Tuesday, 28 February 2017

[article] A Month on Netgalley

I'm the sort of person who enjoys reading about other people's experiences on sites and with doing things. I've read lots of blog posts now by book bloggers about being a book blogger, about getting ARC's, about being on Netgalley, about writing reviews to deadlines, all these sorts of things. So I thought I would give back a little, for all those other people like me, and write about my first month on Netgalley! I hope you find it interesting. 

First confession: I was ensnared by free books. Free, advanced copies of books. I honestly don't think that there is anything wrong with this: I like books, I like reviewing books, and I like saving money. I knew I would read and write reviews for any books Netgalley gave me. The first one I snagged was something I had had my eye on for a little while: The Princess Saves Herself In This One, by Amanda Lovelace. This was available for anyone to read, you didn't have to be approved. Perfect! I read it, reviewed it, and moved on. And then I started requesting books. Lots of books. Since most of them weren't approved or rejected for at least a week, I didn't really realise how many I had requested.  

Around two weeks into my Netgalley journey I was starting to feel a little unmotivated. I had 7 books sitting on my shelf, some of which didn't really look that interesting, and a review percentage of 42%. I felt a little bit of relief every time a rejection email came through. One book was granted to me about three days before its publication date, essentially making it impossible to get an advance review out. I also had my own books that I had actually bought sitting around and looking very tempting. But I also knew I had to do the sensible thing, like the adult that I am, and sort myself and my time out. 

So I made a spreadsheet. Books are arranged in order of publication date with extra columns for me to note where I have posted my review: blog, Amazon, Goodreads, Tumblr. And then I finished off the copy of the book I was currently reading (Red Queen, by the way) and picked up the first book on my spreadsheet, Mercury in Retrograde, and started reading. It was a super good book.  

My favourite Netgalley moment so far regards one of the first books I reviewed, Ariadnis by Josh Martin. Josh posted a link to my review on twitter with a lovely comment and it really made me appreciate the reciprocal relationship the reviewers and the writer have. Ariadnis is his first novel and at the time of posting my review on Goodreads and my blog, it was the only longer, more indepth review on Goodreads. Most of the rest were merely either ratings or short comments. I guess this means that mine was one of the first proper critiques and raves about his novel by just some random person. I wrote about how great his book was, perhaps people will even buy or think about buying it because of that review that I wrote, and I got an amount of blog traffic and the chance to read an excellent novel for free. I suppose it just made me really think about how much reviewers can affect an author and how much I got out of that small, indirect interaction. 

I also got my first featured review on Netgalley, for Sarah Andersen's Big Mushy Happy Lump, which was also pretty awesome. Another first was getting my first email request from an indie press asking me to review one of their books.

A not-so-awesome feeling was when I reviewed one of the first books that I got approved for: Mask of Shadows. I gave it 3/5 stars because most of it was fantastic, but there were parts I really did not like. I felt like I had to tell this first time author, who had tried pretty hard to write something unique and diverse, that there was something that needed to be changed. I didn't really want to do this. I did, because it wouldn't have been honest not to, but I wasn't thrilled.

Overall, my experience on Netgalley has been pretty awesome. I've got Mark Lawrence's new book Red Sister lined up to read soon and it looks amazing! 

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