Should writers pay for promotion?

Big things often start off small. (photo by Tui Snider)
Big things often start off small. (photo by Tui Snider)

In my post where I tell you to steal my promotion plan, I talked about setting a budget for promotion. For my plan, I set the amount at $20 and rolled over what was left at the end of the month. My thinking was $20 wouldn’t break the bank and if I rolled over the left overs, then I could splurge on a higher priced promotion if I wanted to. The budget was easy to keep and in the end I only spent about $70 for the entire year. After assessing how my promotion plan for 2016 went, I was left with a question.

Is paying for promotion worth it?

Big things often start off small. (photo by Tui Snider)
Big things often start off small. (photo by Tui Snider)

Now, there are sites that come with glowing recommendations. BookBub is one, but it’s also super expensive and not easy to get into. I have seen plenty of authors say they made the money they spent back. But again, the issue is if you don’t have the money, you can only stare longingly at the site and imagine your book being blasted to thousands of people and the sales rolling in.

That leaves lower priced sites. Their subscriber lists can be smaller, but still impressive. Most will state how many people subscribe to them. If a site doesn’t, then I’d recommend skipping them. Of course, there’s no way of knowing how honest they are. It’s a risk you have to take. In my experience, I’ve always gotten sales with these sites. Most of the time I don’t make what I paid. There is a little bump, things quickly trickle off. Some of that has to do with genre. Certain genres seem to sell better than others. (I have a plan I’d like to try that involves spreading promotion out over a week. After I do it, I’ll be sure to share my results.)

Okay, Patricia, but you still haven’t answered your question: Is it worth it to pay for promotion?

Yes and no. In my experience, paying for promotion for a book I’m putting on sale for 99cents has yet to make me more money than I spent. Fortunately, I don’t often pay more than $10 on those sites, so my wallet isn’t hurting too much. Other authors I’ve talked to have said the same.

My best advice would be to pay for a free day promotion. You can go on Fiverr and find plenty of people willing to pimp your book for a mere five bucks (I highly recommend bkknights. I paid for a $5 promo for Michael when I put the book for free and in one day, I got over 300 downloads.) Couple that with free sites (usually not guaranteed, but if you submit to a lot, you’re bound to get picked up by a few. Here’s a list of sites you can submit to. Just make sure to read their guidelines) you can propel your book to the top of the free list. And if it’s the first book in the series, the rest of the series gets sales (at least in my experience.) I’ve also found after the free day is over, that first book will get a few sales too from stragglers.

Like all aspects of writing, promotion isn’t easy. Your results may vary. I’ve had people recommend sites they had success, and when I tried it, my results were vastly different. It’s usually because of genres. Other times it could be the time of year. But it’s something we have to do, and if you’re going to spend money, you have to chose which site to use wisely. You also have to be willing to take risks. If you want to do one big push and submit to BookBub, go for it! With all the success stories I’ve heard, you probably won’t regret it.  But if you don’t have the money to spare and need to play it smaller, there’s still plenty of options. As I said in my post about my promo plan, you don’t have to break your bank promoting your book.

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About Patricia Lynne 214 Articles
Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. She writes New Adult under the pen name Patricia Josephine.


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