Review Tips and Preferences, From the Publisher’s Perspective

Jessica Brock is an Associate Publicist at Berkley/NAL and has provided us with some great tips to keep in mind when writing reviews & for your NetGalley profile. Jessica also joined us during our live-webcast (which you can watch here) to speak directly to our members, expand on her suggestions below, & give us a sneak peek at Berkley/NAL’s top Fall titles! Berkley_logo1

Keep your profile current with links to your blog and social media accounts:
We really prefer reviewers with multiple platforms, so that the reviews are reaching a wider audience.

The most relevant information should be at the top of your profile:
What is most relevant is your blog stats (hits, followers, page views per month etc.) followed by genre preferences/favorite authors, which is all great information to have upfront. If you keep all of the relevant information towards the top of your bio, then your request may be approved more quickly. All things to keep in mind when building and updating your profile.

Reviews on NetGalley:
Constructive and thoughtful:
Comments like “omg this was so good!” are fine, but tell me why you liked the book and what you enjoyed about it. If it wasn’t your cup of tea, then thoughtfully explain why. This is very relevant information to have, and we want to know what our readers are thinking and what is being said about the book – good or bad, that is thoughtful, and covers multiple points.

Try and have an “overall thoughts” part or pull quote at the top:
Try to give us an overall idea of your review and your general takeaway of the book. It could be something like “This is my new favorite hero – he so loyal and I will follow him for the rest of the series.” Then, when we pin your review to the page on NetGalley (super helpful!) readers will see this first and think “oh, this person really liked the main character” “or this sounds like something I would be interested in.”

Link to the review on your blog:
It is very helpful for publishers to include the link to where the review will appear publicly when you submit your review. It’s good to get a sense of where else the review is posted elsewhere.

Click here to watch the full webcast, where Jessica is joined by other review experts & read our other informational Recipes for Success articles!

To connect with Jessica and Berkley/NAL visit their Publisher page on NetGalley, and their Twitter: @BerkleyRomance (romance titles), @BerkleyNAL (general fiction/women’s fiction/thrillers/non-fiction), @AceRocBooks (sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy)

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The UK’s Top Ten Books… Coming in October 2015

With Summer now rather behind us, and the rain settling in, the books for October take on a rather autumnal, even wintry aspect — and there are chills a-plenty to be found in our books of the month roundup.

Our Book of the Month comes from the legendary Edna O’Brien, probably one of the world’s truly great writers. Peter James returns to his horror roots in The House on Cold Hill, David Young’s impressive debut Stasi Child takes us back to the Cold War years, while These Shadow Graves is set to be one of the best YA novels of the year.

Also, do look out for When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow, a book that was almost never published. Dan Rhodes – the most unusual and irrepressible writer of his generation – takes on religion, and its lack, in one of the funniest books you’ll read for many years.

Finally, do have a look out for the NetGalley Challenge. You can find a lot more information here, as well as watching a really useful video about improving your NetGalley experience here. I do hope you find it useful!

The Little Red Chairs
Edna O'Brien
Faber & Faber
UK Edition

Since publishing The Country Girls in 1960 Edna O’Brien has been one of the most acute, acclaimed and venerated novelists – and in The Little Red Chairs, her first novel for almost ten years, her mastery of the form is once again shown to be thrillingly alive.

When a wanted war criminal from the Balkans, masquerading as a faith healer, settles in a small west coast Irish village, the community – especially Fidelma McBride – falls under his spell. From this premise, O’Brien captures the internal and external worlds of men and women corrupted by the world, and how we cope with the aftermath of evil. It is a stunning, lyrical and deeply felt novel of rare grace and intelligence.

The House on Cold Hill
Peter James
Macmillan
UK Edition

The author of the incredibly successful Roy Grace mysteries actually began his writing career with supernatural chillers – a genre that he has now returned to for this terrifying haunted house tale. Born townies, Ollie Harcourt, his wife, Caro, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Jade move out to the wilds of Sussex and into the dilapidated grandeur of Cold Hill House. It is a dream come true for Ollie, but as the family move in, it slowly becomes more like a nightmare. Scary and very well told.

Stasi Child
David Young
Twenty7 Books
World Edition

David Young’s debut novel introduces Oberleutnant Karin Müller, a character we’re sure to hear a lot about in the future. The backdrop is East Germany in the mid-1970s, and Young diligently brings the paranoia and fear of the times to life, while also weaving an exceptionally fluid mystery that holds the reader gripped. Reminiscent of Fatherland and AD Miller’s Snowdrops, Stasi Child heralds a bold new voice – and character – in historical crime.

These Shallow Graves
Jennifer Donnelly
Hot Key
UK Edition
US Edition

From Jennifer Donnelly, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of A Northern Light and Revolution, comes a mystery about dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge. When rich girl Jo Montfort’s father dies in a gun-related accident, her perfect life is shattered. But she cannot help but search out the truth – no matter how dreadful the outcome. Atmospheric and brilliantly achieved.

A Mile Down
David Vann
Cornerstone
UK Edition

David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide was one the most feted American debuts of recent years. The stories it contained were autobiographical, but twisted and shaped in such a way that readers were consistently shocked. A Mile Down is pure memoir, but is written with the same poetic urgency of his fiction. In it, David recounts the inspirational tale of building his own boat, and the voyage that almost destroyed it.

When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow
Dan Rhodes
Aardvark Bureau
World Edition

Dan Rhodes is unique in British fiction; a humourist with a heart, a comedian with a brain, and a writer with a keen eye for the absolute stupidity and beauty in life. His latest novel centres on world famous evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins being stuck a place called Upper Bottom. It’s an idea that made many publishers wary of putting it out, but they shouldn’t have worried: it is utterly charming, slightly nasty and brilliantly inventive. Not to be missed.

High Dive
Jonathan Lee
Cornerstone
UK Edition

Jonathan Lee is regularly touted as one of the finest young novelists in Britain today, and in High Dive he has written the best book of his career thus far. The narrative hinges on the assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet in Brighton in 1984. In sinewy, always interesting prose, Lee takes us through the spider’s-web of conspiracy and danger, bringing an urgency and suspense to historical events. Mesmerising.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine
Alex Brunkhorst
Mira
UK Edition
US/CA Edition

When young journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man’s eccentric daughter – Matilda Duplaine – offers him entry into the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. What begins as a romance, however, becomes darker. Much darker. Timeless, romantic and utterly absorbing, it is a mesmerizing tale of privilege, identity and the difficult choices we make in the pursuit of power.

Forty One
Lesia Daria
Cameron Publicity & Marketing
World Edition

Forty One is laced with good writing, searing insights into modern life, and the concessions we make for happiness. Eva Holden is middle-aged and stuck at home with the children, while her husband works for a year abroad. Just one year and they will be financially secure. But the time drags. As the boredom and frustrations mount, she find herself tempted by a past lover. Can she hold out? Should she wait? Lesia Daria’s tense and always believable narrative brings Eva’s fears in close relief. Powerful.

The Night in Question
Laurie Graham
Quercus
UK Edition

Those who enjoyed Ripper Street will find much to admire in this tale of love and friendship set against the frightened streets of Whitechapel. It didn’t look like Dot Allbones would make much of her life, but now she is the darling of the music hall stage. Her best friend, Kate, was the beautiful one – but she has fallen on hard times, just at the worst time possible. Witty, convincing and compelling.

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Author Chat with Mike Bond

Live on Aug 20th!

Mike Bond's critically acclaimed novels take the reader into intense situations in the world’s most perilous places, into wars, revolutions, dangerous love affairs and political and corporate conspiracies, making “readers sweat with [their] relentless pace.” (Kirkus) and drawing them “into a land and a time I had not known but left me with my senses reeling.” (NetGalley Reviews)

Killing Maine

Request It!

Pub Date: Jul 20, 2015
Politics, Mystery & Thrillers
Published by Mandevilla Press

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Review Tips, From the Librarian Perspective

We’re happy to welcome Amanda Buschmann, a Middle School Librarian and reviewer for School Library Journal. Amanda has provided tips for writing reviews, which were also included in our live-webcast (which you can watch here). Read on for her tip 5 tips!

Organize
Briefly sketch out an outline before you begin. A helpful review is one that is organized; begin with an eye-catching introduction that entices and intrigues. A quote, a statement of the narrative situation, and your “thesis” lead the way.

Share
Summarize the plot, sure, but spend most of the review discussing your personal commentary. What did you like/dislike, and why? What makes this book different than others of its ilk?

Insert
Quotes are helpful and give the potential reader an idea of the verbiage–something you found interesting, something that confused you, a cool line that makes you pause.

Entice
Identify a theme/key idea and introduce it to entice the reader. Does the book touch on whether or not it’s morally acceptable to terraform another planet, or covet your friend’s promotion, or so on? Discuss it without spoiling the “answer”!

Recommend
Include “If you like this, then you’d like…” recommendations, as well as recommendations on age group (if applicable) and applications.

Click here to watch the full webcast, where Amanda is joined by other review experts & read our other informational Recipes for Success articles!

To connect with Amanda, follow @thegoodread on twitter. 

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The Book Smugglers Present… Tips for Writing Reviews

We asked trusted experts to share with our community their top tips when it comes to writing book reviews. Thea James, co-founder of The Book Smugglers, was generous to contribute her tips and join us during our live-webcast (which you can watch here) to speak directly to our members about writing reviews. Continue reading for Thea’s tips, and make sure to watch the webcast at your convenience to hear Thea expand on her suggestions below, and to hear from other experts!

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1. Be Genuine
Your natural tone is your most powerful tool and signature as a reviewer

2. Vomit ALL THE FEELS
Genuine emotion builds your voice and audience (see #1)

3. Make Yourself Write (aka Be Consistent)
There aren’t enough hours in the day, but setting up a routine will help keep things on track.

4. Figure out your ideal template (and replicate it)
Summary + Characters + Things that Worked/Didn’t Work + Overall Rating

5. Experiment with structure/format/syntax
Playing around with the key elements or traditional representation of reviews can engage readers in a major way

6. Use Examples
Use quotes or other examples directly from the text to back up your review—it makes your review stronger, and gives readers a first-hand opinion

7. Know Yourself 
Sometimes the review just isn’t there (yet)—know when to step back, or push onward

8. HAVE FUN
Because who wants to read something laborious and  written out of obligation!?

Click here to watch the full webcast, where Thea (co-founder of The Book Smugglers) expands on the tips above, and is joined by other review experts & read our other informational Recipes for Success articles!

To connect with The Book Smugglers visit their website, twitter, facebook, and tumblr!

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Scavenger Hunt for Week #4

Being the first to discover a new book is one of the greatest joys of a Book Advocate, so as part of the NetGalley Challenge, we’re hosting a special scavenger hunt… particularly interested may be fans of World War Z and The Martian. Starting at 10am EDT today (Tuesday, August 25th) we will release a new clue right here every hour, on the hour, that will all lead you to a particular title on NetGalley.com. Once you’ve discovered the title, and have filled in the form below, you will be eligible to win an awesome prize from a publisher!

To be eligible for the prize, you must: The Scavenger Hunt has concluded – thanks for everyone who participated!
1) Share the NetGalley Challenge badge (available in your NetGalley account).
2) Watch our blog for clues, and as soon as you’ve discovered the title, fill out this form with the answer.
3) Keep the answer to yourself! We ask that the title remain a mystery to those who have not successfully deciphered the clues – this will help increase your chances of winning the prize!
*If you do reveal the answer on your blog, social media, etc. you will be disqualified from this and all other Challenge prize opportunities.

On Friday, August 28th, we will notify 5 random entrants (who have correctly filled in the form, and have shared the Challenge badge) that they have won the sponsored prize!

Clues:
#1: Let’s start by talking about the author: This author is fluent in French, English, and… Ewok.
#2: This author is a brilliant linguist with a sense of humor and has a penchant for building robots in his spare time (including an R2-D2 replica).
#3: This book was originally going to be self-published, but an early review got this title discovered by a big publisher.
#4: Film rights for this book have already been optioned, and the screenplay is being written by David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spiderman, Mission: Impossible).
#5: This book was originally titled “The Themis Files.”
#6: Last clue! One of the trade reviews called this book “A page-turner of the highest order.”

And the answer to this week’s Scavenger Hunt is….
Continue reading “Scavenger Hunt – Week #4”

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Bookseller_spotlight

We’re excited to welcome Lexi Beach, co-owner of the Astoria Bookshop in Queens, NY as our featured bookseller. Lexi is a NetGalley member, an American Booksellers Association member, and just celebrated the Astoria Bookshop’s 2-year anniversary! Keep reading to discover how Lexi became a bookseller, what upcoming books she’s excited about, and her tips for writing in-store recommendations!

Astoria Bookshop logo

A nice place to start is with your bookseller origin story – how did you become the co-owner of the Astoria Bookshop?

I had been working in various areas of book publishing for almost 10 years before I thought about opening a store. At the time, I was in a job that was increasingly a poor fit, and I started hearing from friends & colleagues in Astoria that the neighborhood needed a bookstore. I started asking other bookstore owners about their work, trying to figure out if this would be a viable next step in my career. And the more I learned, the more it seemed like a great idea. And then I got laid off from the job I didn’t want anymore, which gave me the chance to pursue the plan for real. That was three years ago, and I’m celebrating 2 years in business this week.

The Astoria Bookshop opened in 2013 in Queens, NY in a neighborhood (and borough!) without any indie bookstores – how has your shop been received by the community? Do you host any special events that have encouraged a relationship with those in your area?

The community has been incredibly supportive of the Bookshop since well before we opened our doors. We ran a very successful crowdfunding campaign, we had people offer to help us move bookcases & shelve books before we opened, and we had repeat customers after one day. We host two reading series that are curated by local writing groups, we’ve held lots of readings with Queens-based authors, we run book fairs at many nearby schools, we offer writing workshops led by writers who live in the neighborhood, and we’ve partnered with some local organizations for events of all kinds.

Your store sells physical books and also ebooks – what led you to make the decision to carry both formats? Do you think it has helped contribute to your success thus far?

Indiecommerce (the ecommerce solution offered to ABA member stores) makes carrying ebooks very easy, using the Kobo platform. I’m very happy that I can offer my customers a choice of format, but the sales of ebooks are minimal to say the least. The vast majority of our sales are physical books sold in the store.

We talk a lot about various communities, especially when it comes to those who love and advocate for books – have you found the indie bookseller community unique in any particular way? Has anything surprised you since you’ve opened your store?

Indie booksellers are the best people in the world. Every time I go to an industry event, or meet up with my colleagues, I walk away feeling like I invited myself into the greatest club on the planet and everyone welcomed me with hugs & kisses & industry data.

As a bookseller, do you have any tips for writing customer-facing recommendations that appear in-store, perhaps on a shelftalker?

  • Keep it short – The goal of a shelftalker is to get someone to pick up the book. You don’t need to tell them the whole plot.
  • Make it personal – Shelftalkers are written by real people, not a computer algorithm. A personal anecdote can be especially helpful. (I recount how I read the final chapter of The World According to Garp while driving myself to work because I couldn’t bear to put it down. True story.)
  • Change them up – Just like you would change up a display table, it can help to rotate shelftalkers in and out. If your staff is very small, recruit local authors or librarians to write some for you so that the suggestions are more varied.

Which upcoming book(s) are you the most excited about recommending to your customers?

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is definitely my adult fiction pick for fall. I read it two months ago and I STILL can’t shut up about how great it is. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash is a wonderful YA graphic memoir that I’m very excited about. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson is insanely funny.

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Lightning Round! 

If you could bring 1 author into your bookstore for a special event, who would it be?  
Since we already hosted a reading with Roxane Gay, next on the wish list is Lev Grossman.

Your favorite aspect of The Astoria Bookshop:  
Our customers. They are just incredible—so generous, so savvy, so cool.

The book you’ve hand-sold the most lately:

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me
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The last book that made you smile:

Mitford at the Fashion Zoo, a picture book about a giraffe who wants to work in the fashion industry.

Thanks so much to Lexi and make sure to visit the Astoria Bookshop’s website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
You can see more tips for writing reviews here – and booksellers, don’t forget to add your ABA number to your NetGalley profile so you can start receiving the free Digital White Box!

*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret

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This week’s live-event was a big success! Check out the video if you couldn’t watch it live, and a big thanks to Berkley/NAL for being the official sponsor. To gain tips and insights for writing reviews and recommendations from industry experts just click below – and let us know your favorite tips in the video comments section or on Twitter @NetGalley.

Happy watching and reading!

Tarah Theoret
Community Manager, NetGalley

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Week #2 of the NetGalley Challenge ended with a bang, thanks to you! We’re so close to 5,000 Challenge participants, so be sure to invite your fellow Book Advocates to participate – the best is yet to come! The next three weeks will include our live-event, and exclusives & prizes from publishers, so keep a close eye on your inbox.

Activities from this week you won’t want to miss: 
  • Read our article “Why Book Reviews Matter & How to Write Them” for insights and tips.
  • Show some Cover Love and check out our favorites for August, as well as the cover most-loved by NetGalley members. Tell us your favorite that’s on NetGalley right now in the comments, and it could be included in next month’s edition!
  • Proof #BookAdvocates are everywhere! Join the conversation and keep sharing your reasons @NetGalley. We’ll feature our favorites throughout the Challenge.
  • Sign up for our online event on August 18th! You can attend live, or receive the recording afterwards to watch at your convenience. (Update: Watch the recording here!)

If you’re new to the Challenge:

  • Welcome! Visit Challenge headquarters for updates and exclusives.
  • Spread the love! Share this post with your favorite Book Advocate so they can also benefit from upcoming tips, events, and giveaways.

Stay tuned for more next week. Till then, happy reading!

Tarah Theoret
Community Manager, NetGalley

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We asked our community what behaviors make them Book Advocates & the responses are great! Here is a sampling of the ways NetGalley members help books succeed!


Tell us what makes you a #BookAdvocate, in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook and you could be featured too!

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