IndieListers: The Promotion Results Database You’ve Been Looking For

Author Jason B. Ladd of IndieListerGuest post
by Jason B. Ladd

“How am I supposed to know which book promotion services are effective?”

That was the question I asked while planning my second book promotion, and it was the genesis of

IndieListers has become the web’s largest free database of book promotion results to help authors find and pick effective promos. I’ll explain more below. But first, some backstory.


For the launch of my book One of the Few, I picked three services that came recommended from someone in the book marketing industry: Books Butterfly, Awesome Gang, and Robin Reads.

I priced my book at FREE, paid $150 in fees, and received 2,684 downloads over a three-day period. This was enough to hit #1 in several free categories including “Christian eBooks and Bibles/Christian Living” and #79 of all free Kindle eBooks on Amazon.

Show Me The Money

Since I was a bestselling author with a #1 book on Amazon (ahem), I ran a single promotion one month later on Buck Books to see if I could make some money.

I priced the book at $2.99, paid $32 in fees, and received 41 downloads.

Result: profit.

A week later, I ran promos on eReader Girl and Fussy Librarian at $0.99, paid $35.00 in fees, and received 20 downloads.

Result: loss.

No Method = Madness

I was in experimental mode. There was no method to my promo-selecting madness. And that’s no way to spend a limited amount of cash.

“Site A” has a daily reach of millions. “Site B” blasts an email to 50,000 members. “Site C” says something about Alexa and click-throughs. Every site claimed to touch a million readers, but no site could report how many readers touched the books.

“There was one metric third-party promoters couldn’t give me: number of actual books downloaded.”

That metric is reserved for agents, publishers, and in the world of unlimited Indies: authors.

I continued asking questions:

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if authors shared their book promotion results?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if they were all in one place?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if I could gain some insights in order to methodically pick good promos?

Good News and Great News

Well, there’s good news and there’s great news. The good news is Indie authors seem to love sharing promotion results. The astute author has realized that book publishing is not a zero-sum game.

When one author gets a download, the other author doesn’t lose a download. Since readers are accustomed to downloading $0.99 and free books, they’re more likely developing a downloading habit.

“When one author wins, we can all win.”

But historically, promo results have been buried in forums and comment threads that many authors will never find. The great news is that I’ve created a database where it’s super easy for authors to browse and share book promotion results.

And it’s free.indielisters1

The Power of the Debrief

One thing I learned flying for the Marines is that some of the most important learning points from a mission occur in the debrief.indielisters3

IndieListers provides an opportunity for authors to debrief their promos and help others learn what works and what doesn’t. And the database is built exclusively by authors who have been confirmed through an IndieListers Author Verification process. This prevents erroneous data entry by nefarious evildoers.

How You Can Use IndieListers

Here are just a few ways you can use the database:

  • See which promos authors are using
  • View the cost-per-download of other promos and promo stacks
  • Estimate profit or loss from someone else’s promo
  • Read comments about author experiences
  • Find out what kind of promos authors are running: free, discounted, paid, etc.
  • See who’s Amazon only, and who’s wide
  • Connect with authors via Twitter or their website
  • Browse the list of 200+ book promotion site links

Does It Really Work?

After analyzing data from IndieListers, I planned my fourth promo. The result was 5,475 downloads over a two-day period for my free book — a massive improvement from my previous stabs in the dark. (Want the details? You can find them on the database.)indielisters 2

The data is already helping me plan my promos, and I’d love for it to help you, too. You can sign up for free and start browsing now at

IndieListers might not be the end of your journey to crack the code on promos, but it’s a great place to start.

Award-winning author Jason B. Ladd is an author, Marine, and Iraq War veteran. He has flown the F/A-18 “Hornet” and the F-16 “Fighting Falcon.” Find out more about him at his website and check him out on Amazon Author Central.

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15 thoughts on “IndieListers: The Promotion Results Database You’ve Been Looking For”

  1. Great idea! The only issue I see is that often you’ll have more than one channel advertising on any given day of a promotion, so it’s hard to know which drove what. There are also, inevitably, going to be differences in covers and copy when someone clicks. As someone who once worked in direct mail, I find the inability to track results well with most of these paid promotions really frustrating. Superior list building and smart A/B testing have made BookBub the powerhouse it is — but it also appears to be increasingly out of reach for indie authors.

    1. Yes, Sandra. It’s going to be hard to hone in on a 100% causal relationship. Some authors have an idea of what their daily numbers are. If the only change you make is running a few promos, you can bet they probably caused the bump (or lack thereof). With promo stacks, I think we’re going be able to break out the common denominators. It’s already happening to some degree. We have some ideas for the future, too 🙂

  2. I tried the scattergun approach, too, and couldn’t really tell what worked and what didn’t. Now I’m trying one promotion at a time, so I can get data. (Yay, Scientific Method) Your site sounds ideal for my purposes. I’ll be over to sign up right away!

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