Advertising, Book Promotion, Business, Indie Publishing, Marketing, Publishing

Advertising Options For Self-Published Books

Bare Organics (1)

 

Recently, a friend of mine asked me where was the best place to advertise her book?  At first I had no answer, sure I had written a blog post years ago called, ‘Cheap Advertising For Indie Authors’ but that was outdated.  And to be honest, most of the places I once advertised at are now defunct like, Pixel of Ink, whereas places like Fussy Librarian, have changed their rules because of what has been dubbed, The Amazon Purge.  We all know about BookBub, but not everybody can afford that, so where are the best places to advertise now?  I decided to go on a mission and find out.

Before I go on, I have to give the obvious disclaimer:  Advertising of any kind isn’t going to guarantee book sales.  In fact, I met an author whose book sales went down while doing a BookBub ad, imagine that!  Also, I am not affiliated with any of the sites or services mentioned.

Trends In Book Advertising: Social Media & Amazon Ads

Thriller writer Mark Dawson, started a Facebook advertising course that was very popular among indie authors looking for a cheaper alternative to BookBub.  However, not all authors saw success, for example, YA and children’s authors didn’t seem to get the results that romance authors do.

Then a year later, Amazon ads became hot and this made more sense.  Instead of luring people to Amazon from Facebook, why not advertise to people already on Amazon?  Chances are they’re at Amazon to buy something so why not entice them with a book?  Indie author Brian Meeks, created a course on Teachable for those looking to master Amazon ads, it has a $500 price tag but if you can’t afford that, he also has a book available on Amazon for $9.99 here.

If you’re not sure which one you want to try, Amazon has weekly free webinars for beginners and Facebook has courses that are also, 100% free. Also, Dave Chesson, of Kindlepreneur has a free course on Amazon ads.

The Obvious Problem:

The biggest barrier for most authors is the learning curve, it requires authors to study copywriting, keywords and graphic design.  Not all authors are capable or willing to learn these things.  Many indie authors work 9 to 5 jobs or have personal obligations and this is just another hurdle in the publishing world.  That’s where discount newsletters like BookBub become a Godsend.  You just give them the money, and they handle the rest but as I said previously, not everyone can afford it.

Alternatives To BookBub: Those ‘Other’ Discount Book Sites

Believe it or not, BookBub is not the only discount newsletter geared towards readers.  There are others and though, many of them don’t have the reach of BookBub (which has 3.4 million subscribers in crime fiction alone) they are cheaper and some of them reach hundreds of thousands of readers.  Like BookBub, many of them charge according to the popularity of the genre as well as the type of ad such Deal of the Day type of ad or a simple slot in the newsletter.

Below I only listed those that feature book sales and not freebies sites:

  • Kindle Books & Tips: Reaches 600,000 people on their two apps and 150,000 on their email list, social media and blog, they cost around $25 – $125.

 

  • Book Gorilla: Reaches 350,000 followers over a range of platform such as apps, social media as well as email and costs around $40 – $50.

 

 

  • Ereader News Today: Has 200,000 subscribers as well as 500,000 Facebook followers and costs around $40 – $150.

 

  • Robin Reads: They have around 194,000 members and cost around $45 – $85.

 

 

  • Bargain Booksy: Reaches 150,000 people through all their channels and costs around $40 – $200.

 

  • Book Sends: Has 120,000 subscribers and costs around $20 – $125.

 

 

  • Read Cheaply: Has 70,000 engaged newsletter subscribers over 23 genres.

 

  • EreaderIQ: Has around 47,000 email subscribers and cost around $10 – $40.

 

  • Book Barbarian: Has 54,000 hardcore sci-fi & fantasy subscribers to their daily newsletter as well as 19,000 Facebook fans and costs around  $30 – $50.

 

  • Book Runes: Has 30,000 active readers and costs $25, they also do combo promos with Booksends.

 

  • EbookSoda: Has 22,000 subscribers and 40,000 Twitter as well as 12,000 Facebook followers.  Their prices range from $9 – $20.

 

A Tip For A Stress Free Experience

The first thing I would recommend an author do before putting down any money is to read the rules of these sites carefully.  Several of them have requirements regarding; reviews, covers, and pricing.  Also, some of them offer refunds while others do not, so author beware.  The author I mentioned earlier, said he got a partial refund from BookBub but isn’t allowed to discuss the details.  Go figure.

Now there you have it, updated advertising options, if you know of any more sites that I  should check out, please let me know in the comment section.

 

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Advertising, Book Promotion, Book Reviews, Indie Publishing, Marketing, Publishing

How to Increase Your Book’s Odds at BookBub

HomepageScreenMany indie authors call Bookbub the golden standard of online book advertising and I can’t say I disagree. Over the years their competitors like Pixel of Ink have either stopped accepting submissions or have gone under. Meanwhile Bookbub has only continued to grow with no signs of slowing down.  In fact just two weeks ago, Bookbub announced they’ve secured seven million dollars in funding to take their company global. This is great news for indie authors who want to reach more readers and make more money from advertising.

Facts You Need to Know

  • BookBub has a subscriber base of over 5 million members
  • BookBub subscribers are spenders.
  • BookBub has strict standards accepting only 10-20% of submissions
  • They are not the most expensive place to advertise
  • Most indie authors who use their services get an ROI (Return on investment)
  • Even indie authors who don’t get an ROI, report a small boost in sales

Reviews Are Critical?

Author Brian Cohen, from the Sell More Books Show wanted to get his YA book, Ted Saves the World a Boobkbub ad however, that proved to be more difficult than expected. After several rejections, he wanted to know what the problem was.  Determined to get answers, he studied BookBub and particularly, their YA list then noticed that many of the books in his genre had over 130 reviews, at the time, his book only had 115.  Meanwhile, the bestsellers had anywhere between 200-300 reviews.  He’s not the only author to notice this, many indie authors have also had to secure more reviews before Bookbub gave them the nod. However Bookbub claims  reviews aren’t a deal breaker but I doubt they hurt your odds.

Tip: In February, BookBub held a discussion on the Kboards and answered many questions for indie authors.  It’s very informative for those considering buying an ad.

Blurb

Next to editing, writing a blurb is the most hated of tasks according to most authors. In fact, there are books and online courses devoted solely to helping authors nail this craft. However your blurb is not only important for your book’s Amazon sales page but also to BookBub.  If your book sounds boring, why would they want to promote it? This would hurt their reputation with their subscribers. You have to remember this site is oriented toward readers, not authors. They don’t just take anything that comes in the door.

Your Cover

Many authors believe that they need to like their book cover but that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. This year at IndieRecon, bestselling author H.M. Ward, talked about how she didn’t necessary like all her book covers. In the beginning of her career, when her romance novels weren’t selling, she did some careful investigation and realized none of her book covers matched those on the market. Hers were more artsy and whimsical, while the books that were selling had pictures of attractive people in sexy poses.

It was a harsh lesson in marketing but she learned, romance readers expect a certain type of product.  BookBub is no different, they expect your book to look a certain way whether it’s a sci-fi novel, or an erotic book.  If the cover looks bland or weird, they may just pass it up.  Remember presentation matters in this industry.

Price

Price is a big deal on BookBub, if you read the page written exclusively for their subscribers, you’ll see they promise free and deeply discounted books.  This means you have to compete and either go low, or even free.  For those of you who are concerned about going too low, BookBub claims that 65% of their readers have reported recommending books they got for free on the site. Who knew?

Be Flexible

Some authors have been willing to forgo advertising on major holidays and weekends in order to get their book in BookBub. There is a comment section of the application that allows you to alert them to the fact that you are not particular about dates. P.S. This didn’t work with our friend Brian Cohen. 😦

Study BookBub’s Patterns

In every genre there is a pattern or theme that BookBub is favoring at any given time. Now ask yourself, does your book even come near that? For example, if you’re looking to advertise your romance novel, are they favoring historical romances or contemporary ones? It would be wise to sign up for their newsletter (for readers) and see if you can find patterns.  Also, don’t forget to sign up for their blog as well.

Alternatives

If you’ve done all that you can and BookBub is still not accepting your submission, then try going to their competitor like Ereader News Today, another site that indie authors rave about.  You can also check out a post I wrote last year: Cheap Advertising for Indie Authors for more alternatives.

 

Advertising, Business, Marketing

Cheap Book Advertising for Indie Authors

 

Final Advertising Pic

Update: 12/6/21015

Several of these advertising sites have changed their policies since the publication of this post.  Please be sure to go to the actual website and read carefully the terms and conditions before signing anything.  ~Rachel Rueben

Recently, we had a discussion on the podcast about marketing and the subject of advertising versus PR (social media) came up.  One of the guests who had a background in marketing said, “Many authors buy Facebook ads and don’t sell anything.”  She went on to explain that PR and marketing were different animals and not many authors know that.  I agreed, though I had to come to that conclusion the hard way.  I too advertised on Facebook, and Goodreads then wondered why I got no return on my investment.  I quickly learned that the best places to advertise are in email newsletters but not all of them are cheap or indie friendly, so I went on a quest to find affordable and effective advertising.

In my search I found lots of sites with poor web traffic charging upwards of $6,000 for an ad.  And when I say poor web traffic, I mean sites with less traffic than my own blog.  Indies have to be careful, there are a lot of people looking to take advantage of a naïve author.  Case in point, a website catering to ebook readers emerged recently and was actively promoting on indie forums.  However, when several authors did a little digging, it was discovered the site had an Alexa rating that was comparable to that of a small blog.  To add to the confusion, they (the site) boasted of a subscriber base of over 100,000 readers which seemed impossible.  Then a theory was purposed that maybe the site had purchased an email list and was most likely spamming people.  I won’t list that one here and I’m warning all authors to do their research before handing over any money for an ad, blog tour or social media blitz.

It wasn’t easy finding 10 sites that are cheap and indie friendly.  I searched in author forums, blogs and even went to social media to find out what authors were saying about their experiences buying ads on these various sites.  Those with bad customer service where automatically left out, while those with no tangible ROI outside of exposure were kicked to the curb.  Some of the places listed are well known in the indie community, while others might be new to you.

The Obvious Disclaimer: 

I need to warn you that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to advertising.  Just because one author had success with a particular site doesn’t mean you’ll reap the same benefits.  There are many factors that come into play when it comes to a successful marketing campaign like; popularity of genre, timing, placement, packaging and platform.

10 Cheap Promotional Ads for Your Books

Pixel of Ink
Is free, but your book must be .99 cents or lower to qualify and there’s no guarantee that your book will be picked.  From what I’ve been told, it’s hard to get in.

Ereader News Today aka ENT: Takes 25% of all sales made through their ads and they exclusively use PayPal.  Many indie authors swear by this site.

Masquerade Books: Offers to Tweet your book 200-500 times as well as post a promo ad on their site for $20-$30.

Book Praiser: Advertises your book to 120 sites including social media groups $30

Ebook Booster Advertises your book (which must be priced at 0.99 cents) to over 30 sites for $30.

Kboards: Their ads range from $35 for a featured book 1 day to a 7 day feature book at $195.

BookBub Is the golden standard of advertising that many indies swear by.  Prices here range depending on genre, with the lowest price at $40 for Parenting books, to the highest being $640 for Mysteries.  Be warned they take the price of your book into consideration so the cheaper your book is, the less expensive the ad will be.

Book Send is set up like BookBub where they charge you based on Genre, the lowest price being $10 for YA and $100 for Romance. They claim to have over 60,000 subscribers.

Kindle Nation Daily aka Book Gorilla
Now I know this one is a wee bit expensive but I’m listing KND anyway. Why? Because I used this site myself and it worked for me and many others.  Keep in mind this was 2 years ago and a few authors have complained that KND doesn’t seem to work anymore for them.  Prices starts at $99 for a one day feature and ends at $529 for Thriller of the Week.

Kindle Books and Tips
I just discovered this site via the Kboards.  At $50 this site has done well for both fiction and nonfiction authors.

Freebie, Shmeebie

For those of you doing a giveaway, there are millions of sites on the internet willing to help you promote for free.  Heck, if you do nothing to promote your free book it will probably still do well in most cases.  So I’m not listing freebie promotions, just the sites that offer ads for books on sale.  You know, so we can actually make money for a change.

Now back to you, do you know of any cheap and effective sites to advertise a book?  Spill the tea and keep another indie author from wasting their money.