Tarah Theoret, Community Manager at NetGalley LLC
We’d like to welcome Tarah Theoret to Nurture Your BOOKS™. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed today.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in various locations, all on the east coast–but moving around as a kid meant leaving a lot of friends, which is partially why I loved books so much (they move with you). Once I went to college I started out on the English major track (with a hint of Women’s Studies) and decided to continue on to my Master’s degree where I focused on Publishing. I started out as an editorial intern at HarperCollins in their Children’s division and then landed a full-time job there working in various marketing departments, and then I moved on to Penguin Young Reader’s Group where I worked on marketing campaigns for YA and Middle Grade titles. And now… I’m at NetGalley!
What are some hobbies that you enjoy?
I really enjoying cooking–it started as a form of stress-relief during college and now the kitchen is where I feel most like myself. Plus, I currently live in Buffalo and usually the kitchen is the warmest room in the house! Also, whenever possible I love glassblowing–it’s an amazing experience to create something from molten glass, truly indescribable. And of course reading—but that’s a given, right?
Why is NetGalley important and who can use it?
As a service that promotes new books to readers of influence, NetGalley is an essential book discovery tool. Over 210,000 reviewers, media, bloggers, librarians, booksellers, and educators use NetGalley for free to request, read, and provide feedback for upcoming titles. Publishers and authors use NetGalley as a convenient connection point with those “professional readers” to expand their reach and distribute digital galleys quickly and securely. We work with over 300 publishers and indie authors who are incorporating NetGalley into their marketing and publicity activities. Read more here, and ask us how we can help you!
What are some of your responsibilities as the Community Manager?
My main responsibility is making sure our community is happy and healthy—meaning they’re able to find the titles they are interested in, are utilizing the tools available in their accounts, and any issues or questions they may have are resolved and answered quickly. This requires monitoring activities on netgalley.com, social media, and our support pages. On a daily basis I help individuals but also larger groups and associations to better utilize their NetGalley accounts and the tools available to them to discover new titles from our publishers. And, come conference season, I (and the rest of the team) attend publisher, self-publishing, and reader events where we talk about NetGalley but also trade tips that can benefit others in the industry (such as how authors can reach influencers and gain reviews.)
What project are you most excited about right now?
A fairly new project that excites me is our new Blogger Spotlight series. We started highlighting book bloggers who actively use NetGalley to download, read, and review titles and then share their reviews with publishers and on their blogs. So far we’ve hand-selected 6 book bloggers and the reaction to it has been amazing. It’s very gratifying to feature a blogger and then see the community really rally behind them and congratulate them for all their hard work. I hope this inspires others who want to start a blog, or who already blog to keep at it and maybe pick up some tips. You can view the bloggers we’ve featured so far here. (And if you have any bloggers you’d like to nominate, let me know!)
As the new manager of the Book Blogs NING, how are you finding the experience thus far?
I love connecting with new people, especially a group that shares a common interest (books, for example). The Book Blogs Ning has again proven that book people are eager to learn from others – whether it’s advice on blogging, how to market your book, or even a reading recommendation. I was warmly welcomed as the new administrator, and am deeply grateful for that, and the future conversations I’ll have with our (24,000+!) members.
Do you judge a book by its cover?
I always look at the packaging (physical or digital) of a book, for practical reasons since this is where you look first for the title, author, maybe a blurb, and aesthetic reasons. To me, the cover should tell you something about the book before you even read the description. The use of different typefaces, colors, textures, images, special effects, etc. should create intrigue that makes you want to pick up, or download that title. It’s a very powerful opportunity for publishers and authors to communicate a certain message to their audience without having to say a word.
What are your top 5 favorite books or eBooks?
- The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (recommended to me by a librarian when I was 6 years old)
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
- The Acorn People by Ron Jones
Thank you for joining us today, Tarah. For more on the cool book-sites mentioned during the interview, please visit NetGalley and the Book Blogs NING.