Tag Archives: advertising

Starting Out as an Indie Author: Alexa rankings for eBook ad sites

Starting Out as an Indie Author: Using Alexa

A couple of days ago, I blogged about the results of my most recent 99c sale — which went better than anything I’ve done since the last time I took out a BookBub ad, oh so long ago. It appears I’m getting a bit savvier about where to advertise.

So how do you go about deciding if a place is worth it for you to plop down the hard earned money you’ve made elsewhere in the hopes of someday making enough from writing to quit your day job? Well, I’m glad you asked that run-on question, because I’m going to tell you. The first thing I usually do is go to Kboards.com and search for the ad site I’m considering using to see if there has already been a discussion about it. Then I google the name of the site with something like “advertising” and “results” and other such search terms, to see if I can find out if other writers have been satisfied with the service. Sometimes (probably not often enough), I’ve checked the rankings on Alexa to see if the site really does get the kind of traffic it claims.

You can get into a rut with advertising, if you keep using the same sites over and over that have been successful for you before. It makes sense to hit different sites with (hopefully) different subscribers and readers who may not have seen your book before. So I found a couple of lists with sites I was unfamiliar with — adding up to so many that I knew any time I tried to figure out which to try, I would be end up feeling swamped and wouldn’t bother after all.

So I decided to sacrifice a couple of hours and weed out the lists a bit using Alexa. And since I’d gone ahead and done all that work anyway, I figured I might as well share it with my blog readers.

This ranking is by no means a guarantee of the effectiveness of any given ad site. Many sites are only for authors, with the ads appearing on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites. Many sites these days inform their readers of deals through email, and aside from ad pages for authors, the site is little more than a sign-up for the email list.

Also, some sites only cater to select genres. I was very pleased with the results of my ad with Book Barbarian, for example, which is not exactly stellar in this ranking. But they only promote sff, so they are targeting precisely the readers I want to reach. And at a price tag of only $8, I suspect they are one of the better deals for writers in my genre. I fully intend to use their services again — with a different book next time. 🙂

But the thing is, an outrageously low ranking probably indicates that you are not going to see much of a result from a listing with that site. The worst ranking I encountered was 15,000,000 — and it didn’t even offer free ads. I did not include that site on my list. This irregular blog comes in at a little over 600,000, after all, to give you some comparison. (Which I only learned while writing this post. *g*) And I assure you, none of you wants to give me money to plug your book, although I would be happy to take it …

Price is another thing to take into consideration when weighing whether to advertise with any of the sites listed here. Not surprisingly, BookBub has the highest Alexa ranking. But the prices they charge are also far more than many indie authors can afford.

Since I compiled this list for my own use, when not otherwise noted, the ranking is for US traffic, which is where about 95% of my sales come from, making it most important to me. By the same token, I didn’t even check romance sites, since I do not write romance, at least not yet. I also did not bother to include any sites above a ranking of 500,000 if they don’t provide a free advertising option. I make no apologies for that, and no claim in the first place that this list is anywhere near complete. It was intended for my personal use, and I just happen to be sharing it with you. 🙂 Finally, I want to emphasize once more that this ranking alone does not indicate how effective an ad placed with one of these sites will be, given how many different factors play a role. It can only be one of several data points influencing the decision where to take out an ad. AND it is only current at the time of this writing (Sept. 10, 2015). Alexa rankings may be completely different a month from now.

The sites not already listed on my other promo pages (here, here, and here) I got either at http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/02/35-alternatives-to-bookbub/ or http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites. You can use those to compile you own rankings for advertising purposes. 🙂

Now on to Ruth Nestvold’s personal Alexa ranking list of ebook advertising sites:

https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing
2,176 US; 8,393 global

http://new.ereaderiq.com/advertise/
8,082

http://robinreads.com/author-signup/
9,683

https://ohfb.com/kindle-book-advertising-for-authors-and-publishers.html
16,171

http://manybooks.net/promote.php
17,124

http://digitalbookspot.com/ (bknights on Fiverr)
18,275

http://freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions
19,662

https://www.themidlist.com/submit
22,810

http://www.dailyfreebooks.com/promote-your-kindle-book.html
25,940

http://ereadernewstoday.com/bargain-and-free-book-submissions/ (ENT)
29,576

http://www.bookgorilla.com/advertise
37,273

http://digitalbooktoday.com/
38,161

http://www.theereadercafe.com/p/authors.html
45,262

http://blog.booksontheknob.org/subscribe-about-contact/authors-read-this
58,972

http://booksends.com/advertise.php
55,240

http://authors.choosybookworm.com/newsletter-and-website-feature/
56,149

http://fkbt.com/for-authors/
60,736

http://ebookstage.com/authorAreaPage.xhtml
75,536

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/submissions/
76,876

https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/advertise-books-2/
78,724

http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-authors/
82,796

https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/advertise-books-2/
98,369

http://bargainbooksy.com/for-authors
100,705

http://bookgoodies.com/submit-your-free-kindle-days/highlight-your-free-kindle-days/
116,216

http://www.xtme.de/submitting-a-free-e-book-to-xtmeenglishbooks/
130,042 global; 7,738 Germany

http://www.freebookshub.com/authors/
131,056

http://www.bargainebookhunter.com (can be booked through Hotzippy)
134,201

http://ereadergirl.com/submit-your-ebook/
161,376; NZ 2,827

http://askdavid.com/for-authors
161,996 global; United Kingdom 24,180 (also ranks in India and the US)

http://bookbarbarian.com/why-advertise/
179,531

http://www.freebooks.com/submit/
188,008

http://readingdeals.com/submit-ebook
188,357

http://www.ebooksoda.com/authors/
199,297

http://www.bookbasset.com/authors/submissions/
200,900

http://beezeebooks.com/book-promotion/
206,871 global; 975 New Zealand; also India

http://www.frugal-freebies.com/p/submit-freebie.html
211,208

http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
211,254

http://readcheaply.com/partners/
213,980

http://www.iloveebooks.com/for-authors.html
222,842

http://addictedtoebooks.com/content/free-advertising
224,161

http://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/
237,735

http://www.freeebooksdaily.com/p/promote-your-free-book.html
248,641

http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order?tag=readersintheknow
251,520

http://indiebookoftheday.com/authors/free-on-kindle-listing/
251,886

http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php
279,609

http://www.book-circle.com/submit-free-kindle-ebook-listing/
300,000+ global; 3,000 Phillipines

http://bookpraiser.com/submit-book/
293,107

http://www.ebookhounds.com/pricing/
308,789

http://ebookasaurus.com/authors/
318,623 (global)

http://www.bookbuzzr.com/plans.php
329,155

http://bettybookfreak.com/authors/
367,548

http://www.goodkindles.net/p/submit-your-book.html
371,292

http://booktastik.com/pricing-sale-estimates/
380,520

http://www.freebookdude.com/search/label/Promote%20with%20The%20Book%20Dude
413,117

http://www.peoplereads.com/list-your-ebook
518,197

http://lovelybookpromotions.com
593,211

http://contentmo.com/submit-your-free-ebook-promo
618,531; global 401,223

http://freediscountedbooks.com/submit/
620,927

http://www.armadilloebooks.com/
904,702 global

Hope you all find the list useful. 🙂

Effectiveness of ads for a 99c promo: Results for Yseult

Last week, I had a 99c sale for Yseult running, for which I took out several paid ads — none of them BookBub. *g* I promised to provide a summary of the results once the promo was over.

Here are the ads I took out and the dates they appeared:

Book Barbarian – Aug. 31 ($8)
Booklovers Heaven – Aug. 31 (Free)
Manybooks.net – Aug. 31 (Free)

Books Butterfly – Sept 2 ($50)

Bargain Booksy – Sept. 4 ($40)

For the week, I spent a total of $98 for advertising. At the beginning of the promotion, Yseult was at #511,349 on Amazon.com. The highest it reached during the week of the promotion was #7,555 on Sept. 3, according to the sales info on Author Central. Here is one of the better results caught as screenshot:

Arthurian fiction bestsellers

It actually made it up to #4 in Arthurian Fiction at one point, but I forgot to take a screenshot. 🙂

Here is how the sales during the week broke down:

Book Barbarian – Aug. 31 ($8)
Booklovers Heaven – Aug. 31 (Free)
Manybooks.net – Aug. 31 (Free)

Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, before the Books Butterfly ad came out, I had 38 sales in the US and 2 in the UK. Before the ads came out, there were 2 sales. So I’m sure that most of those sales were a result of the ads, but since they were all on the same day I’m not sure exactly where the sales came from. Nonetheless, excellent ROI, and well worth using again. Perhaps next time on different days, so that I have a better idea which ones work best.

Books Butterfly – Sept 2 ($50)

After the Books Butterfly ad, I had another 47 sales in the US and 4 in the UK. In absolute terms, that means I lost money, but it is also the ad that pushed my visibility up the most and got me into some top ten lists.

Bargain Booksy – Sept. 4 ($40)

After the BargainBooksy ad, I sold another 30 copies of the book in the US and 1 in the UK. For me, in terms of ROI, this was the least effective of the ads I took out.

As I mentioned last week, I deliberately spaced the more expensive paid ads with a day in between so that I’d have a better idea of their effectiveness. When I’ve tested ads before, I’ve tended to do a different ad every day, which makes it more difficult to figure out which ads got me the sales, since there is always spillover.

To my way of thinking, with my limping sales in the past months, this promo was a definite success. Not only did I sell over 130 copies of the book (meaning I recouped the costs of the ads), I also sold several copies of Shadow of Stone, #2 in The Pendragon Chronicles, and paperbacks of Yseult as well — something that hasn’t happened in a long time. 🙂 Even my freebies in the series have a lot more downloads now than they did this time last month.

And now that the book has returned to full price, I’ve made a couple more sales, and seem to have several readers borrowing it, to judge by the pages read in my dashboard.

I promised to compile these results with those of other 99c sales I’ve done, but it’s late now in Central Europe, and I think I’m going to save the summary post for next week.

Anyway, I’m very happy with the results, even if some of them were quite different than expected. But I’m paying for that as well, and will know better what to use next time I schedule a promo for one of my books. 🙂

Promoting your 99c sale revisited: Yseult, A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur

About two years ago now, I pulled Yseult and Shadow of Stone, my two big doorstopper Arthurian novels, from KDP Select and went wide with them. Unfortunately, I was never able to get any traction with them on other sales sites, even with a couple of permafree titles. So when Amazon changed it’s payment model for borrows, I pulled them from all other sites and re-enrolled them in Select. At official KENPCs (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) of around 1000 pages each, when those are books are read to the end as borrows, they earn me almost four times as much for a borrow as in the old system — and they earn me more than for a direct sale too. 🙂

But as I have pointed out before, you can make neither sales nor a borrow if you don’t get your book in front of people. This summer has been crazy busy, and I haven’t had a lot of time to set up advertising. Now I finally have a Countdown Deal set up for Yseult this week, during which I will be testing a few more 99c promotional gigs. BookBub is not among them. I am trying to find out what advertising opportunities are out there for which you do not need to shell out hundreds of dollars. Next week, I will post my results, as well as summaries of several other 99c promotions I’ve done in previous months with the ads I bought for them.

Another thing I’ll be tracking is the ranking of Yseult. Before the promotion started, it was at #511,349 on Amazon.com. I have already had two sales, and now it is at #97,793.

This week, I’ll be testing the following ad sites:

Book Barbarian – Aug. 31 ($8)
Booklovers Heaven – Aug. 31 (Free)
Manybooks.net – Aug. 31 (Free)

Books Butterfly – Sept 2 ($50)

Bargain Booksy – Sept. 4 ($40)

I’ve also applied for a number of other free ads, but I haven’t received confirmation that my book will be carried, so I’m assuming it won’t be running on any of the other sites besides ManyBooks and Booklover’s Heaven.

I deliberately spaced the more expensive paid ads with a day in between so that I’ll have a better idea which ones are actually effective. When I’ve done this kind of thing before with a different ad every day, it ends up being hard to figure out how many of the sales are from the ad of the day, or from the ad that ran the day before.

Watch this space next week, when I will post my results, and provide a summary of ads for other 99c sales I’ve tested. 🙂

Starting Out as an Indie Author: Where to promote permafree books

Starting out as an indie author

I’ve talked before about how permafree can be used as a marketing strategy for ebooks. Permafree is indie author shorthand for permanently free. Many sales venues allow you to set the price of your book to free; others do not, most notably Amazon. But it is still possible to make a book free there, either through price-matching, or by writing Amazon directly, listing the other sites where your book is free, and pointing out the promotional advantage of having the book free. As an example, here is the email I sent which finally resulted in Yseult: Two Women going free:

Hello,

I’ve been trying for some time to get my ebook “Yseult, Part I: Two Women” price-matched using the link “tell us about a lower price,” but until now I’ve had no luck, which is why I am contacting you directly. The ebook is free on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Play and elsewhere. I would be grateful if you could price match it for me on all Amazon sites. I am making Part I free to encourage sales of other books in the series which will be on sale with Amazon. Part 2 is already on Amazon and I intend to launch Part 3 & 4 once Part 1 is free.

Details below. If you need any further information, please let me know. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Sincerely,
Ruth Nestvold

Title: Yseult, Part I: Two Women, ASIN: B00NFPE1T8

Free on the following sites (among others):

iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id917430003

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yseult-part-i-ruth-nestvold/1120330113?ean=2940046328080&itm=1&usri=2940046328080

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ruth_Nestvold_Yseult_Part_1_Two_Women?id=yip_BAAAQBAJ

Yseult, Part 1: Two Women

That letter finally did the job. 🙂

Permafree works in a number of ways. With permafree, for example, you can upload the complete book chapter by chapter to Wattpad, potentially gaining new readers — and without worrying about losing money, since the book is free anyway. You can also upload a “preview” file on Goodreads that contains the complete text of your permafree, as I have done.

In my recent experience, permafree is most effective if it ends on a cliffhanger. This goes totally against my own preferences and beliefs, as well as all the reader complaints about serial novels and cliffhangers, but sales figures don’t lie. Yseult: Two Women has resulted in increased sales — including Books II, III and IV, which I didn’t actually intend to sell, hoping readers would add up the price of the individual parts and just go for the complete novel if they were interested enough to keep reading. But last month, my profits from the individual books of Yseult were almost equal to that of the complete book containing all four parts. Go figure.

In previous posts, I’ve listed places to promote a temporary free promo, as well as a 99c sale for ebooks. But since not all sites that will promote a free run will take permafree titles, I decided for my own sake, as well as yours, to compile a list of those sites are open to permafree titles (or that at least do not specifically exclude them).

Free:

Reading Deals – Books should be a minimum of 50 pages long and have at least 5 reviews and a 4 star average. $29 for a guaranteed listing.
http://readingdeals.com/submit-ebook

Ask David: http://askdavid.com/free-ebook-promotion

ContentMo – Free Ads for Free Books: http://contentmo.com/submit-your-free-ebook-promo/

Read Free.ly: http://www.readfree.ly/ourservices/

Frugal Freebies: http://www.frugal-freebies.com/p/submit-freebie.html

eBookLister – Rating of 3.5 or higher with a minimum of 5 reviews. (Note: If you’ve submitted a freebie for the same book before, you get an error message stating that your listing will be corrected.) http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php

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.

FreeBookSy – Free and paid.

Choosy Bookworm – Free and paid. Book must be at least 70 pages long & have at least 8 reviews with a 4+ average.

Free Books

Awesomegang – $10 for a guaranteed listing. http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/

Indie Book of the Day – http://indiebookoftheday.com/authors/free-on-kindle-listing/

Book Angel – Book must be PG-13! http://bookangel.co.uk/submit-your-book/

SF Signal Free Fiction Tip Line (For science fiction and fantasy) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1RpB9C2_urRBU6AigCZwFuxuhhjNTt5qKX0Yzlnw09VA/viewform

Paid:

BKnights on Fiverr – $5.50 (a “fiver” plus processing fee). https://www.fiverr.com/bknights

Sweet Free Books – $7. At least 5 reviews and a 3.5 rating. http://sweetfreebooks.com/advertise/

Booklover’s Heaven – $5. Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.

Digital Book Today ($20 for a one month listing. No erotica.) http://digitalbooktoday.com/purchase-ad-perma-free-books-page/

Ereader News Today (ENT. Books must be at least 125 pages. Prices starting at $30, according to genre. No erotica.) http://ereadernewstoday.com/requirements/

BookRaid – Pricing per click, starting at 5c, with a minimum threshold of $2 — so at less than 40 clicks, the listing is free. Maximum charge $10. For fiction, the book must be at least 120 pages long. It cannot have been promoted in the last 8 weeks.
https://bookraid.com/

Freebooksy (Prices starting at $40, according to genre.) http://freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/

Book Basset – $7.99 per day. Requires at least 10 reviews with a rating of 3.5 or higher. Will only feature a book once every six months. No erotica or specifically adult content. http://www.bookbasset.com/authors/submissions/guaranteed-freebie/

Books Butterfly (Prices start at $50 per 500 guaranteed downloads) http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/freebookslots/

One Hundred Free Books – Listings start at $75. http://ohfb.com/author-free-kindle-book-submission.html

I am always on the lookout for more ways of getting the word out about permafree books, so if anyone has any tips, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.

Starting out as an indie author: Where to promote a 99c eBook sale

Starting out as an indie author

Here are some of the sites I’ve found that will promote 99c sale ebooks (and often sale books up to $2.99, as long as the books are deeply discounted). Most of them are ones I use myself. I’ve left out a number of sites that have no information on followers or subscribers, as well as those that tend to get bad marks from the indie writers on KBoards. Even so, that’s no guarantee that all of these sites will be effective. I suspect a lot has to do with genre, since sites that work for me get panned by other writers, while sites other writers swear by have been a washout for me. So remember, YMMV.

Free

Books on the Knob

Bargain Booksy (Free and paid)

Bookscream

Read Free.ly

Reading Deals – Books should be a minimum of 50 pages long and have at least 5 reviews and a 4 star average. They also have the option to pay $29 for a guaranteed listing

Choosy Bookworm – Guaranteed listings start at $25. (My results with a paid listing were disappointing, but people report good results with their free slots.)

Awesome Gang – Also offer a featured 2 day listing for $10.

The Naughty List – For romance and erotica

EBookStage – Must have at least 5 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Require a number cross promotions for which you receive points. If you don’t have enough points for a free promo, you can pay for a slot. Prices start at $10.

Book Angel – Book must be PG-13! Only for books under 1 British Pound that are available in the UK store.

Paid:

Read Cheaply – Prices start at $25, depending on genre. Note: Do not try to book an ad with them if you’ve had a book listed within the last month. http://readcheaply.com/partners/

Bknights on Fiverr – https://www.fiverr.com/bknights/

Book Barbarian – Prices starting at $20. Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of at least 3.5. Only for science fiction and fantasy. Usually necessary to book at least a month in advance. One book per author within a 30 day period. http://bookbarbarian.com/ad-requirements/

Bookbub – This is the heavy hitter in paid advertising; it is also Very Expensive. https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing

Ereader News Today (ENT) – Prices starting at $30.
http://ereadernewstoday.com/pricing/

ManyBooks.net – Prices starting at $25. Requires at least 10 reviews and an average of 4 or higher. My results here used to be quite good, but recently they have been disappointing, especially given the price. http://manybooks.net/promote.php

Booksends – Requires at least 5 reviews, with a high overall average, and an attractive cover, with a planned sale price of less than $3 and at least 50% off full price. Prices start at $10 and increase according to sale price and genre. Through this site, it is also possible to advertise with EReaderIQ.
http://booksends.com/advertise.php

eReaderiQ – It is also possible to book eReaderiQ separately. Prices starting at $5. http://www.ereaderiq.com/authors/submissions/dds/

Booklover’s Heaven
– For sale books priced at 3.99 or below. Requires 10 or more reviews and an average of at least 4 stars. $5 for a listing.
http://bookloversheaven.com/authors/

Buck Books – For 99c sale books. Books must be at least 60 pages long, and have at least 10 reviews with an average of 3.8 or higher. Prices start at $9 for fiction. Must be booked at least six weeks in advance.
http://buckbooks.net/buck-books-promotions/

BookGorilla – Prices starting at $40 depending on genre and price. Usually necessary to book at least 6 weeks in advance.
http://www.bookgorilla.com/advertise

Books Butterfly – Various pricing options starting at $50, depending on how many readers you want to reach.
http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/paidbookslots/

Robin Reads – $40.
http://robinreads.com/author-signup/

ContentMo – Various promo plans starting at $1.99 a day.
http://contentmo.com/99-book-promo-2015/

Digital Book Today – Offers a variety of advertising options, some of which are free. http://digitalbooktoday.com/join-our-team/paid-and-free-promotions/

Ebook Discovery – Prices start at $14. https://ebookdiscovery.leadpages.net/ebook-discovery-authors-only/

Ebookhounds – $10 for a listing. Extra options available as well.
http://www.ebookhounds.com/books/submit/

The Fussy Librarian – Promotional options starting at $8, depending on genre. Books must have at least 10 reviews and a 4.0 rating, except for new releases. http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-authors/

FreebooksHub.com – Promotions starting at $10.
http://www.freebookshub.com/authors/

Kindle Books and Tips – Prices starting at $25. Books must have at least 8 reviews, at least 4 of which must be Amazon Verified Purchase reviews. No short stories. http://fkbt.com/for-authors/

GenreCrave – Prices starting at $50.
http://www.genrecrave.com/schedule-today/

OHFB (One Hundred Free Books) – Prices for a guaranteed listing start at $75. https://ohfb.com/advertise/

The eReader Cafe – Advertising options starting at $25. http://theereadercafe.com/sell-more-books/

Free & Discounted Books – Promotion for eBooks from 0.99-2.99 starting at $8. http://freediscountedbooks.com/99-cent-sales/

Hot Zippy – Various promo plans starting at $23. http://hotzippy.net/feature-your-book.html

Ebook Soda – Prices starting at $15. Kboards authors report that it isn’t particularly effective. http://www.ebooksoda.com/

Bargain Booksy – Prices for an ad start at $25 and depend on the genre. http://bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/

Book Goodies – $10 to promote a Countdown Deal.
http://bookgoodies.com/bargain-books/kdp-countdown-bargain-books/

eBook Betty – Listings with various review criteria starting at $18 http://bettybookfreak.com/authors/

Book Raid – Prices are per click. Don’t take Paypal, only credit card.
https://bookraid.com

Facebook

It is also possible to list your book on a number of Facebook groups specifically for 99c eBooks, usually while it is on sale:

Author 99cent Book Promotions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/444695995585913/

Addicted to eBooks: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Addicted-to-eBookscom/277297772316389

EReader1-US: https://www.facebook.com/eReader1.US/ Instructions are here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ereader1-us/book-promotions-including-self-promo-by-authors-and-publishers-and-their-friends/448662358501661

If you are intending to do a free run for one of your books, check out my article on where to promote free books here, and permafree books here.

If you know of other effective sites for promoting a 99c sale, please let me know in the comments!

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.

Shadow of Stone on sale for 99c through Dec. 19 – and testing ad sites

In my on-going attempt to get back into the swing of things marketing-wise — and figure out what works in this new self-publishing era of Kindle Unlimited and various other changes — I set up a sale this week for Shadow of Stone, the second book in The Pendragon Chronicles.

Shadow of Stone on Amazon

For over ten years, there has been peace in Britain after Arthur and his warriors soundly defeated the Saxons at the battle of Caer Baddon. But sometimes peace is deceptive …

After a series of hard winters and famine, an alliance of dissatisfied northern kings attack the rich cities of Southern Britain. But in the years of peace, Arthur’s army has grown soft; jealousies and trivialities rip once strong alliances apart. Cador, who is mockingly referred to as “farmer king,” must go to war again. The threat to their way of life throws him together with Yseult, the woman he has secretly loved since he was a youth.

But can their politically expedient marriage help bring peace to Britain again? Or will it only lead to further conflict?

As betrayals both real and imagined shake the foundations of former British unity, Cador and Yseult must try to negotiate their own personal peace. Who will survive the upheavals to come? Will Britain rally once more behind a common leader to fight off the common threat?

For the purpose, I found a few sites that will advertize 99c sales for free, as well as several cheaper ad options, which I have staggered throughout the week to test their effectiveness. It is well known by now that a Bookbub ad will get you hundreds of sales, but it can be very difficult to get a slot with them because of all the competition. Besides, placement in their newsletter costs hundreds of dollars. And while most books with a Bookbub ad earn the expense back, not everyone has that kind of ready cash up front.

So I am testing various options so you don’t have to! *g* Next week, I will summarize the results and put together a list of the advertizing sites I’ve found.

In the meanwhile, feel free to take a look at Shadow of Stone. And if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can now borrow it for free, since it is back in KDP Select. Just for the record, that is not because I am an Amazon fanatic, it is because my sales on other sites were so abysmal, the advantage of making money through borrows on Amazon just amounted to the better deal for me. When and if any other market seems to be developing more potential, I will add more of my books to other sites.

The challenge of becoming visible as an indie — and an interview

As anyone knows who’s stuck their toes in the self-publishing waters, one of the biggest challenges facing indie authors is getting noticed. So that beautiful tree you cultivated fell with a satisfying crash? But if no one is there to hear it … you get the idea.

It’s the same thing when you throw your brilliant work of staggering genius out into the pond of all the other newly-minted indie authors — and the pond is so full, it doesn’t make a ripple, since there’s no water left.

When I first published Yseult in January 2012, KDP Select was a totally new element thrown into the self-publishing mix, and having a good free run with one of your titles was enough to give sales a push for weeks. Now, not only is it getting harder and harder to have a successful free run, the sales post-freebie are less and not lasting as long. KDP Select is no longer enough to draw attention to your books.

Back when I first started out, I did try a few other things. I wrote to review sites to try to get them to pick up my books, (without success) I did interviews and guest posts on other writers’ blogs, all those things they tell you to do to get the word out about you and your books. But the only thing that seemed to have an effect on sales was a successful free run. And now that isn’t even working anymore.

So how is an independent author supposed to become visible?

One of the things I’ve had some success with are group promos. I talked about that elsewhere, and I still think it’s one of the ways authors can help each other out and reach a larger audience. Which is why I’m participating in another one this month: Kindle Books on Fire. Check it out! If you have a US address, you might even win a new Kindle Fire!

Another thing I’ve been experimenting with more recently is paid advertising. I haven’t had the greatest results until now, but on Lindsay Buroker’s blog recently, she recommended BookBub, which sends targeted emails to readers of specific genres. Their list of fantasy subscribers is over 70,000. (BTW, if you’re an indie author or are considering going that route, I highly recommend subscribing to Lindsay’s blog. She shares a lot of useful information about her own self-publishing experience, and I’ve learned a lot from her posts.)

After reading about Lindsay’s experience with a 99c discounted book, I decided to try BookBub with a freebie of Shadow of Stone. The ad prices are staggered according to genre and the discounted price at which the book is being offered; an ad in the fantasy category for a free book right now is $45. They seem to only take one book a day per genre, however, so competition is steep. I think I got in because of my award nominations in traditional publishing, since Shadow of Stone still only has ten reviews. They also only take full length books, according to their guidelines, at least 50,000 words.

Anyway, results. Within hours, I’d recouped the money I spent on the ad — in sales of the companion novel, Yseult. Of course, this only works if you have books in a series. I saw a tiny increase in sales of some of my other books that are not part of The Pendragon Chronicles, but not much. It’s looking like the bump in sales of Shadow of Stone after the freebie would also have covered the cost of the ad. Yesterday, I had 9 sales and 13 borrows on Shadow of Stone. So I’m definitely going to try Bookbub again, as long as they will give me a listing, that is. 🙂

I also wanted to point anyone who might be interested in the direction of an interview with me up on the OWW workshop. There I mostly talk about my decision to go indie, but craft and theme as well. (The interview is about two-thirds down in the newsletter.)

As to recent writing progress: I’ve been slowed down a bit by a cold, and the fact that the colonoscopy I did this week is having some unpleasant aftereffects. (The results of the exam were negative, btw, which means that’s good for me.) But despite that, with the inspiration of Fast Draft, I’ve gotten 38 pages written on Ygerna this week, my Pendragon Chronicles prequel. That’s nowhere near the 20 pages a day we’re supposed to be doing, but I’m quite happy with it. Hopefully once health issues clear up, I can increase that.

I wish everyone a great week!

Results of ENT bargain listing for “Looking Through Lace”

About the time I was almost ready to publish Beyond the Waters of the World, Book 2 in the Looking Through Lace series, an email drifted into my inbox from the wonderful folks at Ereader News Today, announcing a new promotion opportunity, a listing for 99c Bargain Kindle Books. It was very timely, because I intended to lower the price of the first novella in the series for a limited time, to help stir up interest in the second book. So I signed up.

The bargain list with Looking Through Lace went up yesterday, and so far I’m very happy with the results, especially since I didn’t do a lot of extra promotion. Since the listing went live, I’ve sold over 90 books, and Looking Through Lace went from a ranking of 175,000 to 1,368 at it’s highest. Slipping now again, but it’s still #1,747 in the paid Kindle store, #1 in Science Fiction Short Stories, and #24 in Science Fiction Adventure.

It’s definitely worthwhile to experiment with new ways of marketing ebooks. And since the cost for this ENT promotion is a percentage of the profits, you really can’t go wrong or end up losing money, as you can with some other kinds of ads. You do, however, have to lower your price to 99c, at least temporarily, so the biggest cost for many writers would be in lost revenues, especially if the book is normally at a price point that earns 70% royalties.

I’ll be experimenting with a fixed-price ad soon. It will be interesting to see how that one goes compared to the ENT bargain book placement.

Promoting Ebooks with a Free Run through KDP Select

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. The sites that don’t charge for announcements usually don’t guarantee being listed. With the paid sites of course you do (but note that not all of them will promote everything).

Free:

Indie Book of the Day (No erotica.)

FreeBookSy (Free and paid.)

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.)

Book Angel – Book must be PG-13!

Ask David

Read Free.ly

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.)

Free Books (Hands down the easiest place to submit the info for your free promo — only ASIN and dates!)

BookScream (While they’re in beta, all ads on BookScream are free.)

eBooks Habit (Free and paid; for a listing, books must have at least 3 reviews. No erotica.)

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)

Frugal Freebies

Awesomegang (Free and paid.)

iLoveEbooks

New Free Kindle Books

eBooksaurus

Armadillo EBooks

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 …

 

Paid:

(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)

Ereader News Today (Prices starting at $30)

EBookDaily – Still in beta, and the price is donate whatever you think is appropriate.

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.)

Ignite Your Book (99c for a listing on their page, and another $10 for the complete promo, including tweets and newsletter, which you need to order separately.)

Bookgorilla (Prices starting at $40.)

EBookStage (Must have at least 5 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Promotion packages starting at $12, but can be free with enough “promotion points.”)

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.)

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.)

BookRaid – Pricing per click, starting at 5c, with a minimum threshold of $2 — so at less than 40 clicks, the listing is free. Maximum charge $10. For fiction, the book must be at least 120 pages long. It cannot have been promoted in the last 8 weeks.
https://bookraid.com/

Good Kindles

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.)

Robin Reads (Listings start at $40.)

One Hundred Free Books (Listings start at $75)

DailyFreeBooks

Booklover’s Heaven (Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)

Kindle Spotlight Book Promo

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. 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.)

2. For erotica, announce it on The Naughty List

3. Announce your freebie on LibraryThing and Goodreads.

4. Blog it, natch.

5. 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.

6. Announce it on the Kindle Boards (Links To Free Books) while it’s free.

7. 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)
Amazon Kindle
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.)

8. Tweet (use hashtags #FreeKindleBook #freekindle #freebook #free #kindlepromo). Don’t forget to thank those who retweet!

9. 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!

Related posts:

E-book promotions: Countdown – meh. Permafree – yay! (kinda)

Amazon trying to re-Kindle interest in KDP Select: The new “Countdown Deals”

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.