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Authors Use Multi-tiered Strategies To Gain Max Exposure In Book Price Promotions

29 September 2017

From Digital Book World:

Book price promotions are one of the most useful strategies independent authors have for finding new readers and shifting units. Price promotions are like sales: authors lower their price of their book to encourage new people to try it. However, temporarily reducing your book to 99 cents (or free) won’t matter unless the right readers know about your price promotion.

That’s where online book promotion services step into the picture. If you’re not familiar with sites like BookBub, they’re places where readers can find discounted and free books — and sign up for newsletters to notify them of the latest deals within their genres of interest. Getting your book featured by the most popular services is incredibly valuable, will almost guarantee a bump in sales and downloads. However, these placements are not guaranteed, and your promotion can always benefit from being featured elsewhere. In these situations, smaller promo services are worth considering.

Reedsy has released an evolving directory of Book Promotion Services. Authors can use it to search for prospective book promotion services, sorting by genre, advertising costs, and mailing list size.

. . . .

Rhetorical question: when you’re planning your price promotions, would you rather put all your eggs in one basket or try to get every last bit of exposure possible?

Let’s say you’re planning a week free promotion with the aim of getting 50 reviews for your self-published book. You want to ensure that you’re getting a steady flow of downloads, as it will improve your rank in Amazon’s Free store much more than a one-day spike.

To “trickle-in” these new readers, you will arrange for your “Tier I” promotions (the ones with the greatest track record, with whom it is commonly more expensive to work) to run on different days, supported by promotions on Tier II, Tier III (and maybe Tier IV) sites. For example, the first three days of your Amazon Free Promotion might be supported by paid promotional placements as follows:


  • BookBub (Tier I) – from $55
  • Book Gorilla (Tier II) – from $5
  • Book Runes (Tier III) – from $25
  • Book Praiser (Tier IV) – free to list


  • Free Booksy (Tier I) – from $40
  • The Fussy Librarian (Tier II) – from $40
  • Just Kindle Books (Tier III) – from $15
  • Feed Your Reader (Tier IV) – free to list


  • Book Sends (Tier I) – from $10
  • BKnights (Tier II) – from $5
  • My Book Place (Tier III) – from $25
  • New Free Kindle Books (Tier IV) – free to list

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

PG says to feel free to share your experiences with these promotional sites in the comments.


18 Comments to “Authors Use Multi-tiered Strategies To Gain Max Exposure In Book Price Promotions”

  1. BKnights is a great site to run with if you want to see books about the health benefits of coconut oil dominating your also-boughts. Surprised DBW ranked them “Tier II.”

  2. The only problem with Book Promotion Services is once they become popular they get flooded by ‘everyone’ else and your book is again lost in the crowd.

  3. In what world does Bookbub cost only $55?

  4. I was pretty excited until I tried to narrow the genre and my only genre choices were Romance and Sci Fi.
    Um… Mystery???

  5. I tried Freebooksy. They didn’t supply any data on how many people clicked on the link. For all I know it was zero and all the books I gave away were to people who found it through Amazon or my own promo posts for the five day giveaway.

    A week later Amazon took my book off the best seller rankings on the grounds that my book was being manipulated to boost its rankings. The notice included a helpful note urging me to “thoroughly review any marketing services” I employ.

    Not planning to use it again.

  6. When you do a free book promotion on Amazon, you’ll get quite a few downloads without even mentioning it anywhere. The last time I did a Bookbub promotion, I set the book to free on Amazon a couple of days in advance just to be certain all was well, but I didn’t mention it anywhere, not even on social media. To my surprise, I had nearly 1000 downloads before the Bookbub promotion ran. I’ve since discovered that there are quite a few sites that routinely search Amazon for books set to free and promote them even without you asking. Every little bit helps, I guess.

  7. I tried a combo of several (not including Bookbub) this week, all on Thursday. My book, The Demon of Histlewick Downs, maxed out at 48 on the Free “bestsellers” list, and stayed on that list for about 24 hours. It’s still (on Friday night) ranked at 118 overall. It’s also ranking well (#8) in Scifi/Fantasy and several of its subgenres, including #1 in Metaphysical and Visionary. That equates to nearly 3000 free books downloaded – we’ll see within the next few days whether that kind of exposure leads anywhere.

    • I hope you’ll post your results.

      • It’s nearing the end of the 5 day free promotion, and I still gave away 120 books so far today. I suspect ranking on the Amazon free page is driving those downloads, since I’m now several days out from the initial promotion. Kindle Unlimited reads have increased somewhat, but not yet impressively, for both the initial book and the sequel. Will be interesting to see what happens once the free promotion ends.

  8. First, be aware the reedsy database is by no means complete. Take the time to search the web for others. I found a few alternative lists on the web, many not in reedsy yet.

    Second, understand that many of these sites have review requirements. Some require a minimum number of reviews, some require a particular rating, and others require both. New authors with few or no reviews will need to look harder for alternatives.

    Third, remember that while the sites publicize on the day you request, readers may not notice until a day or two later. Consider extending your promotion at least a day past your biggest blast.

    That said, I’ve used free services for a free promotion for my wife’s first book. (No reviews, remember, so most sites won’t look at me.) It certainly helped — pushed us to top 100 free in our sub-genre, and some of the momentum carried over to paid books in the United Kingdom, where we’re top 100 in our genre almost two weeks after the promotion.

  9. Fussy Librarian. Always a reasonable result although reducing over the last 12 months as the market becomes more saturated. Professionally run.
    FKBT- always a good result and my books earn the outlay back with some left over. Another very professional site.
    Amazon ads – no good whatsoever.
    Facebook Ads – hardly a blip on the radar.
    Bookbub- show me a way to get accepted when your book isn’t free and I will try it. Really hard to get an entree. This despite the fact that four of my books ranked continuously in the UK for over 7 years.
    Book Awards of various sorts – great kudos and validation in the indie marketplace.
    Looking forward to trying those sites mentioned in Dave Gaughran’s post today.
    PS; Wish my husband was like PG and could promote my list. Lucky lady – Mrs. PG! 😉

  10. Ricardo from Reedsy here. Sorry re the genres thing. Most of these sites will feature books from pretty much any genre, so we’ve put them into the “all genres” category. If you filter by genre (like “science fiction”) you’ll find sites that specialize in that genre (and a few others). And there aren’t that many.

    And yes, list is by no means exhaustive. We’ve found 300+ promo sites out there, but we just wanted to feature the ones we’d had positive feedback on from authors.

  11. My go-to list of ad sites has been scrubbed recently. I’ve got another BookBub soon, and I’ve stacked a few ads with it, but limited those to a few I would consider Tier II (which is not the same as this list).

    The main limitation now is the booking time frame. Tier 1, (other than BookBub), allow booking far more than 30 days out, so they’re almost always full for SF by the time Bub says they’re going to feature you. Even some of the Tier 2 are like that now.

    It often feels like I can either book a promo that relies heavily on BookBub but no other heavy hitters OR I can book far ahead and book more good ones (like Robin Reads or BookBarbarian) and know for sure I won’t have a Bub because I’ll have to apply for a specific set of days.

    And in what universe is anything Bub $55?

    Also, given the botting situation, I’ve stopped doing any promos on my KU books while I evaluate the situation further. Ads are now a high risk proposition. Botters are selecting real authors in KU who have ads running and botting them in order to hide that they are botters. Amazon’s hammer is falling hard on the real authors…but not the botter accounts, because that’s whack-a-mole.

  12. Some of these prices are wrong, at least according to my experience over the past few years. Yes, you can do a $55 Bub ad if you’re advertising a free, nonfiction political/current events book. But they can also run $500+ for a free book, and over $1,000 for a $0.99 book, depending on genre.

    I’ve run several BookGorilla ads in the past, and their cheapest is $40 (for children, teens, humor, nonfiction). I’ve never seen a place on their site that discusses $5 ads. Maybe the author of the post will come along and tell us where to find it – or maybe he accidentally left off a zero.

    Fussy is $8 – $18, unless something has recently changed, not the $40 stated in the article – again, unless he’s found a section on their site that I’ve never seen.

    These are just the sites I’ve used at one time or another. I don’t know about the others, but if two of the three I’ve used are wrong here ….

  13. Reader here, so just a note that these are the sites I have found to be the most consistent places for new-to-me writers I’ve enjoyed:

    Book Basset
    Book Sends
    Digital Book Today
    eReader News Today
    Free Booksy
    Robin Reads

  14. I’ve tried more than 40 of these sites over the last two years, always one at a time the first time I try one, and while I’m not doing any other promotion, so I can see what the results are. For my genre (thrillers), here’s a high level summary of what I’ve found:

    – 99 cent sales no longer make sense in comparison to free promotions. Unless you’re on BookBub, they won’t usually recover the fee, or generate many new fans. More to the point, a good free promotion will pay for itself many times over through paid sales in the next couple of days plus kindle reads, which will stay elevated for up to a month

    – in order to get a good result, you need to get at least 1000 downloads. By “a good result,” I mean meaningful (and perhaps any) follow on paid sales over the next few days, and lots of page reads. A free sale with over 1000 downloads should pay back several times

    – there are only three services I’ve found (BookBub aside) that will usually yield 1000 – 1800 downloads in my category. They are Freebooksy, RobinReads and ENT (lately not as well), in that order

    – Running on two of these, and adding a couple of other, cheaper, lower tier providers the same day can take you much higher.

    – My last ad, one week ago, ran on Freebooksy, plus ENT, BookCave, Choosy Bookworm and Fussy Librarians new free newsletter yielded 4,350 downloads, bringing it up to #4 in Suspense and #6 in thrillers, as well as #1 in several sub categories. The total cost was $160, and has already paid off, plus yielding two 5 star reviews already

    – For each of my books I run an ad on the three top services every 4 to 5 months and don’t bother with any of the smaller services at all anymore, except sometimes to coincide with one of my main promos, particularly if I have a discount coupon

    – FKBT used to be good for paid sales, but they’ve gone all in on free promos, and lowered their standards in doing so. I only get 300 – 400 downloads through them now, so I may add them to one of the three above, or with another middling site like OHFB, but not as a stand alone

    – one way to get a quick idea which services can produce and which can’t is to check the site’s rank at Alexa.com. A good site will rank high, maybe as high as 20,000 in the US. A bad one will be 800,000, or in the millions.

    – I haven’t experimented with multi-day sales that much, but my sense is that you’ll do better running one day sales periodically rather than straight

    – A major, and sometimes overlooked, advantage of free promos is that they will reliably generate more reviews – not huge numbers, but a good promo may yield from a couple to half a dozen

    – Disregard figures that include numbers of FB and Twitter followers. Those channels don’t produce and often the numbers aren’t “real”

    – Ignore offers to post ads at sites. They don’t produce.

    – Ignore Twitter only services.

    – In short, only the daily newsletters produce well, and for thrillers, at least, only a few produce well

    – BookBub ads can be highly targeted, but are still way too expensive to produce worthwhile results

    So, to summarize, what I’ve found is that it’s a waste of my time and money to bother advertising with more than a small handful of daily promo email services. For some genres, like Romance, there may be additional sites that produce. It may be, also, that for some genres, FB and Twitter might work, but other research suggests otherwise.

    So the good news, in my experience, is that free promos on really good daily newsletters are the easiest, most efficient, most cost-effective way for an author to sell books. The bad news is that there aren’t enough of them.

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