Top 10 Paperback Book Promotion Sites

This is part of the WriteZero Top 10 Book Promotion Sites Guide for Authors & Publishers

This Top 10 lists covers the best book promotion sites and marketing methods for promoting paperback books

  1. To promote ebooks at $0.99 and $2.99 please look at these posts
    1. Top 10 $0.99 Book Promotion Sites
    2. Top 10 $2.99 Book Promotion Sites
  2. To promote full price ebooks, please look at this post
    1. Top 10 Full Price Book Promotion Sites

This post (the below post) is focused on promoting paperback books

Let’s look at how best to promote paperback books, and what are the best paperback book promotion sites

The Top 10 – The Top 10 Paperback Book Promotion Sites

  1. Facebook Ads
    1. Arguably the best promotion and marketing method for paperback books
  2. Bookbub CPC Ads
    1. Bookbub is the largest book promotion site with 15 million readers
    2. Bookbub CPC Ads let you advertise paperback books to Bookbub’s readers
  3. Books Butterfly Paperback Book Promotion Packages
    1. Books Butterfly is the 2nd largest book promotion site with 4 million readers
    2. Books Butterfly has packages tailored for promoting paperbacks
    3. Disclosure: Books Butterfly is our sister company which has successfully run $1.9 million of book promotion packages
  4. Amazon Marketing Services
    1. Amazon’s own Amazon Marketing Services lets you promote your book on the book pages of other books
      1. You can target successful authors and popular books
      2. It is a good way to reach readers in your book categories
    2. AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) is not as good as the above options. However, it does work well for roughly 20% to 30% of authors who try it
  5. Google Adwords
    1. Google Adwords is quite competitive and difficult to figure out. However, Google Search is the dominant Search Engine and the majority of people searching for paperback books start off on Google Search
    2. Please be careful when using Google Adwords because costs can climb very quickly
  6. Bing Ads
    1. Bing is the 2nd most popular Search Engine in the world
    2. It is worth testing,  although it suffers from the same high competition that Google Adwords does
      1.  The bidding system is almost identical to Google Adwords
      2. If you are testing out Google Adwords, then it is worth it to also test Bing Ads
      3. Bing Ads will even import in your Ads and Keywords from Google Ads
  7. Social Media Ads including Twitter Ads, Tik Tok Ads, Instagram Ads, Snapchat Ads
    1. Social Media is better for generating awareness than it is for generating sales
    2. There are a massive number of readers using the newer social networks like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram
    3. It is well worth it to dip your toes in and see if you can generate some buzz about your books
    4. If you are not tech savvy, then first please focus on Items #1 to #6 on this list, before jumping into Social Media Ads

Paperback Book Promotion is still in an emerging phase on the Internet. Most of the book promotion sites specialize in promoting discounted ebooks and there are very few paperback book promotion sites

Over time, as more people embrace that 70% of book sales are still paper books, more marketing and promotion companies will start focusing on paperback book promotion. At that time, we will evaluate and add more sites to this list

Honorable Mentions – Paperback Book Promotion Sites outside the Top 10

  1. To Be Updated

Again, the number of book promotion sites that promote paperbacks is very low. As more book promotion sites expand to promoting paperbacks, we will update the Top 10 Lists and the Honorable Mentions list

Increasing Your Chances of Getting Accepted for a Paperback Book Promotion with the top Paperback book promotion sites

Most of the good paperback book promotion sites are looking for a few simple things

  1. Readers will get good value for money if they buy your paperback
    1. Your paperback must be worth the price you are asking for it
      1. Selling a half baked book for $15 does not work
      2. Nor does selling a short story as a $10 paperback
    2. Ideally, your paperback should be worth two times the price you are asking for it
      1. If you have a good thriller novel of 221 pages and you are charging $14 for it
      2. The reader should feel, after finishing the book, that they got $28 worth of value
  2. The book categories for your paperback are correct
    1. Absolutely critical that you know what the right book categories for your book are
    2. Absolutely critical that you categorize your book as such
    3. If your book is in the wrong categories then most top paperback book promotion sites will not acceptyourbook
      1. Firstly, it might mean you are a complete newcomer to Books & Publishing and have no idea what to do
        1. Being a newcomer is often reflected in the book not being well written and not being well polished
      2. Secondly, it takes a lot of work to figure out how to promote a book and what categories to promote it in
        1. If the author has not done this work, then the book promotion site would have to do it
        2. Most book promotion sites are very reluctant to sign up for additional work
  3. Your Paperback has good fit and finish
    1. What is the quality of the printing?
    2. What is the quality of the book layout and typesetting?
    3. Is the book free of grammatical errors and typographical errors?
  4. The writing is very good
    1. After the book gets into readers’ hands, the most important requirement is that it be a very well written book
    2. Most paperback book promotion sites will read through the first few chapters of the book to determine the quality of the writing
  5. Reviews are good and real and helpful, with a review rating over 4 stars out of 5
    1. The book must have some reviews
      1. A few paperback book promotion sites will take books without reviews
      2. However, most of them will not accept a book that does not have reviews
    2. The reviews must be real reviews (not fake ones) and must have some detail and depth to them
    3. The review rating must be 4 stars out of 5 stars, or higher
  6. The book cover looks beautiful and is professionally designed
    1. A beautiful book cover really helps to sell books
    2. A book cover is especially important for paperbacks because the reader is going to put that book in their library and on their shelf
      1. No one wants to walk around with a book that looks like it was designed for $5 by head hunters in Papua New Guinea
    3. The book cover must be professionally designed by an experienced book cover designer
      1. This is critically important because every book genre has certain expectations
      2. Your super talented, artistic niece might draw very pretty Hello Kitty designs. However, she has zero idea what kind of book cover thriller readers appreciate and purchase
        1. Buy her some ice cream instead of letting her design your book cover and sink your book’s prospects
  7. The book is an actual book and not something else
    1. A shocking number of authors will take a half written personal anecdote or half a book or a rough notepad scribble and try to pass it off as a book
    2. Your book must be an actual book
  8. Your book is competitive in its category
    1. Different book genres have different levels of competition
      1. Romance and Mystery and Thriller, for example, are all very competitive
    2. Some book genres have a very high quality bar
      1. Historical Fiction is a good example
    3. The top paperback book promotion sites will check and make sure your book is well written enough, and polished enough, to do well in the book categories it fits into
  9. The author is a real person and serious about writing a good book
    1. Most book promotion sites will not work with a person they cannot link to a real identity
    2. You must be a real person
    3. Things that show seriousness are very good. One or more of
      1. An author website
      2. A real person identity linked to the author, such as a Linked In Page (ideal), or at least a Facebook Profile
      3. A Good Reads page
      4. Multiple Books
      5. No books of the ‘write low quality books to get rich quick’ type
  10. The author has some basic understanding of book promotion and marketing
    1. Many of the top book promotion sites will not work with brand new authors
      1. This is unfortunate
      2. Most sites start off working with new authors
      3. Then they realize that new authors don’t realize how tough it is to be an author
    2. If you are a brand new author, then you have to show via having a well written book, a professionally designed book cover, a well edited book, that you are serious about being an author

These are all things that will increase the sales of your paperback

If you don’t want to do this to get approved for the top paperback book promotion sites

You should definitely do them to increase your book sales

Please remember that the ‘My Way or the Highway’ approach is a favorite of many new authors, and it kills their author career before it even begins

Books & Publishing is a $120 billion a year industry. There are Publishing Houses that have been around for over a century. There are authors who have been big brands for Decades. You are a new, relatively unknown author. Book Publishing is not something you can ‘My Way or the Highway’

Paperback Book Promotion Sites – Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

Book Publishing is a landmine. Even more so with a paperback as you don’t have the competitive advantage of low pricing that you have with ebooks

Here are some of the biggest mistakes authors make, and which you should strive to avoid

  1. Promoting a full price paperback, when they should really be promoting a discounted ebook
    1. If you are in a competitive genre, a $15 paperback is going to do absolutely nothing for your career
      1. On the other hand, a $2.99 or $0.99 ebook could help you build your readership to the point where you can start selling $15 paperbacks successfully
  2. Writing a Book for a Market that doesn’t exist
    1. One of the biggest dangers for new authors is that they write a book without doing any market research
      1. Is there a market for your book?
      2. Does that market actually buy and read books such as your book?
    2. It is much better to spend a few months doing market research and figuring out what you should write
      1. Than it is to spend 5 years writing ‘on a hunch’ and then trying desperately to find a market where no market exists
    3. Beware of Assumptions about whether or not a market exists for your book
      1. Assumptions make an ass of You and I
      2. Just because a lot of people do something (fly fishing) doesn’t mean there is a big market for books about fly fishing
        1. They might all be watching TV shows or searching on the Internet
      3. Until and unless you see lots of authors selling a lot of books in a market, that market does not exist
        1. One author does not make a market
        2. One book does not make a market
        3. There must be thousands of authors making a living in a market, for there to be an actual market
  3. Promoting the Book to the wrong readers
    1. Firstly, you should know exactly who the right readers for your book are
      1. What book categories does it fit into
      2. Within those book categories, what book sub categories does it fit into
    2. Secondly, you should make sure your book page accurately reflects the book categories
    3. Thirdly, you should promote to the readers in the exact book categories your book fits into
  4. Spending $100 on Polishing and Fit and Finish and then spending $10,000 on book marketing and promotion
    1. The success of your book will depend on
      1. Writing it for The Right Market
      2. It being The Right Product for This Right Market
      3. It being a High Quality Product
      4. The Right Marketing and Promotion
    2. Authors completely ignore the first three items
    3. Marketing and Promotion is not sorcery (though it might seem that way at first)
      1. Marketing and Promotion is simply taking The Right Product to readers in The Right Market
      2. And making them AWARE it exists
    4. You have to make sure you have a product that is high quality
    5. Product Quality is a combined sum of
      1. How well written your book is
      2. How well edited it is
      3. The quality of proof reading
      4. How beautiful the book cover is
      5. And similar factors
    6. You cannot ignore product quality and assume that spending a lot on marketing will somehow take a low quality book and turn it into a success
  5. Assuming the first book they write is the Next Great American Novel
    1. There is nothing we will add to this except that statistically the chances that you’ve written the next great novel in your first attempt are lower than you getting struck by lightning while cashing in a winning Powerball ticket
  6. Spending all their money and energy at the start, when they know almost nothing about the market
    1. Writing a book and publishing it and marketing it is a marathon
    2. Authors assume that it is a 100 meters race and their first book is Usain Bolt
    3. Your first book is the guy who has a gym membership he uses every day from Jan 1st to 7th and then not again until the next year
    4. The race is a marathon
    5. If you start off running like a sprinter running a 100 meters race you will have to drop out of the marathon by the first mile marker
      1. Please don’t start off running a 100 meters sprint if you want to win the marathon
  7. Trying to Do It All Yourself
    1. How tough could it be?
      1. I’ll make the book cover in Photoshop
      2. I’ll proof read using Word Spell Check
      3. I’ll edit it myself by reading super slowly
      4. Marketing I can read on the Internet
      5. It all seems simple to me
    2. It’s actually all pretty tough
    3. You need specialists for each area
      1. People with skills and experience
  8. Not Knowing What You Want from Your Author Career
    1. The more clarity you have on what you want from your books, the higher the chance you will get it

Writing Books and Succeeding as an Author is pretty tough. The more of the above mistakes you can avoid, the higher your chances of doing well as an author

Improving the Results of Your Paperback Book Promotion with the Top 10 Paperback Book Promotion Sites

The more reassurance you can give readers that your paperback is worth their time and their money, the better your results when promoting with the top paperback book promotion sites

  1. Reassure readers that your book is in the right book categories (the ones they read)
    1. The biggest fear readers have is that they get tricked into buying a book in the wrong category
      1. A not-that-good book is not that bad if it is in the book categories they read
        1. A not-that-good romance is still romance
      2. However, a book in the wrong category really kills their enjoyment
        1. A thriller that has very little romance will really kill the mood for readers that love romance
        2. If the author has put their thriller into ‘Romance’ because ‘the protagonist falls in love with a woman and 5 pages of the book cover that’, it is going to upset a lot of romance readers
    2. You have to reassure them that your book is in the right book categories
      1. The book cover must match genre conventions
      2. If possible, the book title must match genre conventions or must straight out include Book Category in the title
        1. That’s why you see so many Cozy Mysteries put Cozy Mystery right in the book title itself, and so many Romance novels put Romance right in the book title
      3. Your book description must clearly say what the book category is, what comparable books are, and what similar authors are (to you)
        1. Please do this in the first paragraph itself
        2. No reader is going to comb through the book description to confirm the book is the right category
        3. If you don’t put it at the very start, they will just move on to the next book
      4. Your Author profile must also indicate what genres you write in
        1. If this is a book genre you grew up reading, then be sure to put that down and also include your favorite authors (from that genre)
        2. The more readers feel you know what you are talking about, the more likely they are to buy and read your book
      5. Just as important as putting the right book categories, is to avoid putting your book into the wrong categories
        1. There should be no clashes
          1. The book categories must make sense
        2. There should not be too many categories
          1. If you have 8 book categories, thinking you will reach all those different book categories
            1. None of those readers will buy your book
            2. Only ‘get rich quick’ type of authors write books that can fit into 5+ book categories
            3. Most serious authors write books that fit into 1 or 2 categories (at most 2)
        3. The book categories must make sense
          1. Mystery and Detective Mystery makes sense
          2. Mystery and History does not make sense
            1. Historical Mystery is a completely separate category from History
    3. If you do not make it easy for readers to confirm your book is in the right book categories, they will simply not buy your book
  2. Reassure readers that your book is well written and worth reading
    1. After you have reassured readers that your book is in the right book categories, you then have to reassure them that it is a well written book
    2. Most important by far are reviews from readers
      1. Readers trust other readers more than they trust anyone else
    3. 2nd most important is the quality of your writing in the book sample
    4. 3rd most important is the book sample be completely free of typographical mistakes and grammatical errors
      1. Ideally your book should also be almost completely free of typographical errors and grammatical errors
    5. If you cover these areas, readers will be reassured that your book is well written and worth reading
  3. Reassure readers that your book is worth their time
    1. Readers will be devoting 3 to 6 hours of their reading time to your book
      1. This is time they will never get back
      2. This might be the only reading time they have all week (or even all month)
      3. There is a very high cost of failure. If your book bombs, they won’t get a good reading experience until next week (or perhaps until next month)
    2. The best way you can reassure them is make it clear you have put in effort
      1. Get a very well made book cover. The quality of cover indicates the quality of writing
        1. Yes, for new authors this seems crazy. New authors think – readers should be able to look beyond my terrible cover and look into my soul and see how well written my book is
          1. Readers cannot look into your soul
          2. They have no idea that you were too stubborn to get a professionally designed cover and wanted a homebrew cover because you were not willing to accept it is the best way to sell as few books as possible
          3. They just think the quality of the book cover represents the quality of the writing
      2. Clearly state that your book matches genre conventions
        1. In Romance authors have started clearly writing out
          1. HEA i.e. Happily Ever After
          2. No Cheating – because cheating is a killer for romance novels
          3. Does not end in a cliffhanger i.e. it is a complete book
          4. Whether the romance is steamy (some sex scenes) or clean (no sex scenes, no violence, no references to sex) or normal romance
        2. You need to provide that same level of clarity
        3. Reassure readers they will get exactly what they are signing up for
      3. Get a professional book editor to make sure the book is well edited and flows smoothly
        1. Perhaps the biggest impact of a book editor will be that the book sample will be very convincing to readers
      4. Get a professional proof reader to make sure there are no mistakes
        1. When authors don’t use a proof reader, the first few pages itself give away this fact
        2. You’ve lost 80% of your potential readers if your first chapter has even one mistake
  4. Reassure readers that your book is worth their money
    1. Firstly, all the points in the previous points (Reassure readers that your book is worth their time) apply
    2. Secondly, you are probably charging $10 to $20 for your paperback
      1. That can get you a decent meal at some restaurants and a decent entree at others
      2. Is your book going to provide as much pleasure and satisfaction as a well made meal?
        1. If yes, great
        2. If no, then you need to polish and improve your book until it is a Michelin 1-star Meal
    3. Thirdly, eliminate all pain points between the Reader and the Pleasure of Reading Your Book
      1. Make it easy for the reader to enjoy your book

The above points should make you realize that Your Book is A Product

Thinking of your book as A PRODUCT is what will set you on the path to Increasing Your Book’s Sales. You cannot increase sales until and unless you Embrace The Reality that you are Selling A Product, not a piece of yourself

The biggest source of pain for authors is

  1. Instead of thinking of a book as a product, authors start thinking of it as a combination of
    1. Their life story
    2. Their identity
    3. Their first born child
    4. Their self image
    5. Their happiness
  2. Please think of it as A PRODUCT
    1. It is a product that you are selling to customers
    2. Your book is the product
    3. Readers are the customers
    4. They will buy the product just the way they buy any other product
    5. Walk through your own buying process
      1. You probably go to a store or check an online store
      2. You look at the product for signs of quality
      3. You reassure yourself that it will meet your needs
      4. You consider value for money and benefits and costs
      5. Then you make a purchase decision
  3. Your book is NOTHING to do with your sense of self. It is a Product
    1. If you were selling a shirt, and it did not sell well
    2. Would you go into deep despair and start questioning your very existence?
      1. No you wouldn’t
      2. You would just change the shirt and take another shot
    3. A book is just A PRODUCT. If your book is not selling well, then you need to figure out Why and make changes
      1. That’s all
      2. It’s just a product
      3. If it is not selling well, then modify the product and/or improve the quality of the product

Once you fully embrace that you are selling a product, your thinking shifts from

  1. Let’s force these readers to buy my book, a piece of myself
    1. They must buy what I want them to buy


  1. What product are these customers looking to buy?
    1. How can I write a product that they are dying to buy?

The biggest opportunity for authors is

  1. Avoid being like the 95% of authors who try and make the product they want to make, and then try and force readers to buy it
  2. Be the 5% of authors who make the product that readers are already dying to buy

If you can do that, your chances of succeeding go up significantly

Paperback Book Promotion Sites – Promoting to the Right Book Genres

By far the most important determinant of success for authors is

  1. Writing for the right book categories i.e. doing the market research, seeing what areas you are passionate about, seeing what markets are good markets (low competition, high demand, good readers), seeing what markets you can write well for
  2. And writing a book that fits into the intersection of these
  3. That is a very logical way of thinking of it
    1. A more creative way of thinking of it is the Japanese concept of Ikigai

You must do this BEFORE you start writing your book

After you have finished your book, whether or not you did market research beforehand, you have to AGAIN do market research and

  1. Make sure you know what the right book categories are for your finished book
  2. Make sure you promote to the readers in these ‘right book categories’

Promoting your book to readers in the right book categories has a lot of very important benefits

  1. Those Readers are more likely to buy it
    1. If the book is promoted to the right readers, then those are the readers who like and read similar books
    2. They are naturally much more likely to purchase it than readers in other book categories
  2. Those Readers are more likely to enjoy reading it, which means
    1. They are more likely to leave a review, which helps sales
    2. They are more likely to buy and read your other books
  3. Those Readers are more likely to become lifelong readers
    1. Your success as an author will depend on a very large extent to building a loyal readership
    2. A readership which buys every book you write
    3. A readership which leaves reviews and helps in other ways such as telling their friends and family about you

What we’re trying to say is that – Promoting to the Right Readers is not just a good thing, it’s an essential and critical thing

The absolute worst mistake you can make as an author is to try a scattershot approach and promote the book to everyone, or to readers in the wrong book categories

Becoming a Bestseller with a Paperback Book Promotion

Firstly, becoming a bestseller in one of the very big lists (New York Times Bestsellers List, USA Today Bestsellers List) with a paperback book promotion is very, very difficult unless you have most of the following advantages

  1. A Large Publisher backing you, or a very large marketing budget
  2. Have a big brand as an author and a large reader following, or have some way to reach a lot of readers in your book genre who will buy your paperback
  3. Have a very well planned out marketing push
  4. Have a very, very high quality paperback, which lots of people will buy because of its quality of writing and high level of polish
  5. Have some way to amplify your marketing push, either via TV or Radio or via social media or via newspapers

These are not easy to set up

How to Increase the Number of Reviews you get after Promoting a Paperback Book

There are 5 very important things to do to increase the number of reviews you get

  1. Ask for Reviews – politely and multiple times
    1. Let the reader know at the beginning of the book that you would appreciate a review
      1. Make sure that it is clear and obvious and not hidden away
    2.  Ask the reader for a review on the last page of the book (the exact page where the book story ends) or in the back matter
    3. Ask politely
      1. Something such as – I’d really appreciate it if you left a review if you like reading my book. Thank you!
    4. Please keep in mind that most readers don’t really know a review helps an author
      1. They are more than happy to leave a good review if they like your book
      2. They don’t even have to love your book. As long as you ask nicely, they will leave a review if they think your book is good
    5. Please also keep in mind that the default ‘review mindset’ is to leave a review if something goes wrong
      1. You have to remind the reader that they should review the book if they like it
      2. They are used to leaving a review only when something is broken with their TV or if the restaurant delivered cold food
      3. Let them know to leave a review if they enjoy the book
        1. They will
  2. Give them $10 to $20 worth of reading value. If possible – more
    1. You’re selling them a paperback book that costs between $10 to $20
    2. You’re taking up 3 to 6 hours of their precious time
    3. You owe it to your readers to give them
      1. A very well written book
      2. A well polished book (very good editor, very good proofreader)
      3. A good looking book that is packaged well (very pretty cover, good looking cover and back cover)
      4. A book that flows well and is easy to read (good flow to the story – which requires author to rewrite the book for readability and requires a good editor)
      5. A book that is worth $10 to $20 or more
        1. So that they feel they got their money’s worth
        2. So that they feel their reading time was well spent
  3.  Sell More Books
    1. A very well written paperback will get 1 to 10 reviews for every 500 sales
    2. A decently written paperback will get 1 to 5 reviews for every 1,000 sales
    3. A paperback that is not well written will generally not get reviews
    4. If you fall into one of the first 2 categories and see a steady number of reviews come in as you sell more and more books
    5. The most straightforward way to get more reviews is to sell more books
  4.  Improve and Refine every aspect of your book
    1. The gap between ‘not getting a review’ and ‘getting a review’ can sometimes be very small
      1. Keep improving different aspects of your book, and you will see the difference
    2. A book that has been rewritten once does not flow as smoothly and read as well as a book that has been rewritten thrice
    3. A book edited by an economy editor with little editing experience is far worse than a book edited by a professional book editor with 10+ years of editing experience
    4. A book that has not been proofread by a professional editor has errors and mistakes that pull the reader out of the story
      1. This is one of the biggest reasons readers will not finish a book and/or not leave a review
    5. A book with a beautiful cover will look great in the reader’s hands and even better on their bookshelf
      1. It can be the difference between a good review or no review
      2. Not to mention it makes a massive difference when the reader is deciding whether or not to buy your book
    6. A book where the author politely asks for a review can get 3 to 5 times more reviews than a book that does not ask for reviews
      1. Please Note: The rate will still be between 1 to 10 reviews for every 500 to 1,000 sales
    7. A book that is written for a category with less competition and fewer available books, will be appreciated a lot more than a book written for a category drowning in competition
  5. Keep refining and improving the book categories your book is in
    1. The better the fit between your book and the book categories you put it in
      1. The more it will sell
      2. The likelier that readers will enjoy it
      3. The more reviews you will get
    2. The Market (readers) will tell you what the right book categories for your book are
    3. Please listen to what readers are telling you, what they are writing in reviews, and keep refining the book categories

While the two most important determinants of reviews are

  1. How well written your book is
  2. Whether or not it is placed in the right book categories

The above 5 points will help you to increase the number of reviews you get

Avoiding Negative Reviews when promoting Your Paperback

The good news is that people buying paperbacks will very rarely leave negative reviews

That being said, there are still some things that can cause people who buy paperbacks to leave a bad reviews. Avoid these at all costs

  1. Selling a book worth $1 for $15
    1. The value of the book is in the quality of the writing and the level of polish
    2. You cannot say – My story is very interesting and even though I have not written it out well and not gotten it edited well, it should still be worth $15
    3. The ‘story’ itself has zero value until you have written it out very well and polished it and made it a great reading experience
      1. This issue is particularly true for people writing biographies and memoirs
      2. You might have lived the most interesting life
      3. However, your book is worth 5 cents until and unless you polish it and write out your story very, very well
  2. Making the book very political
    1. Most of the world is split between conservative and liberal/progressive mindsets
    2. This is especially true in the United States of America where people have turned it into an Olympic Sport
    3. Ideally – avoid politics completely
      1. If that is not possible – do not overindulge in politics and be very clear in your book description that your book has a political bent
      2. If you really want a lot of politics in your book – make sure to promote and market it to people who will appreciate that particular political alignment
  3. Trying to brainwash readers into believing what you believe
    1. There are perhaps 5 to 10 authors in the entire world who can change people’s way of thinking without people realizing it is happening
      1. Statistically, it is very likely that neither you, nor us, are in that group
      2. If you try some subtle mind tricks you will just get caught out and readers will kill your book
    2.  Even small attempts to change readers’ thinking is frowned upon
    3. Just tell a great story
      1. If the story is very powerful, then the change you are hoping for will happen automatically
      2. If you try to write a strong with the aim to change people’s mindsets first, it will almost always backfire
    4. Let’s consider an example of this
      1. If you write a book about a person with a certain disability and start off with how people’s attitudes have to change and more money has to be made available and how difficult life for this person is, then everyone gets turned off
        1. EVERYONE has difficult circumstances they face in their life
        2. They have no desire to take up someone else’s cause
        3. Nor do they have any desire to make you the champion of this cause
      2. On the other hand, if you write a very honest and powerful story about what this person went through, people will naturally empathize and start thinking – Perhaps we should give more consideration to people with this disability
      3. The more powerful your story, and the less you try to convince people of doing what you want them to do, or believing what you want them to believe, the higher the chance your book has a strong impact
  4. Having typographical errors and spelling mistakes in your book
    1. This is a subset of the book not being worth $15
    2. However it is worth mentioning because this is by far the most common mistake authors make
    3. Please get a professional proof reader and make sure your book has close to zero errors
  5. Classifying a book in the wrong categories
    1. Please be 100% accurate in what categories you put your book into
      1. Make sure you KNOW what your book is
      2. Make sure you KNOW the right book categories for your book
      3. Place your book only in these book categories
    2.  The last thing you want is for someone to pay $15 for your ‘Thriller’ paperback, and then find out it is not a Thriller
    3. You have not only wasted that readers’ $15
      1. You have wasted 4 to 5 hours of their life
      2. That is time they can never get back

Readers who buy paperbacks are reluctant to leave negative reviews. If you avoid the above five points, you should not be getting very many bad reviews

Paperback Book Promotion Sites vs Facebook Ads

Facebook is almost perfect for Paperback book promotion

  1. Facebook lets you target very precise sets of people
    1. For Example: If you have a war novel, you can target everyone who has specified Military History as an interest, everyone who has served in the military, everyone who has interests that include war novels
    2. You can also share your email list with Facebook and find similar people using Lookalike Audiences
    3. Nobody else has the ability to target people so precisely
  2. With a $10 to $20 paperback you have a relatively larger market budget
    1.  With a $3 ebook you have 10 clicks at 20 cents each and if you don’t generate a sale within those 20 clicks you don’t have positive Return on Investment
    2. With a $15 paperback, if your margin is $5, you can get 25 clicks at 20 cents
    3. As roughly 70% of readers prefer paper books, you can get pretty decent conversion even with $10 to $20 paperbacks
  3.  Facebook reaches a massive 2 billion people
    1. You can reach a very large number of people, though gradually over time
    2. It is far larger than any other marketing venue

Please Note: Two major downsides of Facebook Ads are – Firstly, you have to learn Facebook Ads. Secondly, you have to keep adapting as other people start competing with you for those same readers on Facebook

Paperback book promotion sites are not as good as Facebook. However, they are a good marketing source to stack/layer alongside your Facebook Ads

What the paperback book promotion sites have going for them is

  1. They have email lists and sites that target only readers
    1.  So everyone you are reaching is already a reader
  2. They are usually categorized by book genre
    1. So you can reach readers in your specific book genres
  3. Readers still buy 70% paper books
    1. So those readers are still open to buying paperbacks

Ideally, when promoting paperback books, you use Facebook Ads as your primary marketing method and Paperback book promotion sites as your secondary marketing method

Paperback Book Promotion – Facebook Ads vs Amazon Market Services

Amazon Marketing Services is a smaller, less effective version of Facebook Ads

The main pros of Amazon Marketing Services are

  1. You can advertise your book on the book pages of popular books and on the book pages of popular authors
  2. You can decide what price to bid at
  3. You can reach readers, as it’s only readers who are perusing the book pages at Amazon
  4. If you can make it work, it is a good 3rd or 4th option after other paperback marketing methods (Facebook 1st, Paperback book promotion sites 2nd, real world marketing 3rd)
  5. It is a self balancing system which forces you to improve the fit and finish of your book
    1. The more polished a book, the better it does in Bidding Systems like Facebook Ads and Amazon Marketing Services

The main cons of Amazon Marketing Services are

  1. For 40% to 50% of authors, they will not be able to figure out how to get clicks on a steady basis
    1. The system is quite confusing and it is not as dependable as Facebook Ads (which, by the way, is not very easy to understand either)
  2. Another 30% of authors will not be able to get positive return on investment with Amazon Marketing Services
    1. Basically, for the 20% to 30% of authors who can get Amazon Marketing Services Ads to work for them, it is a very valuable marketing channel
    2. For the remaining 70% to 80% of authors, it will mostly be a time sink
  3. Amazon’s number of readers you can reach is quite a bit lower than Facebook’s people you can reach
    1. Amazon only lets you advertise on book pages
      1. So you are limited to the millions of readers who buy books at Amazon
      2. Please Note: When selling homescreen advertising on eInk Kindles, Amazon uses ‘millions of readers’
        1. The number of readers using website might be in the millions or they might be in the 10 million to 30 million range
        2. We don’t have any precise data
    2. Facebook lets you advertise to absolutely anyone who uses Facebook
      1. So you have access to 2 billion people

At some point, hopefully, Amazon sorts out Amazon Marketing Services and makes it easier to understand, more dependable, and more effective

Is Promoting a Paperback the right decision? Is your Paperback ready for promotion?

There are some very hard decisions you have to take around what ‘format’ of your book you should promote

We will consider 5 main formats – eBook, Paperback Book, Hardcover Book, Audiobook, Online Course (if you are selling your book as an online course)

  1. eBook – An ebook is the best to promote if you are a new author, or if you are in a very competitive book genre
    1. The biggest advantage of an ebook is you can price it very competitively ($0.99, $2.99) and compete even with established authors
    2. The second biggest advantage of an ebook is you can use Free as Marketing i.e. you can make your ebook free for a short time to greatly increase the number of readers who know your book exists
  2. Paperback – 70% of readers prefer paper books and paperbacks are the best way to reach them
    1. A paperback can be made decently inexpensive i.e. $8 to $15
    2. At that price you do have a chance to compete even with established authors
    3. Paperbacks are necessary to get presence in physical book stores, grocery chains, airport book stores, etc
    4. There are some book categories where paperback books are much preferred over ebooks
    5. There are some book categories where almost all sales are paperback and hardcover books (arts, photography, textbooks, reference books, coffee table books, etc)
  3. Hardcover – In general, we do not recommend focusing on hardcover book promotion
    1. By hardcovers we mean the ‘fancy’, higher end paper books which cost more than paperbacks
    2. It is good to have hardcovers available for your hard core fans, and for readers who want a prettier version for their library
    3. Paperback books are far better as they will be considerably cheaper and more competitive
  4. Audiobook – Audiobooks are a very hot market and it is well worth it to have an audiobook available
    1. Please do not spend a lot of money making an audiobook, unless you are an established author with an established reader base
    2. Most Audiobook retailers will create an audiobook for you, in return for a share of the audiobook prices
    3. Audiobooks are a very good market to get into because the competition is relatively low and it is growing very fast
  5. Online Course – If you are in a Business niche, or in an Educational niche, it is worth considering setting up an online course
    1. Anywhere that readers can make money from what you teach them, or improve their career prospects, they are willing to pay
    2. A book should be the Loss Leader/Lead Generator
    3. Your Course and Consulting is where you make the real money

Please look over those choices

Paperback book promotion will generally be the best option for Authors who want to focus on reaching readers who buy and read paper books. However, you should also look into Audiobooks, ebooks, and selling Courses

The 3 Core Skills for Authors

The 3 most important skills Authors need to master are

  1. Knowing What to Write
    1. You must do the proper market research and find The Right Market and also The Right Book to Write for this Right Market
  2. Writing Very Well
    1. You must write very well and create a very high quality book
  3. Marketing Very Well
    1. You have to find the right readers
    2. You have to market to them very well
    3. You have to sell them the book
      1. It is not enough to learn the skill of reaching the right readers and making them aware the book exists and fulfils their needs (what is traditionally Marketing)
      2. It is also important to learn the skill of closing the sale (traditionally considered Sales)
      3. In fact, selling the book is by far the more important skill (more important than marketing)

These are absolutely critical for paperback authors and when promoting paperbacks because

  1. Knowing What to Write – Paperbacks are much more expensive than ebooks. Your paperback is going to be the same price or higher than big name authors. You better make sure you’ve written The Absolute Right Book for The Absolute Right Market
  2. Writing Very Well – You’re asking for $10 to $20. Your writing better be worth that or more
  3. Marketing Very Well – You have to reach the Perfect Set of Readers if you expect them to pay $10 to $20 for your paperback

Please read this post on Levels of Mastery of The 3 Core Skills to better understand the 3 Core Skills for Authors

Do the 3 Core Skills apply to Paperback Promotion?

Yes, they apply to paperback book promotion. Let’s better understand how and why

  1. Knowing What to Write
    1. Paperbacks will usually cost between $10 and $20. At that price you have to make sure you are creating a product (your paperback) that matches EXACTLY what the reader is looking for
      1. If not, they won’t put down $10 to $20 for your paperback
    2. The importance of market research increases as the price of the product increases
    3. BEFORE writing your paperback, it is imperative that you do proper research and make sure you are writing a book which has a large and eager market of readers waiting for it
  2. Writing Very Well
    1. You have to have a book that is as well written as the big name authors and the authors published by the very large Publishers
    2. If you’re doing ebooks you can price the ebooks at low prices (such as $0.99 and $2.99) and gain a strategic advantage. Then, even if your writing is not very good, you can still get sales
    3. With a paperback, usually between $10 to $20, you are selling your book at the same price as the big name authors
    4. Readers will only buy your book if the writing is very good
    5. Writing very well is critically important when writing and promoting paperback books
  3. Marketing Very Well
    1. Marketing skills are critical when selling paperbacks because
      1. Firstly, you have to reach the right readers
        1. Readers who buy paperbacks
        2. Readers who are interested in your paperback in particular
        3. Readers who will pay $10 to $20 for your paperback
      2. Secondly, after reaching those readers you have to convince them and sell them on YOUR BOOK
    2. You have to convince a reader that your book is worth their money
    3. You have to convince a reader that your book is worth their time

Not only do the 3 Core Skills apply to paperback book promotion, they are even more important when promoting and selling paperbacks

Can Self Published Authors be successful selling Paperback Books?

Yes, however it is very, very difficult

  1. Basically, you have to compete against big name authors and Large Publishers
    1. They have much larger marketing budgets
    2. They have huge author brands
    3. They have very well polished books
    4. Some of them are exceptionally good writers
    5. They have distribution agreements with the big book stores and libraries
    6. They have decades of experience (some Publishing companies have over a century of experience publishing books)
    7. They already have people who are the best at every aspect of publishing (editing, cover design, marketing, running the show)
  2. What are your competitive advantages?
    1. Firstly, you can move faster than Large Publishers and Big Authors can
      1. They take 1.5 to 2.5 years from the book being written, to the book being launched
      2. They spend A LOT of time on polishing and perfecting the book
    2. Secondly, you are not heavily invested in how things currently work
      1. Big Name Authors and Large Publishers are set up to make the most of how things currently work
      2. If a new trend emerges, or a new opportunity arises, unless it fits into what they are already doing, they will not tap into it
        1. It’s just impossible for them to restructure their entire publishing process for a new opportunity that may or may not pan out
    3. Thirdly, no one can cover all markets
      1. There will always be markets that are under-served
    4. Fourthly, if you make an ebook of the paperback
      1. You can compete on price via a low priced ebook
      2. You can even make the ebook free temporarily, as a loss leader
        1. You can use a free ebook as Marketing
        2. Free as Marketing is incredibly powerful
      3. You can make improvements and changes to the ebook much faster than any Publisher ever would
    5. Fifthly, you can course correct much faster than Large Publishers and Big Name Authors
      1. If the market changes from Historical Romance to Contemporary Romance (just a hypothetical example)
        1. Large Publishers will take 2 to 4 years to realize the change, and another 2 to 4 years to implement steps to make the most of the opportunities
        2. A small publishing house, or a self published author, could recognize the change within 6 to 12 months and implement steps within a year to go after the opportunities
  3. You have to decide whether you will fight on their strengths or on your strengths
    1. Fighting for readers on Publishers’ strengths and Big Name Authors’ strengths
      1. If you try to go against big name authors on pure writing quality it is a tough battle
      2. You can’t out spend them
      3. You can’t build a stronger brand than them (at least not in the short term)
      4. You cannot out-distribute them. They have relationships with bookstores and distributors going back decades
      5. You cannot beat them in reach. They sell through book stores, airport bookstores, through grocery stores, to libraries, and to lots of retailers you cannot reach
    2. Fighting for readers on Your Own Strengths
      1. Address Markets that are new and emerging and growing fast
        1. You can get into these markets faster than anyone
      2. Use ebooks to offer a lower price ($2.99) for readers
        1. Traditional Publishing Houses can not afford $2.99 books
      3. Use ebooks for discounting and to create awareness ($0.99 and $0)
        1. You’re new and you have to offer readers some incentives to pick you over the proven author
        2. Offer $0.99 deals
        3. Offer $0 free offers (though not too often)
      4. Use Free as Marketing
        1. In the past it would cost $10,000 to make 10,000 readers aware a book exists
        2. Now with one free ebook you can reach a few thousand to tens of thousands of readers, for very low prices

You have to get better at reaching readers, better at convincing readers to buy your books, and better at giving readers an amazingly great reading experience

You have to ‘sell’ and market your product better. You have to create a better product. You have to find a better market and create a better product for it than currently exists

In effect, you are a small company/an entrepreneur creating a product and selling it. Play to your strengths. Make it a compelling Win-Win for the reader and for yourself

The 10 Golden Rules of Paperback Book Promotion

Promoting paperbacks is tough. Following these 8 Golden Rules will significantly increase your chances of selling more paperbacks. Equally importantly, they will save you a lot of money and time and effort. Please follow these diligently

  1. Paperbacks sell Best in markets and areas where people buy paperbacks
    1. Common sense that is, unfortunately, very uncommon
    2. Where do paperbacks sell well?
      1. Book stores
      2. Markets
      3. Airports
      4. Grocery Stores
      5. Online Book Stores that have a dedicated section for paperback books and physical books
      6. To Libaries
      7. As Gifts
    3. Who do paperbacks sell well to?
      1. Readers who prefer physical books
      2. Readers who buy paperbacks
      3. Readers who either don’t care for ebooks, or don’t realize that ebooks are now very cheap compared to paperbacks
      4. Readers who like the feel of books and the nostalgia of libraries and book stores
    4. You have to focus 100% on readers who buy paperbacks and prefer physical books
    5. You have to focus 100% on venues where people buy paperbacks and physical books
    6. It is sometimes very easy to start promoting paperbacks in the same way that ebooks are promoted. That does not work well because your $10 or $20 paperback can never compete with a $0.99 or $2.99 ebook
  2. The Game is Won or Lost in the Selection of Book Genres to Write In
    1. The single biggest decision you will take as an author is deciding what book categories to write in
    2. It can be your biggest mistake if you pick a market/category where any of these are true
      1. You don’t know much about the market
      2. You are not passionate about the market
      3. The market is not a good market
      4. You can’t write well in this market
    3. It can be your biggest successful decision if you pick a book category where all three of these exist
      1.  You are passionate about this book category and know a lot about it
      2.  You can produce a very high quality book for this market
      3.  The market is a growing market with very little competition, or a very large and stable market with not-too-much competition
  3. The Game is Won or Lost in the Selection of Book Genres to Promote to
    1. Even after picking the right market to write in
    2. Even after writing The Right Book for this Right Market
    3. Your success depends 100% on
      1. Finding the right readers to market to
      2. Finding EFFECTIVE marketing methods that reach these readers
      3. Staying focused on these effective book marketing and promotion methods and staying focused on the Right Readers
  4. The Market Always Wins
    1. Readers make the Final Decision – whether to buy or not to buy
      1. You can take a horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink
    2. If you have written The Right Book for The Right Market, and get it in front of the right readers, it will sell well
    3. If you got one of the aspects wrong, then the book will not sell
    4. You have to see what the market is doing
      1. If your book is selling very well, then – Great! Keep writing for this market
      2. If your book is selling slowly, then it means you either wrote the wrong book, or you are reaching the wrong readers, or the market is the wrong market
      3. If your book is not selling at all, then most probably you got 2 or all 3 aspects wrong (right book, right market, promoted to the right readers)
  5. Pricing of Paperbacks should be Win-Win for both the Author and the Reader
    1. Firstly, you have to make sure your printing and distribution is such that you can make 40% to 60% of the paperback price as your cut
      1. Any less and it will be almost impossible to scale up sales
    2. Secondly, it should be a win-win for both Author and Reader
      1. Prices above $20 will hardly ever work
        1. Readers are not interested in paying $20+ for a paperback
      2.  Prices below $10 are very hard to make work for the Author
      3. Between $10 and $20 is the sweet spot
    3. Thirdly, you should make sure you are not at the mercy of the middle man
      1. If a book that you wrote, you found the reader for, and you generated the sale, is giving you just $2 while the middleman is making $5 or $7, then there is something wrong
      2. You should be getting the biggest cut of the paperback
  6. You should ALWAYS have an ebook to accompany your paperback
    1. Paradoxically, having a book in both ebook and paperback formats is necessary to generate good paperback sales
    2. A portion of readers who buy the ebook, will like it enough (hopefully) to buy the paperback to gift or for their home library
    3. The 70% of readers who prefer paper books are not going anywhere, so you are not losing anything by making an ebook available for the 30% that prefer ebooks
    4. Having both ebook and paperback raises visibility
    5. Having an ebook gives you a good marketing tool
      1. You can use discounts on the ebook to increase awareness
      2. Awareness of ebook ALWAYS leads to increased awareness of the paperback
        1. Please note that 60% to 70% of readers prefer paperbacks and seeing your ebook will get them to the paperback page too
  7. Product Market Fit is more important than everything else combined
    1. Product Market Fit = Writing The Right Book for The Right Market
    2. This takes precedence over everything else
    3. Authors like to fixate on things outside their control, such as – getting a radio interview, getting a review in a big publication, doing a national book tour, getting on the Today Show
    4. You cannot guarantee any of those things
    5. What you can guarantee is
      1. Doing PROPER market research and finding a really good market to write in
      2. Doing additional SOLID market research and finding what book will do very well in that market
      3. Writing that RIGHT BOOK for THE RIGHT MARKET
    6. If you work on Product Market Fit, the other things will fall into place
  8. A Paperback needs to be VERY High Quality as people are far more likely to buy it if it looks good on their book shelf or desk or coffee table
    1. Even with ebooks, readers like to have very high quality book covers
    2. With paperbacks, it becomes even more important because readers want to have a beautiful book in their home
      1. You absolutely cannot cut any corners on Book Cover design and book design
      2. You must make sure you make the packaging and finish of the book EXCELLENT
  9. Picking the Wrong Market to Write In is a trap that is hard to get out of
    1. The saying – don’t waste good money after bad money i.e. don’t put more money into a bad investment
      1.  Applies to books to
    2. If you jump into a book category without thinking and write a book without figuring out whether there is a market for it or not
    3. The tendency is to believe you are infallible and it’s someone else’s fault that no one wants to read a book for which a market does not exist
      1. Authors are Extremely Reluctant to Admit they wrote a book for which no market exists
      2. They keep wasting time and energy
      3. A few will even go on to write more books for that same market, which does not exist
    4. Firstly, it is absolutely critical to do a LOT of Market Research BEFORE writing a book
      1. If you did not do this, then just admit your mistake and move on
      2. Don’t waste another 5 years of your life trying to prove there is some market hidden away in the recesses of Zero Sales Land
    5. Secondly, if you have a hard time selling your book
      1. You should do some market research and figure out whether the issue is that there is no market for this book, or it is a marketing and sales issue, or a fit and finish issue
  10. You should NEVER EVER EVER fall in love with your book
    1. By far the worst mistake you can make is to fall in love with your book
    2. The minute you start thinking of your book as ‘my baby’ and ‘it was born perfect’, you are doomed to failure
    3. If you must fall in love with something you have written, write a poem, stick it on your fridge and gaze upon it lovingly 5 times a day
    4. Anything you want to sell commercially and make money from, you cannot afford to fall in love with
      1. The minute you do fall in love with it – you will stop improving it
      2. You will stop listening to the market because it is too painful to hear that the book you love is not yet good enough

As an author you will make a lot of mistakes. That’s fine. Learn from your mistakes. Try and ensure you never repeat your mistakes

The above 10 Golden Rules talk about how to avoid the biggest and career ruining mistakes you can make. If you can follow these 10 Golden Rules you will have a lot more time and energy and money to succeed as an Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *