Tuesday, November 10, 2020

NetGalley And Small Publishers

NetGalley And Small Publishers
Jacqueline Lichtenberg

In 2012, I signed up for NetGalley when they were a startup, just garnering a list of Traditional Publishers they could supply reviewers for. ( https://netgalley.com )

Professional ReaderThey have grown and grown and become a staple of the reviewing industry.  Their rules are a little complex and involuted for qualifying for free ebook copies of forthcoming titles. They have time-limits (which I don't like) and they want a review posted on their site, as well as wherever you actually review or discuss books.

As readers, we discuss books everywhere -- and these days there are a lot of everywhere -- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on and on!

Recently, PenguinRandomHouse, which has been supplying NetGalley copies for convenience, has shifted to emphasizing NetGalley as a source, so I refreshed my profile on NetGalley and drew down a Kindle copy of C. J. Cherryh's new Foreigner novel DIVERGENCE.

We'll discuss that soon, but it is Book 21 in a (terrific) Series, so if you haven't caught up, you have some time. Start with FOREIGNER -- jumping into the middle of this series can be confusing.

Today, I just wanted to alert you all that I'm using NetGalley as a source, and it has changed as the publishing industry has grown and diversified.

There are publishers from a number of different countries, and divisions of the large publishers.  There are publishers you've never heard of (possible markets), and early alerts on popular books.

They have a list of most-requested titles.

They let you "favorite" publishers to get sub-sets of titles.

They have sub-sets by genre.

And publishers get to pre-approve you so you can grab a title as soon as they post it.

I like reading paper books (a lot), but I also enjoy having Kindle editions I can resize the type, make notes, drop bookmarks, and store massive amounts of books without bookshelves collapsing.  I don't think the Netgalley title, even as a Kindle, will let my notes be "shared" in the Goodreads social networking platform.

I still don't like Kindle's filing system - I lose books in the huge list. Putting them in groups is extra work.

Downloads from NetGalley in Kindle format can be "sent to Kindle" but end up in "Documents" instead of the list of books -- I expect I will lose track of titles I want to discuss here because of that awkward filing system nobody likes.

But publishing has changed - so we change to match.

Here's what has not changed in publishing.

It is still a horse-race.  It is all about speed.

Whether a title or series survives the brutal speed test to become a "classic" depends on getting lots of reviews up FAST - right during the few weeks after publication.

Without the limits of paper-book-shelves-in-stores (slots), there is no REASON for this anymore. It's an archaic artifact of Traditional Publishing which will likely disappear in the next few years.

It's all about ripping your attention away from whatever you want to do and getting you hooked on paying attention to what they can make a profit from.

What publishers (and their editors) add in value, that you pay for at $10 for a Kindle edition, is the publisher's ability to sort the slush pile, and resort the surviving titles into genres, creating sequences of books that are "the same but different" -- giving you the anticipation of a guaranteed good read.

So beyond editing for consistency, continuity, clarity, and beyond copyediting for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and homonyms - improper word usage, and punctuation (especially of dialogue) - publishers get paid for sorting a few precisely similar items from a whole pile of dissimilar items.  It's a lot of work.

NetGalley also connects reviewers profiles to Goodreads and Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn.

They are building a high-tech sorting net that will, one day, enable readers to be certain they are not wasting money on a title they just won't like.

Long way to go, but I think it is happening right before our eyes.  I'm impressed with what they've done in just 8 years.

I can imagine where the new "reviewer" tools industry will be in another 8 years.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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