A Smarter Way for Independent Authors to Advertise Books

14 May 2016


By A.R. Wise

Successful independent authors advertise. It’s as simple as that. You can’t publish a book and expect the world to notice. You must get the word out. However, not all types of advertising produce the same results, and it’s easy to waste an awful lot of money without seeing substantial return. Trust me, I’ve wasted plenty, and I want to help you avoid some of the same mistakes.

I only advertise books that are on sale, or free, and I look for sites with a substantial mailing list. I avoid sites that boast huge Twitter followings as their claim to fame, because it’s easy to artificially inflate social media stats. I also avoid doing banner advertisements on sites, because the click-through rate on those are abysmal. To get the most for your money, you must place your book in front of as many eyes as possible, and I haven’t found a better way to do that than working with the following sites.


Let’s address the behemoth first. I haven’t encountered a site that’s more consistently worth the investment than Bookbub. At first glance, it’s expensive, but an ad with them is worth every penny. On average, for a free book in the horror genre, I see around 8,000–20,000 downloads on the day my ad hits, and the effect continues for several days until gradually coming back down to average. Bookbub can be awfully picky about which titles they advertise, which might be discouraging if they decline your novel. Don’t be disheartened. Acquire more reviews on your book (which is part of their selection criteria), and give them another try in a month.

For tips on finding more reviews, see my article in last week’s FundsforWriters newsletter: How to Get Reviews – Without Cheating!


This is another pricey option that’s had consistent, positive results, although with nowhere near the same success as Bookbub. Their prices run between $40 and $200 depending on the genre of your book, and I usually see an uptick of about 1,000 downloads (for a free horror novel). Advertising with Bargainbooksy is considerably cheaper, but I’ve never seen an impressive result from them. In my opinion, you should only use this site when your book is being offered for free.

Kindle Nation Daily / Bookgorilla

It’s daunting to look at the pricing structure of this site’s advertisement packages. I’ve participated in several different options (including some of the frighteningly expensive ones) and surprisingly discovered that the best one is also the cheapest. If you’re offering a free book, then it’s worth your time to invest in the $29.99 Free Book Highlighter option.


Another free book advertising opportunity. This one competes closely with Freebooksy in terms of price and results, although I only utilize it when I’m putting a slew of ads out all at once.


Here’s one that’s still relatively cheap (get them while you can), but still manages to drum up impressive downloads. One of its options makes you the featured author for the day and can be used to advertise all of your books. This one runs $21.99 and is a good option if you’re hoping to advertise books that aren’t available for free. If you’re marketing a free book, then there’s an option that runs a meager $7.99, but will usually land you a few hundred downloads.

Good luck advertising your book! If you find a different site that’s worth advertising with, please reply with  a comment.

A.R. Wise is the author of several horror, mystery, and comedy novels, including314, which has more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon. Several of his books, including 314, are available for free. If you enjoy his work, then do him a favor by writing a review.

Facebook Fan Page

%d bloggers like this: