reviews on the average book, with one outlier of approx 45 reviews in total.

What if you pay for extra promotion on NetGalley?

Author Luke Gracias had some interesting results which he details in his blog. It seems to me that additional $ in promoting and marketing on NetGalley will push your book forward and ensure better results.

From Luke's Blog: 

To date my horror-thriller/historical fiction book The Devil’s Prayer has been downloaded by approximately 1,300 NetGalley members. It has received feedback from 272 members including 237 reviews.
More than 90% of the 200 plus text reviews on Goodreads, 150 plus reviews on Amazon.com (USA) and 50 plus reviews on other Amazon marketplaces have all come from NetGalley. Over 50 blog posts have been written on the book by NetGalley readers and I have collaborated with six NetGalley members to date, to run promotions of the book on their websites. The book is currently in the top 25 Most Requested books on NetGalley and the Most Requested book in the two genres Horror and Historical Fiction under which it is listed.

Cheryl's Conclusion

For me, I'm not going to use Netgalley as a stand-alone without having control of the dashboard, and without a newsletter blast. Given the average review results (without additional promo), I don't feel going through NetGalley at this point is worth it for me. Therefore, I might use Xpresso Book Tours and access that way. I'll see how it goes and then decide if I will invest more in NetGalley.

Do you have NetGalley experience? Please share below to expand on this research. 

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/selfpublish/comments/55o7ud/my_netgalley_experience/
http://xpressobooktours.com/xpresso-book-tours-netgalley-co-op/ 
https://www.ibpa-online.org/page/ListofBenefits 
https://www.netgalley.com/ 
https://bgsauthors.com/product/products/netgalleyservice/
https://fiveplustwoblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/netgalley-for-a-self-published-debut-author/


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