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Anne R. Allen's Blog

...WITH RUTH HARRIS

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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."


Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Writers’ Toolkit #4: How to Sell Your EBook: Ads, Promo, Marketing—Paid and FREE



The old ways of publicizing books aren't working so well in the E-Age.

In 2011, editor Alan Rinzler famously said, "That $50K space ad in the New York Times? Forget it. It’s only for the author’s mother. The twenty-city bookstore tour with first class airplanes, limousines, and hotel suites? A waste of money. Not even an appearance on the Today Show can guarantee more than a brief spike in sales....The old ways don’t work."

So what does work? Facebook ads? Goodreads giveaways? Getting hundreds of fans to Tweet your book every five minutes?  

Right now, most successful authors will tell you that none of the above methods are working very well either. (Not that we wouldn't welcome a few Tweets.) 

But what really generates buzz for your book these days is e-book bargain newsletters and websites.

This week Ruth Harris gives us a rundown of the best-known sites and newsletters. The biggies are pretty pricey, but some are very reasonably priced, or even FREE....Anne


Writers' Toolkit #4:
How to Move the Merch.
by Ruth Harris


After the book is written, edited, polished and published—that's when ads, promo and marketing matter.

A lot.

There are many sites—with new ones popping up constantly—that will promote your book. Some of them paid, others are FREE.

Each site has different rules and regs—not all of them accept erotica—and it’s important to read the fine print as you make your promotional plans and decide on a budget. As you will see later, some authors have found success with FREE promo, others with paid. There is, as has been pointed out many times, no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

In alphabetic order:

AwesomeGang offers FREE ebook listings in addition to a $10 paid option for more traction. As an extra service to authors, AwesomeGang provides a list of other sites offering FREE promotion.

Bargain Booksy will list your bargain or reduced-price book on their own site and in their daily email to over 50,000 subscribers at a cost of $50. If you are offering a free book, their companion site, free booksy, is the place to go.

BookBlast lists free and sale books discounted 50% from the usual price to over 40,000 readers. Authors can choose genres ranging from YA to thrillers to romance and just about everything in between.

BookBub, is picky and pricey but generally considered highly effective although, as with everything, YMMV and there can be variations between genres. As with most sites, BookBub works on an opt-in system and currently does not accept short stories and novellas or books costing more than $2.99.

Before deciding whether or not to try your luck at BookBub, you will want to do your due diligence. You will find the latest, hot-off-the-press info on BookBub promo results at this Writers’ Cafe thread.

BookDaily “invites [authors] to set up a FREE author account on BookDaily to promote your book to our readers. BookDaily introduces authors to new readers by providing a sample chapter from the author's books.” Recently, BookDaily emailed 43,753 sample chapters to readers.

E-Book Bargains UK (EBUK) is the UK’s version of BookBub and gets your book in front of readers in the UK (duh!) and 13 other English-speaking markets all over the world that are otherwise tricky for American authors to reach. This is the only newsletter that has a truly global audience. They're planning more countries for the next year, plus an all-erotica newsletter. The site is run by the efficient and very-nice-to-work-with Mick.

Note from Anne: I have used the EBUK guys for several books, and they jump-started stalled UK sales and got me on bestseller lists in Germany and France. Definitely worthwhile for me. I've heard from other authors who climbed the Kobo charts after advertising with EBUK. If you want to know more about them and their vision for the global marketplace, check out the guest post they wrote for us, The E-Book Market No Author Should Ignore.

E-Readers News Today aka ENT is a long-running book promo site with an excellent track record. ENT features include listings for a regularly-priced Book Of The Day, Bargain Books for books reduced to $.99 as well as free books. What sets ENT apart is that you pay after your promo runs and ENT bills you for 25% of your sales. Greg and Rachelle are the savvy guiding lights at ENT.

Donna Fasano, bestselling romance author, believes “the combined forces of BookBub and ENT are what propelled Reclaim My Heart onto the USA Today Best Seller List. My book appearing on the list captured the attention of an editor at Montlake who bought the pub rights. The BookBub ad cost $480 and the ENT ad cost approx $50. After the ads ran, Reclaim My Heart hit #9 on the Kindle Top 100, #4 on the Nook List, #20 on the Kobo List, and #9 on the iBooks Romance List.”

Fussy Librarian FREE (at least for now) is a new kid on the block and sends out daily ebook recs. You can choose from 32 genres, and select content preferences such as amount of sex and violence so that readers who want cozy mysteries won’t receive recs for steamy romance. Here’s a WC thread introducing Fussy Librarian.

You will also find an informative interview with Jeffrey Bruner who runs Fussy Librarian at Lindsay Buroker’s blog here.

Kindle Books and Tips is another paid promo site that offers readers a daily list of FREE and discounted books. 600,000+ visit the blog daily and 125,000+ people view the blog, FB page and subscribe to their email list.

Kindle Nation Daily is one of the first book promotional sites and, as the title indicates, specializes in featuring your book to Kindle owners and readers. KND offers a choice of genres including erotic which some sites don’t allow and also hosts a daily email blast called BookGorilla.

Pixel of Ink, another well-established and attractive book promo site, lists FREE and bargain books as well as Hot Deals browsable by category.

PeopleReads, a FREE ebook listing site, launched in July of 2013. Presided over by Van, PeopleReads features ebooks priced from $.00 to $3.99 and aims to offer top quality books to its growing list of subscribers.

Elaine Raco Chase ran a Veterans Day weekend sale for her contemporary romance title, Rules Of The Game, at 99 cents down from $2.99. Elaine comments: “On Friday: Pixelscroll + Awesome Gang free ads equalled 20 total sales. Saturday: the People Read ad appeared at 10 a.m (Van does a lot of tweets on his own). The Read Cheaply ad appeared at 11:45 a.m + tweets from other authors. On Sunday morning ROTG totaled 55 books sold over nite (just 1 at Nook).

“Have NOT paid a single penny and am pretty pleased plus sales on 4 other books at full price.”

Pixelscroll presents daily postings of eBooks, as well as Apps, Movies and Television Seasons, MP3s and CDs, Audio Books, and all sorts of electronics. PixelScroll offers both FREE and paid ebook listings and sponsorships.

ReadCheaply is another FREE book promo service offering targeted lists of free and deeply discounted ebooks. A few hoops to jump but an attractive option.

The Kindle Book Review is a multi-purpose site that offers author services like formatting and cover creation along with—as the name indicates—reviews. KBR also offers advertising services at prices ranging from $25 to $45.
  • In addition to these independent sites, the major ebook vendors offer their own promotional opportunities.
  • At iBooks, you can set your book to $.00 and get coupons to give to readers, reviewers and anyone else you wish.
  • KOBO will also let you set your book’s price to $.00 and has a new feature that allows you to specify a sale price for a specified amount of time. You will find this option when you scroll down to the bottom of the pricing screen.
  • Kindle has added a new opportunity, Countdown Deals, allows authors to run limited-time discount promotions while maintaining their usual royalty. Countdown also offers a dedicated website and real-time sales and royalty information.
  • NOOK also allows authors to set a book’s price to $.00 but, as of now, only via Smashwords

Hope this rundown is helpful and, if you know of other promo sites and especially if you have experience with them, please let us know! How about you, scriveners? Have you used any of these? What was your experience?


Opportunity Alerts

The Ladies Home Journal essay contest. Theme: The Best Decision You Ever Made. First Prize is $3,000 and the chance to have your essay published in the Journal. You're free to interpret the topic in whatever way you like. Essays will be judged on their emotional power, originality, and the quality of their prose. They should be no more than 2,000 words. More info and submission form on the website.

Narrative Fall Story Contest Enter your short story, short short, essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of prose up to 15,000 words. Entry fee is a little pricey at $22, but the prize is $2,500 for first prize, $1,000 second-place. The editors will judge. Online submission system. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Deadline November 30th.

DRIFTLESS REVIEW ANNUAL FLASH FICTION CONTEST $15 ENTRY FEE for up to three stories. Each short-short story limited to 500 words. $500 prize. Deadline December 31

Dark Continents Publishing's Guns and Romances anthology. They're looking for previously unpublished short fiction from 3500-9000 words. Any genre as long as there's a tough protagonist, weapons, and... at least one reference to music. Sounds interesting. Payment rate is a one-off of $20 per story plus a percentage of the ebook royalties. Publication estimated in late-2014. More info on the website. Closing date for submissions is February 28, 2014.

CRAZYHORSE PRIZES IN FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY $20 fee (includes subscription). This is a biggie, well worth the fee. This venerable literary magazine has published the likes of John Updike, Raymond Carver and Billy Collins. Winners in each category receive $2,000 and publication. Submit up to 25 pages of prose or three poems. All entries considered for publication. Submissions accepted in the month of January 2014 only.

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40 Comments:

Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Awesome list! I've checked out a few of them already, but hopefully will find more that don't require the book to be free or discounted. (Since I can't do that.)
Caught Fussy Librarian when it first opened and two of my books are listed now. Waiting until my genre reopens next weekend to submit the third one.

November 24, 2013 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And congratulations on the boxed set, ladies!

November 24, 2013 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Donna Fasano said...

Thank you for this informative post! I'm happy to be included.

November 24, 2013 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Thanks Ruth & Anne, & congrats to you for hitting The Big #3. Here's hoping the boxed set moves its way up from there once folks get the chance to read it & tell their friends.

As to marketing these days. It truly is a Brave New World, isn't it?

November 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Alex—Thank you! So many new listing sites keep appearing, it's a job keeping up with them. Still, we're thrilled to have them!

Donna—Anne and I are honored to see you here. Thank you for stopping by and thanks, too, for sharing your experience with BookBub and ENT—a valuable guide for other writers.

CS—Thank you for your good wishes and, yes, effective marketing is essential for today's writers and seems to keep changing & evolving.

November 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

Love how generous you are in sharing your experience (what works,what doesn't work). Thank you! And giving you lots of good vibes and thoughts for your books!

November 24, 2013 at 11:36 AM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Ruth, this is an amazing list and a terrific resource for us. Thank you so much for sharing such good info on e book publishing. Right now I'm almost done with NaNO, but when I finish later in the week, I'm going to check all of these sources out. My nonfiction gay anthology, The Other Man, got some good traction on EBUK, too. Great post. Congrats on your new combo with Anne. It's on my Kindle.
My best,

Paul

November 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—Thank you for sending along your good vibes! I couldn't have written this post without the promo sites that keep expanding and redefining the ways authors can reach their audiences. And of course, writers who are willing to share their experiences.

Paul—Thanks! Glad to hear your nonfic gay antho got good results with EBUK. Sharing your experience is soooo helpful to other writers! Anne and I appreciate it—and you! :-)

November 24, 2013 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger Lexa Cain said...

Congrats Ruth and Anne on your double set, Chanel & Gatsby! It looks fabulously funny - wishing you huge success with it!

Thanks so much for the incredible run down of e-marketing/selling tools. This is awesomely helpful, and getting bookmarked immediately. I'm so impressed by the range of offers out there. And thanks for the inclusion of prices and appr effectiveness. YOU ROCK!!

November 24, 2013 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger CM Lance said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger CM Lance said...

E-BookBuilders.com has been effective for me. Still free and/or low cost. They helped push up my sales by 5 times, and Deena Rae is very accommodating and interested in the author's success.

November 24, 2013 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Debby Gies said...


Awesome list girls! Thanks for great shares as always and can't wait to read the dynamic duo set! :)

November 24, 2013 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger mooderino said...

Very useful list. And congrats on the books doing so well.

regards,
mood
Moody Writing

November 25, 2013 at 12:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Lexa—Thanks for the kind & flattering words! The range of promo offers is indeed impressive & a credit to the inventiveness & creativity of those in the ebook world. They have earned our thanks!

CM—Thanks for the mention of e-book builders. Your results are impressive indeed!

Debbie—Enjoy the two-fer! :-)

Mooderino—Thank you for your supportive words. Anne and I appreciate them!

November 25, 2013 at 4:12 AM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Anne, you and Ruth have been writing a great "how to" do everything ... from keeping the flame bright to selling the matches to ignite for our readers to giving us the knowledge and inspiration we all need to keep striving. Thanks to both of you :)

November 25, 2013 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger LK Watts said...

Thanks so much for this. The post has come at a great time for me.

You may also like to look at this website. For just $5 you can advertise your book for 10 years. http://creativedesignerswriters.com/

I hope people find this useful.
Laura

November 25, 2013 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Florence—Anne and I couldn't even begin to do what we do without inspiration and feedback from our readers who are The Best. Gems, like you!! :-)

Laura—Thank you! $5 for 10 years. Wow! What a great find!

November 25, 2013 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Howett said...

Awesome promo list! Bookmarked for later use. Congratulations on the success of your books!

November 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Jacqueline—Thanks! :-)

November 25, 2013 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Just sent this to my two friends putting out an anthology soon. Thanks for the awesome resources. (As always!)

November 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Nina—Thank you. :-) Hope your friends find some useful ideas here and best of luck to them on their antho.

November 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Leonie van de Vorle said...

Thank you for this. I'm still new to this world and will check some of these sites out.

November 25, 2013 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Thanks for the great list and good luck with your sale on Friday,

November 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Wow, this post is a keeper. Thanks so much for all the resources. And congratulations on your releases!

November 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Leonie—Welcome. "New" means lots to learn, lots of fun, lots of opportunity!

Susan—Thank you! We appreciate your good wishes!

Julie—Hope this post helps. So many new promo sites are popping up to help writers get the word out!

November 26, 2013 at 4:29 AM  
Blogger AD Starrling said...

Fantastic list, thank you! :D

November 26, 2013 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger Barbara Dent said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 26, 2013 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

AD—Thanks!

November 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Elle Strauss said...

Thanks for all the great links!

I bought your book - look forward to reading it!

November 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Thank you for this list-it is so nice to have it all in one place!

November 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Elle—Thank you. Hope you enjoy Anne and me in fun mode! :-)

Christy—Thanks Glad you found the post useful!

November 27, 2013 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Greg Strandberg said...

This is a very helpful list. I'm worried many of these sites won't be as effective as they once were.

I'm also worried readers will become conditioned to bargain-basement prices for eBooks all the time, just as many are now conditioned to free and nothing else.

So does that mean readers won't go on to buy your other titles if they like you? No, but I do think it means fewer readers will buy discounted books as time goes on and their collection of those titles begins to outpace their collection of free books.

November 29, 2013 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Greg—Thanks and I agree. "Everyone" will swarm to the new kids (sites) in town; they'll be hot for a while, then cool off and everyone will move on to the next newest & hottest! Way of the world. ;-)

November 29, 2013 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Kayla Rivera said...

Mrs. Harris:

I have never been disappointed by an update of your blog. Both you and Mrs. Allen have a way of taking the most complex things—marketing, tactics, and strategies for writers—and boiling them down to accomplishable tasks. This post itself helped me realize I could become my own marketer, or at the very least have a greater influence over the success of my book, so thank you for the excellent recommendations and website listings.

I went to check out The Fuzzy Librarian, by the way, and I believe by January the price will be up. They have been vague on the amount but did say they would try to keep it “affordable,” and have pledged “one price for paid titles… whether your list your book at 99 cents, $2.99 or $4.99, you’ll pay the same price. Fair and reasonable prices… [and] one price… whether you’re an independent author or the director of marketing at Random House….” This sounds promising to me, and taking into consideration the “moral rating” the site has set up, this “new kid on the block,” as you’ve said, has an interesting moral code, so I personally believe their promises. Hopefully the Fuzzy Librarian is here to stay. Thanks for getting their name out there and, once again, providing hope for writers everywhere!
--KaylatheRivera
kaylatherivera.blogspot.com

November 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Kayla—Thank you! So glad Anne and I have been able to help clarify strategies and ID land mines. It's a jungle out there and Anne & I get as lost as anyone else. We do our best to use our experience to help make a difference for other writers.

We wish you the best of luck with your book!

November 30, 2013 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Wahyu Eka Prasetiyarini said...

I think to get advertiser is not easy because we have to have brand and hig trafic in our blogs :)
By the way thanks for your tips. This is useful for me :)

December 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Sherrie Petersen said...

This list is awesome!! Thanks for all the great recommendations!

December 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Wahyu—Glad the tips were useful!

Sherrie—Thank you for the kind words. I'm delighted to hear the list will be of help. :-)

December 11, 2013 at 4:19 AM  
Blogger vabna islam said...

This is a fantastic website, could you be interested in going through an interview concerning just how you made it? You can visit my site.
sell your book

April 23, 2014 at 2:07 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Vabna--This is just a simple Blogger template. No tech skills involved.

April 23, 2014 at 3:16 PM  

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