I've started working on my marketing plan for the July 5th release of The Final Ride, and I tell ya, this is nuts. First thing I did was to hire someone to help me organize, let me know what to do and when to do it. She charged $50/hour and took only one hour to get me lined up. (I'd give her name, but I don't think she's still taking clients.)
I'm excited to have a checklist and timeline to work from, but one thing she didn't include are the book promo services. Research for that is my responsibility.
When my friends and I put out the six-book set, Much Ado about Love (now off the market), I learned a lot about the value of these wonderful sites. We used eReader News Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, Book Sends, and Digital Book Promotions. Let me tell you, I was amazed with the results. BookBub is the best, but it was a bit high for us. Doesn't mean I wont use it in the future.
It made a difference to divide our advertising costs six ways. Now that I'm doing this on my own, it's going to bite a little bit. I'm looking at the smaller promo sites, like eBook Soda (flat $15.00 price, plus $6.00 for Twitter and $6.00 for Facebook ads) and Fussy Librarian (priced per genre, but no charges over $16.00). These two may have smaller circulation for their newsletters, but I've used them before with pretty good results.
Book Sends has a menu of services, so it can be expensive or reasonable, depending on what you want. For my genre, they have a newsletter circulation of 11,500, and for a 99c special, I can land in their newsletter for $15. Also, considering I write Christian Fiction, I can look at the sites that specialize in my genre. Faithful Reads, for instance, has a flat rate of $25. I haven't figured out Inspired Reads yet. I must be missing something, because I didn't see submission instructions anywhere.
At $50 for a 99c ebook, Book Gorilla is probably as expensive as I'm willing to go. So that means I can have ads with the ones the group for Much Ado about Love used. Digital Books Promos charged $30.00 for our 99c box set; Free Kindle Books & Tips and BookSends, $25.00, and the whopper of our budget, eReader News Today, $45.00.
Most of these sites encourage you to have special prices on your ebook of 99c or free. Some won't take you unless you've priced your ebook that way, others charge considerably more if you're promoting a book at a higher price. Some have pricing scales depending on your genre. Most prefer that you already have at least ten reviews, with the bulk of those reviews being 4-star and higher. Most prefer--which makes perfect sense--that you have a professional product: well written, with an eye-catching cover. And you should have a professional product whether you're going to use one of these services or not. That should be considered a no-brainer.
Then there are the few that will accept new releases. Free Kindle Books & Tips, Book Gorilla, and eBook Soda accept new releases as long as you've got a track record they can look at. And since all the services have a restricted period between one ad and the next (90 days between ads for the same title), I may save these for the new release and use the others to advertise the special price on Give the Lady a Ride. Giving the first in the series another shot at an audience will increase the readership for the second in the series, The Final Ride.
If you're in the same boat I'm in, determine what your goals are, what your budget is, and what your timeline is, then go explore the different services. Look for their requirements and circulation, and how much bang you'll get for your marketing buck. BookBub is undoubtedly the best where circulation is concerned, and if you have the budget for it, give it a shot. I hear about great results through them. But they're picky about who they'll accept, and they're probably booked months in advanced. Plan ahead.