Episode 64 : John Doppler on EBook Discovery Services
An often talked about option for marketing books (especially fiction books) is eBook discovery services like Bookbub, where readers sign up to regular e-mails of discounted books and authors pay to have their books listed. But how good value are these services? What do you need to get listed on one? Which are the best for which genres? I talk today to Alli’s watchdog John Doppler who has done a comparison of these services about what he found out. You can see more detail in his original blog post .
How do these eBook Discovery Services work?
These services build up a mailing list of readers who are interested in discounted books in particular genres. They generally send out daily e-mail bulletins to their readers. Authors pay to have their books represented, so in some ways everyone benefits.
What level of requirements do these services have before accepting authors?
As these eBook discovery services are in-demand, the levels of requirements are fairly high. Most have minimum review count and rating requirements and many of them will vet for quality. It’s not easy to get into those services in very high demand, such as Bookbub. Usually 5 reviews is the minimum and some will demand as many as 20 US reviews with a 4 or 5 star average.
Are there any genres that these services don’t cover or are weak at?
Non-fiction is very poorly represented. There are some niche categories like LGBT and African American fiction have a very limited range of expensive options, and it is often better to promote in a broader category.
Is Bookbub’s reputation as the best service deserved? Is it best for every genre?
John says that it is undeniably the front runner. For books under a $1 in value BookBub is way out in front, but John thinks for books over a $1 the other services can give better value. Bookbub has a lot of cash behind it though and they have better coverage than all the other services.
How much would a Bookbub Ad typically cost?
It varies by genre but it’s usually several hundred dollars. For cosy mysteries it’s $450 for example.
What surprised you about your research into these services?
John was surprised by the massive difference in values for how much it cost to put your book in front of readers, noticing a difference of up to 17 times between providers. This also led him to his next surprise – how many of the companies had a real lack of transparency in terms of how many readers a promotional e-mail would get, let alone what the average click-through rates would be. The only service to disclose click-through rates was Bookbub.
Apart from Bookbub who are the best of the rest of these providers?
Fussy Librarian is the leader amongst the smaller services. In some areas it was even better than Bookbub. John wasn’t that impressed with the other services in general. He recommends Bookbub and Fussy Librarian and also Books Go Social, who use social media to achieve the same thing as the e-mail services.
Are there any outliers where one of the small providers is actually better?
There are some random areas, like General Romance for Book Gorilla for example, but you really need to crunch the numbers to find out. If your book can go into multiple genres you may often get a better price for one genre than the other and you should check both.
What do the e-mails from these providers look like? Are some services’ e-mails better than others?
In John’s view Bookbub has the nicest looking e-mails, but he worries when a reader selects lots of categories there is a limit to the number Bookbub shows in the e-mail meaning lower click-through rates if your book is on the website rather than on the e-mail. John felt that Fussy Librarian and Book Gorilla’s e-mails, while acceptable, were not as polished as the other services.
How can people find out about John Doppler?
If you liked this interview you might like How Much Does Self-Publishing Cost with Emmanuel Nataf, Using Google for Business with Martin Shervington and Creating a CreateSpace Paperback-Ready Word Document from Scrivener.