Some self-published authors continue to question whether the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program’s free book promotions option is worthwhile.
The second question is: Is it worth it to be exclusive? Because if you want to be a part of the KDP Select program, you have to commit to exclusivity on Amazon.
There seem to be almost as many opinions on these questions as there are, well, books. So what’s my take?
My Take on Free Book Promotions
I listed The Author’s Guide to Goodreads) in the KDP Select program.
While I am an advocate of going wide, meaning publishing on iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords and other online book retailers, exclusivity to Amazon tends to be a wise choice for new authors. It’s also a good choice when launching a new book to choose KDP Select for three months only, introduce your book to new readers when you mark it down to free, and once the three months are up, go as wide as possible.
Now there’s that other question to consider. Are giving away ebooks worth it?
I’ve never been a huge fan of KDP Select promotions but not because I don’t give books away – I give paperbacks away all the time. And I’m a big believer in giving away books to aid awareness and garner more book reviews.
My issue with free book promotions is that they never seem to work as well for me as they do for bestselling authors. Maybe it’s because I write nonfiction. And maybe it’s because authors who serialize their books sell a heck of a lot more books than I do.
Despite my reservations, I gave it a go and joined KDP Select. And I scheduled a free promotion.
In addition to using social media and my email list to alert my readers and followers about the sale, I also paid for some lists. But first I had to research them.
Book Promotion Services to Check Out
This is what I discovered:
If you’re launching a new book, select the New Release Max program which reaches 750,000 readers and 147,000 email subscribers. But you can’t have a free promotion; you must charge $0.99 per book. Book Butterfly guarantees 50 sales.
If you’re willing to spend more money, Pure Real is another option. They guarantee 5,000 free book downloads, will notify 1 million readers of your book, and they include a Twitter promotion.
Check out their other promotions as well. They have eight packages.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Check out these book promotion lists to rent via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Check out these book promotion lists to rent “]
My thoughts: Considering the size of the email list, the pricing seems fair. What you don’t know is how many of those readers prefer romance or historical fiction or science fiction let alone nonfiction. But the guarantee of downloads is enticing.
To qualify for EReader News Today, review these restrictions:
- Your books need to be available on Amazon.com. They also promote book deals that are available at Barnes & Noble/Nook, Google Play, Apple iTunes and Kobo.
- Your books must be priced at $0.99 or be on sale.
- Your books are required to be a full-length book, in other words, at least 125 pages. There are exceptions for children’s, nonfiction, and cookbooks.
- You can’t run two promotions within 90 days.
Also, EReader has further considerations:
- The covermust appear professional.
- EReader will look at your reviews to see how well readers have liked it.
- Your book must be professionally edited.
- The larger the discount, the better chance you’ll have at your book being accepted.
- EReader won’t post erotica, pornography, books that contain controversial subject matter, or books that may be considered offensive to any race, gender, or religion.
- EReader does reserve the right to deny a book.
My thoughts: A Goodreads group that I belong to gave his service a high rating, and I plan to use it in the future.
To be considered:
- You must have ten reviews and a 4.0 rating on Amazon, 11 to 19 reviews and a 4.0 rating, or 20 reviews and a 3.5 rating.
- If you have ten reviews, they should be split between Amazon’s various stores — such as the U.S. and the U.K. Reviews must be from Amazon.
- You book needs to be priced at A price of $5.99 or less on the day of the promotion.
My thoughts: I like the fact that this service accepts ebooks priced at $5.99. However, it might be difficult for some authors to get reviews from the U.S. and the U.K. And some indie authors have a hard time getting reviews. But Fussy Librarian is a solid outfit and one that I’ll consider with future books.
BookSends has these minimum book requirements:
- Your book must have at least five reviews with a high overall average, and
an attractive cover.
- You must offer a discount of least 50% off the full price, and it must be less than $3.
- You may submit one book at a time.
- BookSends won’t feature the same book more than once every 90 days.
- You need a planned sale price of less than $3 and at least 50% off full price.
My thoughts: I used BookSends and spent $100. It was easy to sign up for it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell whether this service helped more than the posts I added to social media or the emails I sent but I suspect that it did.
Here are some tips:
- Use for free and bargain books between the price of $0.99 and $5.
- You can feature the same title every 30 days.
- Unlike some services, they accept permafree books, short stories, books with no reviews, and erotica.
- They look for well-written and well-formatted books.
- FreeBooksy reaches more than 150,000 readers.
- FreeBooksy has several features including a free Facebook app to add to your Facebook author page.
My thoughts: I haven’t used this service, but I like the fact that I don’t need to offer my book for free, and I like the Facebook app feature.
It’s great that this service is free but its list is just 80,000, a paltry number compared to other services.
eReader Café does offer a Book of the Day list, and that costs $35. The services notes the best-selling genres (romance, mystery, thrillers, contemporary, Christian, Historical, memoir) and indicates that the bestselling price point is between $0.99 and $2.99.
My thoughts: If you’ve written a book in the genres they specify, this service might be worth trying once.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Don’t want to be exclusive to Amazon? Do a $0.99 book promotion instead via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Don’t want to be exclusive to Amazon? Do a $0.99 book promotion instead “]
Here are some guidelines:
- Your book must have good reviews and “substantial positive acclaim.”
- Your discount needs to be at least 50%.
- You’ll need to write an “enticing” summary to be accepted.
My thoughts: There are different pricing structures for different genres, ranging from $25 to $100. Their email reaches 70,000 subscribers, and they accept 23 genres. I think there are better deals out there.
This service will submit your book to more than 45 sites for just $35. For $25 it sends your book to 25 websites.
My thoughts: I think this service is a no brainer and quite a deal.
The only service available now is their Gold Package, which costs $189. The estimated downloads are 5,000+ and the turn around time is 48 hours.
My thoughts: This is a pricey service especially considering the small list counts, but some people swear by it.
For $29, Reading Deals will submit your free and bargain-priced ebook to its list of 35,000 readers and tweet it to 120,000+ followers.
My thoughts: I thought this service was a good deal and used it, and I would use it again. It came highly regarded from a marketing consultant I know.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you like the KDP Select program, and if so, why?
Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
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