Also for those who don’t market because they don’t know how.
Lets’ face it–promoting your book can be daunting. People talk about “having to learn to promote” as though it’s a single skill you can pick up. It’s not. Promotion involves many different skills, each with their own learning curve. This post is about dipping your toes into the shallow end of promos–free newsletter promotion for free books. These sites are all something like BookBub–they have subscribers who get emails about free books, and they’re willing to promote your book to their audience. No money changes hands, so that helps alleviate at least some of the stress involved.
I’ve used (or at least applied to) all these sites before, for Dragon Hoard, but I wasn’t methodical about it. I just entered information willy-nilly, taking the first available dates they had. For the month of October, when I ran free promotions on The Golden Key, I decided to track downloads for each site. I’d like to share that information with you here.
I should mention that as a baseline, Golden Key downloads were down to about one per day for the three weeks preceding October 1st, my start date.
On that note, you’ll save yourself a ton of time if you have the following tabs open: your blurb, your bio, your pages for Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc.
Some good fantasy pics at this site—I clicked on one.
eBooks Habit: https://ebookshabit.com/
Be sure to check your inbox—this site requires you to respond to their confirmation email.
Frugal Freebies: www.frugal-freebies.com/
It’s Write Now: https://itswritenow.com/
NFKB—New Free Kindle Books: newfreekindlebooks.com/
Digital Book Today: https://digitalbooktoday.com/join-our-team/ fiction books need to have 100+ pages, requires a 2-day notice.
The Kindle Book Review: requires a 14-day notice—This site I used only once for Dragon Hoard in March of 2018 and didn’t see any bump in giveaways. I’d only use it if you’re scheduling this far in advance anyway.
There’s no way to separate out results for all the individual promoters here, since originally I input them all together using AskDavid. AskDavid now charges, so I don’t use that site anymore. The ones who emailed me are It’sWriteNow and Choosy Bookworm, and both those days did well. Choosy Bookworm also charges as of 2020, which is disappointing, since I think they were the best of the bunch.
I used a five-day date range every time I scheduled with this group. I don’t know if having as longer date range gives me more choices for free promotions or not, since I’ve never tried free for only a few days (I don’t use KU).
I believe all these promos are kindle/Amazon only, so don’t expect any wide results from this group.
A lot of these places will send you an email stating that no free promos are guaranteed. To ensure a spot, you have to send them some money. I never have because the whole point of this is a free promo for free books.
Golden Key: Oct. 8-12 (M-F) Good spike for the first two days—66 and 15, up from around one a day. This included ItsWriteNow on Oct. 8. Not much on days three and four, and then a very nice surge on day five: 133 downloads. Choosy Bookworm featured GK on Oct. 12, and I think that accounted for most of the volume that day.
GK total results from this grouping: 218 downloads, but since some of the sites closed, or they’re now requiring money (and thus I skipped them), I don’t expect as many downloads as when I did this back in 2018.
Ereader Café: https://theereadercafe.com/promote-your-books/ Requires a three-day notice, at least 100 pages, no erotica, and at least three reviews with a four-star average. Kindle only.
Golden Key didn’t qualify for this promo due to length.
Awesome Gang: https://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
This site offers to post a free author interview as well. I did that just on general principles, trying to shed the dreaded internet cloak of invisibility, but I don’t know if it netted me anything. : )
Golden Key: Oct. 13 (Sat) 20 downloads.
With all the bright pink on the site and the name, you’d think this place would be geared to romance readers. But they have plenty of genres there, including fantasy and sci-fi.
Golden Key: Oct. 14 (Sun) 13 downloads
Newsletter, website, and social media.
Golden Key: Oct. 15 (M) 5 downloads
Allows promotion of same book with 90-day break. May request promotions of up to three books within a 24-hour period. No guarantee of date unless you pay. Free is Amazon only. Must request a date at least 48 hours in advance. You have to subscribe to their email lists, which I think is technically a GDPR infraction, but I’m not going to kick up a fuss about it. Besides, their newsletter isn’t bad—I picked up a couple of free books from it.
Golden Key: Oct. 17, 26 downloads
Free Kindle Books: http://www.freekindledeal.com/
Requires you to click a confirmation email. Can choose up to five free days. They send you an email the day the promotion begins. Free books go on a page like postage stamps—no blurbs or description, so you must have a good cover for this site.
Golden Key: Oct. 18-22 (Th-M) 8, 5, 8, 4, 3
Wide promos. They send email confirmation.
Golden Key: Oct. 25 (Th), 25 downloads
Below are the requirements to be considered for a listing with PeopleReads:
1) 10 reviews on Amazon (US and/or UK) with an average rating of 3.9 stars or better (review requirement does not apply to New Release Listings. For books with 50+ reviews an average of 3.8 stars or better must be maintained and for books with 200+ reviews an average of 3.5 stars or better must be maintained.
2) The work must be reasonably free of typographical errors.
3) The work must have professional cover art.
Meeting the above requirements does not guarantee a listing.
Golden Key: Requested Oct. 26-31 (F-T), not featured
Newsletter, website, and social media.
Estimated wait time for non-featured books (featured costs extra) is 2-3 weeks. They have an author interview that I filled out just in case it helps.
Golden Key: Oct. 30 (M), 3 downloads
Book Praiser: https://bookpraiser.com/promotion/
Choose the free plans tab from the top menu. No guarantee of being featured when free. Wide promo—multiple vendors, not just Amazon.
Saves your data so you don’t have to resubmit when you re-promote the same book.
If you tell them your book is permafree, you don’t get to set a date range.
They also have free promos for $.99 books.
Golden Key requested Oct. 26-29 (F – M) 4, 1, 2, 2
Your book must be…
- Free on Amazon for a minimum of 24 hours
- Fiction: 100+ pages, 4.0+ stars, 18+ reviews
- Non-Fiction (less than 100 pages): 60+ reviews, 4.2+ stars
- Non-Fiction (100+ pages): 40+ reviews, 4.0+ stars
- Children’s Books: 60+ reviews, 4.0+ stars (added at our discretion)
Four-day range, book starts at the top of the list and works its way down.
Golden Key didn’t qualify due to length.
Reading Deals: https://readingdeals.com/submit-ebook/free
Requires a minimum of 5 reviews & 4.0 stars on Amazon.com. Wide promo.
Golden Key: 118 downloads
Book Angel: http://bookangel.co.uk/submit-a-book/
This is a UK site, so your book must be available at Amazon.co.uk, not just Amazon.com, although they also allow Kobo book links, too. I wasn’t able to choose a date for free promotions, so I don’t think this site will work well for free promos on KU.
Book Hippo: https://bookhippo.uk/
Another UK site, Amazon only. If you don’t provide your editor’s link, they are unlikely to feature the book. They email you on the day of the promotion if they feature you.
Book Angel and Book Hippo are listed just for the sake of completeness. I don’t submit to them anymore since they haven’t featured me. YMMV.
This one is the best to snag in terms of results if you can get it. They haven’t featured me yet, either, but it would be really neat if they did. Freebooksy is frequently referred to as one of the best non-Bookbub sites out there, so I keep trying. It’s quite expensive to pay them for a promo.
Website only, no newsletter
Free is website only. You can’t schedule ahead of time.
Golden Key: requested to be added to site on Oct. 11. Could have contributed to the spike on Oct. 12.
Free Books: http://www.freebooks.com/
If you have a permafree book, you’re supposed to use the contact me feature. The short-term free promo is pretty easy, just ASIN and date range. Amazon only. After I submitted, they said they’d add it to their promotion page shortly, so no scheduling very far in advance.
Golden Key: Signed up on Oct. 10, so it probably went in with the Ask David promo. Could have been part of the spike on Oct. 12.
Book Brag: http://bookbrag.com/add-your-book/
A few guidelines
- Book must be priced at $5.99 or less
- We do not promote Erotica or BDSM on our site.
- Books must be 100 pages or more
- Book must be available on Amazon, but we do promote BN.com, iTunes, and Kobo if your book is on these sites.
Free is website only, no newsletter, and you only get 50 words for your blurb.
Golden Key didn’t qualify due to length.
Promoted on homepage for 2 days.
Promoted on social media platforms.
Books priced up to $1.99 accepted.
You can resubmit a book every 6 months.
Submit book at least 10 days before start of promotion.
Not guaranteed they’ll post your book if you don’t pay them anything.
Lots of romance titles.
Golden Key: submitted for Oct. 24 – Nov. 11
There was no noticeable increase in downloads for this period. I’ve decided in the future that I’ll just pick a few days for each site. It’s too cumbersome to check back over too many days, especially for something that’s website only.
First off, the good news–I gave away 493 copies of The Golden Key during the promotion, well up from the expected 30 or so.
However, my Golden Key promo turned out to be in the wrong order–I led with my strongest hitter first. Amazon algorithms seem a bit obscure–no one seems to know for certain what makes them tick. But I have read in many places that what you want is a slowly building crescendo. Therefore I’ve ranked the various sites that featured Golden Key by effectiveness, for future promotion efforts.
Free Kindle Books
My Book Place
Discount Book Man
Read Write Club
Now that I have a better idea of what each promotion site will do, I’m trying this promo again with Dragon Hoard for the month of November. I’m going to start with the third tier and work my way up to the top group. I’ll report back next month on how it goes.
So, now that you know of a whole bunch of sites where they’ll promote your book for free, why not give this a whirl? Believe me, if I can work my way through all the procrastination and anxiety, you can, too.
Happy promoting! 🙂