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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: Outlook revised March 2015 to reflect reduced visibility due to too many books featured each day. Sales have become hit or miss, especially if your book is stuck at the bottom of the page. Subscriber and reader base seems to be shrinking.
NOTE: The recommendation for this service was 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.
NOTE: Outlook revised March 2015 due to decreasing success. Sales have increasingly become hit or miss.
Fussy Librarian looks at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and also allows a 3.5 rating with 20 or more reviews. However, points detracted for requiring an author with a new release or pre-order to have at least one other book with 50 reviews AND a 4.0 rating as again such a requirement encourages shenanigans.
FussyLibrarian states they have 100,000+ subscribers. However, we're just not seeing results indicative of such a large base. With prices ranges from $5 (for genres with 12000+ subscribed) to $14 (for genres with 80,000+ subscribed), this could be a good value, but we suspect the actual valid, active subscriber base is much smaller.
FussyLibrarian features about 25 books each day. Featured books appear on website and in daily email. When contacted, the team at FussyLibrarian was increasingly fussy, even when we tried to give them a second chance.
FussyLibrarian stated earnings for 2014 of $60,000+ and marketing expenses for 2014 of $60,000+, yet wouldn't agree to let a few authors re-try their service at no-cost because "giving away spots is lost revenue". So after our authors spent $300+ on the service, FussyLibrarian wouldn't give up about $80 of earnings for a retry, knowing we were trying to give them a second chance to improve their results? Doesn't sound like a company that spent $60,000 on marketing.
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.
NOTE: Outlook revised as of March 2015. At present, we're seeing decreasing sales and success. However, we maintain our 1 thumb up recommendation. More updates through the year.
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.
NOTE: Outlook revised as of March 2015. At present, we're pleased to let our readers know that ReadCheaply read our report and updated their website so that it is no longer all about signing up authors.
Selects books based largely on having lots of reviews and high ratings. Looks primarily for free and discounted books from 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. Thankfully they've now moved the author sell page to secondary pages, which is how it should be done.
Still not responsive to our emails, even when we were trying to give them a second chance and learn about their service. We hope to be able to connect with them soon and will continue testing their service.
- 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 homepage doesn't have a direct link to currently discounted books. You must join the site as a member and then sign in each time to access this. If you look hard enough, you can find links on the homepage to the 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 for free books. To find current deals for discounted and free books without signing in, use these links:
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 future updates to these special reports, we'll share results gathered from:
Kindle Nation Daily
A follow up to this article is now available:
Tips for Getting into BookBub from BookBub, Plus 20 Questions & Answers with BookBub