Book reviews

Getting your book reviewed

A new service for Cambria authors

Especially in the US, publishers and authors promote their books by getting them reviewed. The premier service for this, also now available in the UK, is NetGalley. We have provided some information about their service below. If you are interested in having your book reviewed by the NetGalley system contact us. If you wish to be a reviewer yourself contact them direct (see below).

For why we think reviews are important, read our previous post on this subject.

About NetGalley

NetGalley helps publishers and authors promote digital review copies to book advocates and industry professionals. Publishers make digital review copies and audiobooks available for the NetGalley community to discover, request, read, and review.

NetGalley for publishers

Publishers (like ourselves!) use NetGalley to build buzz, receive feedback and reviews, and discover early trends. The platform connects publishers with reviewers, librarians, booksellers, media, and educators who discover new books on NetGalley and recommend them to their audiences. These book advocates and industry professionals can join and use NetGalley at no cost.

NetGalley is an industry-standard service that delivers secure digital files to approved readers and coordinates closely with publishers on targeted promotions to the hundreds of thousands of members using the site. Publishers receive requests to access their books from NetGalley members in exchange for feedback. Publishers can also invite their own contacts to read their books using a pre-approved link. Members can access their approved books and audiobooks on the free NetGalley Shelf app, or other supported devices and apps. In addition to offering a platform for publishers to connect with a vibrant community of readers and influencers, NetGalley also provides actionable data to help publishers draw correlations between their own efforts and reader engagement. They also work with marketing and PR firms, as well as other groups who manage book promotions.

Publishers pay a set-up fee and a monthly subscription rate depending on the number of active books on the site.

NetGalley for readers

NetGalley helps influential readers discover and recommend new books to their audiences. If you are a reviewer, blogger, librarian, bookseller, educator, journalist or other member of the media, you can use NetGalley for free to request, read, and recommend books before they are published.

Your reviews and feedback are essential to publishers and other readers!

Publishers tend to approve requests from members who have a history of providing feedback for books they’ve accessed, and who can demonstrate their reach as an early influencer or reviewer. Members improve their chances of getting approved for more books by providing meaningful reviews, by connecting their accounts to verified industry organizations (ALA, ABA, ALIA (AU), and others), and linking to their blogs, social and Goodreads accounts. Read the guidelines on how to get approved.

Members can access their approved books and audiobooks on the free NetGalley Shelf app, or other supported devices and apps.

Book reviews

The importance of book reviews

Reader reviews

Authors often pay too much attention to reviews, at the expense of what really matters: sales. Reviews are an instrument that help encourage sales, but they should never be viewed as an end goal per se.

Reviews alone don’t sell books. Even if you got the most glowing customer review on Amazon, that review in and of itself would not bring more readers to your book page. It would only increase the likelihood that new readers you send to your book page end up purchasing it.

In marketing jargon, customer reviews affect your conversion, but don’t drive traffic.

That’s not to downplay the importance of reviews. But don’t think that a good review will make your book magically start to sell.

Editorial reviews

So far, I’ve been referring mostly to consumer reviews — i.e. reviews from random readers who buy your book.

But a customer review isn’t the only kind of review out there. There are also what we call “editorial reviews,” which are authored by professional or semi-professional reviewers. These are posted on blogs or websites other than Goodreads, Amazon, or other e-retailers.

The most popular examples of editorial reviews are the ones you’ll find in newspapers or online magazines like The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, Times Literary supplement etc. See the latest review on Nation.Cymru for The Cave of Shadows by Cambria author Martyn Rhys Vaughan. Cambria authors have also often been reviewed or interviewed in most of the local and national newspapers (Western Mail) in Wales such as they are.

This kind of an editorial review is the dream of many an author — but its actual value is doubtful, and certainly not worth alot of effort or expense. So are all editorial reviews worthless? Definitely not.

Firstly, there are countless book bloggers who have strong and engaged audiences in niche genres — and many of them are open to reviewing books. Of course, it’ll require a bit of work on your part to get your book reviewed: you need to research each book blog in-depth, pitch your book elegantly (and well in advance), follow up, etc.

Whether that’s worth your time is up for you to decide, but it’s certainly an avenue worth considering, especially if you don’t have an established readership already. But here’s what’s even more important: even if an editorial review doesn’t yield you direct sales, it’s a fantastic tool to use for your other marketing efforts.

Editorial reviews tend to be written much better than your average random customer review, making them a lot more “quotable.” You can re-use such quotes in your book description, back cover copy, or advertising copy .

A quote from a recognised source in your genre will carry a lot more weight in the eyes of readers than one from “Anonymous Amazon Customer.”

Use a Kindle to read eBooks? Read them all for free!