Monday, 18 February 2013

How to Get Your Book Displayed on Ebook Reader Websites During Giveaways

There’s a huge and growing number of avid readers, hungry for ebooks, as Kindles and other devices have helped people discover or rediscover reading addiction. That love of books, the feeling of getting lost in a book, the desire to read book after book -  it all seems to fit well with an ereader that lets you carry a number of books around in your pocket, and people find themselves reading more than ever before.

This hunger for books has led to a growth in the number of reader websites, selecting and offering ebooks. For an author or publisher it helps to get books listed on these sites. During the latest Ward Wood giveaway of V.G. Lee’s classic comedy novel, Diary of a Provincial Lesbian, I tried out all of the listing sites I could find to see which were most helpful and which would list books for free. As always, I found the pros and cons and offer tips to those of you wanting to submit your own books to these sites.

There are a few important considerations if you’re thinking of releasing a book with a giveaway promotion. The first is that some of the best sites get thousands of books submitted every day, so they make their selection process easier by asking for a number of reviews on your book’s Amazon page, and a minimum average star rating of 4. One site (Digital BookToday) asks for a minimum of 18 reviews. It’s a good idea to build a number of reviews and a good star rating for your book before running the promotion. Easier said than done, I know.

The second thing to remember is that some of these reader sites like to be informed up to a month in advance (including Pixel of Ink, which is one of the best known so very useful). Others like to be informed at least two weeks in advance (including Kindle Book Promos and The Kindle BookReview). So you need to plan in advance and set yourself a schedule of tasks. These tasks become more time consuming as the giveaway approaches so it’s a good idea to allocate tasks to a few people in order to make the most of the opportunity.

In order to submit your book to these sites you will need the ASIN as they all ask for it. This only gets allocated by Amazon when a book goes live on Kindle, so if you want to submit to the sites mentioned above you’ll need to publish the ebook at least a month in advance of the promotion. If you’re planning a promotion on a book you already have available there’s no problem.

We were launching Diary of a Provincial Lesbian with a giveaway, so we didn’t want to have it available too long before the first day of the giveaway. This made it difficult for us to submit to some of the reader sites, but we did try just in case. The results have been so helpful that I’ll definitely submit to all possible sites for all of our promotions.

Give yourself plenty of time to submit to the reader sites because there are more than 50 that I have seen so far. I was especially grateful to a site called eBookBooster which gives a listing of these sites with links. This made a very repetitive and time consuming task much easier. I might have given up without it and certainly wouldn’t have found the sites. I’d recommend going to eBookBooster to guide you through your submissions with all the links in the side panel. There are also some more sites that collect links to good reader sites, including Author Marketing Club. I found good reader sites myself but eBookBooster and Author Marketing Club will give you a great start.

Most of the sites have online forms for you to fill in, and they ask for the same information, so it helps to have it prepared so you can copy and paste. If you’re lucky enough to have an assistant or long-suffering friend or partner you could ask them to help. You need a photo of the book cover, plus the title, author name, brief and catchy book description, the ASIN, link to the book on Amazon (usually in the US or UK or both), and perhaps an author bio and the category/genre. Some may ask you for something unique about the book to let them know why they should choose yours rather than somebody else’s.

Many of the sites ask for ‘no erotica’, so you’ll need to point out that your book is not in that category if it has a title or cover suggests that it is. There are genre specific sites (like Erotica Every Day) that might be better for you write in this category. Again, the excellent eBookBooster website gives links to genre specific sites for erotica, sci-fi and young adult. Some of the sites cover all genres and organise them neatly for readers to find their favourite type of book.

The next step, after submitting to the sites that ask for the book details well in advance, is to separate the sites that want submissions on the day of the giveaway from those that want information just before the giveaway. The eBookBooster website divides these, and I was curious to see which websites would display our book even though we were submitting at the last moment.

I was also curious to see if they really would display our book, as they tend to say they consider all books but ‘for guaranteed inclusion on the site’ you can pay. This is often a small amount, just $5 in many cases, but it would add up. We did get included although we didn’t put budget into this part of the promotion.

I've seen stories on the Kindle Boards forums about authors and publishers who have paid about $50 to advertise on some high traffic reader sites, and they sometimes get a very high number of downloads during a giveaway (20,000-30,000 but it's not guaranteed and many don't achieve this with advertising). Although we don't do this, some of you might be considering it.

For those of you who are new to giveaway promotions - if you're asking yourselves why someone would pay to advertise a giveaway, it's because a giveaway promotion that gets thousands of downloads leads to sales. In my experience, each 1,000 books given away lead to 100 books being sold in the first few weeks after the promotion ends. Sales then continue at a less intense level. The author's name is also more widely known in the international market, and other books by them also sell, including print books.

The websites that included us at short notice were:  FreebieBooks, ebooklister, My Book and My Coffee, Free Books for Kindle (efreebooks), Snicks List, Centsless Books (which picks up the highly ranked ebooks) and the beautifully named Free Book Dude. Addicted to Ebooks listed us later, and it's worth looking at this and all the other sites to see if they will also consider listing your book if it isn't a giveaway (quite a few people are asking me about that).

We also had the book listed on HotUKDeals which has really helped with two of our giveaways – the fact that most posts aren’t for books on HotUKDeals means that the books stick out from the crowd.

Some sites let you enter your own giveaway, including SuperE-books, which felt a bit complicated as it involved registering to use the Wordpress site yourself. I’m used to working with Wordpress, so did find my way around it and got our book included. Being able to list your own information is a bonus as it can be done even if you’re having to do it at short notice.

With some sites there’s a questionnaire to be used for an ‘author interview’ so you’ll need to ask the author to do this if you’re the publisher. These were Free Ebooks Daily and Rainy’s Book Realm. With Rainy’s Book Realm, the website links to a group on Goodreads, so you can actually list your own book in the Goodreads group forum under giveaways.

One final way you can get your ebook listed on websites is to find the Facebook group for the site. If they let you list your Kindle book on their Facebook wall, this often has a feed to the website and it can show up on the main page.

Once again, thanks and credit to the people who put together the information at eBookBooster and Author Marketing Club, as most of the sites mentioned here can be found with links neatly arranged on their websites.


  1. Thank you for the mention! To readers of this blog and of course you Adele, please use the coupon code ADELE for $5 on our submission service. :)

  2. Excellent post! So useful :D

  3. I've never had a coupon named after me before! eBookBooster is an incredibly useful site and I appreciate the amount of research that has gone into it. It's also good that you have generously provided the links to all the sites for free if people want to do it themselves, or offer a paid service if people know they usually recuperate in sales and want to outsource this very time-consuming task. I would have gone crazy and stopped submitting if I had to look up all these sites myself, so it really helped.


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