Increase Book Sales with In-house Promotions
One of the things that sets wide storefronts apart from Amazon is the hand-curated element to their sales. Unlike Amazon, where your placement in the store depends on how much you’re willing to spend on AMS ads, the promotion of books on all the other online storefronts is handled in a completely different way. Author and going-wide expert Erin Wright explains how to increase your book sales by getting featured in these in-house promotions.
Here’s a run down of what you need to know for each of the major wide storefronts.
GooglePlay is the easiest storefront to cover: They don’t do in-house promos, period.
The books that are shown to a customer are 100% driven by algorithms. If I pull up https://play.google.com, I’ll see a very different storefront than when you pull up the same URL. This means that more than any other wide storefront, it’s very important that you attract the right readers to your books. If you’re getting “pity sales” on the site (ie, your aunt or your mother is buying your books to show their support), this will screw up the GP algos for potentially years to come. You only want people who read books in your genre to be purchasing books from you on GP.
Apple is also somewhat easy to cover, but for a completely different reason: There is no set course to getting your books into in-house Apple promos.
Apple has super effective in-house promos that can make an author hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the course of a week. They’re also completely free to participate in. The catch is, there isn’t an easy way to get access to them. If an indie author is able to attend an in-person writing conference, Apple is usually there, and they’ll give you the sooper sekrit Apple promo email address. Unfortunately, they do not allow authors to share this sooper sekrit email address with other authors, and doing so could potentially put the author who shared it into a really bad position if Apple were to find out what they’d done.
This means that it’s actually easiest of all to get into Apple promos if you DON’T publish direct to them, but use a distributor instead. Apple regularly works with the distributors, asking them for specific kinds of books for promos, and distributors then recommend your titles to them. No special email required. All promos are free to participate in.
Apple is agnostic when it comes to how you publish on their storefront – unlike other storefronts that really, really care, Apple really doesn’t. Get to Apple Books through their direct uploading platform. Get to Apple Books through Smashwords or D2D or StreetLib. It’s all the same to them. You don’t get any sort of special bonus or access by going direct, and in fact, it’s much harder to get in-house promos if you go direct, unless you’re somehow able to come across their mythical sooper sekrit email address.
(For this reason and for several others, I actually recommend that people use a distributor to get to Apple. I personally do, and I only use Mac products, and I have their sooper sekrit email address! Apple’s interface is simply not easy to use; thus I prefer to use a distributor for Apple and have been much happier since making the switch from direct to distributor).
Kobo is painfree when it comes to promos if you’re direct with them – simply email them at email@example.com and ask to have it added to your dashboard. Once it is, you can easily and quickly apply for promos. However, I’ve actually found that in-house Kobo promos can be more difficult to get into than BookBub because the competition is stiff.
If you are using a distributor to get to Kobo, talk to your distributor about getting into Kobo promos. Kobo does offer up some promos exclusively to distributors, although a lot more are available through their dashboard. Because Kobo’s dashboard is so easy to use and their in-house promos are more plentiful when you go direct, I recommend to authors to publish direct to them if at all possible.
Note: The Kobo promos can cost a set amount or be a percentage of the sales that you get from said promos – it just depends on which one you choose to apply for.
Barnes & Noble
This leaves Barnes & Noble. The only way to get to in-house promos on B&N is if you upload direct to them. If you use a distributor to get to their storefront, they will not allow you to be added to any in-house promos. Period. For this reason, if you can go direct with them, I recommend that you do. They are not available in all countries, so it isn’t always possible, unfortunately.
If you go direct to them and don’t have the promo tab yet, email them at BNPressSupport@bn.com and ask to have it added. Sell yourself in this email – explain to them that you’re 100% wide. Tell them about the writing award you got last year. Tell them that you’re dedicated to doing well on the B&N storefront. Tell them that although you’re happy with how your book sales are doing on B&N, one of your goals this year is to increase them further.
Any or all of this ^^ that is true, include. Obviously, don’t lie. #duh
But unlike Kobo, where they add almost anyone to their in-house promo program, B&N is picky, basing their decision on a variety of factors, including your sales history with them, if you tend to pull your books to go into KU regularly – things like that. If you just have one book out or you pulled your books off B&N three times last year to go back to KU, don’t be surprised if they turn you down.
Oh, and the B&N promos are free – no charge for any of them.
In-house promos can be the ticket to big book sales on a storefront. Again and again, I’ve seen people posting in the Wide for the Win Facebook group that I co-moderate, excited about how well their latest in-house promo has done on a particular storefront. I highly recommend taking advantage of these promos whenever you can.
NOTE: One thing to keep in mind for all storefronts (and this includes using AMS ads on Amazon!) is that none of them promote erotica. So if you only write erotica, there isn’t a way to do in-house promotions on any storefront. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
PS: If you haven’t joined us on the Wide for the Win Facebook group, please do! It’s completely free, of course. No one is selling you anything. We have industry reps in our group from a wide variety of sources, including B&N, Kobo, D2D, Smashwords, BookBub, and many more. If you’re serious about being a wide author, you can’t pass this up. Hope to see you there!