Let’s face it when you’re reviewing books on NetGalley, one of the things that matters the most is your Feedback Ratio. This is where we get into things like the 80% badge, auto-approvals, and top reviewers. To date, I’ve had 39 of my NetGalley reviews featured and been auto-approved for 12 different publishers. One thing to remain very aware of is the fact that each of these pieces plays an incredibly important role in whether or not you get approved for the books that you really want. There are numerous ways to develop your NetGalley profile to improve your chances of gaining each of these things, but for now, I wanted to take a moment to focus on the 80% Badge.
What is the 80% Badge?
This is one of the NetGalley Badges that you can earn for having an 80% or more Feedback Ratio. What this means is that, for the books you’ve been approved for, if you review 80+%, you earn a badge for your profile that looks like the image on the right. This, ultimately, tells publishers that you are a reliable reviewer. And anyone trying to get buzz for their book is going to be a lot more likely to approve someone they can trust to read and review the book quickly than they are someone they might be uncertain about for one reason or another.
How do you get the 80% badge?
Firstly, to calculate your ratio you must divide the number of approved requests that you have reviewed by the number of requests you’ve had approved. So, if you were approved for 10 books and you reviewed 8 of them, you would be at 80%. Another quick thing to note is the fact that you can lose your 80% badge if the ratio dips below that percentage and you have to have it at 80% or above for a few days before you’ll be awarded the badge in the first place. Now, keep in mind you can only get the badge by reviewing books you’ve been approved for, so any title that is available as a Read Now doesn’t count to your total.
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 requests will be rejected and so your ratio won’t be too hurt at first. If, however, you are one of the sort who requests a lot of books and gets approved for them, 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 of 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. You will still need to review them later, but for the moment that’s a task you can take on later. Don’t leave it too long, however, as publishers will likely take this into account.
How do you increase your ratio quickly?
Whether you’re someone who is just starting and hasn’t requested a lot or you’re someone who feels like you’re drowning in too many books after requesting more than you can possibly read, there are a couple of ways to quickly increase your Feedback Ratio. The first thing to note here is that you should have reviewed at least 2-3 books just to get yourself started. And then what you want to do is request books that you can read quickly. These include, but are likely not limited to:
- Arts & Photography
- Children’s Books
- Comics & Graphic Novels
- Crafts & Hobbies
- Outdoors & Nature
- Chapter Samplers
I’ve personally had the most success with Children’s, Comics, Graphic Novels, and Samplers.
These books are fast reads that you can review fairly quickly. In fact, my favorite–though they aren’t available super often–are the chapter samplers. I can finish reading 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 reviews. I will go into a little more depth regarding what reviews publishers are most likely to feature and resultingly the types of reviews that will get you approved for more books, but for now, 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?
- Optional body paragraph: More thoughts or (for anything that includes pictures) a few sentences regarding 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 more you include in your review, the more likely a publisher is to see you as a reliable reviewer whom they can trust to generate publicity and provide above average feedback.
Two quick review suggestions for what not to do:
Do not leave a review that is only one paragraph long. Yes, this will increase your ratio, but it is likely also to make some publishers hesitant to approve you for other books. It won’t feel like you put a lot of thought into it and these reviews are less likely to generate a lot of publicity and buzz about the books.
Do not choose the option to not leave feedback for a title. Though this may be tempting when it comes to getting books off your shelf, this will negatively impact your Feedback Ratio forever. You will always have a book that 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 will make it difficult to DNF books that you don’t want to continue reading, but you can still leave a review if you decide to not finish a book. Whether you choose to post that review on other platforms such as your blog or Goodreads is up to you.