The 15 participants promoted 42 books from 11 different genres, including:
Each and every service was used by at least 10 of the 15 participants, one or more times. Our overall rating for these services is a simple thumbs up or thumbs down system:
Two thumbs up - Excellent
One thumb up - Good
One thumb down - Not Good
Two thumbs down - Not Recommended
To this, we added a numeric indicator from 0 to 20 to indicate level of success regarding downloads or sales during the promotion:
0 - the lowest score, the worst value for your time, money
10 - the middle score, a good value for your time, money
20 - the highest score, the highest value for your time, money
Before you try any of these services, be sure to read the “tips for your success” at the end of this article. Also note that any service listed who wants us to give them another chance, simply needs to write email@example.com with the subject “Book Promotion: Give Us Another Try!”
As you consider using these services, never forget for a moment that book promotion is big business, and that many of these services are making quite good livings from their offerings. For example, we estimated based on the number of listed features each day that AwesomeGang is earning $50,000+ a year. Writers are we in the wrong business?
NOTE: The recommendation for this service is under review and may be removed. Sorry for unintentionally misleading anyone with the statement that this was a friendly service. Please read the comments regarding this service below and make sure to expand to see the full details.
Current pricing ranges from $5 (for genres with 12000+ subscribed) to $14 (for genres with 80,000+ subscribed). FussyLibrarian features about 25 books each day. Featured books appear on website and in daily email. When contacted, the team at FussyLibrarian was friendly.
Ereader News Today (ENT)
Ereader News Today features 5 to 6 books at a time, several times during the day, on its website. Each set of featured books appears in an article that is skillfully put together. Featured books appear in daily emails as well. Because ENT has fewer featured books at a time, there is a higher potential for success than with services featuring 30 or more books all at once --and we liked that.
Currently charges $10 for promotion. Ebooksoda features about 25 to 30 books a day. Features appear on website and in daily email. Unlike many others, listings don't have much information to help readers make purchase decisions. This makes listings easy to browse, but harder to make a buying decision from.
Rating: One Thumb up. Service would be much better if listings were limited to 15 - 20 a day and some details were added, such as limited descriptions.
Selects books based largely on having lots of reviews and high ratings. Looks primarily for free and discounted books from large, traditional publishers.
Features books in its newsletter and a deals page. However, the only link for the deals page is currently hidden all the way at the bottom of the home page. Other sites move the author sell page to secondary pages and focus on the deals, which is how it should be done.
Wasn't responsive to our emails, even when we were trying to give them a second chance.
- At .99, books didn’t recoup the cost of the promotion or even come close. The average .99 book earned $108 (.35 from each sale) but the average promotion cost was $420.
- At $1.99, books didn’t recoup the cost of the promotion or even come close either. The average $1.99 book earned $224 (.70 from each sale) but the average promotion cost was $772.
- At $2.99, books came closer to recouping the cost of the promotion. The average $2.99 book earned $788 (2.04 from each sale) but the average promotion cost was $1294.
It's also important to point out that BookBub is primarily about the daily email and that's a major disappointment because their website has so much potential. The home page has a scrolling banner of supposed "recent deals" but it's primarily past deals from big name authors that they're using as a hook for new subscribers. To give authors value, the scrolling banner should feature current deals or at least not the same deals as months ago.
The BookBub website doesn't have a section for discounted books. If you look hard enough, you can find pages for free ebooks and free kindle books. The links are all the way at the bottom of the page and what you find when you follow the links are the current day's deals.
Tips for Success
- Take your time with each and every listing. Provide as much information as you can and as much detail as you can. If the service allows you to include links for many different retailers, include links for as many as you can.
- Make each listing unique, if possible. If you are asked to provide a summary of your book, try to make this unique each time.
- Choose specific dates for each listing. If you want the biggest bang for your time and money, make sure each listing has a different promotion date. For example, have one listing on Monday, the next on Tuesday, the next on Wednesday, and so on. You also may want to have several days between each listing, such as one listing on Monday, the next on Wednesday, the next on Friday, and so on.
- As you’ll often be providing some of the same information over and over, create a promotion document for each book you plan to promote in this way. Be sure to track the dates you request for your promotion, and the actual date assigned for a promotion.
- Most listing services require payment through PayPal and will email a request for that payment to an account you specify. Make sure you have a PayPal account set up beforehand. Make sure you provide an email address that you check regularly.
- Before using ENT or BookBub, make sure you really want to spend that kind of money on promotion and then take extra time in preparing your listing.
- Authors with multiple books published will have a better chance of a successful promotion, especially if offering a book free and hoping for a boost in subsequent sales of other books.
In Part 2 of this special report, we'll share results gathered from:
Kindle Nation Daily
NOTE: 1/27 - I added necessarily and "can be" qualifiers to the previous statement. That said, it's up to the author to put his or her best foot forward. You really need to take your time, and treat each and every promotional effort with the respect it deserves.
It’s also important to remember that just because a service has 1,000,000 followers doesn’t mean 1,000,000 are going to see your promotion. Typical open rates for such services are likely 2 to 3%, though I’ve seen claims as high as 6 to 10%. Open rates are posted by some services if you look for them, though self-reported and based on all classes of recipients.
Anyone working at these services may wonder how they can start providing more value more consistently. There's no easy answer but here's a start: Don't feature so many books at once. Build additional value using your website and social media. For examples of better websites, start by looking at how ENT is doing things.