This is a curated list of promotional sites that I personally use to sell books (I’ve booked ads in almost every major genre). Last updated on January 22, 2020. I can’t guarantee results; all I can say is that I assembled this list for my own use and refer to it when booking my own promos.
Note: Many sites offer “book of the day” options or special packages. Stick with the standard vanilla offerings; they often provide better results on a cost-per-download basis. There are exceptions, but it’s difficult to keep dozens of options straight, and expensive to separate the wheat from the extreme chaff.
Unless otherwise noted, these sites can be used for free and paid books. Some sites have review requirements; if you need reviews, learn how to get those here.
Top 4: Always, if Available
- BookBub (price varies): BookBub trounces every site on this list by many orders of magnitude.
- FreeBooksy ($50 – $100): the best site for free books outside of BookBub
- ENT ($35 – $60)
- RobinReads ($30 – $85)
- Fussy Librarian ($10 – $30): account required
- My Book Cave ($15): account required
- BargainBooksy ($25 – $80): FreeBooksy’s sister site for paid books; not nearly as powerful, but still solid
- Book Barbarian ($35 – $55): SF/Fantasy only
- Red Roses Romance ($20 – $40): BookBarbarian’s sister site for Romance
- Book Adrenaline ($8 – $20): Book Barbarian’s sister site for thrillers/mysteries.
- FKBT ($25 – $30)
- Booksends ($25 – $75): better for $0.99 rather than free books due to pricing of respective ads
- ManyBooks ($29)
- Book Doggy ($18)
- EReaderIQ ($15)
- eBookDiscovery ($39)
- Book Gorilla ($50)
- BKNights ($5): only books 14 days in advance
- BookRaid (varies): only charge per click on your book; $0.05/click for free book, $0.08 for a $0.99 book, $20 max
For Free Books
- Fiverr ($7): submits your free book to 20+ free-to-list promo sites instead of filling out forms; also a far cheaper alternative to services like eBookbooster or ReadingDeals’ submission tool (note: I received a negligible # of downloads from these sites, so this probably isn’t worth doing in most instances)
Author Cross Promos & Newsletter Builders
- Patty Jansen’s SF/Fantasy Monthly Promos (free; alternates between free books and $0.99)
- Dean F. Wilson’s SF/Fantasy Promos (cost varies) (everything from newsletter builders to Amazon/Bookbub builders)
- Ryan Zee’s Author Marketing (Booksweeps) ($60) (newsletter builders in a number of genres)
- LitRing (cost varies) (everything from newsletter builders to Amazon/Bookbub builders)
Done For You
If scheduling promos is unappealing, you can book a service (for a fee) to do the heavy lifting for you.
- Book Rank: submits (e.g. fills out all the pesky forms) to promo sites of your choosing; also has pre-built bronze/silver/gold packages for a set price. Read my review here.
Important Notes on This List
This list is constructed based on data and experience: I’ve spent $30k+ on promos over the past four years. In the beginning, I lit a substantial amount of money on fire.
I’d like to spare you a similar fate.
To answer the inevitable “why isn’t site X included?” objections: I’ve probably tried site X – likely multiple times – and was underwhelmed. Many sites produce no discernible results at all; others provide some “pop” but are so overpriced that you’ll be swimming in a sea of red. These can be useful during special circumstances (e.g. gunning for the USA Today Bestseller List), but you’re usually better off saving your money.
I’ve seen authors claim there is “no harm” in listing all sites – or, worse, submitting to tons of them. It’s important to address this point, since it’s incorrect for three reasons:
- Most sites lose money. Only BookBub is basically a lock to generate a positive ROI on the advertised book itself. ENT and Robin Reads can hit that mark, too. To maximize the benefits of promo sites, you’ll need a series for sellthrough or have goals other than ROI (e.g. reviews/newsletter sign-ups). Some sites will never, under any circumstances, make you money. They have been excluded from this list; pour one out for my bank account. It suffered to help yours.
- It assumes your time is worthless. There is opportunity cost involved in filling out forms, so even free sites aren’t free. The submission process is a massive time suck that can be spent building actual skills, such as writing or learning PPC ads. Don’t forget that your time has value.
- Extreme 80/20: BookBub generates 5x to 10x the downloads of every other site on this page combined. The remaining Tier 1 sites (ENT + RobinReads + FreeBooksy) will often generate 2x – 3x as many downloads as the remaining non-BookBub sites combined. You can get 90%+ of the downloads in 15 minutes, using the saved time to write and the saved money on other marketing endeavors.
More About Promotion
To learn more about effective promotion, check out the following guides: