Note, Nov. 2014: Now that I have returned to using free as a strategy for promoting my books, I am updating the list here again. If you notice any links that don’t work or have any suggestions for links to add, please let me know in the comments!
If you’re promoting a 99c sale rather than a free run, you can find my list of sites for that here.
During the month of February 2012, I did four free promotions with KDP Select, and I’ve started to get the hang of it. After the freebies, my ebooks have bounced into the top 100 Paid in their categories. As I write this, Yseult (which was free for 24 hours on Feb. 29) has the following rankings:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#48 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
#59 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical
If you check the popularity ranking for Historical Fantasy in ebooks, it’s even #3. :) (And Dragon Time is #8!)
I promised a bunch of people I would write a blog post about what I do leading up to and during a free promotion, so here goes.
There are several folks you might want to contact about your free promotion once you’ve scheduled it. These sites will announce your book either 1) if they think it’s worthy, or 2) if you’ve paid them enough. Until now, I’ve only used the sites that don’t charge for announcements, but you have no guarantee of being listed. With the paid sites of course you do (but note that not all of them will promote everything). As I said, the only sites I’ve contacted are the ones that are free, but I’m listing several non-free sites I heard about through the blogosphere that are supposed to be good, at least if you are not the daughter of someone who spent formative years during the Great Depression … (ETA: For what it’s worth, since posting the original version of this article, I have since used 2 sites for paid ads for free runs: BookBub and Bknights. I would use both again.)
Indie Book of the Day (No erotica.)
FreeBookSy (Free and paid.)
The Midlist (Requires an average rating of at least 4 stars and at least 30 reviews for a free book, 20 for discounted. They no longer offer date selection: if your book is selected, they will contact you regarding the date it can be promoted. They also offer custom advertising for $100.)
eBookLister (Note: If you’ve submitted a freebie for the same book before, you get an error message stating that your listing will be corrected.)
Digital Book Today (Free and paid; books must be at least 100 pages long and have at least 18 reviews with a rating of 4 or higher. No erotica.)
Book Angel – Book must be PG-13!
The eReader Cafe (Free and paid. Book should have at least 3 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)
Choosy Bookworm (Free and paid. Book must be at least 70 pages long & have at least 8 reviews with a 4+ average.)
EBookStage (Must have at least 5 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)
Free Books (Hands down the easiest place to submit the info for your free promo — only ASIN and dates!)
eBooks Habit (Free and paid; for a listing, books must have at least 3 reviews. No erotica.)
Booklover’s Heaven (Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)
One Hundred Free Books (Also offers guaranteed listings for $75)
Reading Deals (Requires a minimum of 5 reviews & a 4.0 average rating. No graphic sexual content.)
SF Signal Free Fiction Tip Line (For science fiction and fantasy)
Ignite Your Book (Must sign up at least 10 days in advance.)
Awesomegang (Free and paid.)
Pretty-hot.com (Free and paid)
Free Book Dude (No erotica.)
Bookpraiser (Free and paid. Requires you to like, tweet, subscribe, etc.) Note: The last time I tried to enter a book here, it kept insisting that my book description could be no longer than 500 characters, even though my text editor said it was under the limit. The count it finally accepted was less than 250 characters. Go figure …
Read Cheaply (To submit your book, you must at first have completed a number of cross-promotion steps, such as tweeting about them and liking their page.)
(BTW, before booking any paid ads, you might want to check out my post about Alexa rankings for advertising sites.)
Bknights on Fiverr (As the location indicates, promotions here cost $5, plus 50c fee)
Pixel of Ink (Through Booksends; prices starting at $10 and based on price and genre)
Ereader News Today (prices starting at $20)
Book Basset ($7.99 per day. Requires at least 10 reviews with a rating of 3.5 or higher.)
ManyBooks.net (Prices starting at $25. Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Slots fill up early, so you should probably apply at least 2 weeks in advance, if not more.)
Bookgorilla (Prices starting at $40.)
Books Butterfly (A number of various pricing options depending on how many readers your ad will reach.)
Sweet Free Books ($5. At least 5 reviews and a 3.5 rating.)
Fire and Ice Book Promos (Advertising options start at $5.)
Flurries of Words (Asks for donations starting at $3 for a listing.)
Freebookshub.com ($8 donation for a listing)
Kindle Nation Daily (costs lots)
BookBub (Various pricing schemes according to genre and whether the book is free or not. VERY expensive, but most who have used it think it’s worth it.)
Free eBooks Daily (Listings starting at $3)
Discount Books Daily (Book must have “positive, real reviews.” Promotions starting at $10.)
Robin Reads (Listings start at $15.)
Snickslist (Listings start at $1. Note: this can only be done while the book is free!)
xtme:englishbooks (A German site for English ebooks)
During your promo
There are also a number of things you can do during or shortly before your free days to help potential readers find your book:
1. Tag your book on Amazon with the words “Kindle free book,” “free ebook” and “Kindle freebie.” (This can be done before your book goes free, but not too far in advance, or you might piss off potential “customers”).
2. Post it to Addicted to Ebooks (You need to register to be able to post here, and you have to post on a day your book is free.)
3. For erotica, announce it on The Naughty List
4. Announce your freebie on LibraryThing and Goodreads.
5. Blog it, natch.
6. Post about your free book on your other social networking sites (Linked In, Google+, etc.) I try to pace this, since I have the sites that allow it set to automatically post to Twitter.
7. Announce it on the Kindle Boards (Links To Free Books) while it’s free.
8. Announce your book on BookPinning
9. Post on Facebook pages on your free day(s):
Your Facebook Wall
Free Kindle Books
eReader1 US (Guidelines for posting are here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ereader1-us/book-promotions-including-self-promo-by-authors-and-publishers-and-their-friends/448662358501661)
EBook Korner Kafe (You have to like and share a Focus Post in order to be able to post here.)
Indie Kindle (You have to be a member to post to their promotion page.)
10. Tweet (use hashtags #FreeKindleBook #freekindle #freebook #free #kindlepromo). Don’t forget to thank those who retweet!
11. Send a message to @kindlenews on twitter (over 20,000 followers). If you write in the genre of fantasy and science fiction, send a message to @kindlefantasies (600 followers). Here are few more potential accounts to notify, but be judicious. No one wants to be spamming twitterverse with ads for your book: @DigitalBkToday @Bookyrnextread @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @free_kindle @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook @FreeKindleStuff @KindleUpdates @Booksontheknob @Kindle_promo @IndAuthorSucess @CheapKindleDly @KindleDaily (Note: in order for them to retweet, many of these require that you follow them first.)
All the promotion is a lot of work, but it can pay off. Even for someone who is writing in the unsalable genre of Arthurian fiction. :) BTW, I update this list fairly regularly, so if you have a suggestion for a site to add or remove, please let me know in the comments below!