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Advertising and Marketing

Determining the value of Newsletter Promotion Sites

By: Michelle Hazen on June 14, 2024

Our Hidden Gems guest author for today.

By: Michelle Hazen on June 14, 2024


I’ve worked with Michelle quite a bit over the last few months, and have come to realize that she’s one of the most organized author’s I’ve ever met. She keeps stats and spreadsheets on all of the marketing and advertising she does, which gives her invaluable insight into what is working and what isn’t. I recently asked whether she’d be willing to share some of this knowledge with our community, and she graciously agreed. 

After years of using a variety of newsletter promotion sites to market her novels, Michelle has come up with a simple metric to assess their price-to-subscriber value. In today’s guest blog, Michelle explains this metric and uses it to rank the value of close to 20 different newsletter promotion sites. Even if the list below is missing some of the newsletter sites you use, you can easily use her metric to rank them yourself and determine whether they are a good place to spend your marketing dollars.

So, I hear you’d like to sell more copies of your book, while doing less work. Hey, guess what? ME TOO. If that’s what you’re interested in, newsletter promotion sites are a killer way to go.

I’ve got spreadsheets upon spreadsheets of data to prove that most marketing methods for self-published authors do sell more books…but not enough to pay for the cost of said marketing. Newsletter promotions are one of the only tools I’ve found that moves lots of copies and also usually pays for itself.

For those who are new to the terms, newsletter promotions are when you pay a business to promote your discounted book with an email to their list of readers. Newsletter stacks are what happen when you get clever and think, “Hey, I just sold a bunch more books with ONE of these sites, how high could I get my Amazon bestseller rank if I stacked up a bunch of these same sites in the same week?” Basically, you book multiple newsletter promotions over a limited period of time, in a strategic way.

BookBub is the largest and most famous of the newsletter promotion sites, but it’s also the most expensive. So when you’re googling your little author heart out, looking for others to stack up with your BookBub Featured Promotion, how do you find other newsletter promotion sites? How do you decide on the best newsletter promotion sites?

Well, dear author friend, you just read this blog, because I’ve done all the work for you.

This is a selection of most of the heavy-hitters in the newsletter promotion space. I then broke it down by a metric I invented called SUBSCRIBERS PER DOLLAR. It’s very simple math, where I divide the total number of subscribers by the total cost of the promotion.

What this means is, every newsletter has a different number of subscribers they show your book to. They also all price their services pretty differently, anywhere from $10 to $1000, and their prices aren’t directly linked with the size of their audience. Turns out that surprise! BookBub may still be the way to get your book in front of the biggest audience, but it’s not the best value per dollar spent.

TL;DR – the sites at the top of this list are the best value for your buck. Book those first.

Disclaimers: All these numbers are for the Contemporary Romance genre, for a book on .99c sale. So this blog is the most helpful for choosing the best newsletter promotion sites for romance. If you advertise in a different genre, the ratio of subscribers may be similar, but not identical. For advertising promotions on free books, the pricing is quite different than .99c sales. Some of these websites share the numbers openly, and some I had to email to ask. If I was not able to confirm newsletter size of audience, I did not include them on the list.

Newsletter Promotion Sites Ranked by Subscribers Per Dollar

Newsletter SiteScoreSubscribersCost
Book Rebel895898,545$11
AuthorXP *750075,000$10
Many Books *5172150,000$29
Bargain Booksy/ Written Word Media3666330,000$90
Fussy Librarian318069,960$22
Book Doggy *250060,000$24
Book Cave235889,625$38
E Reader Cafe *232058,000$25
Red Feather Romance/Written Word Media2060237,000$115
BookBub (non US)1710260,000$152
Red Roses Romance160040,000$25
BookBub (US & International)15941,540,000$966
Robin Reads1542108,000$70
Reading Deals *100029,000$29
Book Sends74244,500$60
Book Raid **47028,289$60
My Romance Reads22220,000$90

* Not all websites divide subscribers by what genre of books they’d like to see. The ones that send to all genres at once will be a much less targeted audience for your promotion.

** Book Raid is a better deal than it looks, because you only pay $.20 per click, not a flat fee to advertise your book, so this could be way cheaper and scales by how successful you are. If every single one of their subscribers clicks on your book, you still only pay $60.

Pro Tips for Newsletter Stacks

This is provided as a bonus for any super dedicated readers who kept reading all the way to the bottom:

  • You can put all your promotions on the same day to spike your Amazon rank the highest, or spread them out over multiple days, to try to keep your Amazon rank high for a few days in a row, and give people more time to discover it organically from the higher bestseller rank.
  • Write several short pitches for your book before you go to book newsletter sites. Most sites require you to have a 350-400 character description and you don’t want to just patch it together on the fly, as you’re booking your newsletter spot.
  • Write down your sales for each day of your newsletter promo, and see which sites produced the most sales. That way you know which ones to book next time!

Now go forth and sell lots of books, with very little effort!

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About the Author

Our Hidden Gems guest author for today.

Michelle Hazen is the hybrid author of 9 award-winning romances. She splits her time between writing and working as a certified book coach, author career counselor, and freelance editor at Sanctuary Editorial.

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  • Excellent list. Thank you!

    One of the ways I evaluate NL promos sites is by cost per download. I divide the number of downloads I get in a day by cost of the ad. Cost per download can range from 3 cents per DL to 25 cents and up. I won’t pay more than 15 cents, and my goal is to use sites that are 10 cents or cheaper (FYI BookBub is about 3 cents). So, while some sites don’t deliver the most number of DLs, they are often more cost effective than some of the more expensive sites.

    However, to find out the CPD, you have to test it, and that means scheduling only ONE NL ad per day. If you promo stack, you won’t know which NLs were effective. But once you know, you can promo stack on your next promotion.

  • Great, informative newsletter. I will definitely be checking out the sites to promote the first book in my Key series. Thank you so much. Judy

  • I love charts like this! Thank you, Michelle. What I find most interesting is I’m not familiar with any of your top three. But I’ve done well with Robin Reads, Book Doggy, and ENT. I’ve recently switched over to advertising a first in series free and done really well with My Book Cave, Book Raid and E Reader IQ. I’ve been considering FreeBooksy, though it feels overpriced. Thanks again.

    • K.T., I echo everything you said, from loving the chart to learning about the top three, and finally feeling FreeBooksy is spendy. Cheers!