Promo Newsletter Options for Every Indie Author
Authors have long sought ways to send their work to the masses. Pay-per-click ads, social media, direct sales events—there are a multitude of options, all with unique purposes.
The longstanding king of reaching readers has been through email, where one email blast can send your book to the top of the charts or drive thousands of downloads. Luckily, if you don’t have an email list, there are services out there with established lists—referred to sometimes as promo newsletters—all with specialized subgenres, requirements, and varying price points. No matter what your strategy, we’re here to introduce you, in no particular order, to a few newsletter promo sites that boast to put your book in front of thousands of readers, so you can decide where these might fit in your author business.
In business since 2010, Ereader News Today (ENT) states it is the oldest e-book newsletter in the industry and has worked with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors. ENT has two operative deals for authors to reach readers, the Bargain or Free Deal or the Book of the Day (BoTD). The Bargain or Free Deal requires a full-length novel of at least 125 pages, with stipulations for children’s books, nonfiction, and cookbooks. You cannot have run another deal that quarter, and the book must be available on Amazon for free or for 99¢.
Beyond these requirements, ENT is particular about who it promotes. Its reviewers consider the cover, reviews, and whether the book appears professionally edited. ENT’s pricing is among the highest and varies depending on the pricing of the book. You can expect to spend $140 on a $2.99 promotion, or as low as $40 for a book that’s marked down to free. ENT also has a seven-day response guarantee on their quarterly promotions, at which point you’ll receive an invoice, making booking the promotion easy.
ENT’s BoTD is the site’s flagship deal with quarterly availability and a reach of four hundred seventy-five thousand Facebook fans and over two hundred thousand email subscribers. Submissions for the deal open and close during a limited time frame, and slots sell out quickly. During the BoTD, only one book from each genre will be chosen, and you can expect an even more competitive vetting process. Pricing on the BoTD is simpler. If your book is $2.99 or below, the BoTD is $60. If your book is above $2.99, the deal is $150. Consider the BoTD if you can manage your lead times on your promotions far in advance.
As a new service by an old pro, Hello Books is a book promotion tool in development by indie pioneer Mark Dawson for Amazon-exclusive titles. Hello Books is similar to ENT in the way it operates and reaches readers through email, but it has a few separate requirements.
Firstly, promotions are only run on free books and must be so from Friday to Sunday of your promotional period. Given the Amazon exclusivity, it is worth mentioning you can use your KDP Free Days promotional tool from your Amazon dashboard to price your book for free. Hello Books has a straightforward price of $40 and is available for the following genres:
- Crime (Crime Fiction)
- Mystery (Cozy Mysteries; Historical Mysteries; Mystery)
- Thrillers and Action (Thrillers; Action and Adventure; Psychological Thrillers)
- Romance (Contemporary Romance; New Adult Romance; Romantic Suspense; Historical Romance)
- Paranormal Romance
- General Fiction (Historical Fiction; Women’s Fiction; Literary Fiction; Christian Fiction)
- Science Fiction
- Teen, Middle Grade, and Young Adult (Children’s Middle Grade; Young Adult)
Where Hello Books shines is in its backing. Mark Dawson, Thriller author and podcast host of The Self Publishing Formula, has sold millions of books throughout the world across multiple languages. He was an author first before starting Hello Books, and “because the project is run by authors for authors,” wrote 20BooksTo50K® co-founder Craig Martelle in a 2021 Facebook post, “we believe that we are in a position to shape something that is particularly effective and appropriate for us.” Martelle is a shareholder in the project alongside Dawson and other established authors.
Why give a book away for free?
Like any product, books must conform to the buyer’s expectations yet circumvent the know-like-trust barrier. Readers are customers, and as customers, they may be wary of an author they’ve never heard of; they risk disappointment if they don’t find what they’re looking for in a book. By marking a book down as free, the author removes the financial risk from the reader and makes it more likely they will give a new author a try. If the book stands out to them, it is more likely they will move on to read additional stories by that same author. This concept is no different from the sample bite offered at many chains and stores.
BookRaid offers a novel approach to book promotions in which authors and publishers only pay for the clicks on their book. Each promotion will spend a maximum of $60, even if the value of your clicks—determined by the price of the book being promoted—is higher. What this means for the author is a potential value with BookRaid’s model to earn more than what you pay for the promotion.
Where this offer is enticing is in the concept of only paying per click, similar to that of Amazon Ads or Facebook Ads. Authors’ books are placed in an email blast and must be discounted by 50 percent or more or made free.
Again, this promotion requires Amazon availability and has stipulations regarding lengths: a minimum of 120 pages for fiction, eighty pages for nonfiction, fifty pages for cookbooks, and twenty pages for children’s books. BookRaid also notes it does not accept books written by artificial intelligence tools.
Pricing a BookRaid promotion differs from most lump-sum email blasts. Here is how the cost breaks down:
- Free book promotions cost $0.15 per click.
- Ninety-nine-cent promotions cost $0.20 per click.
- $2.99 promotions cost 60 cents per click.
- Minimum charge is $1. Not enough clicks to make $1? It’s free!
- Maximum charge is $60 no matter the category or sale price.
BookRaid notes that 100 percent of income generated by the site returns to the growth of the readership of forty-thousand-plus; the developers of the site aren’t paid.
Whether you’re pushing a new launch, reviving an old series, or trying to gain exposure to new readers, including a promotional site or tool that meets your budget, book, and strategy remains of utmost importance, and we can’t possibly list all the available services here. If you’re interested in learning more, Dave Chesson with Kindlepreneur has a list of more than one hundred free and paid services (https://kindlepreneur.com/list-sites-promote-free-amazon-books). His article explains how promotional websites work, which he’s tested, and how to calculate how valuable the promotion was based on how much you spent.
Authors should always consider strategy and goals for getting their books in front of new readers, and these websites and tools are not a one-size-fits-all solution. We encourage you to dig into the details by considering who your ideal reader is, what they’re looking for, and how your book appears to them.