Book Exposure: Digital Book Today

Book industry veteran Anthony Wessel founded Digital Book Today in 2010. While some of the people behind the promotion sites we’ve been featuring on IU over the past few weeks are authors, Wessel’s perspective on the book world comes from seven years as a sales manager for Borders/Waldenbooks. He’s been immersed in the e-book world full time for the past four years.

From what I’ve found, DBT is a tidy, reputable site with a good following. As of November 2013, they boasted 17,000 – 21,000 weekly visits, over 15,000 likes on their Facebook page, and 5,700+ email subscribers. They don’t review books, but Wessel and company offer a range of promotional opportunities, free and paid.

Recently I asked him a few questions about Digital Book Today and e-book marketing in general.

Concerning his readership, he said that the majority of his customers follow the normal book industry trends: overall fiction, romance, sci fi, mystery, suspense, chick lit, thrillers, et cetera. They don’t see a lot of non-fiction e-books. But they’re following the e-book market, which is dominated by fiction, compared to a traditional bookstore where non-fiction plays a much bigger role in sales.

Unlike some other sites that have cut back on free promotional tools for authors, DBT continues to offer several free features that they started with. One of those freebies is an author interview. In August 2012, a few months after I published Drawing Breath, DBT ran my author interview. Not only were Anthony and staff great to work with, but I was happy to see them tweet the feature at respectable intervals for about six months after its original appearance. Kind of a refreshing change from another opportunity I invested in, where the site owner and his followers tweeted me into spam-handed oblivion. The DBT author interviews stay up on the site, listed in alphabetical order, and now number more than 230. The interview feature requires pre-approval, but the standards are high: 25 reviews, a 4.0+ rating on Amazon, and for now, fiction only.

Another free feature is a Weekly Featured Great Reads program, which provides a dedicated blog post, tweets, and a display ad for each book for seven days as a way of giving back to the Indie community. So far, DBT has featured over 900 books. As they do each December, they will be highlighting eight books every Wednesday from their 2013 submissions list for this feature.

They also publish guest blog posts submitted by authors, like this one by IU alum Rosanne Dingli. These are articles that authors have already published on their own blogs—general interest articles for readers, meaning nothing about writing, publishing a novel, or about a specific book. Wessel wrote that his best response in 2013 came from a blog post that was ultimately picked up on Reddit and resulted in over 5,000 views. In the articles, DBT provides links to the author blog, book, and book cover.

Their most popular feature, according to Wessel, is being one of the three Featured Free Books on their daily blog post of the Top 100 Best Free Books List. This same blog post is mailed out to DBT’s subscribers.

He wrote: “It’s a great way to get a jump on downloads on the first day a book is being marketed as free. Getting a few hundred downloads (hopefully early in the morning) separates a book quickly from the books that don’t have any marketing. Just like that the book is on an Amazon book list and the snowball starts rolling downhill. The downloads build. Readers see what other books an author has written. Ultimately good things start to happen.”

Finally, I asked him what advice he’d offer an author new to marketing and promotion. For one, cluster your promotions: a concentrated effort of three to five promotions on multiple sites over the course of a year has more impact than single ads or promos on single sites. Choose the social media sites that you enjoy, because otherwise, it will be apparent to readers that you’re calling it in. And, of course, keep writing.

[In the interest of full disclosure, I won some prize money and free advertising on the site as part of a book contest. I derived zero direct sales from the free advertising.]

Author: Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Learn more about Laurie at her website and her Amazon author page.

17 thoughts on “Book Exposure: Digital Book Today”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Laurie. I’d heard of Digital Book Today, but it’s wonderful to see the site owner’s thoughts on it. I also hadn’t realized DBT offered author interviews, which shows you can go to a site, and still manage to miss some of it’s important offerings.

    1. RJ, author interviews can be a little “old school”. Some get a fair amount of views and others not so many. Depends on the following the author has at their end. We allow and encourage authors to cut/paste from previous interviews if they want. The other bonus is the interview ends up being another unique page for SEO and search results that contains the author name, book, and links. You never know what strange search request results in getting your name in a search result.

  2. Thank you for highlighting Digital Book Today–one of my favorite sites as both reader and author, and one that I want to purchase an ad from SOON. I wonder whether you or Mr. Wessel could enlarge on his advice and apply it to an author of 6+ books: “For one, cluster your promotions: a concentrated effort of three to five promotions on multiple sites over the course of a year has more impact than single ads or promos on single sites. Choose the social media sites that you enjoy, because otherwise, it will be apparent to readers that you’re calling it in.” I value his opinions!

    1. Gloria,
      Thanks for commenting. Looking at a list of your Kindle books. Much easier for an author with an adult series to market the group of them. The middle grade series that you have is a challenge. Any authors out there have ideas on how or where to market books to pre-teens/early teens? Or is this a case where a physical bookstore could be more of an advantage?

      1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Anthony Wessel! There are a few sites that focus on children’s books, but you are SO right — the day is coming for kiddie lit to prosper, but it hasn’t yet arrived. I’m not discouraged; this series is what I wanted to do, and I will continue to submit to your site and take advantage of your fantastic outreach with an ad. FWIW, I sell far more eBooks for children than I do paperbacks. 🙂

  3. We see about 4-6 submission services for informing web sites when a book is going to be free on KDP select. We work closely with a couple of these services.

    Has anybody used these services? Good or bad?

    Reason I ask is our intern had a 2 hour project today checking a site that offered to submit to 50 sites. Went to every site listed, determined if you had to pay to guarantee a listing or not, looked up their traffic rank, and was the site still in service or up to date. About 5 sites were dead or not up to date. Another 10 sites or so were “coupon sites” that included books among many different products.

  4. I’ve had very good results from advertising with DBT. Both my books ended up in Amazon top 100 paid lists, one in three categories. Anthony is one of the nicest and most efficient people I’ve ever worked with. Two big thumbs up!!

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I hope the bar is not set too high. 🙂 We do try to respond on a timely basis whenever possible. Ultimately it helps both parties involved especially when it seems like there is a never ending stream of new emails in all of our inboxes.

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