So Hollis and I feel kind of in control with NetGalley, with the odd ‘it controls me’ moments. Edelweiss+, however, is a totally different kettle of fish. Now, we know that this is a platform less used by readers and more used by book professionals but there are some blogger/reviewers only (like us) on there.
So what’s different about Edelweiss+, I hear you say? For starters, it’s a pretty clunky platform and definitely not as user friendly as NetGalley. It does work on the same principles though; you see a book, you request it, and ideally the publisher will grant access. Instead of ‘read it now’, it also has a ‘download’ option rather than request for some select titles.
What has been Micky’s experience, is that getting declined is the default (see the left of the photo above *laughs/cries*). For example, say for every ten that are requested, access might be given to one or two. Why continue? Well, there are publishers that use Edelweiss+ and not NetGalley, or favour Edelweiss+ more.
Unlike NetGalley, your profile is very basic and there is no running tally or reads, reviews or percentages. I miss that element, I like competing to get myself in a better position! Now over to Hollis who has had a better experience than me (somewhat), which is probably to do with regional issues.
Micky isn’t wrong, I have had some better experience. For a while it was all books, all day, download download download! Now? Less of that. I do think there is some logic behind the “provide a reason for your request” box but realistically I don’t imagine your enthusiasm sways anyone. I think it’s just hit or miss.
I have no screenshot to show you because I clear my dashboard, refusing to linger over the rejections, but I, too, would prefer there was some kind of feedback ratio to indicate that, strong profile or not, I’m reading and reviewing what I’m given. Maybe there’s something on the other side of the screen? Hard to tell. But I’ll keep clicking, keep enthusing over new titles, keep hoping those books that only show up on Edelweiss+, as opposed to NetGalley, might make their way onto my kindle.
What has been your experience? Do you use Edelweiss+ or have you thrown in the towel?
We all know the struggle. You log into NetGalley, particularly when you first get started, and go a little.. click-happy. Suddenly you’re drowning in ARCs, approvals coming every which way, and your feedback ratio drops and drops and you don’t know how you’ll ever reach that recommended 80% milestone. Heaven forbid you hit a slump and take a break from ARCs only to keep clicking, keep requesting, and thus the cycle repeats.
We don’t know how it happened but here’s our humblebrag : Micky & Hollis are both in the 90%+ margins. Micky has been approved, and read, almost double what Hollis has, but still. It does get easier to keep that percentage high, and have it stay that way, the more you get approved for, the more you read or keep pace with said approvals, but it can be equally easy to request, clicking on more — no matter your %.
Neither of us know the magical workings behind NetGalley, we don’t have any particular tricks, but we wanted to open the floor to you and see if there’s something you’ve learned, something you’ve struggled with, and help each other out. There’s lots we still probably don’t know and we always find it interesting when publishers post recommendations or suggestions to improve your profile (you can sometimes catch these threads on twitter).
It’s easier said than done to just say read what you click, keep an eye on publishing dates so you don’t overload yourself in back to back months, but part of the fun is stumbling through these trials and errors and learning from them. Or, like us, even with our high percent, crying over a month with sixteen ARCs and no end in sight. It happens to us all! That said..
Here are our Top Ten Tips for Netgalley :
Take the time to write a strong profile. Have a photo of yourself — publicity assistants tell us it helps to see who you are. Add a bit of relevant stuff about yourself, how you enjoy sharing your love of books. We started ours with no blog/bookstagram presence, just reviewers, so don’t feel you don’t have enough to have a go. Add all your social media links that are relevant to books. There’s a section just for that.
Go slow, it’s so tempting to click on everything you find even slightly interesting. Try and resist the urge to do that. Our rule of thumb is.. do I really want it, do I really need it?
Try and read and review the arcs before release, ideally a week or two at least. What publishers are looking for is your views before release, to build up reviews and get the word out there! I (Micky) try and stay a month ahead with my reviews but I can be the week before, Hollis is much more organised than me at this.
Keep a tally/list of how many arcs you have due and once you get to a number that is your threshold for enough that month DON’T LET YOURSELF REQUEST MORE. Micky keeps checklists for this, Hollis uses a dedicated Goodreads shelf to keep track; whatever works for you. We map our physical arcs into this too.
5. You don’t need the elusive 80% to get approved by publishers. It is definitely something to aim for but you will still get approvals without it.
6. Share your completed reviews on publication date with the outlets suggested by that publisher e.g. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones. Publishers need you to do this and it is part of what you are signing up to do.
7. Be honest. You don’t need to bump up the rating to please the publisher, honest reviews are sought. We have not had a reduction in approvals from publishers who might have had a low rated review from us previously and neither of us shy away from those one-star ratings.
8. As you fall deeper into the reviewing rabbit-hole, maybe you do start a blog, or a bookstagram, so make sure to add those links in the relevant section. Cross-post your reviews to all your platforms, tag authors/publishers when you do (in positive reviews only, please!!), and update your Bio routinely with any change in stats (followers, subscribers, etc).
9. Don’t read only arcs, you will exhaust yourself with deadlines and potentially put yourself in a book slump. Make sure there’s room for reading the things your like, your owned tbr, maybe library books, a mood read or a re-read.
10. The same goes for blog and bookstagram tours connected to NetGalley arcs, don’t sign-up to everything, give yourself some space. In reality, you can be late with netgalley arc reviews but you can’t for a blog tour. Keep the pressure manageable.
We’d love to know your experiences, how you do the NetGalley shuffle! We are happy to answer any questions you have. Watch out for our Edelweiss blog feature coming soon where we expose this different creature of a platform and tell you our experiences with that.
We’ve all been there. You recommend a book to a friend, or family member, and then they don’t like it. Or, worse, hate it. Hi, Hollis here. I had the idea for this post while reading through a book series much beloved by friends of mine. What made me decide to actually write it was when blog buddy, Micky, picked up one of my favourites and wasn’t liking that, either. As of the writing of this, she’s even put the book down. Talk about karma. Edit : since drafting this, she’s finished the book and disliked it greatly, elle oh elle.
Jokes aside, though, the best part about reading, and talking about books, is the discussion. Whether that’s coming from the same side of the page or opposite sides of it. I’ve never been bothered by it, though I’ll definitely feel a little guilty when I’m the perpetrator of the indifference or dislike, but though I might pout or put on a little bit of a show, I’m not bothered if people dislike what I love.
Micky here, I feel pretty much the same as Hollis now, a mild disappointment when someone doesn’t like a beloved book, probably because I wanted to gush with them. I have to say I never feel offended, even if it’s hate of a book I loved. One of my favourite ever conversations with Hollis back in the day was over my long time love and her full on hate for REAL by Katy Evans. Hollis, our friend Jess and I had full on hilarity hearing Hollis’ take on this book.
I do think I have evolved to this position of chill, however. Once upon a time, I might have thought but whyyyyyyy don’t you love what I love? I’ve moved on from this and just because Hollis’ hates something I love, doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, just not her kind of book and vice versa.
This blog chat was framed as a ‘how to’ but honestly we don’t have anything to recommend to you. We could suggest you get over your sadness by watching cat videos (Hollis recommends the Dodo twitter account), or eating your feelings (mint chocolate chip never lets you down), or watching Disney movies. But we’re probably all doing those things right now anyway because #pandemic.
Instead, we want you to think back, if you can, and try and recall the first book that you loved but someone else didn’t. Can you remember? What was the book? Have you moved on? Still in therapy? Will we ever stop asking questions that no one will probably answer? Tune in next time..
We’ve found that breaking down our tbrs can be something that inspires us to pick up reads hidden or briefly forgotten. ‘Five on my tbr’ is something that I (Micky) have done a few times on bookstagram and I got it from someone else, but I’ve no idea who. We thought it’d be nice to have a running occasional feature where we pick five on our tbrs and you tell us yours.. and no doubt that will cause some adding to tbrs!
Literally all five of these books are titles that have been scratching at the back door of my brain, waiting to be let in. Either because they are a favourite author (MZ), a final book in a series (the Gray), or a highly recommended book buddy recommendation (Fanetti, sorry Paula). The others are ones I know, or think I know, that I’ll love.. but just haven’t had time to pick up. But hopefully identifying all these and making them into a TBR (something I never do) will kick my butt into gear.
Tell us the top five books on your TBR! Do any of ours make your lists?
Most of us love a good book that evokes all the emotions; maybe not all of the time, but at least occasionally. A private cry, a good book sob, can leave you a bit wrung out, yet having felt the book deeply is pretty satisfying. BUT it can leave you looking like that pug in picture, are we right? Micky doesn’t cry easily at books but some do just hit that spot, whereas Hollis has her eyes set on leak. We’ve listed some of our favourites by genre.
Some of the books we’ve listed are weepies in part because of the difficult issues tackled within the pages. We have starred the books that we think have triggers for some people and advise you to read the blurb so you know what you are getting into.
We’re both different creatures when it comes to DNFs and who, what, when, and why. Micky is all about life being too short to read something that really isn’t working for her and Hollis is a trooper through and through, working to get that book finished.
Let’s talk about why we DNF and share our DNFs for 2019.
Micky here and I have tried to modify my DNF behaviour after having some stats in 2017 that I didn’t like. That year, I felt I was a little too quick to DNF, so 2018 & 2019 I tried to find a balance between not keeping reading when it’s never going to work, but forging on when I’m just not in the mood. I think I’ve found a bit more of an equilibrium that I am happier with, but I try really hard not to DNF arcs. That said, there were a few arc DNFs in 2019. Looking at what I did DNF, the majority of DNFs were romance.
Hollis, meanwhile, only seems to DNF ARCs. Though I try really hard not to quit on anything, particularly before the halfway mark, I am getting better at it both for the sake of my sanity and to have a few less lowly rated and/or ranty reviews. Not sure that’s made much of a different on either, to be honest, but the intent is there. Looking through my list there’s almost a fifty/fifty split between contemporary and fantasy and I think likewise half of these are debuts. I love discovering new authors, hoping I might love them, but as this list demonstrates.. that’s not always the case.
I know we’ve said it before with blog posts like this but this is a post for readers, not authors. No offense is meant to any author named here but we aren’t going to like all books and often we want to talk about disappointments, the fails and the incredulous. This is one of those posts, so look away now if you want to.
Micky and Hollis here again charting some of our epic failures that almost hurt with disappointment. Sometimes I feel like I particularly hurt over a crashing fail when I’ve hyped the book up to myself. Often I’ve waited a year or six months for a particular book, new or part of a series, and the sadness when it doesn’t work out is intense. Where appropriate, we’ve linked our reviews so you can see what our problems were.
We recently read a book at the same time that we’d both been anticipating, it wasn’t a buddy read as such but turned into a finish on the same night situation. The utter relief at feeling the same about this book when it has about 750 positive reviews (prior to release) was wonderful. What was this book you ask? THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett.
Following up the previous day’s disappointment was another sorta-buddy read, this is a week where we both just happened to be behind on the same ARCs, and literally hours after THE GRACE YEAR, we found ourselves slogging through INTO THE CROOKED PLACE. This had an okay end for Hollis, wrapping it up with a two stars but willing to read on, but for Micky it was a dnf, she just couldn’t go on, key dramatic music.
THE BEAUTIFUL by Renee Ahdieh was another where we’ve been in tune in epic disappointment, although this was a 3 star read for us both (review here). It’s just we wanted it to rock our world with 5 stars, we’re greedy like that. We also kinda wanted vampires from this vampire book? We think that was less of an ask.
Another fantasy crash landing came in form of follow-up from Natasha Ngan in GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW, the sequel to GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE. Micky really enjoyed book one but kind of hated book two, Hollis saw the writing on the wall with book one, so it was less of a disappointment for her when book two didn’t work. We both gave it 2 stars and our review is here.
Another one where we black sheeped on was CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman. This is a well-loved, and much hyped, book we both absolutely loathed. Neither of us really want to relive it so here are our one-star reviews if you’re curious.
THE UNHONEYMOONERS by Christina Lauren makes our list because, well, Hollis really struggled with this (it’s her least favourite CLo!) and Micky wasn’t far off in her thoughts either. Hollis diligently wrote her review here and Micky copped out of writing one for the blog but they were both 3 star thoughts.
Come tell us about your book disappointments, we all have them and it cheers us along to know it isn’t just us!
We don’t know one bookie in the world of books and worms that doesn’t hit a slump for one reason or another. When books are life and they are your rudder, it is the most jarring experience when you just… can’t….
We’re here to share our experiences of slumps, reasons why they happen to us as individuals, how we navigate the slump when it’s happening and what we would recommend as a book to get you out of a slump. That said, we are all different and we would love to hear your experiences of slumps and busting it.
Micky here. First, I’m going to define my version of what I think a book slump is and I have two alternatives on offer for you here. I think I have two kinds of slumps, the first is what I’d call a ‘true slump’ where I CAN’T read anything for a period of time, sometimes over a week. I cannot focus on the page in this kind of slump. I’ve had true slumps when I’ve been grieving for someone or in times of very high stress.
The second kind of slump I experience I call a ‘slumpy-slump’ (I know, I’m sorry, I’m ridiculous) where I might not read for a few days then pick up various books, I’m kind of reading but not enjoying. I might even finish a book in a slumpy-slump but I’m never going to like it beyond meh because the slumpy invades my mood. I go into slumpy-slumps because I’ve read an amazing book and nothing will compare, I’ve read a bunch of meh books and I’m sick of them or background work/home stress.
Like lots of people, I try lots of things to try and bust the slump and most consistently successful approach is to re-read a light, romantic favourite. Sometimes this turns into a re-read of a series…oops. I find that a challenging book, a new book, an ARC or audio just won’t work for me when I’m in slump town. I’ve added my recs below. Hollis, what says you?
For me, I feel like I only have two modes : on or off. When I’m on, I’m reading relentlessly, one book after another; I might not like everything I read, but it doesn’t stop me from keeping on. Same on the other side of the equation. I might find a book I absolutely love that would give someone else a hangover but.. I don’t really get those. I’ll write my review and keep on keepin’ on.
My off mode, however, is where.. I just have no drive to read. I might get a little time to pick up a book, might even finish one, but if I don’t immediately reach for another? Or if it’s days before I feel inclined to read again? Yup, I’m off. This is definitely exacerbated by my life-slumps which are generally a result of work kicking my ass and sucking the energy, and focus, out of me day in and day out. But I won’t get into that. This isn’t therapy. Wait, is it? Could blogchat posts on a book blog be a form of therapy? Stick a pin in that.
Either way, I have no tricks or tips for busting slumps. Because, sadly, there’s no tip or trick that works for me. It is or it isn’t and I just have to ride it out.
Books To Reread (or read for the first time) That Might Kill Your Slump :
Everybody’s shufflin’… are you old enough for that to start an earworm? I feel like I’m always arranging, rearranging, organising and shuffling my books and also my virtual books. What is this craziness about which I speak? Let me share.
Micky here. Let’s start with the physical books. If you’re a book spender, a book blogger with arcs or both, that creates a space problem unless you’re living in the Beast’s mansion. So it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to shuffle in and shuffle out. With physical arcs, if I really liked the book, I’ll keep them, otherwise I’ll give them away or, on the rare occasion, I’ll trade. It’s the same really with the books I’ve bought that I don’t end up liking, they’ll go to a charity shop. All making room for the new.
I do have a collecting problem when it comes to classics that I love and special edition copies from Goldsboro and The Folio Society if I really love a book. I’m always going to find a place for these. I recently bought a book tree (shelf) just for my tbr…
Now onto the virtual books. I recently did some serious autumn cleaning, what is this fall thing you guys keep talking about? Said clean up was necessary because I have a problem as follows. I had two audible packages on the go – US and UK, usually because I’ve had cheap offers, on top of which I had an audible escape package that had gone past the free trial. I CANCELLED THEM ALL because I’ve spent the last month mainly listening to audio through the library. What the hell, Micky?
Then I went on the biggest tbr clean-up project ever on Goodreads. I went and deleted over 300 books that I would never read now. These books stemmed back from 2012 when I first joined GR and I had rather different taste in books then to now. I cannot tell you how good that purge felt and that I am sadistic because I enjoyed doing the purge, it wasn’t laborious to me. This is on top of the regular kindle clean ups I do. As soon as I’ve read and reviewed a book, I delete it off my kindle, to go live it’s final days in the cloud.
Am I crazy? Am I alone? Do tell.
Hollis says no, you aren’t alone. Last year, probably shortly after the not-yet-repeated unread kindle book count and unread physical book count of 2018, of which we’re quietly just ignoring, I went through and deleted.. at least two hundred books of my GR “want to read” shelf. It was cathartic. Cleansing. Also.. confusing. Who was this person that added so much random, weird, and unknown books to her shelves? I didn’t know her! But I bet she knows the girl who one-clicked all those whacky freebie or dollar books onto my kindle. I bet they are in cahoots.
I had also done a bit of a physical cleanse, too. I had so many books I had been carting around, from move to move, convinced I would read.. but, in my heart of hearts, I knew I probably never would. I got rid of those, too. Sadly I did that purge before counting my unread books so there was no satisfying drop in numbers the way there was for my GR shelf.
But with ARCs, wow. This is an unreal privilege, one I’m not deserving enough to have but will accept anyway, but it’s definitely becoming a problem. Not so much the eARCs, though unlike Micky I don’t delete anything off my kindle because I r a hoarder, but the physicals? I do my best to never request more than I know I can read but the reality is they are just as present as my actual books, the ones I want to keep, so, like Micky, I’m trying to offload, trying to trade, definitely swapping with local bloggers. At least for the ones I’m not hoarding for reasons. But also do I need reasons? See above RE hoarder. But I do collect for certain authors, certain series, and some do become precious to me if I’ve loved them enough.
And so the shuffle continues, the space gets tighter, and I end up searching on wayfair (not sponsored) for shelves that I never get around to buying because I continue to convince myself I’ll get rid of more books.. only for even more to find their way into my home.
What was the point of this blog post again? Beyond baring my bookish soul and confessing to all my bookish sins? Oh right. That’s exactly what it was.
Weigh in below! Do you move out as many books as you bring in? Do you swap with friends? Do you clean off read books from your kindle? Do you have an ARC problem? Hollis will stop asking questions now so you can actually let us know.