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BOOK MARKETING SITES

October 14, 2020

            A potential way to market your book, once it’s published, is through so-called book marketing sites. There are a bunch of them.

            I’ve done it before with mixed results.

            Before you take the plunge, there are some things you need to consider.

WHY DO IT?

            You’re either a self-published author or with a small press. Numbers aren’t exactly setting the world on fire. Another issue that isn’t hepling is a lack of reviews. More on that later.

            While you’ve maybe done a lot, or maybe little with your own marketing on social media or word of mouth, things just aren’t happening.

            So, you want to add a bit of boost to your sales.

            Hence, one solution is book marketing sites.

WHAT DO BOOK MARKETING SITES DO?

            When I say book marketing sites, I’m specifically talking about sites that readers subscribe to. These sites feature e-books, usually Kindle, or maybe even Nook books that readers can buy with one click. These sites encourage the author to offer (but usually don’t force) their books at steep discounts.

            The whole idea is to expose the book to a wide audience. The larger the web site, the larger the audience. However, the larger the audience, usually, the larger the fee.

QUALIFICATIONS

            This can be the sticking point for a lot of self-publishing and independent authors.

            It can be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type scenario.

            Many of the sites require a minimal number of reviews to qualify. In other words, if your book is right off the press, forget it. If your book doesn’t have enough reviews to qualify forget it.

            Another qualification is quality. This one I agree with. If it’s self-published, a crappy cover, poor editing, poor quality with see it turned down. These sites don’t want to sully their reputation with crappy books. Then again, some of them will probably sell anything for the fee. I’m just saying.

THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER – MY EXPERIENCES SO FAR

            This goes back to why do it?

            You want to generate sales, right?

            You want to get more reviews, okay?

            Let’s take the first one.

            Depending on the site and their fee, there are certain things to consider. First off, don’t believe the hype on their web page! The first thing you will see is all these success stories, whether true or not.

            Do the math. I took the plunge and things didn’t quite add up. For instance, I spent $25 on one site. Fine and dandy. I dropped the price of my book down to $.99 to sell more books. I think I sold 8 books. After the publisher’s take, I made a couple of dollars (small press). I generated zero reviews.

            I did it once again, same price, sold I think ten books for a little more money. Almost enough for a Starbucks. I still generated zero reviews.

            Not exactly like the booming sales expectations of the endorsements touted on the web page!

            On the other hand, I also maybe got a few fans for the next book. I did sell a few, however I still got no reviews on that one either.

            What did it do to my Amazon sales ranking?

            It skyrocketed for a couple of days, then slowly plunged once again.

            It wasn’t enough to take me into an elite category, but at least the number changed for a while.

            In the end, was it worth it?

            To me it was. Sure, math-wise, I lost money, but sales wise, I may have converted a few more people. Time will tell.

            As of yesterday, as you read this, I’ll have tried another site with a different book. I won’t know any significant results for a while, but we’ll see if it results in anything different.

            As of today, the day before I post this (Monday), my book sold at the normal list (Kindle) price. I maybe sold a couple as my sales ranking leaped up into the thousands. Sure, it never set the world on fire and of course, I didn’t make my money back. Then again, just maybe I made a few more fans, especially considering this particular book is the first in the series and is going to be just prior to the launch of the second one. Finally, I gained a review! Yes, lo and behold, out of all of that, regardless of the math, I gained one new review. A five star one at that. The problem is that while the number is there, the review isn’t. That’s an issue for another article.

SUMMARY

            Book marketing sites, at least the ones I’ve run across so far, deal exclusively in e-books. They all have a high readership, which exposes you to a large number of people who may or may not have an interest in your book. The sites all push for pricing your book from cheap to free, but you can still charge what you want, sometimes at a slightly higher fee.

            The math almost always doesn’t add up, but once in a while, some lucky bastard strikes gold, at least according to their own marketing data. I cannot seem to find any reliable reviews on the marketing sites themselves.

            The qualifications vary from site to site. The fees vary from free to almost a thousand dollars. You heard me right…a thousand dollars.

            Keep in mind that regardless whether you are on a budget or not, marketing is going to cost something. If you want to sell your book, you have to do it somehow. This is one avenue, especially now with COVID going on and no personal book signings on the table.

            So, folks, another option on the table.

            Happy writing!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Debra Caples permalink
    October 14, 2020 10:55 am

    Thank you for this information, Fred. It helps those of us who are wondering where to go next.

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