There are hundreds of eMarketing sites who promote free and discounted ebook deals to their subscribers. Each service has numerous genre-specific email lists. Publishers and authors can submit a discounted book to be included on an emailed newsletter, but there is a cost, minimum criteria and, for some lists, heavy competition for spaces. The cost of being featured varies considerably, depending on the platform, genre and price of the book.
We do submit selected books to some of these sites. This will depend on fulfilling the site requirements (e.g. number of quality reviews). For instance, we may submit a book when it hits a sales target of 500 copies triggering another round of publicity, or at the 3-month review stage, depending on the level of reviews. The newsletters link to the books on Amazon, and we arrange for the price to be reduced to the promotional price (generally $0.99 – 1.99) before the newsletter goes out. We do not offer free books ourselves, and focus on the larger ones, with titles that have been well reviewed. But authors can also use these sites to promote books. You can request the accompanying discount price on the author forum, but we will need two months notice.
There are no guarantees as to how many people will download your book, and well-known names obviously do much better. The downloads you do get could lead to other sales through word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews, but again, there are no guarantees.
Many of the smaller sites come and go, and prices are always changing. But here’s a list of the main ones, in very approximate order of size:
Amazon Marketing Services
This is a paid service offered by Amazon. You can place a small advert (book cover a few words and link to your book page) on the page of a competitive book in your genre, or on the page of a bestseller in your genre or on a keyword search. All the information you need is in the link above. Results of this service have been mixed in our opinion and on author forums: https://www.indiesunlimited.com/2017/05/01/the-key-to-amazon-marketing-services-ads-keywords/. Amazon UK and USA operate separately. The service offered changes constantly as Amazon seek to refine it.
BookBub has by far the most members of the newsletter sites, with more than 3.6 million people signed up to the Crime Fiction newsletter alone. This does mean that it costs much more to be included on a newsletter (a Featured Deal) and that it’s much harder to get accepted than for other sites. For instance they will not consider books unless they have around 50 good Amazon and Goodreads reviews.
As with the other sites, the cost varies depending on your genre and the price of your book, as do the results. For example, it costs $540* to promote a fantasy book costing less than $1 to 1.8 million subscribers. The average number of individual downloads for a book featured for sale in the Fantasy newsletter is 1,680, although the actual number will vary considerably depending on price and author.
AuthorBuzz is a marketing service for authors and publishers. Authors write short notes for readers, librarians, booksellers and so forth, which AuthorBuzz then distributes via platforms such as Shelf-Awareness.com, DearReader.com, BookMovement.com, PublishersMarketplace.com and KindleNationDaily.com. Notes can include book blurbs, links to websites, details of how to set up an author interview and so on. Prices are high. Shelf-Awareness.com alone reaches more than 4,000 booksellers and 5,000 librarians, along with 1000s of bloggers, and more than 375,000 readers. DearReader.com reaches over 470,000 readers and 10,000 librarians. BookMovement.com reaches more than 35,000 registered bookclubs representing over 350,000 readers. KindleNationDaily.com reaches more than 85,000 Kindle Owners.
BookGorilla has 350,000 subscribers, split across numerous genre-specific newsletters. Subscribers can select whether to receive details of 12, 25 or 50 books in each newsletter. This is a great deal more than BookBub, so it is easier to get included, although you’re also then competing with many more books in one email. It costs between $40 and $100 to list a book in a newsletter. Unlike BookBub, BookGorilla doesn’t provide details of the average number of ebook downloads resulting from being included in a newsletter. 4-star rating or above needed, and at least five reviews on the book’s U.S. Kindle store page, unless the book meets other criteria, such as being a brand new release by an author with a past track record of highly rated books.
Ereader News Today has 500,000 Facebook followers and almost 100,000 email subscribers. Most of the books that are promoted are discounted to 0.99 cents, or less. Authors can pay to have their book included in the email-newsletters, through social media and on the website. As with BookBub, the cost of promoting your book depends on the price of the book and the genre. Listing a contemporary fiction book for sale at £1.99 costs £55, for example. There is not a requirement for a minimum number of reviews.
Freebooksy has more than 300,000 readers signed up to its most popular newsletters, nearly 500,000 monthly visits. A post on a newsletter costs between $40 and $200. Books must be free, either temporarily or permanently. Requirements for minimum reviews and so forth, does depend on the genre of the book.
Bargain Booksy has more than 280,000 readers signed up to its most popular newsletter. Prices vary from $25 to $75, depending on which genre-specific newsletter you want to be featured in. There are few requirements for the newsletters with a smaller reach, but the more popular newsletters do require a minimum of 20 4+ star reviews on Amazon in order to qualify for inclusion. Books need to be priced between $0.99 and $5 to be included on a newsletter. Free books can be promoted through Bargain Booksy’s sister site, Freebooksy.
The Fussy Librarian emails members with suggestions for fiction and non-fiction e-books that match their individual preferences. Subscribers can select their favourite genres, and the level of profanity, violence and sexual content they’re comfortable with. There are 121,000 subscribers in total. 90,000 are signed up to the most popular category – romance-contemporary.
Robin Reads has194,000 members looking for free and deeply discounted ebooks that align with their literary tastes. Prices from $40, 620,000 visits per month.
BookSends subscribers number isn’t available, but the most popular email list has 120,000 people signed up to it. Prices for inclusion in a newsletter range from $10 to $125. It costs an additional $10 to be mentioned on the Facebook page. There are no details of the average number of downloads of an ebook that has been included in a newsletter.
The Book Machine promotes Kindle Daily Deals via their website and a daily newsletter. There is a membership fee ($27 for 3 months) for authors wanting to list their book on the site. Readers can then click the link to buy the book, or request it as a ‘gift’ in exchange for an honest review on a site of the author’s choice, e.g. Amazon. Information as to the number of subscribers and website visitors is not available, although The Book Machine does say it reaches ‘millions of readers’.
Books Butterfly promotes mainly free ebooks but also ones at $0.99 through various email lists, social media and the website. What makes them stand out from other such sites is that they guarantee a minimum number of downloads for your book, or you receive part of your payment back. No requirements for a minimum number of reviews, or quality. As with other such services, there is no way of knowing whether these downloads will lead to sales of your other books, or reviews. However, Books Butterfly is one of the longing standing services of its kind, has favourable reviews by authors, and seems to offer good customer service.
Book of the Day promotes books via social media (50,000 Twitter followers, 9000 Facebook followers) and the website (50,000 visitors a month). Promotion costs $59.99, although it was being offered at $29.99 when we last checked. There don’t appear to be any minimum requirements for promotion. There are no details about likely results, or click through rates.
Author Ad Network basically allows you to buy a package of adverts across several popular websites, including AwesomeGang, Book Goodies and Book Reader Magazine. It costs $129, which includes homepage promotion on several sites and social media promotion to some 300,000 readers.
Early Bird Books is a part of Open Road Media. 300,000 visits per month.
BKnights is growing rapidly and is becoming one of the largest book syndicates on the web. Pricing starts from $5. 150,000 visits per month.
ManyBooks 150,000 subscribers. 1,500,000 visits per month.
eBook Hounds 75,000 mailing list, 110,000 visits per month.
My Romance Reads 65,000 romance fanatics. 12,000 visits per month.
Free Kindle Books & Tips free daily email digest of free Kindle book offers. They offer several advertising plans for Free and Regular Book Posting, Featured and New Releases Book Posting. Mailing list 150,000, 25,000 visits per month
Book Barbarian alerts readers about free and discounted science fiction and fantasy books. Pricing starts from $25 and go up to $55. Mailing list 29,000, 35,000 visits per month
Read Cheaply limited-time ebook deals. 70,000 mailing list, 12,000 visits per month.
eReader IQ is an ebook database and price tracking service for Kindle books. You can submit your book for free and also use their paid advertising plans, which allow you to feature in their "Daily Deals & Steals" newsletters. 45,000 mailing list, 605,000 visits per month.
Pretty Hot Books free, and also feature a book for 7 days on their front page for $25. Mailing list 18,000 per month.
Genre Pulse offer several packages starting from $16. Mailing list and monthly visits 12,000.
It's Write Now promotes free and bargain Kindle Books. 12,000 visits per month
Choosy Bookworm So long as your books are $3.99 or less, you can submit it for free consideration. For a guaranteed placement, you'll be looking at one of their paid options starting at $25. Mailing list 68,000, 35,000 visits per month.
My Book Cave prefer to select titles with over 20 reviews, but will consider books with at least 5 great write-ups. 33,000 mailing list, 185,000 visits per month.
OHFB 115,000 visits per month. Free to list free and discounted books.
Book Goodies Kids is the Children focus version of Book Goodies. You can submit your book for $20 and promote it through their paid advertising options as well going from $49 to $399. 12,000 visits per month.
My Book Place is a general book promotions website. You can submit your book for free and promote it through their featured option for $25 that guarantees a featured spot on their homepage for 7 days. 12,000 visits per month.
Red Feather Romance
A part of the Written Word Media family, Red Feather Romance allow authors to promote their book to romance readers. 100,000 mailing list, 13,500 visits per month.
Bookbub has proved to generate good sales for the titles that have been successfully placed. Beat the Rain, a fiction title on Roundfire Books, was accepted in February 2017. It had more than 40 Amazon Reviews, 70 Goodread reviews, a number respected blog reviews and had been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award. This title was accepted for a promotion for the UK only (decided by Bookbub), costing $180. The sales expectation was given as approximately 300, however the sales realised were 378. A nonfiction title, Lady Katherine Knollys on our History imprint, Chronos Books, was also accepted for a UK only promotion. The sales realised on this title exceeded 2,000 copies. We have found Bookbub to be a worthwhile investment for titles that meet the requirements. For this reason, John Hunt Publishing will invest the money in titles accepted.
We regularly submit titles that we feel meet the criteria, but to give an idea of how competitive this service is; during a one-year period 23 titles were submitted to Bookbub, only three were accepted. The successful fiction title took three attempts to get accepted.
Authors can choose to submit their own titles for the service at any time, there is no differentiation between those submitted by the author rather than the publisher.
If you submit and are accepted for a promotional deal, please post a request for a price drop on the Author Forum – Marketing and Publicity: Reader Offer/Giveaway-Ebook promotions. Please do not offer the book for 0.00, this achieves nothing, we advise 0.99. It can take a few days for the request to travel through all of the various retailers, so we need at least a week's notice for a price drop.
There is further advice on this in CHAPTER 11: MARKETING ACTIVITIES – READER OFFER/GIVEAWAY, Other sites and what you can do. This section gives advice on how to run a price drop and how we can help you.
The other service providers listed here have not proven to be cost effective as a promotional tool. We, therefore, leave these promoters to the author's discretion, and will not invest in using their services.