Guest post by the incredibly entertaining Matt Stone, who is also known by his alter-ego as Buck Flogging.
There are a lot of book promotion sites for self-published authors…too many as you can see from Dave’s extensive catalog of book promotion sites here.
However, as many other authors will tell you, the book promotion sites that accept all books, regardless of quality, tend to not have a good ROI.
It’s the ones that are selective and hard to get your book into that usually provide the most bang for your buck.
But therein lies the problem.
Selective book promo sites are hard to land.
But, not all hope is lost…
I’m here to tell you what it takes to get a promotion with one of these impactful book promotion sites. Today, I reveal the book promotion acceptance blueprint.
In this article, you will learn:
- The non-negotiable steps to get your book promoted on big sites like BookBub and Buck Books
- How to sell more books before, during, and after the promotions you land
- Small tweaks that will increase your chances of getting a promotion for all the books you write
Who Am I To Talk About High-End Promo Sites?
Easy. I’m the creator of one of these sites, www.BuckBooks.net. That’s right, you’re reading the words of the legendary Buck Flogging right now, my alter ego.
Buck Books is a discount Kindle book promotion site. Subscribers sign up to get great deals on Kindle (always for a “Buck” or less), and authors willing to run a 24-hour flash sale on one of their titles have a great audience to publicize it to, getting a nice boost in sales rank the day of the promotion.
I’ve also worked with several authors to help them land promotions at the Book Promotion Mothership, www.BookBub.com. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that a site with such a lame name could be hugely successful–even more successful than Buck Books–but even Buck Flogging can’t win ’em all.
How to Get an eBook Promo Deal
Now, I’m going to start with some of the basics. In truth, you may roll your eyes a little at these. But as someone who’s seen thousands of books come through our system, I assure you just about 99% of all books are seriously missing out on the things below.
Step 1: Write an awesome, full-length book
Haven’t you heard? The best way to HACK the Kindle market is by publishing a thousand billion books every month that are four pages long. Well hey, guess what? You ain’t hacking the book promotion sites by doing that.
Instead, actually learn to write, give it your all, rewrite it six times, get an editor, then get a proofreader. Do whatever it takes to make your book truly special, completely professional, and undeniably worth reading. Then you’ll have something a book promotion company will be eager to share with their readers.
Step 2: Write about the subject matter with a broad appeal or in a popular genre
Spend the last 20 years breeding seahorses, and now you’re ready to reveal your secrets to the world?
Sorry, the book promotion sites don’t care. They’ve got an audience, and they need crowd-pleasers. Don’t worry, no seahorses were hurt in the writing of this article.
And how does one figure out what is popular or selling well on Amazon? Using tools like KDP Rocket of course. KDP Rocket will help you find out what is selling, and what words are trigger words for customers. This gives you better titles, subtitles and of course, genres/topics to truly hit.
Step 3: Get an awesome book cover done
While it’s not the most important thing, I can say with 100% confidence that a poorly-done book cover is the #1 reason we throw out submissions at Buck Books.
In fact, after promoting 3,000 books or so, I can look at a book cover design and tell you about how well it’s going to sell with a promotion of ours in a matter of seconds. Your book listing has to be professional. It’s easy for book promotion site operators to sniff out an amateur-level cover, assume the whole book is an amateur mess, and move on to the next submission.
Most authors who get a book promotion through Buck Books earn it the hard way, but if you want to bribe me to land a promotion with Buck Books, here’s how you do it:
Get your book cover done via the “marketing pack” at my girlfriend’s site, www.100covers.com.
Already have a cover for your book, and you’ve been rejected by everyone else? Might wanna give that thing a makeover and try again at www.100covers.com/recover.
The ability to bribe me may seem to be in poor taste, but I’m doing you a huge favor. You can’t get cover work of that quality done anywhere else for that price. I’m the Buck man after all, and I pinch pennies so tight that they all have my thumbprint for tails and my index fingerprint for heads.
Step 4: Get tons of stellar reviews
If you’re having trouble getting book reviews, and good reviews, first see #1 above.
Second, I wouldn’t be afraid of running free promos and other things outlined in this post just to get your overall review numbers up. I have more tips in a book I wrote called Reviewperstar. It’s not my best work, but if you’re totally lost on getting reviews, you’ll definitely get your 99 cents worth by reading it.
Step 5: Have a tight title and subtitle
While stuffing a bunch of keywords into your subtitle might have some advantages, it’s a big disadvantage if you want some company to promote it to tens and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Step 6: Write a clean, compelling book description
If you can’t put a ton of love into perfecting a 1-page book description, then a book promotion entity certainly isn’t going to assume you nailed hundreds of pages of text on the inside.
Step 7: Don’t be a scammer
If you order books in 48-packs from Fiverr thinking that will pass through the Buck Books or BookBub BS detectors, you’re dreaming. And if you published 48 books and your name isn’t Stephen King, it doesn’t matter whether you wrote every word of them yourself or not.
I’m not buying that you’re putting your heart and soul into every one. We want books with visible signs of blood, sweat, and tears on them.
3 Principles to Help with Promotions
Here are a few more principles that you must absolutely implement in publishing, in business, and in life. They can advance your career almost as much as talent! And they can help you land not just one, but several book promotions anywhere books are promoted.
- Be cool. You know who gets every single book they write promoted right at launch, with high praises, and sometimes without even paying a cent? Cool people, that’s who. Cool people have big personalities, are really gracious, really want us to succeed too (not just themselves), knows everyone’s name on the Buck Books staff, where they live, the names of all their kids, and often do a lot in exchange for promotion–like send over hundreds and in some cases even thousands of subscribers. Dang, that’s cool.
- Be persistent. It’s hard to say no to someone. Saying it once or twice isn’t so tough, but eventually, pretty much all non-sociopathic people will take a second look to see if there’s something they can do to help someone out. The same can be said of people who review all these book promotion submissions. Be persistent, and be personable in your persistence.
- Think outside the box. When you submit your book to a promotion site, say something unique and different in your submission if possible. Remember, real, live humans are reviewing these submissions, and they respond to personality, humor, and more. They also care deeply about their subscribers. I’ve paid well over $100,000 for mine, and BookBub has dropped millions. You might at least speak to why you and your book will delight their subscribers.
Icing On The Cake – Even More Book Promo Ideas
And here are just a few final tips that can improve your chances. They are all factors in whether your book will be accepted, although they aren’t nearly as important as the fundamentals seven steps listed above:
- The bigger the discount the better.
- The more pages the subscribers will get per penny they spend the better (higher perceived value).
- Don’t make it a countdown deal (many subscribers outside of the U.S. don’t get them, and subscribers get pissed).
- Don’t enroll your book in Kindle Unlimited (if someone can get your book and a bajillion others for $9.99 a month, it’s not that sweet of a deal to get it on sale).
- List it for sale on lots of vendors, not just Amazon (this is particularly true for BookBub submissions, as they have subscribers that shop at multiple vendors).
Well, that’s all the Buckster has to say about that.
Everything is pretty much in keeping with what you already know to be true, which is that the key to success in most endeavors, most of the time, is creating a quality, professional product that people love.
When you do that, you’ll have a super-professional book listing with lots of gleaming reviews, and everything you do in an attempt to sell it will work.
Take for example my friend Annie’s book. She recently spent $20 on Kindle ads and sold $1,200 worth of books. That’s what happens to people who write great books. She could land a BookBub promotion with that book in her sleep.
If you’d like to submit your book to Buck Books, you can do that at: www.BuckBooks.net/promotions
Good luck, writers!
Matt Stone, known to the self-publishing community as Buck Flogging, is a serial entrepreneur and author that has helped spawn a number of innovative creations to serve the self-publishing community, including Buck Books, 100 Covers, Archangel Ink, and BookAds. An author himself, he’s made more than $500,000 from his books (in multiple genres, on multiple platforms, under multiple pen names) since 2009.