Six months ago, in November 2021, I ran my first paid promotion for my novels. My first effective promotion, that is. I’d been experimenting with BookBub but getting nowhere. After concluding that BookBub is overrated and overpriced, I went looking for better, cheaper alternatives and found BookRaid. My single-day November 2021 promotion at BookRaid was far more successful than my ongoing, daily BookBub ads had been to that point, persuading me to drop BookBub entirely.
Since then, I’ve also run promotions with The Fussy Librarian, ManyBooks, Bookorium, and Freebooksy (Written Word Media). Additionally, I’ve done three smallish Reader Views giveaways of paperbacks, finished one big Goodreads Giveaway of Waterspell: The Complete Series (Kindle edition), offered a 50% discount on the series at Google Books, and made ARCs of the boxed set available free, for the month of April, on NetGalley. Looking ahead, I’ve scheduled a Book Barbarian promo for July 12. (Book Barbarian specializes in SF/fantasy titles.)
Which of these has worked best?
The Prize Goes To …
The hands-down winner (to date) is Freebooksy. At $170 (!) it’s the most expensive promotion that I’ve run, but:
You get what you pay for, as shown in this chart:
Not only did Freebooksy outperform all other newsletters by an astonishingly wide margin, notice that even Day 2 of the Freebooksy promo (when folks were opening their email late, on the day after) brought in more orders than The Fussy Librarian did in total. Evidently, Written Word Media has a vastly greater reach than any other book promotion service that I’ve tried. I also appreciate them promoting the entire series (not just Book 1), and continuing to list Waterspell on their website:
My Freebooksy promotion thrilled me by making Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock a No. 1 bestseller in a pair of Amazon categories, and vaulting it to a very respectable second place on yet another Amazon bestseller list:
Freebooksy, obviously, must top my list of book promotion sites that truly deliver. I’ll save up to run another promo with them in six months or so. The $170 price tag becomes less of a shocker when I consider that The Fussy Librarian charges $50 for a one-day listing, Book Barbarian is $55, BookRaid is $60, and a one-month NetGalley listing is $50 (when arranged through a NetGalley co-op). A Goodreads Giveaway (if you get it on sale) is $99. A ManyBooks promo is $29.
While there’s no fee to put a book in the Reader Views giveaways, each paperback that I mailed out cost me $10 for the book plus at least $4 postage. I sent out 10 books (one to Canada for a whopping $21 in international postage), bringing my total Reader Views out-of-pocket to about $160 (spread over three months). I’ve no idea whether any of the recipients reciprocated by leaving me a review anywhere. I have no direct evidence that any of them favored me with a review or even a wordless, anonymous rating. Sadly, none of them communicated with me, despite the contact-info sheet that I included with each copy. In future, I’ll think twice before doing another unfiltered, unvetted giveaway of pricey paperbacks.
The not-knowing about their effectiveness is why I’m giving both Goodreads and Reader Views a so-so C for their giveaways. It’s been nearly two full months since Amazon sent all of the winners at Goodreads their free copies of The Complete Series. So far, only one of those recipients (that I know of) has reciprocated by rating the Waterspell series at Goodreads.
NetGalley gets a B-minus from me because the reviews there, although they are excellent five-star reviews (like Aria’s pictured here), are far fewer in number than I had anticipated. I was hoping (too optimistically) for 40 or 50 reviews. To date, I’ve received six. I’m deeply grateful for those six highly positive reviews (thank you, Aria and other readers!) but I’m somewhat disappointed that so few of the individuals who requested and received an advance reader copy (ARC) have posted their reviews.
ManyBooks gets a C average from me because my two promos there have not moved the needle very much. They’re nice people to work with though (they gave me a badge!). And they’ve certainly outperformed BookBub (ridiculously expensive and ineffective), Bookorium (useless and now defunct), and my experimental Google Books discount, which has not attracted even one taker. Half price doesn’t appeal? Huh. The 50% discount code expires on May 31. I guess I’ll extend it for another two months, since it’s not costing me a dime.
That’s my report. If you’re an author who’s researching the best promotional sites and methods, I hope that my experiences will help you decide where and how to spend your advertising dollars. May your sales rankings skyrocket!
7 Responses to Book Promotion Sites: Ranked
This is great! Thanks so much for all your work and honesty so others can use the right services 🙂
Glad you found it useful, Tamara! I have since added Hello Books to my rotation of monthly promos — they have been very effective for me. I’ve dropped BookRaid, Book Doggy, and GoodKindles. My results with BookRaid and Book Doggy have been modest and steadily decreasing, while GoodKindles was a total bust. A big fat zero. My best performers continue to be Written Word Media, Book Barbarian, Hello Books, and Fussy Librarian. Thanks for your comment! Good luck with your promotions.
Thanks so much for posting this! You saved me a lot of money not using Goodreads Giveaways.
Have you found any more winner, recently?
Glad you found it helpful, Bryan! I’ve recently added Hello Books (https://hellobooks.com/authors) to the rotation. They’re based in England, and I believe my January promo with them found a new audience. I’m dropping BookRaid from the lineup. My last couple of promos with them performed poorly. I’ll be trying Good Kindles in April, based on a recommendation I got here. Honestly, I’ve found social media (and blogging) pretty useless. A monthly promo in an email/newsletter is the only thing that’s consistently succeeded for me. Good luck! Keep on writing.
I’d like also to suggest considering https://goodkindles.net as well.
Thanks for the recommendation. I have looked at the site and I now plan to schedule a GoodKindles promo in the future. It looks pretty promising.
I tried GoodKindles in April. It was a bust. Not worth the money. Am dropping it from the rotation.