eBook Promoters – The Best & The Worst Part VI

Written By: Jackie Weger - Aug• 31•15

 Snake oil is sold by the gallon in our indie Universe

How much are you buying?

Looks good, sounds good--Bites!

Looks good, sounds good–Bites!

When I started this series, I thought three parts would do it. Now, I know it could go on forever.  We indie authors need book promoters with active subscriber lists and media reach. We need site owners who tell us who they are and are transparent about download numbers. The following is not a new scam, but more of them have been popping up weekly.

It is not illegal to curate best selling books off of Amazon and post them on a promo site.   If the site owner states in its TOS, it curates best sellers to earn an affiliate fee, that is honest, and that the site also promotes indie books, usually for a fee. Appreciate it. That activity helps to build a readership and subscribers. The scam comes into play when the site infers the authors of those best selling books are clients and paid for promotion on the site. That is dishonest. I know, because I check the books, message the authors and, to an author, they have never heard of the site. New scam sites have NO Alexa ranking whatsoever. Perhaps one or two sites linking in. The fees to promote on those sites can be anywhere from $19 to $100.  They often boast 30,000+ subscribers.  Really? Who? I often see these sites with a Facebook page with less than 50 followers/likes. These sites are fake promoters. You won’t see a single sale or download.

I test sites. I spend a little money to find out what their game is.  I signed up on two promo sites that promised to tell me how to market my books. I bought a 90 day membership on one. Now it wants me to pay an extra $2.95 for a list of secret sites to promote my titles–because I’m only a temporary member. HUH? How does a promoter stay in business if it is secret? Another promoter just sends me to outdated blogs written by the owner–all of which have links to articles written by authors or other promoters. Most of which are outdated and in need of a serious proof.

I am not shy about telling a promoter he or she consistently over charges for what they deliver. It annoys me beyond measure when the response is, “I have to get something for my time.” Whoa. Most established sites promote at least 600 titles a month. At $135, which is what BookSends charges for a romance,  comes to 81,000$ a month.  That’s a little somethin’, ain’t it? And for another $150, Jason will promote your book on Pixel of Ink–which solves that mystery, because Pixel of Ink no longer accepts submissions. And golly, for $10 more, your book will be posted on a Facebook page.  Booksends is not a scam, but Booksends has  just about priced some of us indies out of  promoting with the site.

What scam artists do, is tell you what you want to hear.  Even testimonials are faked. You have to educate yourself. If you don’t, scam artists in this

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

business will take advantage of you. One of the best blogs to read and follow is Chris Syme’s Indie Author Book Marketing Blog.  For an introduction, read her guest post on Writer Beware. Chris is far more experienced and savvy than I am. I rant. Chris tells it like it is–no holds barred.

As usual, I never like to leave a blog without sharing with you how best to generate reviews. Put this gem right after THE END in your book.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

eNovel Authors at Work is 50 members strong with more than 500 books published. Readers have posted more than 13,075 reviews on our titles.

Here are a few sites eNovel  promotes with consistently: The Books Machine.  Books Butterfly. Book Praiser. The Fussy Librarian. Many Books. Digital Book Today. eBook Booster.  Free Kindle Books & Tips. Here is why these sites are above the fold on our Preferred List: We know who they are, they are NOT overpriced for the services they provide AND we get the results we hope for.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Would love it, if you follow me on Amazon

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments are welcome. If you have a promo experience to share or a preference for a site, please tell us. And before you go, do visit our author pages where you will discover a wonderful array of books to fit any reader preference.

@eNovel Authors at Work. 2015. All Rights Reserved. Shares welcomed, Ping back credits required if any part of a post is quoted in any manner.

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  1. Nicholas C. Rossis says:

    Thanks for continuing this excellent series. Shared, but I will also post a link on my blog.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Nicholas: Have you promoted with Book Barbarian? I like that it tells an indie on its site
      that of 8000+ active subscribers, a FREE unit will see an average of 2000 downloads. On a discounted unit [.99] the average is 25 units sold. Cost to the author for the promo $8. Would that every site was upfront with this kind of data. Few are. Kudos to Book Barbarian

      • Jackie Weger says:

        P.S. Am putting Book Barbarian Above the Fold on eNovel’s Preferred list. Books Butterfly is already there.

      • Lu J Whitley says:

        I have a promo set up with Book Barbarian for my 99 cent sale which starts October 1st. I will let everyone know how it goes, but like you, Jackie, I was glad to see a site that gives specific stats instead of something like “we post to between 15,000 & 80,000 readers daily” with no information about expected sales or downloads.
        As always, thanks for the great information!

      • Julie Frayn says:

        I’m out for Book Barbarian – only SciFi and Fantasy genres… Otherwise sounds like a solid deal.

      • Nicholas C. Rossis says:

        I have, actually (and apologies for the late response). He’s refreshingly forthcoming about his data.

  2. Florence Osmund says:

    I continue to be amazed at how much time people put into scams when that effort could go toward something commendable. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      I really like Books Butterfly. Abhi promoted indie books for FREE for years and built a substantial subscriber list of 188,000+. He tells us up front how many downloads to expect and guarantees those downloads or an indie gets a refund. So out of 188,000+ subscribers we may anticipate 2000 downloads on a unit priced FREE. For $50. That is honest advertising and not buying a pig in a poke.

  3. Mike Markel says:

    Thanks for the update, as usual, Jackie. Great advice.

  4. TJ Shortt says:

    Great post. It’s unfortunate there are so many snakes out there.

  5. Jinx Schwartz says:

    Thanks once again, Jackie! Does Pixel of Ink pick up freebies and deals from BookBub and other promo sites now? j

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Jinx: I don’t know if Pixel of Ink curates from Bookbub or other sites. I just know I was offered a slot on Pixel of Ink for $150 by Booksends. I declined. Booksends, eraderiq and Pixel of Ink are associated–the Paypal invoice comes from Booksends. What I don’t know is if the subscriber lists are separate and how much redundancy… Jackie

    • rebecca dahlke says:

      Thanks, Jackie! And Yes, Jinx–we’ve all seen Pixels of Ink pick up the top 10 in free books for the day. They’ve done mine and yours in the past. But the Book Sends addition of Pixel of Ink is certainly interesting.

  6. P.C. Zick says:

    As usual, good, sound advice. We all must be aware of where we spend our precious time and money.

  7. Sandra Hutchison says:

    Thanks for sharing the good info, Jackie!

  8. susan tarr says:

    As usual, Jackie goes ahead of us all and does the hard groundwork, rooting out the good and the bad so we can step through some minefields in relative safety – at least with some idea of where we are heading, or not. The time and effort, not to mention comprehension, she puts in on our behalf is mind numbing. Thank you again, Jackie.

  9. Bronwyn Elsmore says:

    I’m fortunate to be one of the 50 members of eNovellers At Work. Our intrepid leader, Jackie, boldly goes ahead of the rest of us exploring new parts of the online galaxy at warp-speed. Thanks, Jackie, you’re a star.
    That’s meant in the human sense – so astronomically-minded readers out there don’t cringe and rush to tell me truths about life the universe and everything.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Bronwyn Elsmore for the Kudos. But I am so NOT a star. I just don’t like to spend my hard earned $$ for no return. ebook promoters make the rules for their sites…fine. I have a rule too: Deliver what your hype promises or SHUT UP. Better yet, be transparent. Promoters can have subscribers out the kazoo–what I want to know is what is the open rate of the newsletter? The click through rate? What are the average downloads? Those stats are available on every newsletter; it comes with the provider. Every promoter wants to compete with Bookbub. Fine! Do it. And on your price sheet list the lowest, the highest, and the average downloads. We can make informed decisions based on that data.

  10. Dale Furse says:

    Thanks so much for checking out promo sites for us, Jackie. It’s good to know which ones are the best to use on any given promotion. 🙂

  11. Polly Iyer says:

    This blog should be read by every Indie. I shared it, and someone else shared it from me. I plan to run another freebie in October, so this comes at the right time. Thanks, Jackie, for all you do. ~ Polly

  12. Ellie Campbell says:

    Thanks again Jackie. Am sharing as these posts are so valuable to all Indie Authors. 🙂

  13. Amy Vansant says:

    It breaks my heart when I see writers spending money on these scams – good for you for pointing them out!

  14. Jenny harper says:

    It’s a quicksand, constantly shifting and moving. I’m in awe, and so grateful, for Jackie and others like her who do so much of the legwork.

  15. David WInd says:

    Jackie, you are so right on! And your research and hard work have helped me many times in selecting the promo sites when I prep;are for a promo, so again, thank you!
    David Wind

  16. Jeff Shear says:

    Talk about lows. I’ve got one high on my list: DigitalBookSpot. The top book featured on the site today, on 3 Sept 15, offers a title with a cover sans the writer’s name. (I used the word, sans, to get your attention.) Yes, it’s a nice cover, but it probably should say who wrote it. Two loose marbles observations: Why would an author do that? And why would a book tout allow that? I mean, snake oil has got to have at least a little credibility, right? I’ve got a screen shot. If you want to see it, write to me at jeff@jeffshearbooks.com / Until then, beware of BKnights on Fiverr — your five bucks buys an indiscriminate spot on a tout sheet. “The administration of the nation’s literary affairs falls naturally into the hands of touts and thieves” ( Lewis H. Lapham).

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Jeff: Thanks for commenting. I think the book you are talking about sans an author is: GMO24. The author is James Hunt and he does not put his name on his covers. Author choice. Author name is not required on a book. DigitalBookSpot plainly states in its TOS that it curates books and presents them to its subscribers and fans. It collects affiliate fees. Says that, too. One does have to pay via BKnights on Fiverr. Did you promote with the site and see no results? It has above 73,000 likes on it FB page. And says it has less than 5000 subscribers.

      • Mary D. Brooks says:

        Someone recommended BKnights on Fiverr to me and I went out to test it. VERY disappointed. I’ll put him in the NOT TO USE again basket.

        • maria grazia swan says:

          Mary D. same here it once was a good service, no more. Not sure what happened, but yes, I’m no longer using them. My understanding is that they no ,longer tweet? Just guessing.

          • Mary D. Brooks says:

            I got the impression he did tweet and also facebook. Not sure if he did or not. Hate flying blind so no idea. I do have to say he was kind enough to refund the money because he didn’t get the sales he promised. I didn’t lose money on him.

  17. Mary Smith says:

    Many thanks, Jackie, for all the research you do and for sharing it with us. I’ll share this so other indie authors can be aware of the sharks and the (what’s the opposite of sharks?) well, the good guys.
    Mary Smith

  18. Linda Lee Williams says:

    Thanks for trying some of these sites on for size and letting us know they don’t fit! Being an Indie is challenging enough without getting ripped off, too.

  19. Effrosyni Moschoudi says:

    Another great post that will be useful to many. I didn’t know Booksends is overpricing now, I’ll keep that in mind. All those scammers thinking they’re too good for the little they are doing make other sites with great Alexa ranks who do so much for authors with much lower costs seem like angels. In my opinion, Beezeebooks and Masquerade Tours are among the best for that.

  20. maria grazia swan says:

    As of last week Pixel of Ink was once again accepting submissions apparently the collaboration with Booksends is changing. Thanks for the info.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Maria: You are correct that one may submit now via Pixel of Ink…but I’ll venture a guess, you will still be invoiced by Booksends. The sites are associated.

      • maria grazia swan says:

        According to a friend who was accepted, the cost was slightly lower than going through Booksends. Again, I am repeating info, did not try personally yet.

        • Jackie Weger says:

          Thank you, Maria Grazi Swann: To eNovel the data we’d like to hear from your “friend” is the downloads on a priced or free book in promotion via Pixel of Ink. that is what tells the tale.

          • maria grazia swan says:

            would love to share the info, but I doubt I can get anything, too far back..I tend to forget stuff..and I assume I’m not alone..

  21. Books Butterfly says:

    Thank you for sharing your advices.

    There`s a service for ebook promotion.
    Books Butterfly does $0.99 book and free book promotions to email lists of 125,000+ email subscribers. We have 128,888+ daily active readers. We offer a prorated refund in case a promotion does not hit the specified targets. We’d really appreciate it if you’d add our site to your lists of useful resources.

    Our Page for Paid Book Promotions http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/paidbookslots/?tag=op250_blogs_2_enovelauthorsatwork

    Our Page for Free Book Promotions http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/?tag=op250_free_blogs_2_enovelauthorsatwork

    Where we promote: http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/wherepromote/?tag=op250_enovelauthorsatwork

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Abhi! eNovel authors at Work has Books Butterfly on our approved list of promoters Above the Fold. That is the best a site can be in eNovel–Above the Fold. Our members always promote with Books Butterfly. Because–Books butterfly delivers the downloads. We love you.
      Best, Jackie

  22. Mary D. Brooks says:

    interesting discussion and chiming in

    I’ve had several promotions running this month for my first book and 2nd book (99c deal). Pixel of ink was closed off even though it said it was open to submissions.

    Book 1

    Bookbub is the clear winner (no brainer there) where the book reached #1 in the genre category and skyrocketed. Always impressed with BookBub.

    Booksends is amazing and that is coming close to Bookbub in the units sold (the day is not over yet)

    Book 2 Promotion

    Books Butterfly…um..not great and disappointed and it just got off the floor (barely)

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Mary: Thank you for sharing. You get to Pixel of Ink via Booksends. Jason administer’s both, along with eReaderiq. If you are not happy with Books Butterfly, email Abhi and he will work with you. Abhi’s subscribers have long been fab for FREE books. He is just recently building an audience for .99 books.

      Your array of books is wonderful.

      • Mary D. Brooks says:

        Yes when I set up the Booksends promo, I included Pixel of Ink but for some reason the promo with them was not available. not sure why, no reason was given.

        Abhi and I have discussed it but my initial thoughts about the service was disappointing. That’s not to say I won’t try them again but wasn’t what I had anticipated. Maybe I’ll try a freebie with him and see how that goes.

        Thank you about my books. I’ve been following your advice here on the site about good promoters. Thanks for the dedicated service.

        • Jackie Weger says:

          You are very welcome, Mary D. Brooks. Here is a heads up. All of us are having a hard time moving .99 books. I ran a .99 on Bookbub and saw only 3,115 downloads on a 3 book collection/romance. I put one of the titles in the set on FREE 9/26/2015, promoted it with Bookbub and saw 45,495 downloads. Post the FREE campaign, I see an avg of 25 books sold a day and borrows to the tune of above 59,000 KENP pages read in less than 3 days. .99 books can have a punch if the author is not enrolled in KDP Select. KU subscribers seem to be ignoring the .99 buy in favor of borrowing. Works for me. More $$$.

  23. Jinx Schwartz says:

    Just want the group to know I am not ignoring anyone. I am in France on a boat for two, doing the Canal du Midi, and very busy with locks every day. I catch up when I can.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Jinx did you have to tell us that? Now envy rules! Have a swell time. If I had a year to spare in my life, I’d do it in the Village of Versailles, hopping from one outdoor cafe to the next.

  24. Call to Arms – Jackie Weger’s take | Nicholas C. Rossis says:

    […] eBook Promoters – The Best & The Worst – Part 5 […]

  25. eNovel Authors Report Promotion Results Part V « Jackie Weger – Author says:

    […] Every site mentioned in this blog is live linked to the site. Check it out. And if you think it might work for you, start a Best Sites to Promote file and as you note a promo site, pop it on the list. You will soon disocover you have a choice of more than 150 sites, free and paid on which to submit your books. If you need reviews on your books, go HERE to get a head’s up on how to approach a reviewer plus some easily accomplished activities to gather those reviews. Dozens more sites, all vetted, are at the foot of articles on eNovel Authors at Work. […]

  26. Roberta Kagan says:

    Thank you so much for this very helpful article. I have been in this business for almost six years and needless to say, I’ve spent countless dollars on promotion sites that were scams. Finally a list of legitimate sites. Jackie, you’re the best!

    • Nicholas C. Rossis says:

      If you’ve kept any notes of specific promos you’ve run (both successful and unsuccessful), please share on http://nicholasrossis.me/2015/03/02/take-the-3-question-ad-results-survey/

  27. Lorrie Farrelly says:

    As always, very helpful!!

  28. Rosie Dean says:

    Thank you for leading the crusade, Jackie.
    All good info, that can save indies a lot of time and money.

  29. Stephen Tremp says:

    Hi Jackie, found your site doing a simple Google search regarding BooksButterfly.com. I’m going to try them. I did pretty good using BookSends basic package and Bookgoodies but nothing earth shattering. e-Reader Cafe I lost money but not much. BookBub, eReaderNews and Read Free.ly never responded to my submissions. I’m bookmarking this post. Thanks for the research and sharing with us!

    Stephen Tremp

    • Stephen Tremp says:

      Oh I should clarify BookSends was $25.00 or $30.00.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Stephen. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I had a better reply, but I’m having trouble getting this dang thing to post. I’ll revisit when I have time and am not so tired.

      Good luck with your books.


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