Before I start in on this, I want to say right out that NetGalley has been a wonderful resource, and has allowed me access to more books than I know I would have been able to get otherwise. My blog isn’t huge enough to attract attention from a lot of large publishers, or even most smaller publishers, so having an account on NetGalley has expanded my literary horizons in a big way.
NetGalley isn’t the problem. The problem comes with the demands that some of the publishers make before allowing anyone access to their books.
There are some conditions that I can understand. Regular blog updates, listings of the kind of books you prefer to read, a complete bio, a few example reviews that you’ve done. That stuff’s fine, and completely understandable. But I came across one book the other day that sounded good, sounded like I’d enjoy it and be able to write a decent review of it, and so I requested it.
My request was denied. The reason? I don’t have 750+ blog followers, along with at least 500 GoodReads friends, and a few other things that pretty much meant they want me to have an insane following before they’ll even think about giving me access.
Now I’ll grant you, I don’t devote as much time as I probably should to increasing my readership. I have 54 followers through Google Friend Connect, and maybe a few more who read my blog in other ways, but I don’t have as large a following as some. I try to focus more on reading and doing good reviews than on promoting myself a lot, and maybe that’s a failing, but I’d rather have good content than a ton of followers. I want to give what followers I do have a reason to keep coming back. Admittedly, I probably should spend more time on community sites, spreading the word about my blog and gaining a few more readers.
But really, 750 followers? Hands up, all of you who are reading this and who have book review blogs of your own with that many followers. How many of you have over 500 friends on GoodReads? How many of you might have stood a chance at getting this book, which, I must say, would have been given out at practically no cost to the publisher and might have given them a few more sales.
I’m not saying I’m entitled to any book that I ask for. But it just struck me that their demands were pretty high, and in setting the bar so high, they actually eliminated a number of people who could have given them additional publicity. Restricting it to the highest few means that only the big blogs will promote it, and that fewer reviews will reach a higher number of readers, but when the cost is practically zero anyway, I have to wonder what they thought they’d be losing by allowing greater access. Did they worry that if smaller blogs were promoting it then the assumption would be that it’s the kind of book larger blogs turn down? Do they assume that blogs without hundreds of followers have no quality control on their reviews and promotions?
It made me wonder.
Have you run into this sort of thing before? Have you ever requested a book from a publisher and been told no, you’re not big enough to be considered? How did it make you feel?