So I noticed in the comments on my review of Furyborn by Claire Legrand last week that Edelweiss didn’t seem to be in many people’s good graces, especially in comparison to NetGalley – which I actually really understand.
When I first joined Edelweiss a few months back I hated it, so much. I didn’t understand it. It didn’t look as nice as NetGalley. It didn’t work the same way. Aesthetically, and in terms of feeding back your review, I have to say NetGalley had the edge and I didn’t get how so many bloggers used it. And more than that, I didn’t get how they liked it. But those weren’t my main issues.
I might be alone in this but if I’m honest, Edelweiss in my first experience felt too … professional? I wasn’t sure if that was the word for it but NetGalley felt like an open forum, a place all were welcome and would be considered equally. The questions and account process for Edelweiss felt like a job profile and as a brand new blogger, frankly, I felt inadequate and like I wouldn’t have a chance in a world where I was asked to list my affiliates in the publishing industry (that’s none, by the by). Something about Edelweiss made me feel like I’d walked into a black tie even in trainers that lit up when I walked.
Then, ironically, I got declined on NetGalley for a copy of – guess what? – Furyborn by Claire Legrand! (Weird, right?). I accidentally saw, during one of my fruitless and frustrating attempts at browsing Edelweiss that Furyborn was available for request on there too. Well, I’m usually okay with rejection, after all I had been declined for books before but I really wanted that one, so I resorted to my life’s motto that got me the job that funds this blog – “The worst thing they can say is ’No.’”
I tried a new tack, up to this point I had been trying to put my round NetGalley shaped peg into a square Edelweiss shaped hole and I was coming up short, but I decided to look at it again and these a few of the things I learned.
Quick disclaimer, I am by no means an expert on either Edelweiss or NetGalley.
I mean sure, my approval ratings for books I want are okay, 69% on Edelweiss & 64% on NG, but still, as a reviewer, I’m still in my infancy. These as the title suggests are my observations as a Beginner and are things I feel I would have liked to know when I first got Edelweiss and nearly dismissed it. I may very well be using it like a neanderthal for all I know.
TOP TIP: in the top left corner there is a switch that says ‘Use New Homepage’ – I keep that turned off because I like the old one better, that’s just me but it’s easy to switch between the two.
Profile is Everything
A no-brainer, I know but I think due to the ease of use of NetGalley and the fact it provides you (and publishers) with your reviewer ‘stats’ (feedback ratio, approval rating, etc.) I had underestimated the importance of my profile on that platform. As a result, I think I may have half-arsed it.
However, considering that even when my feedback ratio was at it’s all time low and I had zero track record and I was still being approved for all the hottest releases I get the idea NG publishers issuing ARCs don’t always pay attention to the profiles of their reviewers, that or they overcompensate and adjust send out hundreds.
Either way, Edelweiss doesn’t have all that – I mean I’m positive it shows publishers your statistics but you don’t see them (that I’ve been able to see), your profile is just that, it’s you, what you’re presenting and I kind of realised half-arsing was no longer an option for me.
For all their 20 questions about affiliations and publishing contacts, setting up as a small, independent Edelweiss Reviewer actually doesn’t seem like a detriment to your profile at all. Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books did this really great post with tips on improving your profile on both platforms and they’re super useful and worth looking at because if I’m honest mine is probably not up to scratch.
Given my limited scope of experience, my hope really was to just create a profile that reflected enough of my personality and passion to outshine my inexperience. Mine, you will also notice if you compare it to those in Evelina’s example, is much shorter. This is just my personal preference and I am a natural born waffler and I feel, if I were one of the people sifting through a mountain of requests, I would rather something short and sweet. That and I think my stats would be more of a hindrance than a help when requesting.
‘There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something …
… You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.’
This isn’t strictly perfect advice when it comes to Edelweiss, in my experience, but I like the quote. If you have heard about a particular book being available for request searching for it will get you to the right place but it’s rare I go to any ARC platform with an exact idea of what I want. Edelweiss differs slightly from NetGalley in that is shows its entire catalogue of books, ARCs and non-ARCs alike together, all jumbled up, in a mess it alone understands (well, so far as I can tell it’s organised by publisher but being the dreadful book blogger I am, I rarely remember which publisher goes with which book unless it’s a favourite). This basically means if you want to browse the ARCs you need to stick to the ‘Review Copies Page’, mess around with the filters in the left sidebar and have a good scroll.
I like to just look at those available and ‘Sort’ them by date added for the most recent ones, for more popular books, Sort by ‘Reviews’ in descending order.
Why, Why, Why, Delilah
When you find something you like, go ahead and click Request and the below window will pop up. I didn’t bother with this the first few times because as you know, NetGalley has those nice little tick boxes when you request a book, no writing involved. As time went on, I realised this was one of the few ways I could really differentiate myself from other requesters and really – and this was especially great – made me think about why I wanted that book.
With NetGalley, I go on request spree after request spree and I end up with piles of books and I look at them when I have to read them and think – why did I request this again? (Me to Me: The cover was pretty, that’s why, idiot). Having to do this has made sure I end up with books I really want. I never write much (keeping with my short and sweet, like a biscuit theme) but a sentence or two serves me well.
King Queen of the World!
Okay, so I’m well aware as a UK based reviewer I am afforded more opportunity and luxury than many international bloggers but even we don’t get much of a look in on the US market, which is the largest and usually where most of the books I buy and read come from. With NetGalley’s new domains for different regions, getting US ARCs is nigh impossible for me and it wouldn’t be such an issue but I really love DC Comics and many other US publishers and I don’t stand a chance when I ‘Wish for it’ – I hate that stupid button.
Edelweiss changes that. In the top left corner – next to the ‘New Homepage’ switch, there is a little menu button that reads ‘[Insert Region Here] Trade (Language)’.
Mine is almost permanently set to US because NG’s coverage of the UK is pretty sufficient – and the drop of available Review Copies when you switch to the UK Trade is insane (DRCs Available drop from 3,171 to 674) – but there are many options I’m yet to even explore – see below.
To put it plainly, it offers opportunities hard to come by elsewhere and I suddenly realised why so many bloggers use the site, it levels the playing field more than any of the other platforms I use.
Send-to-Kindle works too!
Through sheer potluck, the first book I got was an Adobe Digital Edition, a format I have a history of issues with, but the majority of books are available as send-to-kindle documents which are my preferred format, and it set up the same way you set it up on NetGalley.
Counterintuitive as it seems …
When you’re done with your title, this button actually means write your review.
I know, the pen makes way more sense – don’t get me started.
The review layout is a bit more convoluted than NetGalley’s, but it’s easy enough and lets you be more in depth. It also took me an embarrassingly long time to realise, submitting a review is great and all but it helps if you actually tick the box to submit it to the Publisher (right corner) and often there is a little yellow zero that when clicked produces a drop down and let you send your review to Indie Next and SIBA (I think this is the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance – but I’m not sure).
And Finally … (see my earlier comment about waffling)
Growing A Portfolio
I like that I can submit reviews for books I didn’t even get from Edelweiss. It makes me look better and gives a better scope of what my style is like and I wish NetGalley would let you do the same.
Being honest, the layout doesn’t exactly grow on you but the range can’t be faulted and is every bit as good as NetGalley. I’ll continue to use both and hope this maybe encourages some of you to give it another try. I never stray from the Review Copies page and I don’t bother making shelves so I probably don’t get the most out of the site but these are just my experiences.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Until next time!