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3.02.2015

Dollar for Dollar Are These the Best Book Promotion Services? Bargain Reading, The Reading Club, Fussy Reader

Recently, Read Indies completed a year-long study of book promotion services and published several research reports. Some of the top services we discovered in our research include Bargain Reading, The Reading Club and Fussy Reader.

First of all, these services in their original form were only available to traditional publishers and mainstream companies. We asked them why not indies? We got an earful about how their readership preferred traditional books and products, blah, blah, blah. So we screamed and hollered until they let us in (and THEN we tested the HECK out of their services :-)

We found these services to be so effective that we're not continuing with our own efforts to manage separate promotion services and instead joining their partner network, which rewards our promotional reach with discounts, offers enhancements anytime we market through them and more. That network is called Marketing Partners Network. You too can try to get into their partners network here: http://www.the-reading.club/marketers/index.htm. If you use these services or join the network, let them know ReadIndies sent you or you might not ever get in.

Now on to the good stuff. Here are the sites:

The Reading Club - http://www.the-reading.club/

Here are the rules we followed during our research:

18 participants tried each service and tracked the results. Each participant used at least 2 of the 3 services:

Bargain Reading has a 4-month promotion cycle
The Reading Club has a 6-month promotion cycle
Fussy Reader has 6-month promotion cycle

It’s important to note that The Reading Club features 2 primary promotion titles for each cycle for authors who have “4 to 12” or “12 or more” books. The total of number of promoted books was 56 and they included books from 15 genres:

Mystery
Thriller
Adventure
Horror
Contemporary Fiction
Inspirational Fiction
Contemporary Romance
Paranormal Romance
Historical Romance
History
True Crime
Advice/How-To
Business
Teen/Young Adult
Children's

As before, 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

Note that the scores are about value for your time AND money. All of these services require a bit more of your time than any other services because they work to promote you over long periods of time, rather than in a one-time listing. Whether the time investment and the monetary investment are worth it is up to you to decide.

Something we really liked about these services is that they were willing to listen to our feedback and make adjustments to their offerings based on the results of our research, which we released preliminarily to them quite some time ago. Not only that, they incorporated these changes into their new enhanced offerings when they recently re-launched. To be clear also, Bargain Reading, The Reading Club and Fussy Reader are new brands for their pre-existing products and were designed specifically for indie and traditional books rather than traditional books and other traditional products.

NOTE: Made the preceding bold since some people apparently don't understand what a new offering / brand means.

Based on our feedback and work together, they developed several features to remove much of the frustration we experienced while trying to work with other promotion services. The features include:

Dedicated Slot – The services limit the number of promotions at any one time using dedicated slots in marketing inventory. This reduces the number of products being marketed at the same time and improves visibility and overall chance for success of every participating author.

Express Lane – Once you are accepted, you no longer have to re-qualify your books and pray they are going to accept you. You simply follow the Traffic Forecasts and submit when there are openings and because you’ve been pre-screened you’ll always be accepted (though there are a few restrictions, such as those regarding overly suggestive and explicit book covers).

Traffic Forecast – Lets members know how far in advance promotions are booked. Since only currently accepted authors get access to a forecast page about openings, here’s the forecast as of Feb 25, 2015:

Website                          Next Availability
The Reading Club              June 29, 2015
Fussy Reader                     June 17, 2015
Bargain Reading                July 2, 2015

Hold Queue – Puts your submission in the hold queue and lets you keep your place in line for opening slots. Kind of like taking a number at a store. This saves you from having to submit, get rejected due to lack of space, and then do this over and over in the hopes you’ll eventually get an opening.

It’s important to note that normally the Hold Queue is only available to Diamond members and Tier 3 marketing partners. Diamond members are simply members who have used the service 3 or more times, or who have chosen AlwaysOn promotion. Tier 3 marketing partners are members of Marketing Partners Network with a large verified social media reach. Each is limited to a certain number of listings in the hold queue, but we found a Tier 3 partner willing to share their queue: Kindle Indies (https://www.fiverr.com/kindleindies). For $5, you can use one of their slots in the hold queue.

If you get in the hold queue, you should be contacted as openings become available. Sometimes slots can open sooner than expected too, which is a very good thing.

Don’t put yourself in the hold queue if you don’t think you can respond and reserve a spot within 48-hours (2 business days, not weekends / holidays) of email notification regarding availability. The reason for this is that if you don’t respond to the follow up, regardless of whether the email got stuck in your junk folder or you were in Tahiti, you won’t be eligible to use the hold queue again for 1 year.

Getting in the hold queue doesn’t mean you must accept the spot. However, from experience, if you turn down a held opening twice in a row, you’ll not ever again get in the hold queue.

It’s important to point out that the services work together and within their Marketing Partners Network to promote accepted works not just once but with targeted marketing over a 120 to 180 day promotion window, giving authors value over time instead of a one-shot and soon-gone listing. In addition to mailings, articles in the press, features, interviews and more: The Reading Club members are promoted throughout all Tier 1, 2 and 3 partner networks; Fussy Reader members are promoted throughout all Tier 1 and 2 networks; and Bargain Reading members are promoted throughout all Tier 1 networks. Indeed, an important part of the value of these services comes from the marketing networks. Bargain Reading may also go to a 180-day window. If so, then all three will use the 180-day window.

Under our research of their original offerings, all three services performed better than any other service we tested (except for BookBub). The downloads and sales listed are those downloads and sales that were above typical levels seen for any title. For example, if a title typically had 12 sales a month, 12 sales a month were subtracted from the results to give the total additional sales for a month.
 
Bargain Reading

Rating: One Thumb up, though high marks for being an excellent value.

Bargain Reading’s total reach is 500,000+. Bargain Reading accomplishes this reach through its own combined mailings lists, its websites, social media and its partner networks. Promotion with Bargain Reading also buys you promotion with partner networks, and the coordination is all handled by Bargain Reading.

Bargain Reading doesn't charge a different rate based on the price of featured books. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether the book is FREE,. .99, 1.99, 2.99 and 3.99. The reason for this is that their promotions focus on a whole author concept and not individual titles per se. That said, authors get 1 primary title for promotion during their 4-month promotion window. Having anyone promote you periodically for 4-months for $40 - $60 is a pretty good value and a rate of about $10 to $15 per month per title. For that you’ll get mailing list promotion, a web page and some targeted periodic marketing.

Success Level for Free Book: 4.

Success with free books was hard to gauge because of the long promotion window. Bargain Reading lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like this:

Book 1  Everyday Price: $5.99
June 1 - June 5: FREE
Jul 15 - Jul 30: $2.99
Aug 18 - Aug 20: FREE
Sep 23 - Sep 26: $.99
Where  AMAZON, GOOGLE, NOOK, APPLE, KOBO

They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. The where value tells them where the sales will be, as in what major retailers. They only care about Amazon, Google, KoboBooks, Apple and Barnes & Noble.

If you have changes or a previously unforeseen sale, they let you send them updates too (but only a few during the term because they’ll charge you extra if you try to make changes every week), though at least 14 days in advance. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been free during the entire promotion:

Fewer than 650 downloads (above typical levels) on average for lower flat-fee ranges ($30/$35) and fewer than 1275 downloads (above typical levels) on average with higher flat-fee ranges ($50/$60). Most other promotion companies we researched (except Bookbub) brought in about 100 – 200 downloads for each $10 of investment.

By this metric Bargain Reading did well with about 210 downloads for each $10 of cost. Unlike most other services, Bargain Reading doesn't charge a different rate for free or paid books. It's one-flat rate for all, and we loved that.

Success Level .99, 1.99: 5.

Bargain Reading accepts all price levels for bargains, including boxed sets as high as 9.99 and even traditional publisher books at 9.99 (as long as it represents a deep discount or everyday value). For example, a traditional publisher may have a $34.99 boxed set that they mark down to $9.99.

The participating authors tested the service with books priced .99 to 3.99.

NOTE: As stated earlier, Bargain Reading lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like the one shown earlier. They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or a sudden sale, they let you send them updates too. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been paid at the price specified during the entire promotion.

Fewer than 46 @.99 and 37 @ 1.99 sales on average for lower flat-fee ranges books ($30 to $40) and fewer than 78 @.99 and 61 @ 1.99 sales on average with higher flat-fee ranges ($40 to $60). Unlike most other services, Bargain Reading doesn't charge rates based on sale price. It's one-flat rate for all, and we loved that.

With these sales level, authors didn’t earn enough to recoup the cost of the promotion. At .99, authors earned back $22 on average from royalties and paid $50 on average. At $1.99, authors earned back $34 on average from royalties and paid $50 on average.

However, Bargain Reading also helps to promote other titles by the author, through its website, articles, and related promotions of the author and his/her works (the whole author approach they use). Bargain Reading calls this secondary promotion and participating authors did see an increase of sales of other titles throughout the promotion period. Every author gets a web page, one or more articles, etc. as part of the promotion.

The other sites in this group have 3 categories of authors and that's how they work promotion on the back side too. Those with "3 or less" works, those with "4 to 12" works and those with "More than 12" works.

Participating authors in the "3 or less" category saw on average 12 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.24, this meant about $16 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "4 to 12" category saw on average 19 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.24, this meant about $25 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "More than 12" category saw on the biggest boost, an average 26 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.24, this meant about $35 in additional earnings.

This meant:

For .99 books the total additional earnings was $38, $47, and $57 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which earned back the investment (just barely sometimes).

For 1.99 books the total additional earnings was $50, $59, and $69 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which earned back the investment (most of the time).

Success Level 2.99, 3.99: 5.

Fewer than 19 @ 2.99 and 12 @ 3.99 sales on average for lower flat-fee ranges ($30 to $40) and fewer than 26 @ 2.99 and 21 @ 3.99 sales on average with higher flat-fee ranges ($40 to $60). Unlike most other services, Bargain Reading doesn't charge rates based on sale price. It's one-flat rate for all, and we loved that.

NOTE: As stated earlier, Bargain Reading lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like the one shown earlier. They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or a sudden sale, they let you send them updates too. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been paid at the price specified during the entire promotion.

With these sales level, authors didn’t earn enough to recoup the cost of the promotion (though it was close). At 2.99, authors earned back $47 on average from royalties and paid $50 on average. At $3.99, authors earned back $46 on average from royalties and paid $50 on average. (The promotion made more because authors earned ~70% on these sales instead of ~35% from Amazon.)

However, Bargain Reading also helps to promote other titles by the author, through websites, articles, and related promotions of the author and his/her works (the whole author approach they use). Bargain Reading calls this secondary promotion and participating authors did see an increase of sales of other titles throughout the promotion period. Every author gets a web page, one or more articles, etc as part of the promotion.

The other sites in this group have 3 categories of authors and that's how they work promotion on the back side too. Those with "3 or less" works, those with "4 to 12" works and those with "More than 12" works.

Participating authors in the "3 or less" category saw on average 8 additional sales (meaning sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.79, this meant about $14 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "4 to 12" category saw on average 12 additional sales (meaning sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles at ~$2.79, this meant about $20 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "More than 12" category saw on the biggest boost, an average 14 additional sales (meaning sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles at $2.79, this meant about $23 in additional earnings.

This meant:

For 2.99 books, the total additional earnings was then $61, $67, and $70 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which did an okay job of earning authors additional value for their investment.

For 3.99 books, the total additional earnings was then $60, $66, and $69 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which did an okay job of earning authors additional value for their investment.


Fussy Reader

Rating: One Thumb up, though high marks for being an excellent value.

Fussy Reader’s total reach is about 1,500,000+. Fussy Reader accomplishes this reach through its own focused pooled mailings lists, its websites, its social media venues and its partner network. Promotion with Fussy Reader also buys you promotion with partner networks, and the coordination is all handled by Fussy Reader.

Fussy Reader also doesn't charge a different rate for the price of featured books. Again, the reason for this is that their promotions focus on the whole author concept and not individual titles per se. That said, authors get 1 primary title for promotion during their 6-month promotion window. Having anyone promote your periodically for 6-months for $60 - $120 is also a pretty good value and a rate of about $10 to $20 per month per title. For that you’ll get mailing list promotion, a web page and targeted periodic marketing. Some repeat authors even got free press releases for new and pre-order titles.

Success Level Free Book: 5.

Like Bargain Reading, Fussy Reader lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like this:

Book 1  Everyday Price: $5.99
June 1 - June 5: FREE
Jul 15 - Jul 30: $2.99
Aug 18 - Aug 20: FREE
Sep 23 - Sep 26: $.99
AMAZON, GOOGLE

They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or an unforeseen sale, they let you send them updates too, though you must give at least 14 days advance notice. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been free during the entire promotion:

Fewer than 1450 downloads (above typical levels) on average for lower flat-fee ranges ($60/$70) and fewer than 2600 downloads on average with higher flat-fee ranges ($110/$120). Most other promotion companies we researched (except Bookbub) brought in about 100 – 200 downloads for each $10 of investment.

By this metric Fussy Reader did well with about 215 downloads per $10 of cost. Unlike most other services, Fussy Reader doesn't charge a different rate for free or paid books. It's one-flat rate for all, and we loved that.

Success Level .99, 1.99: 6.


Fussy Reader also doesn't charge a different rate for the price of featured books. It's one-flat rate for all prices. Fussy Reader accepts all price levels for deals, including boxed sets as high as 9.99. The participating authors tested the service with books priced .99 to 3.99.

NOTE: As stated earlier, Fussy Reader lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like the one shown earlier. They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or a sudden sale, they let you send them updates too. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been paid at the price specified during the entire promotion.

Fewer than 94 @ .99 and 59 @ 1.99 sales on average for lower flat-fee ranges ($60 to $70) and fewer than 187 @ .99 and 121 @ 1.99 sales on average with higher flat-fee ranges ($110 to $120).

With these sales level, authors didn’t earn enough to recoup the cost of the promotion. At .99, authors earned back $49 on average from royalties and paid $90 on average. At $1.99, authors earned back $63 on average from royalties and paid $90 on average.

However, Fussy Reader also helps to promote other titles by the author, through websites, articles, and related promotions of the author and his/her works (the whole author approach they use). Fussy Reader calls this secondary promotion and participating authors did see an increase of sales of other titles throughout the promotion period. Every author gets a web page, one or more articles, etc as part of the promotion.

The other sites in this group have 3 categories of authors and that's how they work promotion on the back side too. Those with "3 or less" works, those with "4 to 12" works and those with "More than 12" works.

Participating authors in the "3 or less" category saw on average 29 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.24, this meant about $39 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "4 to 12" category saw on average 32 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.24, this meant about $43 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "More than 12" category saw on the biggest boost, an average 38 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.24, this meant about $51 in additional earnings.

This meant:

For .99 books, the total additional earnings was then $88, $92, and $99 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which earned back the investment (just barely most of the time).

For 1.99 books, the total additional earnings was then $102, $106, and $114 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which did an okay job of earning authors full value for their investment.

Success Level 2.99, 3.99: 6.

Fewer than 28 @ 2.99 and 23 @ 3.99 sales on average for lower flat-fee ranges ($60 to $70) and fewer than 52 @ 2.99 and 40 @ 3.99 sales on average with higher flat-fee ranges ($110 to $120). Unlike most other services, Fussy Reader doesn't charge rates based on sale price. It's one-flat rate for all, and we loved that.

With these sales level, authors didn’t earn enough to recoup the cost of the promotion (but just barely). At 2.99, authors earned back $84 on average from royalties and paid $90 on average. At $3.99, authors earned back $88 on average from royalties and paid $90 on average. (The promotion made more profit primarily because authors earned ~70% on these sales instead of ~35% at Amazon.)

However, Fussy Reader also helps to promote other titles by the author, through its website, articles, and related promotions of the author and his/her works (the whole author approach they use). Fussy Reader calls this secondary promotion and participating authors did see an increase of sales of other titles throughout the promotion period. Every author gets a web page, one or more articles, etc as part of the promotion.

The other sites in this group have 3 categories of authors and that's how they work promotion on the back side too. Those with "3 or less" works, those with "4 to 12" works and those with "More than 12" works.

These numbers are the same as discussed previously. Participating authors in the "3 or less" category saw on average 16 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.79, this meant about $27 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "4 to 12" category saw on average 19 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles at ~$2.79, this meant about $32 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "More than 12" category saw on the biggest boost, an average 23 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles at $2.79, this meant about $38 in additional earnings.

This meant:

For 2.99 books, the total additional earnings was then $111, $116, and $122 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which did an okay job of earning authors additional value for their investment.

For 3.99 books, the total additional earnings was then $115, $121, and $127 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, which did an okay job of earning authors additional value for their investment.

The Reading Club

Rating: Two thumbs up, and high marks for being an excellent value.

The Reading Club’s total reach is 5,000,000+. The Reading Club accomplishes this reach through its own specialized multilevel mailings lists, its websites, its social media venues and its partner network. Promotion with The Reading Club also buys you promotion with partner networks, and the coordination is all handled by The Reading Club.

The Reading Club also doesn't charge a different rate for the price of featured books, but does charge based on the number works an author has published. The reason for this is that their network is so large and they promote the whole author as well as the title or titles you’ve setup for promotion. That said, authors with “3 or less” works get 1 primary title for promotion during their 6-month promotion window and authors with “4 to 12” or “More than 12” get 2 primary titles for promotion.

Following this, the current rate (and they just changed them so we had to redo our numbers) for 1 promoted mystery/thriller book is:

$440 for “3 or less” authors
$625 / 2 for “4 to 12” authors, which is $312.50 per title
$750 / 2 for “12 or more” authors, which is $375 per title

And the current rate for teen / young adult is:

$180 for “3 or less” authors
$255 / 2 for “4 to 12” authors, which is $127.50 per title
$305 / 2 for “12 or more” authors, which is $152.50 per title

Thus, the low range for cost is between $105 and $150, the midrange of cost is $160 to $280 and the high range of cost is $290 and up. For our purposes, we’ll extrapolate the cost for $100, $200 and $300 of promotion.

Success Level Free Book: 7.

The Reading Club doesn't charge a different rate for free or paid books either. It's one-flat rate for all, and we loved that.

Like Bargain Reading and Fussy Reader, The Reading Club lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like this:

Book 1  Everyday Price: $5.99
June 1 - June 5: FREE
Jul 15 - Jul 30: $2.99
Aug 18 - Aug 20: FREE
Sep 23 - Sep 26: $.99
AMAZON, GOOGLE

They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or an unforeseen sale, they let you send them updates too, though you must give at least 14 days advance notice. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been free during the entire promotion:

On average the participants had 210 – 300 downloads per $10 of cost. Most other promotion companies we researched (except Bookbub) brought in about 100 – 200 downloads for each $10 of investment. By this metric The Reading Club did well.

Success Level .99, 1.99: 8.

The Reading Club also doesn't charge a different rate for the price of featured books. It's one-flat rate for all prices. The Reading Club accepts all price levels for deals, including boxed sets as high as 9.99. The participating authors tested the service with books priced .99 to 3.99.

NOTE: As stated earlier, The Reading Club lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like the one shown earlier. They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or a sudden sale, they let you send them updates too. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been paid at the price specified during the entire promotion.

Fewer than 190 @ .99 and 115 @ 1.99 sales on average for each $100 of cost. With these sales levels, authors didn’t earn enough to recoup the cost of the promotion. At .99, authors earned back $67 on average from royalties for each $100 paid on average. At $1.99, authors earned back $80 on average from royalties for each $100 paid on average. This is per title.

Success Level 2.99, 3.99: 8.

As stated earlier, The Reading Club lets you put titles on and off FREE status, various discount and paid statuses. You do this by giving them a price forecast like the one shown earlier. They then set up promotions around these various free and sale prices. If you have changes or a sudden sale, they let you send them updates too. With this in mind, the following results are extrapolated as if the titles had been paid at the price specified during the entire promotion.

Fewer than 38 @ 2.99 and 23 @ 3.99 sales on average for each $100 of cost. With these sales levels, authors didn’t earn enough to recoup the cost of the promotion. At 2.99, authors earned back $80 on average from royalties for each $100 paid on average. At $3.99, authors earned back $64 on average from royalties for each $100 paid on average. This is per title.

Putting This Together

The Reading Club also helps to promote other titles by the author, through websites, articles, and related promotions of the author and his/her works (the whole author approach they use). The Reading Club calls this secondary promotion and participating authors did see a good increase of sales of other titles throughout the promotion period. Every author gets a web page, articles, press coverage and more during the term of the promotion. Free press releases for some new and pre-order titles was a good perk, but required additional author input.

The 3 categories of authors The Reading Club uses really do have significant meaning. It’s much harder for them to gain traction for authors with 3 or less works than it is for authors with "4 to 12" works or "More than 12" works and this is reflected in the cost of the promotion.

Participating authors in the "3 or less" category saw on average 94 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.44, this meant about $138 in additional earnings. This is during the whole term of the promotion.

Participating authors in the "4 to 12" category saw on average 126 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.44, this meant about $184 in additional earnings.

Participating authors in the "More than 12" category saw on the biggest boost, an average 151 additional sales (sales above typical levels) of their other works during the promotion period. With the average price of these titles ~ $2.44, this meant about $221 in additional earnings.

To put this in perspective, we must look at the additional success per one million readers reached. On average, these numbers are based on about 1.5 million target readers. Genres with larger target audiences would need to be adjusted upward, while genres with lower target audiences would need to be adjusted downward.

As an example, the mystery/thriller authors saw results that were 165% better for additional sales on average because there are currently 2.5 million in the target audience. This meant the additional sales were 155 instead of 94, 207 instead of 126, and 249 instead of 151 on average. Thus, if the mystery/thriller authors spent $750 to promote two titles, the additional earnings were $729 - $965 calculated as follows:

$67 - $80 per $100 plus $227 ($138 * 165%) to $365 ($221 * 165%) = $729 - $965.

Meanwhile, the teen / young adult authors saw results that were 68% of the average for additional sales because there are currently 1.02 million in the target audience. This meant the additional sales were 64 instead of 94, 86 instead of 126 and 103 instead of 151 on average. Thus, if the teen / young adult authors spent $300 to promote two titles, the additional earnings were $295 - $390 calculated:

$67 - $80 per $100 plus $94 ($138 * 68%) to $150 ($221 * 68%) = $295 - $390.


Closing Thoughts

Over all, the participants felt Bargain Reading, Fussy Reader and The Reading Club did a good job of giving value. The participants were pleased that mailing lists were only one part of much larger offerings.

Although sometimes the promotions didn’t quite earn back their full cost, the value of a lengthy promotion window is hard to deny, especially as they continued providing value through multiple special sales and not just a one-time deal.

But if there were any services who hated our numeric ratings (and we mean vehemently) it was The Reading Club, Fussy Reader and Bargain Reading. They didn’t understand how services that performed as well as theirs did, got such low ratings. We explained that the scale was from 1 to 20 and no service has scored higher than 10.

Our ratings were one of the reasons they wanted to work with us to try to improve their services and make them better. Because of the 4- to 6-month promotion windows, it will be some time before we can rate the new enhanced services, but we are tracking results currently. Preliminarily, we do expect to see marginal improvements all around.


Overall, these are good values from services that value you and make it easier for you to be an author.

BOOKMARK AND CHECK BACK.
WILL TRY TO ADD MORE TIPS
FOR GETTING IN WITHIN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS


Tips for Success

When using these services, you’ll do best if you follow this advice:

If you put "ReadIndies" in the notes, they'll know a Tier 1 partner referred you and that should help your chances.

All three services are different. Create a Word document for each with all the information you are going to submit to each and save this. Use this Word document anytime you are going to resubmit. That way you’ll have most everything handy and just need to make a few changes.

Check and double-check your submission before you send it. Provide as much information as you can and as much detail as you can. Whenever they ask for a website address or a link by sure to use the full link, such as http://readindies.blogspot.com. The http:// is needed to pass the data check.

Each of these services has extensive documentation on how it all works read this before submitting. In the lower right corner of each page, you’ll see a link called FAQ or Frequent Questions. Read the FAQ after you read the documentation. It’ll answer any questions you might have (including those you never thought to ask). Each site is different so study each closely before submitting.

Currently, about 1 in 8 get into Bargain Reading, about 1 in 10 into Fussy Reader and about 1 in 20 into The Reading Club. They are highly selective, but the “not getting in” is more about space that anything else. They limit the number of promotions they run at any one time on a per genre basis. All I can say to that is hold queue, hold queue, hold queue. If you use the hold queue, your chances of getting in improve to about 1 in 3 across the board.

Increase your odds even further by drafting a 6-month price forecast for the book or books you are submitting that is TWO – THREEE MONTHS IN THE FUTURE and put this in the “notes/why I should be” section as a single line of text without tabs or line returns, such as:

Book 1 Everyday Price: $5.99. June 1 - June 5: FREE. Jul 15 - Jul 30: $2.99. Aug 18 - Aug 20: FREE. Sep 23 - Sep 26: $.99. AMAZON, GOOGLE.

This will let them know you’ve taken the time to learn about how their system works and are serious about getting a promotion. The 2-3 month in the future part is important because they typically are booked at least 3 months ahead of time. Thus, if it is April, give them a 6-month price forecast starting in June or better still, July. Be sure to specify where the sales will be. Simply state AMAZON, GOOGLE, KOBO, APPLE, NOOK or any appropriate combination, even if only: AMAZON.

If it says 25-word Bio or 25-word descriptions, they really mean 25 words, not 26 and not 30 or 50 or 100.

Make each listing unique, if possible. If you are asked to provide a summary of your book, try to make this unique each time.

Be sure to track the date you submit your promotions. You are allowed to submit once every 30 days to each service. Don’t submit more than once every 30 days to any of these.

Make sure you provide an email address that you check regularly. It will be used for all correspondence. If you are accepted, you’ll receive an emailed invoice through PayPal with a request for payment. Make sure you have a PayPal account set up beforehand.


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Thanks for reading!

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