Sites to Promote Free or 99cents Books

by Ashlynmathews on April 18, 2015

It’s been a week since my last blog and I’m currently in the midst of promoting my books, Near Perfect and UnMarked. 4/15-18 has mainly been promoting my contemporary romance, Near Perfect. Next week will be the paranormal romance, UnMarked. I chose eight sites based on the information shown below and will give an update as to which sites were most successful for me.

I think each author will get different results. Even books in different genres will get different results. That’s why I’m promoting two books in two subgenres of romance. Paid promotions aside, I do find that my contemporary romances outsell my paranormal romances.  I like writing both so I doubt I’ll give up one for the other.

Back on track to the promotion sites. I encourage authors to look over the submission guidelines and choose the best promotion option best suited for you. The majority of the sites I’ve chosen are free, but to get a guaranteed spot, I opted to pay the fee. In my opinion, the fees were nominal in exchange for exposure to a wider reader base.

My reasons for choosing these sites are:  reviews needed (none, few, or not applicable), price, social media platform and reach of the sites, and Alexa score.

The majority of my books have few reviews so I didn’t qualify for some sites that wanted a high, almost unreasonable number of reviews. I find getting exposure to a wider audience of readers has been the biggest challenge as an indie author. I’m competing with other indies and traditionally published authors for readers and reviewers time. On Amazon alone, there’s 587k romance titles. That’s a lot of books!

I also looked at price. Free is good, but not a guaranteed spot. So far, I’ve gotten good return on investment on SweetFreebooks ($5) and BookLemur ($35) for Near Perfect.

If you look at their stats, SweetFreeBooks might not get lots of traffic to their site or have Amazon information, however, they promote on their Facebook page, newsletter and Twitter. BookLemur has a higher ranking for site visits plus 33% of visitors to their site go on to click on Amazon’s page.

What does all this mean? Basically, that an author’s return on investment will vary, and don’t assume a correlation between price of ad promotions and popularity of a site page to the success or failure of a book’s sale.

I hope I’ve given writers good information. There are plenty of promotional opportunities, free and paid. I’ve done print ads, Facebook ads, Goodreads ad, blog tours with giveaways, book giveaways on Goodreads and Facebook and blog hops. Now this :). What has worked for me was:

1.) A total surprise promotion by Allromanceebooks. They promoted What If and Near Perfect as their Hump Day bargains. Those two books made ARe’s top 50 best sellers list and I saw a bump in sales for If Only (book 1 in the Willowbrook series).

2.) Making each book in a series perma-free. Protector is perma-free and I’ve seen bumps in sales of my other paranormal romances. I make sure to put links to the other books (Amazon allows links to the Kindle books, other vendors don’t). If Only was perma-free and I’ve seen bumps in sales of my other contemporary romances.

If you’re a reader, I hope you go to these websites’ pages and sign up to subscribe to their listing of free and bargain books. Disclaimer: I’m not being compensated in any way from these sites for listing them in my blog.

Happy reading! In my next post, I hope to tackle the subject of covers and book blurbs. Basically, try to get it right the first time!

For more information on how Alexa determines site traffic, go here.

Promo Sites # of Reviews Price Alexa Global Rating Alexa Amazon % Click
Daily Free Ebooks N/a Free 2 million 14%
Ebook Lister 3.5 stars or higher. Exception of no reviews or nonfiction. Free 413k 10%
Contentmo N/A 1.99 for 0.99 priced book 706k No Amazon info but links to 40 sites
Genre Pulse N/A $10 and $30 option 1 million 14%
Awesome Gang N/A Free and $10 option 271k 8.20%
Book Lemur Submission reviewed. Billed once book is accepted. $35 176k 33%
Pretty-Hot N/A. Top of FormFree or $25 for 5 days of promoBottom of Form 1 million No Amazon info but links to 47 sites
SweetFreeBooks Lots of requirements but had the most ROI with them $5 1.3 million No Amazon info but links to 28 sites

 

Update:  More sites to promote free or 99 cent books:

Readfree.ly

Robinreads.com

Ebooksoda.com

Booktastik

Bookangel

Justkindlebooks

And two websites that did an awesome job of listing LOTS of great places to promote discounted and books for sale.

http://jamescalbraith.com/2013/01/09/80-sites-to-advertise-your-book/

http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/promo-sites.html

 

Update 10/4/15

These are my personal observations after I stopped paid promotions in August.

  1. Free translates to a lot of downloads. However, I found that my free contemporary romance (If Only) outpaced my paranormal romance (Protector) almost two to one. The added plus? An uptick in sales in the next book in the series. Take away? If you’re gonna give something away for free, make sure the next book in the series is available for purchase.
  2. I was exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited during the times I promoted my books. I like the control of picking my free days and my promotional days. However, I couldn’t prove a promotional price would translate to downloads and buys on other vendor sites because I sold exclusively with Amazon. Yet, when AllRomance ebooks chose If Only then Near Perfect as their hump day bargains, I saw uptick of sales on other vendor sites, including Amazon’s. Take away? I’m going wide for the next round of paid promotions in 2016.
  3. The importance of back matter. Back matter is free advertising for the next book in the series. Back matter is a no-brainer. Take away? Update your book’s back matter as new books are released in the series, and don’t forget to ask readers to leave a review if they like what they’ve read.
  4. Smaller promotional sites are just as effective as the bigger sites with the caveat of genres and price. Like I’ve mentioned above, FREE is best, and contemporary romance is the sweet spot. At least for me.
  5. Expect to lose some money or barely break even.

What has worked and hasn’t worked for you in regards to promotion? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.

 

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