A Totally Free Promo for Little Fish and/or the Financially Impaired

Also for those who don’t market because they don’t know how.

Promotion

 

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.

Promo1

Ask David: https://askdavid.com/

David does some nice stuff, like giving you lots of free tweets, but the main thing is that if you sign up to his site, he’ll send you an email link to automatically promote you with up to a dozen more, which is a great timesaver. Other people may shrug this stuff off, but it takes me hours to fill out all their forms, and any shortcut is greatly appreciated.

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.

You can schedule as soon as the next day, and it includes the following sites:

Armadillo eBooks: https://www.armadilloebooks.com/

BookBongo: bookbongo.com/

Choosy Bookworm: https://www.choosybookworm.com/

eBookasaurus: https://ebookasaurus.com/

eBookLister:  http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php

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/

 

It could have also included the following sites, if I had qualified:

Digital Book Today: fiction books need to have 100+ pages, requires a 2-day notice.

eReaderGirl: ebook must be non-fiction or children’s ebook or Christian fiction.

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. I checked their website, and it looks like they’re charging now, though, so maybe they’re only free through David.

There’s no way to separate out results for all the individual promoters here, since the whole point is that you put them in all in one go. The ones who emailed me are It’sWriteNow and Choosy Bookworm, and both those days did well.

I used a five-day date range every time I scheduled with Ask David. I don’t know if having a 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.

Another nice thing about AskDavid is that the site saves your information, so you don’t have to re-input your bio, ASINs, etc. He also allows you to promote the same books with only a fifteen-day break. I’ve never pushed it that far—there’s no point in exhausting a newsletter audience—but I have used him a few times in the same year. That sort of thing is useful if you have a permafree book.

If you were to do only one promotion from this group, I’d choose AskDavid.

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 the AskDavid promo: 218 downloads.

 

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.

 

Pretty-Hot.com: https://pretty-hot.com/

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

 

DiscountBookMan.com: https://discountbookman.com/book-promotion/

Newsletter, website, and social media.

Golden Key: Oct. 15 (M) 5 downloads

 

MyBookPlace.com: http://mybookplace.net/submit-your-book/

This site promotes wide books, not just Amazon, and they have a little social media support. They offer a very nice author interview which I filled out on general principles, but there’s no way to tell if it actually matters.

Golden Key: Oct. 16 (T) 4 downloads

 

Bookzio: https://www.bookzio.com/tall-book-promotion/

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 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

 

Bookorium: http://bookorium.com/authorspublishers/book-a-promotion/

Wide promos. They send email confirmation.

Golden Key: Oct. 25 (Th), 25 downloads

 

PeopleReads.com: http://www.peoplereads.com/list-your-ebook.html

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

 

ReadWriteClub.com: http://www.readwriteclub.com/submit-your-book/

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

 

Digital Books Today: https://digitalbooktoday.com/join-our-team/12-top-100-submit-your-free-book-to-be-included-on-this-list/

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.

 

Freebooksy: htpps://freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions/

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

 

Ereaderlove.com:

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.

 

ReadFreely: http://www.readfree.ly/newsletter-promotion/

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.

Conclusions:

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.

number 1Top Tier

AskDavid

Reading Deals

BookZio

Bookorium

 

number 2Second Tier

Awesome Gang

Pretty Hot

Free Kindle Books

xxx

xxx

 

number 3Third Tier

 My Book Place

Discount Book Man

Book Praiser

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! 🙂

 

Avid writer and reader, especially of fantasy. Learning about social networking and always interested in honing my writing skills. Contact me at cathleentownsend.com.

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15 comments on “A Totally Free Promo for Little Fish and/or the Financially Impaired
  1. Kathleen, thank you for sharing the outcome of what must have been hours and hours of research and applications to participate. But I’m not sure the advantage of giving away so many books – don’t you want to sell them? Or am I misunderstanding the intent of these programs?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Sharon, that’s a good question. Some people choose not to give away any books at all–they feel it devalues their work. I belong firmly on the other side of that spectrum, and the reasoning goes like this.

      Freebies often work as a marketing tactic–just look at all the people giving away food samples at your local CostCo, for instance. And with books, free has a venerable history. Libraries, borrowing a book from your friend, picking up a stack of paperbacks for next to nothing at a garage sale: these are all ways that people found new authors in the twentieth century. And none of them earned the writer a dime, at least not directly.

      In my case, the first time I read LOTR, I borrowed it from the library. I went on to buy, in hardcover, using my minimum wages from Winchell’s, every book that Tolkien ever wrote. I went on to do the same for Agatha Christie (although not the hardcover bit–she was prolific), and Dick Francis. My entire library of classic literature–Kipling, Shakespeare, Dickens, Scott, etc–was all acquired the same way.

      With ebooks, it doesn’t cost a thing to give them away, unlike with a physical book. Right now, very few people have heard of me. I’m trying to give away copies of my shorter books and collections so that the people who really get into what I do will have a reason to buy my novels later on.

      Another reason to promote for free is that whenever we’re new to an endeavor, we tend not to be very good at it at first. You can lose a lot of money in a hurry with paid ads and newsletter sites. (I’ll blog more about that later when I get to paid promos.) This is a way to develop skills without it costing two hundred bucks to make twenty-three sales, like in my first foray into this area. Trust me, free is a much kinder way to learn. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the detailed explanation. You are building your readership for tomorrow’s books. This makes marketing sense. I have another friend who gives one book as a freebie or near freebie if you buy her newer book – also makes sense.

        I have one book as polished as it will be and am working on trying to attract the attention of an agent – still have aspirations for traditional publishing, though will probably self pub eventually. This info will be very useful then, even if many sites have changed somewhat.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There will be more of these that you may find useful, too. I’m going to do free $.99 book promotion, cheap $.99 book promos, and variations on the above, depending on your current needs. Sometimes people are looking for Amazon rank, other times they’re looking for sustained pushes, etc.

          In general, full-price books don’t lend themselves to newsletter promos. People who sign up for newsletters are looking for good deals. That’s why they sign up in the first place. Full-price promos are usually done as pay-per-click ads, and with these, you usually need a backlist of novels or at least novellas to break even. Since I don’t have one yet, this will be the last skill set I work on in this area. 🙂

          Like

  2. Thanks for sharing. I’m not there yet but getting closer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your research and explanations. It sounds like a daunting task – good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ann Coleman says:

    Thanks for the information, Cathleen! That must have taken a lot of time and effort to compile, but it is certainly useful for those who are trying to promote their books. I’m still waiting to try the whole publishing thing, but every bit of information I get helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope it helps. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of panic when you think, “I need to learn to promote,” and you come up with a complete blank, other than social media. Over time, I’ve become convinced that social media alone won’t get the job done. Or at least it won’t for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Cathleen! Saved and sharing… ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great overview, Cathleen! For myriad reasons, promotion is the least understood and least enjoyed aspect of an author’s professional obligations, whether independent or legacy. But given how much time and effort goes into writing our novels, how can we not give them the best shot at finding an audience? I hope your readers do investigate some of the programs you recommend here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, Sean–I’ll certainly give explaining it my best shot. Wimping out on promotion doesn’t seem to be the wisest choice to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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