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3.12.2015

Promoting a First Novel with Book Promotion Services – Which Should I use?

Recently, received an excellent question in the comments from “Dollar for Dollar Are These the Best Book Promotion Services?” regarding promotion of first novels and wanted to put the answer in its own post as I think it may be helpful to other first-time writers.

Question: If I am trying to promote my first novel, should I avoid these services? - as I wouldn't earn enough to recoup the costs, and I don't have any other titles that might benefit. Any recommendations for first timers?

Answer: On the contrary, BargainReading, Fussy Reader and The Reading Club truly are the best performers with respect to return on investment, dollar for dollar. Under our focused tests, which carefully tracked only true results, these three actually either came very close to earning back 100% of the investment or actually earned back the investment plus. No other book promotions services we’ve tested have done that, ENT and BookBub included.

Enewsreadertoday and BookBub remain top recommendations and thumbs up selections. However, they didn’t give a full return on investment. With Enewsreadertoday: At .99, authors earned back $7 on average from royalties and paid $30 on average. At $1.99, authors earned back $14 on average from royalties and paid $45 on average. At $2.99, authors earned back $62 on average from royalties and paid $90 on average.

@ .99 this is a .23 ROI. @ 1.99 this is a .31 ROI. @ 2.99 this is a .69 ROI. All of which is a good and tangible result, which you don’t necessarily see with marketing.

With BookBub: 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.

@ .99 this is a .26 ROI. @ 1.99 this is a .29 ROI. @ 2.99 this is a .61 ROI. All of which is a good and tangible result.


The reason ENT and BookBub remain top recommendations are because you typically don’t see complete return of investment from marketing – the actual return isn’t necessarily a tangible result. This is true of all marketing – all marketing ever done. Marketing isn’t necessarily about the instant sales. It’s about building recognition, brand, name, etc. What you get with ENT is access to some segment of 500,000 readers. What you get with BookBub is access to some segment of 5 million readers.

Similarly, Bargain Reading gives you access to 500,000 readers. Fussy Reader, access to 1.5 million readers. The Reading Club, access to 5 million readers.

With Bargain Reading, for .99 books the earnings were $38, $47, and $57 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, after paying $50 on average. For 1.99 books the was $50, $59, and $69 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, after paying $50 on average, actually showing ROI.

@ .99 the ROI is .76, .94 and 1.14 respectively.
@ 1.99 the ROI is 1.0, 1.18 and 1.38 respectively.
@ 2.99 the ROI is 1.22, 1.34 and 1.4 respectively.

All of which are exceptional, tangible results.

With Fussy Reader, For .99 books, the earnings were $88, $92, and $99 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, after paying $90 on average. For 1.99 books, the earnings were $102, $106, and $114 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, after paying $90 on average. For 2.99 books, the earnings were $111, $116, and $122 respectively for “3 or less”, “4 to 12” and “More than 12” authors, after paying $90 on average.

@ .99 the ROI is .98, 1.02 and 1.1 respectively.
@ 1.99 the ROI is 1.13, 1.18 and 1.27 respectively.
@ 2.99 the ROI is 1.23, 1.29 and 1.36 respectively.

All of which are exceptional, tangible results.

With The Reading Club, authors who paid $300, earned back $295 to $390 and authors who paid $750 earned back $729 to $965. Thus, the ROI ranged from .98 to 1.3 for genres with smaller audiences and from .97 to 1.29 for genres with larger audiences.

All of which are exceptional, tangible results.

That said, it’s very hard to build following and sales with a first novel. Better to write the second than to spend money on marketing, but if you’re going to spend money, services that give you value over time would be your best bet, rather than one-time listings. 

With first-time novelists, I would avoid one-time listings for the most part, unless your book has been well received and has many favorable reviews. For that reason, I would more readily recommend BargainReading, Fussy Reader and The Reading Club to first-time novelists over the alternatives. You’re going to get so much more value for your money with respect to the things that can lead to long-term success: name/brand recognition, awareness, etc. As an example, Bargain Reading and Fussy Reader cost less than $20 a month for regular promotion and you'll get so much more value than if you purchased a few $10 listings somewhere.

But you really need to keep working on the next and the next novel to build that to success.  

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