No, I don’t mean the kind where you’re told to go home and sleep it off. I’m talking about getting your books a little face time with potential readers. Here are three small-but-growing websites that have flown by my Facebook feed in the last few weeks. You might want to check them out if you need new places to promote your books.
This is a small site at the moment, but it’s growing. It’s not hideous-looking, and they really seem to like Google+. For a one-time payment of $19.95 US, you can get you the “gold” package, which means a cover pix, book description, and buy linkage that’s supposed to stay up until the end of time, or the zombie apocalypse, whenever comes first. They’ll also bump you to the top of the heap ever so often, and include you in their newsletter. There’s not much to it, and they use Google for their internal search function. Here’s what popped up after I submitted one of my books:
One good thing about signing your book(s) up for this site is that they ask for a new book description, not the one you have on Amazon and cut-and-paste all over the Internet. This is a good thing, not just for Google rankings, but also for you. The exercise can shake you out of your comfort zone and possibly help you refine your pitch a little for those inevitable times when people ask, “What’s your book about?”
This site is billed as a “book reviews and book promotion community.” Although according to the founder, a man who merely goes by “David” (no, he’s not the animated dude on the home page), they started out reviewing other products as well, but there were so many books, they changed the business model. In a similar concept to some other, larger book sites like Riffle, you can enter your desired parameters as a reader and get book recommendations. According to the website, which claims a decent Alexa ranking, authors can get a profile page, links up the wazoo, and social media promotion. Again, you will need to come up with a unique book description. Take your time on this one. Fill out the form with all your links, pay fifteen bucks US (which David says will cover all your books, something not too many sites offer), and wait a few days. I was told it would take five days, but my test book was up the next morning. Right now, they only take books that are listed on Amazon, probably because they are an Amazon affiliate. At least they’re up front about it. Adding one of my books was pretty easy, but they also ask for unique book descriptions. (Seeing a trend?) Once they get the page up, promoting is mainly DIY. From a list of links, you can build a Twitter message and launch tweets from them; you drive your social media traffic to your promotion page. It looks pretty good and has everything in one place. A couple of criticisms: the search function pulls up books out of the selected genre range, and the tweets come from a client named “Book Promotion,” which looks kinda spammy. Here’s one example of one I built (oddly, reminding me of “Build a Bear” shops.)
If you use this site, I’d recommend building your own tweets.
This is an interesting idea, brought to you from the FreeBooksy/BargainBooksy people. Launching on November 15 and staying up through January 5, the website will allow readers to choose books they want to give as gifts based on themes of traditionally published bestsellers and reader preference.
According to the site, “We have picked best selling novels in each of the popular genres that most readers have most likely read or have heard of. For each of these best sellers, we have a corresponding recommended book that is lesser known but would be enjoyable to the same audience that liked the featured best seller.”
So they line up bestsellers in a variety of genres, and you choose the one(s) you want to put your book next to on their website. First you have to qualify, based on ratings and if their editorial board deems that you make a good “match” for that “if you like X, you might like Y” game. You pay for the privilege, from $40 to $90, depending on genre (mystery and romance are the most popular and therefore, the most expensive), and the slots have been selling out quickly. Most are already gone for the holiday season, but you may want to keep this in mind for upcoming promotions, because according to marketing manager Taylor Coil, they plan to continue the concept. The good bit is that hooking up with a bestseller is not random. Just because you write romance, they’re not going to stick you up there with a certain naughty fan-fiction trilogy. Of course, it very clearly offers a big “Buy on Amazon” button for the bestsellers, and I’m sure the site does decently with affiliate money.
As with all promotional sites, make sure to do your research before plunking down your hard-earned dinero.
(Note: Thanks to J.T. Sather for the tip on the first two sites.)