eBook Promoters ~ The Best & The Worst

Written By: Jackie Weger - Feb• 21•16

eHow to choose a book promoter

You have done everything right for your book. You wrote it, you had it edited and proofed, the cover is sensational. Now you have to sell it, or at the very least, drum up some exposure and get it in front readers.  For exposure, we have discovered and love Amazon Ad campaigns for ebooks.

Here at eNovel Authors at Work we rate promoters.

eNovel keeps a Preferred List and on the Preferred List, we have Above the Fold and Below the Fold.  On Above the Fold are promoters to whom we always submit. Below the Fold are promoters we like and trust, but have smaller subscriber lists or sometimes do not deliver as well as hoped. If a single author reports dreadful results with a promoter, we note it. However, at least three or more authors have to report less than stellar results for a promoter to drop below the fold, or drop off the list all together. When that happens, we look at everything: Weather. Was the Northeast blanketed in snow and sleet?  Events. Was there a disaster somewhere in the world that kept everybody glued to their televisions?  What about the book description? Did it capture the essence of the book? Did the author promote the book in the wrong category? We also evaluate author expectation. A best-selling author may see 800 downloads with a particular promoter. A newish indie author with only one or two books and no following may only see 80 downloads. Also, the BestSelling author may have bought the featured slot. The new indie author may be on a tight budget. Placement is everything. You cannot fault the promoter for that. So, we don’t.

What makes a good promoter?

The single most important caveat eNovel insists upon is knowing who we are doing business with. If a promoter won’t tell us his or her name, we

Nothing but fac.s #eNovAaW

Nothing but facts

don’t do business with them.  We check Alexa. You can go right here and put the analytic on your toolbar for free.  Every time you visit a site, tick the Alexa Logo on your toolbar. If a promoter only has a newsletter Alexa won’t rank it.  That is when you contact the site administrator and ask if the subscribers are organic? How many subscribers are authors? Readers? What is the newsletter’s click through rate. The site owner knows.

Here is the type of promoter that does NOT get on eNovel’s Preferred list:

Fake button on a book. Actual Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,537

Fake button on a book. Actual Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,537

At **** we are proud to be one of the most popular book marketers. Our background is in the book industry, so we have a real love of books and a knowledge of what authors and readers want. Our social media promotions, newsletters and book trailers can help to drive sales and generate buzz for a book or eBook. We have a combined audience of over 130,000 people but we have kept our promotions affordable as we know that many authors don’t have a large marketing budget. Twitter followers 136K.

Sounds great. But is it, really?

Let me check. Whoa! Neither of the two books the site is promoting and are in the newsletter have an Amazon sales rank. Oops. Not a single sale. One title is 21 pages long, priced at 2.99.  The other, 77 pages priced at 4.99. And that “we are proud” line. Who the heck is “we?” because they ain’t saying.  The Facebook banner features two best selling books, but those authors are NOT clients of the site. And the site is NOT among the most popular book marketers. That is pure hype. Second, it is Bait and Switch to lure a less than savvy indie author to part with $$$. The Alexa rank is awful and books page has only 19 sites linking in. Compare that to eNovel: 167 sites linking in. And we don’t sell anything on this site.  We share information. That is it. Too, notice that the audience is ‘people’ NOT readers. NOT subscribers. Twitter follower lists can be bought.

Here are just a few Above the Fold promoters on our Preferred List: We know them. We talk to them. They work with us to help us reach our goals.

Choosy Bookworm.  The Fussy Librarian.  Free & Bargain Booksy. People Reads. eBook Soda. Butterfly. Readfree.ly. Bookstastik. fkbt. We have added Robin Reads to Above the Fold and eBookHounds has just slipped onto our list. You will find more listings on our Useful Links pages.  eNovel will name more of our Preferred Promoters next time. And, share more ehow so you can decide if a promoter is right for you and your book. Also next time: What we have learned about Goodreads and Amazon Campaigns so that you can do two things:

  1. Make the best possible decisions for your books.
  2. Get the best results for your promotion budget $$$.

Of course we love Bookbub and Digital Books Today. Here are the results of an eNoveller’s first promo on Bookbub: Cost: $220. Promo April 19-22, 2015.  76,769  downloads on a book priced FREE.  Sales after the title returned to priced [2.99]: 1,475 units.

Way Out-house

Way Out-house

Plus 344 crossover sales on the author’s other titles. Figures to April 30. If you browse our author pages, very often in comments you will see promotion results. Here is one on a KCD.

Founder, eNovel Authors at Work

Founder, eNovel Authors at Work

I’m Jackie Weger. I don’t know it all, but I know what I know. I learn something new every day.

I don’t have wisdom. I own something better: Perseverance. Lest you think I jest, I once outwitted

a bushmaster curled up in an outhouse. I did not move for two hours. Not an eyelash. Moving on. I never like to leave you without encouraging indie authors to install this little gem RIGHT after THE END in your book:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, [author name].

Does it work? Yep. Readers posted above 2000 reviews on my titles since my first full year of indie authorship–2014.

Comments Welcome. Be nice. If you cannot be nice, be articulate. That works for me.

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  1. Fab post Jackie. Great list of above the fold promoters. These are the ones we’d use. Agree we all have to be very careful and do our research before parting with our hard earned cash.

  2. Susan Tarr says:

    So what or who is the bushmaster? I know what the outhouse is.
    Jackie, you’re an awesome teacher. If I retain a fraction of what you are sharing, I will be very happy! Thank you.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      A bushmaster is a deadly viper. Very shy. And curled up right atop the toilet paper roll. On the other side of the mountain scientists were searching for bushmasters to gather their DNA and tag to see how far they traveled. Took them weeks to find one on the floor of the jungle. Thus they surmise the snakes are endangered. NOT. During wet they slither up trees and hide in nooks and crannies and love nesting inside a tree that termites have left soft and crumbly dry. Pfft.

  3. Donna Fasano says:

    You do have perseverance; I agree 100%. But I disagree with you about the wisdom…you have quite a bit of that, baby! 🙂 Anyone who can go up against a pit viper and leave the outhouse unscathed is pretty wise, indeed.

    Thanks for the information.

    Donna Fasano
    Author of
    The Merry-Go-Round

    • Jackie Weger says:

      That was an event. I am so glad there wasn’t a cell phone with a camera in my jungle village! Because as soon as that viper chomped on a gecko, I left that outhouse lightning fast with my drawers down around my ankles. This old girl could have flat out won a potato sack race. No lie.

  4. Jenny Harper says:

    I’m seconding Donna – nonsense about not having wisdom, the rest is all brilliant. I learn every day too, but almost all of it is by tagging along on your coat tails. Great post Jackie, look forward to the rest!

  5. P.C. Zick says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I know I need to submit to BookBub and will do so this month. Bargain Booksy did well for me in April at a very low cost so numbers certainly aren’t as strong as the ones shown with BookBub.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      P.C Zick: That is right. We do not expect the downloads on Bargain Booksy as we would on Bookbub. What we get on both is value for our promo $$$. Value for a promo $ is the key. One of our authors with a book on FREE saw 4000 downloads between FreeBooksy and Choosy Bookworm. Those are stellar results.

  6. David Wind says:

    A superb article, Jackie, one that every author should read before they go off pumping dollars in hopes of sales. Being careful, researching and studying the various promo sites will repay an author’s time and money with sales—and eNovelists Not only leads the way, but offers their research to everyone. Blind faith in the words posted on some of the seedier promo sites is akin to going to a flea market and hoping to strike it rich.

  7. Julie Frayn says:

    I’m so grateful to have access to those promoter lists. You are so right that it’s not just the promoter that impacts results. I changed the cover on one book and went from nothing to almost 50K downloads. Seeing crossover sales while the promo is still running, and already 14 new reviews on the free book. If an author commits to making the necessary changes, great things can happen. The hard part is getting off your high horse and realizing that, even though YOU love your cover (title, book descriptions, think it’s properly categorized etc), if it’s not selling, then you have to DO something about it.
    Julie Frayn

    • Rosie Dean says:

      Interesting, Julie. What did you learn about your cover to make such a big difference?

      • Julie Frayn says:

        It was focused on a character that was dead through the whole book (except in flashback), rather than on the heroine Jemima. It was darker and looked more like a mystery novel. While there is some mystery in the story, it’s about a woman’s journey through debilitating grief and finding love on the other side. With helping a homeless man reconnect with his family as a catalyst for her healing. And the hot cop on the case, he helps too :). So went for a more ‘women’s fiction’ cover angle focusing on her, and bam, presto change-o. We have eyes on the book.

  8. Rosie Dean says:

    Always sound advice from you, Jackie.
    I’ve had excellent service and results from The Fussy Librarian, and will be putting my next promo in the hands of a couple of others you listed above.

  9. Being part of eNovelAuthorsAtWork has been a tremendous learning experience for me. Thank you, Jackie Weger, for always looking out for us!

  10. RP Dahlke says:

    Another terrific and HOPEFUL post for all of us Indie authors!

  11. Cait London says:

    Beautiful article, Jackie. But I agree with Donna–you’re not only talented, you’re smart/witty and just the best!

  12. Jackie, thanks for sharing everything you’ve learned with other authors. Now, I guess the rest is up to us!

  13. Mike Markel says:

    Thank you, Jackie, as always, for sharing your hard-won insights. I don’t know of anyone smarter than you about the role of promotions in the life of an indie writer. If you hadn’t invited me to join eNovAaW, I doubt I’d still be writing my detective novels today.

  14. Jackie, great insights and as always, very educational. Thank you for including Choosy in the above the fold section. It’s an honor. I have to disagree with you though on one point…you DO have a lot of wisdom. Thanks for continuing to share it with us. – Jay

  15. Thank you, Jackie, for everything you do for the community of Indie authors! We are so fortunate to have the benefit of your knowledge, research, and experience. I owe a great deal to you, as do many others. The information in this blog alone will save many an author a great deal of time and money! You make such a difference, and I appreciate it more than I can say.

  16. Jackie, you are my hero, but do you ever sleep? I can barely do my marketing and write, much less help others! I do what I can, but you really rock. Thanks.

  17. Jackie, We’re honoured to be included in your ‘Preferred List’ of promoters. Thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure (and great fun) to work with you :)))

  18. Pete Barber says:

    That’s the best, most concise BS-free post on promotion sites I’ve ever read. Kudos, Jackie. I’m off to share the knowledge.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Pete Barber. We need our promoters. The more the merrier, as far as I am concerned. But we need honesty and transparency and we need promoters who build organic subscriber lists of readers and book buyers. I am anxiously awaiting your new book!

  19. Dionne says:

    Hi Jackie, thanks so much for listing Booktastik and taking the time to give authors helpful information! You have an awesome site, and we’re so chuffed to be listed here. Thanks for your continued support. You’ve also listed some other good sites, and (as an author) I love Bookbub too!

  20. Jeff Shear says:

    Jackie, Pete Barber has been saying wonderful, admiring things about you since he and I met.

    Briefly, I’ve been in the writing business some years, but I only began writing fiction three years ago. Since then I’ve done no promotion, no selling, but lots of writing and building and tuning. I’m finally geared up and ready to go, and this post is exactly the kind of thoughtful, researched, and valuable information I need to rollout my work. Thank you, Jackie, and thanks to Pete for being a total ace.

  21. Dale Furse says:

    Terrific post, Thanks, Jackie and yes, the above the fold sites are great to work with and give results.

  22. Laurie Boris says:

    Great info, and those lists are so handy when you’re doing seventeen different things and need to have the key sites in one place. Thank you!

  23. Wow, what can I say that all the other amazing people before me haven’t already? I’ll just say that the resources of #eNovAaW are priceless and I feel proud to have access to this gem-like information. I am sure readers will benefit greatly from this post and the ones that follow. I was wow’d to hear about the ROI on the Bookbub ad on a free book – would never have thought sales after a free promo could be so high for the ad’s high cost to pay itself! Very inspiring. Other than that, your post and comments entertained me immensely Jackie, hearing all about that awful snake. I have a huge snake phobia but still managed to laugh outloud 🙂

  24. Florence Osmund says:

    Great post, Jackie!

  25. Ricci says:

    Thanks Jackie for including Freebooksy and Bargain Booksy on the list. We so enjoy working with you and eNovAaW authors!

  26. Pete Barber says:

    Jackie, here’s some data to back up your post: I recently ran a FREE promotion for my new novel, “When A Warrior Comes Home.”
    Paid sites used: Book Basset, EbookSoda, NewFreeKindleBooks, Fussy Librarian, Choosy Bookworm, Ereader News Today, Ebooklister, plus an amalgamator-BookMarketing Tools—for $15, this site lets me send to 30+ smaller sites asking for their free listing. It saves a lot of repetitive submission of data and is worthwhile IMO. I know of six sites that did feature the book, there may be more. Total spend was $109.

    It’s important to consider objectives. I wasn’t trying to blast my way up the rankings. I was trying to generate reviews for my new novel, because a good review profile pays dividends down the line—if you don’t believe me, try to get a Bookbub ad without a solid review profile–and for a new title, getting unsolicited reviews can be difficult. Remember, anyone who downloads from a free promotion is considered a “Verified Purchaser.” A number of promotion sites give more weight to verified purchaser’s reviews. If you gift your book to a reviewer, the review isn’t considered verified.

    Results: I ran the promo April 10-12th resulting in 7,000 downloads. Since then, I’ve added thirteen reviews to the twelve I already had (I sent begging emails to obtain those). Of course, I have Jackie Weger’s magic words at the end of my novel. If you don’t know what they are, you need to spend some time browsing this site.

    It’s early days, and I expect more reviews are coming, but I feel I’ve achieved my objective. As a nice side benefit, since I switched back to paid, I’ve sold $180 worth of When A Warrior Comes Home, so the promotion paid for itself.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Pete Barber! I love you for reporting those splendid results. You did what many indies don’t when going into a promotion: You identified author expectation and set a goal. You achieved your goal + had your promotion $$$ returned to you in royalties. That is promotion perfection.

  27. Those of us fortunate enough to be part of eNovelAaW are aware of most of what you wrote about, Jackie, but it was not only a great reminder, but also a concise statement of how it all works. Thanks! But I think the best thing about this article is that we can send it to our indie author friends who are struggling to find this exact information. Trust me, this post will be read by a LOT of people! Great job as usual!

  28. David says:

    Hi Jackie,

    Thanks for adding ReadFree.ly to your above-the-fold list of promoters. You know how hard we work at getting the best possible results for indie authors while keeping our services free: it’s nice comments like this that keep us going. Oh, and coffee. Nice comments and coffee.

  29. Hi Jackie,

    As usual, you have given me lots to think about – being on the promotions side of the business it is so helpful to hear what authors are thinking…and I love that you are always willing to share what’s on your mind!

    I’d love to look at how we can leverage our services to give an even bigger bang for your buck when you utilize one of the above-the-fold services you mention above. How can we provide something inexpensive to give a reach through our host’s blogs and social media outlets in conjunction with your sale promotions to add to the event…we’d love to work with you or anyone to come up with something to test out!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Margaret Hughes, you and your fab team at BPiC are above the fold. We love the presentations you do for eNovel for our Last Saturday of the Month Rafflecopters, not to mention the amazing preparation and hand-holding before and during our special events. I sent you an email. Have a great time at the Romantic Times conference in Dallas.

  30. Rich Meyer says:

    Now dis is the kinda stuff indie writers NEED to know! Great post, Jackie!

  31. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Great post

    I have to disagree about using Alexa as a ranking tool. It is a good thing to use to make sure the site isn’t brand new but thats about it.

    Alexa rank is too easy to manipulate. The numbers for our site doesn’t make sense, we use to be around 200k now we are 260k. The only thing that has changed is our site traffic has probably increased 20 times since we were at 200k. Guess we just don’t have enough people using our site with the Alexa toolbar installed.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      I hear you, Vinnie of Awesome Gang, but new indies don’t have a clue how to vet a site. Every promotion site should have some traffic. Right this minute eNovel has 201 sites linking in. That varies day-to-day. We are ranked on our traffic, how long visitors stay on the site and what drives them to the site. There’s more analytics, but I am not going to spend $$$ with a promoter that has only 3 sites linking. We don’t spend big bucks with sites that are author top heavy either. We need promoters with active, healthy subscriber lists.
      Thank you so much for commenting. Always nice to hear from you.

  32. Hi Jackie-

    Thank you for the kind words about fkbt.com, I appreciate it – as an independent author myself, we all need to band together and share what works and what can be improved!

    Michael Gallagher

  33. Thank you for this great article. One correction. Your link address for fkbt.com goes to fkbt.com.com (in the source code).

  34. […] second in a series of articles about book promoters and promotion services for indie books.  In eNovel Authors at Work we tell it like it is. If you see a book promotion or author service on this site–we like it. […]

  35. Thank you, Jackie. As a new indie author, I’m finding these “Best & Worst” posts very helpful!

  36. […] eNovel Authors at Work we share our promo experiences so that we can make the best decisions we can for our books. For […]

  37. […] real scoop with indie authors so that indies can make the best decision for his or her book.  Go here to read the first in a series on promotions. Go here to read actual promotion results and […]

  38. Ruth Donald says:

    Thanks to Jay at Choosy Bookworm for sending a link to your site. I sure could have used this information when I started out! Just finishing my 4th BookBub free promotion (I have a mystery series) and have been wondering if there are diminishing returns with repeat promos on the same book. Although it’s been over a year since the last BB promo of this particular book, it didn’t do as well as the other two books I’ve promoted there, and I’m not sure if it was the book itself or the repeat of the promotion. Still, I made my investment back the first day and my book is still ranked in the top 5 Mysteries at Amazon on the third day.

    I’ll be adding yours to my list of favorite sites for independent authors. Thanks for being so generous with your time!

    Ruth (R.E. Donald)

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Ruth Donald! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. A year ago we all saw greater downloads in our promotions. The climate has changed with the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. With my first Bookbub well over a year past, I saw an immediate return on investment of 5K because crossover sales and priced sales paid $2.09 each unit downloaded. On a recent Bookbub, I am seeing an immediate ROI of about 3K. However, KU borrows continue to trickle in on the promoted title, thus it depends upon what Amazon pays for the borrows where the ROI will finally land. I cannot personally speak to diminishing returns with repeat promos on the same book on Bookbub. YOU did reach new readers though, because Amazon alerts the subscriber it already owns the book and will not allow a 2nd download of the same title. You did well. Every promotion site worth its salt works to build its subscriber list. Bookbub is in the forefront so we always reach new readers. And that is the goal. However, it never hurts to refresh our book descriptions, our Amazon bios and sometimes, even our covers. I do it.
      Please keep in touch. So appreciative that you added to the discussion.

      Jackie Weger
      Finding Home [ACX edition].

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hello, Ruth. Thank you for stopping by. We probably do see diminishing returns on repeat promos of a title. However, most promo sites, including Bookbub, reach new subscribers, so we always have a new audience for our titles, especially after a year. However, the landscape of our indie universe is changing and maturing. A year ago, we did not have Kindle Unlimited. IMO KU has taken the punch out of a .99 promotion. Readers will continue to take a chance on new indie books on FREE. If they like our work, they will buy and borrow our other titles. And of course, Amazon has changed the landscape again by revamping KU. Now indies get paid on number of pages read as opposed to 10% of a title however few or many a books’ page length. Free units downloaded still count as one-tenth of a sale for placement on paid status, which often gets our titles visible and in that fabulous line of also boughts.
      Good luck with your books.

  39. […] Useful Links is a list of eNovel Authors at Work’s preferred promotion sites and tips. A more extensive list is on the dropdown on Indies Unlimited. […]

  40. Great information, as always. Thanks, Jackie.

  41. marcia says:

    Hello Jackie:

    Thanks for sharing this informative article. Oh – the Choosy Bookworm link is no longer valid.

    Connected by the written word,
    Marcia/USA-Atlanta, GA

  42. Stephen Tremp says:

    Hi Jackie and thanks for the informative post! I bookmarked it and will refer to it when I get home tonight. Glad I found the article doing a Google search.

    Stephen Tremp

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