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Some Book Promotion Sites Have Lost Their Luster

15 January 2016

From Indies Unlimited:

I (Julie) ran an ad for one of Bob’s contemporary fiction genre books at a sale price of 99 cents on March 21, 2015 with:

EbookSoda ($10)
eBookBooster  $25 (eBookBooster is a site that agrees to send your ad out to various sites, 25 sites for $25, including Awesome Gang, Sweeties Picks, Ebook-Saurus, eBookLister, and maybe HotZippy – maybe was their word, never did know if it was included or not).
Sold 2 books total.

I thought they couldn’t all be that ineffective, so I decided to try some of eBookBooster’s sites directly. Yep, they’re all that ineffective.

Ran an ad for a different book in March with:

Read Cheaply ($15)
eBookLister ($20)
Ebook-Saurus ($10 for premium listing)
Sold 0.

Ran an ad on April 10 with Awesome Gang ($10 for featured book listing)
Sold 2

Ran another ad with EbookSoda ($10)
Sold 4

Ran an ad in November for BKnights ($5)
Sold 3

Have tried multiple ads with Fussy Librarian ($15)
Never sell more than 3.

To summarize, with ads through EbookSoda, eBookBooster (including Awesome Gang, Sweeties Picks, Ebook-Saurus, eBookLister), Read Cheaply, BKnights, and Fussy Librarian, I spent $120.00 and sold a total of 14 books. At $0.35 per book, That means Bob took in $4.90, which translates to being down by $115.10.

Link to the rest at Indies Unlimited and thanks to Suzie for the tip.


20 Comments to “Some Book Promotion Sites Have Lost Their Luster”

  1. I haven’t heard of most of these. I used to be subscribed to Read Cheaply, but dropped them. They funnel you through a page on THEIR site before letting you go to B & N or Amazon or wherever. And if you don’t click on the link in their email RIGHT AWAY, the link sends you to a page that tells you the sale is over. I might get the email at noon, but I don’t make it out of work and to a decent computer until four or five o’clock. Why keep getting a sale list that won’t even let me buy the book I want?

    Yes, I can look it up on Amazon. And I have. But I have to be REALLY interested in the blurb and cover for that. Not usually the case.

  2. None of those listed are worth using in my opinion.

    Bookbub, ENT, Robin Reads, Freebooksy are the only ones I use now, and those sparingly. Subscribers DO get tired of seeing the same covers popping up in their inboxes.

  3. I’m still very new to self-publishing (just a year in) but it seems to me that first Facebook’s monetization gutted the reach of bloggers and now the impact of freebies promoted through the usual newsletters is also waning. If I’m wrong about either or both, I’d like to understand how to make better use of each. As it is, the only promotion success I’m seeing is through Facebook advertising and building my newsletter.

  4. I concur on Ebooksoda. Tried them once, no results (for a non-99c title). I think it was early last year, but it may have been late 2014.

  5. Many of us have known this for some time. A lot of those sites were never that effective, at least I remember that being the case back in 2013.

    I still get some traction off of Book Basset, I’ll say that.

    I believe that we know have to go with KDP Select, having the first book of a series exclusive. Used to be perma-free could do it for you, but I feel that’s losing its luster.

  6. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Book Barbarian for SF&F. I’ll try them once the third book of my series is out.

    • I did an ad with them about a week ago, and had good results (40 sales). So I made back the cost of the ad, plus $13. Only the second ad I’ve ever run, the first being on Kboards, from which I had 0 sales. An ad with EbookSoda earlier this week: 2 sales. So BookBarbarian good, EbookSoda bad.

    • Never heard of Book Barbarian; as a reader I’ll check them out. Thanks for stopping by.

    • I’ve had good success with Book Barbarian 3 times now. If you write SFF, I’d recommend them over just about any service except BookBub.

    • I love Book Barbarian! They’re a great list and I also get good results when I advertise with them.

  7. I tried bknights on a permafree. If I judge by the numbers others had reported, I did poorly.

  8. Among those listed, I’ll add that I did a post-holiday promo on January 3 with Fussy Librarian and sold 43 books. It was a $.99 sale and didn’t completely pay for itself on the same day. But it was a nice bump to sales rank and was immediately folowed by a spike in KENP reads, so was well worth it for me. The only other name I recognize in this list is BKnights, and my results with them have been iffy.

  9. My experience matches this.

    Lots of ads, nothing to show for it.

    And a year later, I still get spam from these companies I advertise more than an year ago. They won’t let me unsubscribe without “logging in”, so pressing spam was easier.

    And that makes me wonder- how many people actually get these emails? Gmail now routinely sends all ebook list emails to spam, and I never bother to correct it, as most of them are spam.

    Are readers even getting these emails? It’s no good saying “We have 10 bazillion subscribers” if none are getting the email (because it is going to spam).

  10. I have had excellent results from BookBub, Freebooksy, and eReaderIQ. I’ve had good results from Fussy Librarian, OHFB, Lendle, and ManyBooks. I’m advertising the permafree Book I of a series, so I judge not only by number of downloads of the freebie but also of follow-up sales of Books II and III.

    I also advertise with the smaller sites (EbookSoda, Riffle, ReadersInTheKnow) because my marketing strategy consists mostly of getting Book I onto as many ereaders/Kindles as possible. The smaller sites don’t charge all that much, and mixing cheap ads with the costlier ones tends to keep my sales rank up.

  11. Other than the Fussy Librarian, I’ve never heard of these other sites. I do find books I’m willing to take a chance on with BookBub, eReader IQ, Pixel of Ink, and Book Gorilla, all of which I read as soon as they turn up in my inbox. Otherwise they pile up.

  12. Sounds more like a problem with the book than the sites. I’ve always done well with BK Knights.

  13. Yes I was wondering that too. I haven’t gone to look, too lazy right now, but the genre, cover, blurb and title, etc. might be part of the author’s problem. And I always assumed the real benefit for these kinds of promotions wasn’t sales of that particular book, but for an author’s other books, which work best if you have several in a series.

  14. I’ve had decent results with Book Barbarian and Fussy Librarian (a few dozen sales each), and had a very successful $0.99 promo this month using Awesome Gang, BK Knight and Betty Book Freak (with the book selling over 200 copies plus 50K+ KENP pages daily during the promo dates) but it’s hard to tell if the ads paid off or the Facebook ad I placed at the same time helped the sales. One problem with using multiple sites is that it’s difficult to credit any of them for a book’s success.

    A week after the last promo ad came out, sales skyrocketed yet again, which I can only attribute to Amazon’s rankings making the book visible. On the other hand, if those ads hadn’t moved the book into a few Hot New Release Lists, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the follow-up sales.

    I’ve only run about ten promotions over twenty-four months, so I still don’t have a feel for what works.

  15. I ran a promotion with BKnights and eBookBooster over the Christmas break (couldn’t get into BookBub), and sold thousands of copies. Not sure what to chalk it up to, but in my mind it’s a little premature to call the services dead.

  16. What book did you promote with our services? Let me know and I’d be happy to take a look.

    There are many variables that determine the effectiveness of an ebook promotion such as book cover quality, number of reviews, ebook rating and the editorial needs of the sites submitted to. The various ebook sites can get pretty busy so that can be another factor.

    With bargain ebooks there are only so many sites that accept submissions (with no charge) so we continually update our list to include all that we can find.

    Anyway, would love to know which book and we can take a closer look.



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