Owning my Mistakes

NetGalley has released their new redesigned profile, and for the most part, I love it! Now I see more of what publishers see when they look at my stats, and I like knowing that.

On the other hand, now I’m annoyed because I can see for myself how crappy my rating there is.

The ideal request-to-feedback ratio is 80%. Mine is currently 17.8%. Yeah… That’s pretty lousy. It means that among other things, publishers aren’t as likely to trust me with review copies, because there’s a statistically low chance that I’m ever going to get around to reviewing their books. And I can understand that perspective, I really can.

But there are problems with this.

For one thing, many older titles still count toward my rating, but the ability to provide feedback has been removed. So now even if I read and review those older books, the review isn’t going to get counted to my rating. The review still gets written, the publicity still gets, er, publicized, but no matter how much of that I do, it’s going to look like I did nothing. And from a publisher perspective, I don’t look any more trustworthy.

For another thing, my past is seriously counting against me. When I first started reviewing, I requested just about every book I thought I might read. Even if I knew it wasn’t likely I’d get around to it. And yes, my bad, but that was 3 years ago. And when my old Kindle died and I lost a load of those books, I couldn’t get them back. Some I even bought so that I could get around to them in my own time, but as per the previous paragraph, no matter what, zip, nada, no chance.

And they can’t be removed from the record. I can’t even send the publiser feedback to let them know that I don’t even have access to the book anymore and couldn’t read it even if I did want to. I’m pretty much doomed to having a lousy rating now. And I feel like crap about it. Like crap enough that more than half of me wishes I could just drop that profile and get a new account with NetGalley, start fresh and pay better attention to how I do things, because I sure don’t request everything willy-nilly anymore.

I know that the only thing that’s changed is the fact that I can now see the lousy rating I have, but it really bothers me.

It’s probably only bothering me so much because today has been a day in which I feel like I’m living 2 steps forward and 1 step back, and this is just another example, so it’s hitting kind of hard. It’s a stupid thing, I’m sure, but… I don’t know. I’d love it if NetGalley just allowed feedback to be given so I could at least apologize to publishers and authors and explain why I haven’t reviewed so many things, and even if that’s not a review, it still counts as feedback. And I could eventually write reviews and have it count as legitimate feedback. Right now I can’t even tell anyone I couldn’t read their book because they didn’t bother to enable Kindle access and would have if I could have.

Seriously, am I overreacting? What does everyone else think about this, anyway?

16 comments on “Owning my Mistakes

  1. Hi there!

    We’re so glad you like the new updates – I just wanted to clarify that you can still submit feedback for titles that you have been accepted for in NetGalley and it will count towards your ratio. The ratio is determined by your overall approval number and your feedback submitted number. If you have titles that have been archived, you can still submit feedback by going to your Activity section, then Archived, and either click on the title and then the Feedback button, or add the title to your Shelf and then leave feedback. If you have any questions let me know!

    • Which is good, but there are a ton of older titles that have been removed that it’s literally impossible to add feedback to now, and those are the ones I’m talking about. I can add a star-rating, but that doesn’t do much if I want to upload a review, or else say that I couldn’t download the book or else lost it during my Kindle crash. I don’t know whether the publishers have decided that they don’t want feedback for those titles or what, but it’s just a little frustrating.

      But I appreciate you taking the time to drop by and comment.

  2. I’ve been lucky that I went through and caught up with my NG requests in the past so that I’m not actually in this situation, but I completely agree that it is unfair. Further, it actually hurts publishers too because perhaps you’d be a great fit for their book and you obviously do give feedback now, but they can’t see that. Have you written to NG customer support to point out this flaw in their system? It wouldn’t be hard for them to implement an algorithm that weights current requests/feedback more than past ones.

    There’s only been a couple of times that I didn’t give feedback until after the book was archived, but even when it was archived, I was still able to find the feedback form. For the books that you do still have access to, is it just that they’re archived or is it more than that? I don’t remember how I got to a feedback form for the archived books (I can look into it if it would be helpful), but I do remember it being difficult, so maybe there is still a way for you to give feedback, it’s just hard to find?

    • Srsly. Even if the review is months — or longer — late, a late review is better than no review. And yes, cross-posting and promotion helps get that stuff back to the publishers eventually, but NetGalley was so convenient for the peace of mind that it brought. I knew that it was getting back to the people in charge.

      Even when they’re archived, I can still add reviews, which is awesome, but so many of the archived books have had the option to give feedback just removed. Except for a star rating now, which wasn’t there last night, so that’s something of an improvement. But clicking on the feedback button brings me to a page that says my name, “No Timestamp,” and now the star rating icons, and nowhere to give any actual feedback. :/

      • Interesting, I suspect they remove books from the database eventually, so that’s where the no timestamp error is coming from :/ If that’s the case then they definitely should weight things *sigh*

  3. Well put. I request things because I know they’ll disappear soon, but then once I review it means nothing for Netgalley. Plus, on top of it, I don’t think a low review score is all that bad. If we happen to review it, it’s a win. If we don’t have time and don’t get to it, what’s the worst that happens?

    • If we don’t get around to it, some publshers are more likely to refuse future requests. In a sense, that may not be so bad for me because I have a load of books I should probably catch up on before I get to future books, but I worry that it could hurt reviewers’ chances later on down the road.

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  6. My feedback ratio is even worse – 8.9%. I did the same as you and requested everything that looked remotely interesting when I first started, and now I’m trying to get around to reading everything to get the ratio up. But I can only leave feedback for about half of the books, so my ratio will still be too low even if I catch up =/

    • Yeah, that’s the pain of it. :/ Back then, I figured any book was a good book, or one I could make good in my mind, if it was given freely, and I thought that even if it took me a while to read it, sure, I’ll probably get around to it eventually. And then bigger publishers hopped on the NetGalley train, and I started getting more approvals, and before I knew it had multiple years’ worth of reading material just from NetGalley alone! Even if I don’t request anything new again, and if they open up all the feedback options, it would probably take me about 3 years to get caught up at my current reading pace, and at least half of that is from my “I’ll read it eventually’ days.

  7. This is part of the reason I’m hesitant to get into the ARC and eARC world. Sometimes a book looks great on the shelf… and that’s the only place it looks interesting. Sometimes you don’t want to read a book. There’s an aspect that’s unfair to the publisher, but it’s also unfair to a reviewer (especially for those who are like me and do not/cannot plan their reading). And NetGalley’s method, while entirely logical, seems like it’s placing too much importance on the immediacy of the review, which… makes no sense. Books can still be read a year after they were published, and reviews still have an impact then. Even ten years later, a good review can go a long way. But since publishers want those early reviews to create buzz, I suppose it’s an even more complicated problem…

    • Agreed. The immediacy issue was, in part, what caused me to take a hiatus from reviewing at the beginning of the year. I felt so overwhelmed by the perceived responsibility to review upcoming books RIGHT NOW that I wasn’t able to read what I wanted to read when I wanted to read it, and so the pressure mounted and I just crumbled under it. I took 3 months away from my blog, and figured, “Hey, I won’t be posting any reviews during this time, so I’ll just read what I want anyway!”

      It worked. It got me back into my reading groove, I got a lot of reading done, and about 1/3 of those books ended up being ARCs anyway, which I felt more inclined to read simply because I had no pressure to read them.

      Now, of course, some of those books I can’t give feedback for through NetGalley, and instead of feeling the looming pressure to read, I have a huge backlog of reviews that need writing, but hey, it got me out of a reading slump and I’m happy about it. I went back to my list of ARCs with a lighter heart and a greater desire to read them, in the end.

  8. I’ve not been a big fan of NetGalley. I’ve only got…3 books through them to review. My rating is most likely crap-o-la there. But, at this point I don’t mind. I’ve got enough to get me through here and I just don’t much care for the idea of NetGalley, but that’s just me. I’m still stuck on the print books too. Even though I do read ebooks. I don’t know. I’ve not made the change yet. I probably will eventually though. *sigh*

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