When you’re reviewing books on NetGalley, one of the things that matters most is your Feedback Ratio. This is where we get into things like the 80% badge, auto-approvals, and top reviewers. To date, 72 of my NetGalley reviews have been featured and been auto-approved by 12 publishers.
These pieces all play an important role in whether or not you’re approved for books you really want. There are numerous ways to develop your NetGalley profile that improve your chances. For now, I wanted to take a moment to focus on NetGalley’s 80% Badge.
What is the 80% Badge?
This is one of several NetGalley Badges you can earn for your account. The 80% badge is based solely on the books you’ve been approved for. If you review 80+%, you earn a badge for your profile. This, ultimately, tells publishers that you are a reliable reviewer. Anyone looking to increase attention for their book is much more likely to approve someone they can trust to read and review the book quickly. They are less likely to send their book to someone unreliable.
This is not to say, of course, that you are unreliable if you do not have this badge. However, having it is an indication that you are.
How do you get the 80% badge?
To calculate your ratio, you must divide the number of approved requests you’ve reviewed by the number of requests approved. So, if you were approved for 10 books and you reviewed 8, you would be at 80%. Any title available as a “Read Now” does not count toward your total. For example, let’s say you’ve been approved for 10 books. You have also downloaded 3 “Read Now” novels. Of those books, you have reviewed 7 of the approved and 2 of the “Read Now” books.
Your ratio would be at 70%. This is because you’d be calculating by approved books only (7/10) and not all the books you’ve reviewed (9/13).
Additionally, you need to have a ratio of 80% or above for several days before you’ll be awarded the badge. You can also lose your 80% badge if your ratio dips below that percentage.
Ultimately, it all seems simple, right?
When you’re request happy:
Often, when one creates a NetGalley account they go a little bit crazy with their requests. Now, if you’re lucky most of these will be rejected so your ratio won’t be too hurt at first. If, however, you are the sort who requests a lot of books and gets approved, don’t despair. You can still improve your ratio, it will just take a little bit longer.
The first thing you want to do in these events is to review all the books you have read. Chances are you’ll still have a few that you need to get to, but don’t worry about that for now. Write a list and tackle all the books you can review first. Your next step will be to tackle reading the book closest to its publication date. Do not leave your reviews too long if you can as publishers will likely take this into account.
How do you increase your ratio quickly?
Whether you’re just starting or feel like you’re drowning in books, there are a couple ways to increase your ratio quickly. Getting started is simple. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you’ve reviewed at least 2-3 books. Your next step is to request books you can read quickly. These can include, but are likely not limited to:
- Arts & Photography
- Chapter Samplers
- Children’s Books
- Comics & Graphic Novels
- Cook Books
- Crafts & Hobbies
- Outdoors & Nature
I’ve personally had the most success with Children’s, Comics, Graphic Novels, and Samplers.
What you’re looking for are fast reads you can review fairly quickly. In fact, my favorite–though they aren’t available super often–are the chapter samplers. I can read them quickly and the reviews for these requests are the easiest.
Keep in mind that when you do review these books, they should be full and thoughtful. Later, I will go into a little more depth regarding what reviews publishers are most likely to feature. For now, however, you can look at it formulaically. Your review should include the following:
- An introduction paragraph: introduce the book and give a spoiler-free summary.
- A body paragraph: What did you think of the book?
- Second body paragraph (optional): Provide additional thoughts.
- For any read that includes pictures: a few sentences about what you thought of the illustrations/pictures/etc.
- Conclusion: Sum up your thoughts. Who would you recommend it to? Will you buy it for yourself or someone else? If it’s a sampler, do you think you want to read the rest of the book?
The better your review, the more likely a publisher will see you as a reliable reviewer they can trust. They’re looking to generate publicity and provide potential readers with above average feedback. Even if your review is negative, if you put in more thought a publisher will appreciate it. One small paragraph is less likely to be remembered or featured.
Two Review Don’ts:
Do not leave a review that is only one paragraph long.
Yes, this will increase your ratio. But it may make some publishers hesitant to approve you for other books. They won’t feel that you put a lot of thought into it. These reviews are less likely to generate lots of publicity and buzz about the books.
Do not choose the option to not leave feedback for a title.
Though this may be tempting as it gets the book off your shelf, it will negatively impact your Feedback Ratio forever. You will always have a book you were approved for that counts against your percentage. No matter how long it takes, always try to review each book you get.
If you do decide to choose this option, keep in mind the consequence of doing so. I know this can make it difficult to DNF books you don’t want to continue reading. Even so, I leave a review when I decide to not finish a book. I make it clear why I chose to discontinue.
Whether you choose to post that review on other platforms such as your blog or Goodreads is up to you. But you can still leave a short review for the publisher on NetGalley that explains your decision. You don’t have to rate a book to leave a review on Goodreads. Nor do you have to rate it when posting one on your blog. And, who knows, the publisher and author may find it helpful.