Book Marketing the Old Way Versus the Way That Works Today—Part 2: Email Promotions

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

shutterstock_112396604Selling a book today in either the self-publishing or traditional publishing worlds confronts authors with a marketing dilemma. Older methods no longer have the purchase they once did in the digital age. I’ve written a series of articles on that subject in an effort to compare traditional book marketing with more modern, effective strategies that work.

This installment focuses on integrating a regular schedule of email promotions into your marketing plan. Email newsletters promoting ebooks are one of the fastest growing marketing methods today. They’re a great way to increase your book sales fast. Because you discount the price of your book and pay for the promotion, the primary goal is not always to generate profits. Many authors use these promotions simply to expand their reader base and increase their sales rank. With more readers and a higher rank, your book sales can grow in at a healthy clip.

I recommend that you plan and execute one email promotion per month. That rate is not overwhelmingly time consuming for most self-published authors, but it gives your sales a regular boost. Over time, this will help propel your titles into a higher sales category.

Related: To learn more about marketing strategies, register for “4 Weeks to a Powerful Book Marketing Strategy,” a hands-on course from Digital Book World University. 

Email Promotion Newsletters from a Reader’s Point of View

Book promotion email newsletters can often have many thousands of registrants. These registrants are readers who want to be notified about deep discounts on ebooks. When readers register, they select the types of books they’d like to get notified about—maybe mysteries or kids’ books, cookbooks or romances. It’s a classic example of opt-in communication: ebook readers want to receive these emails and eagerly await them everyday.

The emails that come to registered readers contain the titles, descriptions, covers and prices of discounted ebooks. Each email contains anywhere from about two to ten titles. The email message offers a direct link to the online store where the discounted titles can be purchased; the newsletter itself does not sell the ebooks directly. The sale occurs in the online stores where your book is normally sold.

Email Promotion Newsletters from an Author’s Point of View

Here’s how email promotions work from a self-published author’s point of view. If you’re an author and you’d like to draw a lot of people to your book, pick a date in the next month or so to temporarily lower the price of your book. While you can choose to lower the price to any amount, most email promotion customers expect the book to run at about 99¢—$1.99. You can also choose to make the book free.

Next, contact one of many email promotion companies and provide them with information about your book. Usually, you must at minimum indicate your title, a description, the genre, number of customer reviews, date of the promotion and the URLs of your online stores. You’ll also have to upload your book cover.

If the promotion company chooses to promote your book—it’s up to them, they’re in charge of which books to list, and they don’t always accept all requests—they will email you and let you know the date that works for them and the price they are going to charge.

Setting up Your Promotion

Setting up your book for a price-reduction promotion is not difficult, but it requires a little bit of diligence. On the day before the promotion be sure the price has been lowered to the amount agreed upon with your book promotion newsletter.

On the day of the promotion, sit back, check your online sales page frequently and enjoy the uptick in sales!

On the day after the promotion, raise the price of your ebook to the pre-promotion price. Your sales may stay high for a few days, but soon they will go back down to your book’s normal sales rate.

Here is a short list of some ebook promotion newsletters that many authors use. It’s by no means complete; you can find many other quality ebook promotion newsletters for titles in every genre. If you’ve had success with any of the newsletters mentioned here, feel free to add a comment at the bottom of this post.

The Cost of an Email Promotion

The prices charged by email promotion newsletters vary tremendously. Some are free. Others cost hundreds of dollars. Usually, the promotion newsletters that charge more have larger mailing lists to justify the expense. But it’s up to you to track the return on investment. Some newsletters may work better for you than others. Try a few different newsletters to see which ones pay off and which ones only break even—or worse.

Even if you lose money on an email price promotion, you may choose to continue using that service anyway, because an increase in the number of ebooks sold has benefits that may go beyond the income you receive. The more ebooks you sell, the higher your rank in your online store and the more likely your title is to be recommended to others by the online store algorithms. And the more people who read your book, even at 99¢ or for free, the more fans you will gain to promote your writing by word of mouth.

Related: To learn more about marketing strategies, join me for a course I’m teaching at Digital Book World University, “4 Weeks to a Powerful Book Marketing Strategy.” Here’s where you can find more information and details on how to register.


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