You’ve gotten your book on as many eBook stores as possible and worn your fingers to the bone publicising it on social media. But even the savviest operator (such as one who’s paid attention to our essential social media tips) can only do so much alone.
There are a number of promotional sites who can share the news with readers who have declared an interest in keeping up to date with the best eBooks around. In fact there are a lot of them, too many for any sane person to choose from.
To provide you some peace of mind we’ve compared three of the chief contenders: BookBub, BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian, and come up with the definitive conclusion on where you should go for your advertising.
What do they do?
All three sites offer a subscription service for readers, providing a free daily email which recommends eBooks for purchase. If your book meets certain conditions (and in most cases if you’re willing to pay) you can be recommended, advertising your book to their readership.
Subscribers have the ability to detail the genres they’re interested in, so all recommendations go to willing recipients with a stated interest in the subject matter. This kind of targeted marketing is a dream for you; everyone who sees your book is already interested in your genre and looking to buy. The Fussy Librarian distinguishes itself from its contemporaries by allowing subscribers to also indicate their taste in tone.
Do you only read mysteries without profanity, violence and sex? Then we’ll tell you only about cosy mysteries. Read just memoirs and gory horror novels? No problem.
– The Fussy Librarian
BookBub and to a lesser extent BookGorilla are more focused on telling their readers about special offers and bargains, which means you’ll have to make some concessions.
Each site advertises a slightly different service and so the requirements for listing your book vary.
BookBub focuses on special offers, and requires your book to be free or discounted by 50% for a limited period. They also won’t accept any books which have been offered for a better price in the last 90 days. This approach meshes perfectly with the discount promotions offered by schemes such as Kindle Direct Publishing Select. You can’t just cut the price of your book to get on BookBub, it has to be a limited time offer. Thankfully this kind of offer also encourages potential buyers to get a move on.
BookBub demands error free manuscripts and professional, appealing covers. They’ll only feature full length novels of 150 pages or over. While they will allow deviation from these rules for exceptional cases they’re a popular service and not starved for offers, so they’re unlikely to be flexible unless you’re currently the hottest thing on Amazon.
BookGorilla is quality obsessed, advertising the best of the best, and has stringent requirements for listing.
If your book has less than a 4-star rating or fewer than 5 reviews on its U.S. Kindle store page, you should expect it to be rejected.
They’re less offer obsessed than BookBub but they still want to find their readership bargains, so they won’t accept any books within 30 days of a price raise. Short novels are accepted, they’ll advertise books of 100 pages and up, but they won’t tolerate any errors in your manuscript.
The Fussy Librarian
The Fussy Librarian lives up to its name, aiming to offer finely tailored recommendations to its readers. To this end it has some of the most stringent quality measures around.
10 reviews and a 4.0 rating on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or 20 reviews and a 3.5 rating if you have 10 reviews split between Amazon’s various stores.
– The Fussy Librarian
Part of why they’re so exacting in their requirements is that they make no promises to read the books they recommend. They encourage customers to report poor quality books or those which describe themselves inaccurately. This means The Fussy Librarian may be a lot more forgiving of less than professional presentation than its rivals but this shouldn’t be a concern for any author serious about their craft.
Pricing your book
Of course part of advertising your book is advertising its price and each site differs surprisingly on what’s recommended. Remember that with each service you’re pricing your books to compete with offers that will appear right next to yours.
On top of having to discount by at least 50% for a limited period, BookBub rarely features books above $2.99. In fact they recommend pricing at 99¢ to stay competitive.
BookGorilla makes it clear that 85% of their books are for sale below $1.99, and caution that they’ve never advertised a book for over $3.99.
The Fussy Librarian
Less concerned with bargains, The Fussy Librarian sets a maximum price of $5.99. With their focus on a discerning readership, the ability to charge far more isn’t unreasonable.
Charge for listing
Each site is providing a service and each wants something in return for listing your book. Charges can be calculated based on a myriad of factors, so make sure you do your research before committing to a service.
BookBub charges are calculated according to your book’s genre and its price, with more popular genres costing more to advertise. The charge to list a free book will most likely hover around the $200 mark, while advertising a mystery novel for $2 or more will set you back $1,300. Their pricing guide can be found here.
BookGorilla charges are also calculated by genre and pricing, but they categorize their genres in groups rather than individually. Most of their promotions cost $40 to $50. Pricing your book between $1.00 and $2.99 will bring the total to the $75-$100 mark, with an extra $100 added on for books priced over $2.99.
BookGorilla offers ‘Starred Titles’. These are books which receive prime placement in their emails and are specifically recommended to readers via a star icon. You can enter any book for consideration but Starred Titles are chosen according to the individual tastes of the BookGorilla team, and there’s an extra $100 charge if you make it.
The Fussy Librarian
The Fussy Librarian currently offers free listing, only asking that authors meet their quality requirements and try to spread the word about the service. They’ve made it clear that they’ll start charging once they have a larger subscriber base, but have stated that they won’t calculate charge according to pricing.
Whether you list your book at 99 cents, $2.99 or $4.99, you’ll pay the same price. We don’t think you should be punished for trying to make a living as an author.
– The Fussy Librarian
How many recommendations per email?
Your book will be advertised among others as part of each site’s daily email, so how many other novels will they have you competing with?
BookBub has a maximum of three books per email, meaning your novel will really stand out.
BookGorilla lists dozens of book in their emails, meaning you’ll be part of a long list. Subscribers can limit the amount of titles they see but there’s no guarantee you’ll appear on these reduced lists.
We allow our readers to select their preference as to whether their daily emails should include 12, 25 or 50 titles, and over 85% opt for 25 or more titles.
Becoming a Starred Title will put you in the first twelve entries but costs another $100 and is awarded on the whim of the BookGorilla team.
The Fussy Librarian
The settings on The Fussy Librarian are intricate enough that there’s no set number of books customers will receive. The high level of customization does mean that customers control how many books they see, so it’s unlikely you’ll be lost in a long list.
The sites differ greatly in popularity, meaning the audience for your advertisement will change in size depending on the service you opt for.
BookBub handily lists the potential audience per genre, along with the average sales figures for different schemes. Their downloads are measured in thousands, with 1.5 million subscribers receiving their emails.
BookGorilla are reluctant to reveal their numbers as they’re still in a beta period.
We have been growing at such a fast rate that anything we said now on the subject would be outdated by the time it was passed around for just a few days.
They have claimed to have over 100,000 subscribers in the past.
The Fussy Librarian
The Fussy Librarian is a relatively new service which is still gathering a reader base. Though they don’t currently have the subscribers to rival BookBub or BookGorilla, they’re still at a stage where growth occurs dramatically.
Which should you choose?
BookBub is a high quality service with a huge audience. Due to their demand for special offers you’re unlikely to benefit financially but there’s little doubt your audience will swell dramatically.
BookGorilla are cagey about their numbers and their high volume emails are the kind of thing people delete from their inbox unopened. While they’re a lot cheaper than BookBub, it seems to be a case of getting what you pay for.
The Fussy Librarian may not have the reach of their competitors but as a free service they’re well worth trying. Their highly customizable service means that customers only see books they’re really interested in, which makes it more likely you’ll be seen.
If all three sites had the same number of subscribers then The Fussy Librarian would be the hands down recommendation. As it is, they’re still too junior to handle all your advertising needs, but at a cost of $0 you’d be a fool not to give them a try.
BookBub is where you should concentrate your efforts, especially when combined with the kind of discount promotions offered by schemes like Kindle Direct Publishing Select. While BookGorilla don’t demand the same price cuts as BookBub, their reluctance to provide sales expectations makes them a bit of a gamble. Exploring author reviews of BookGorilla’s service reveals more grumbles than recommendations, especially compared to the worship BookBub inspires.
My recommendation would be to cut prices and advertise on BookBub, building up some name recognition. After a reasonable period you can advertise at a higher price with The Fussy Librarian and trade on the good reputation you’ve established. As BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian grow, they may alter the way they do things, so keep a look out, but until that time, your focus should be on the opportunities offered by BookBub.
27 thoughts on “BookBub vs BookGorilla vs The Fussy Librarian – Which Is The Best eBook Marketing Service?”
Thanks for the excellent advice. There is something for everyone here. My book cannot be discounted so I am going to try The Fussy Librarian first. Will report back!
Thanks for the feedback Fiona, I saw The Secret of the Sacred Scarab on The Fussy Librarian newsletter on December 31. How did it go?
Ah! I have been WAITING for information like this. I used Bookbub+Book Gorilla and got VERY good results, but my book can’t be on a super sale or free FOREVER. Once The Fussy Librarian builds its audience, I will try them out. Actually, I think I’ll try them out now to see how the process is. 🙂
What about Bookblast? I’ve used them. How would you say Bookblast measured up to these other services?
I’m glad you find this useful. It#s a good point about not wanting to discount your book all the time. The Fussy Librarian is growing fast and is currently at over 10k subscribers.
I’ve not worked with Bookblast but I’ll be sure to check them out.
They have changed their name to Book Sends. They are really effective. I used to not too long ago and it blasted my novel to the top spot in all of its categories.
Has anyone heard anything about Discount Books Daily? It looks like they will be opening up for advertising soon and I like that you can feature paperback books too.
Dean, I haven’t heard about Discount Books Daily yet, however I’ll check them out. Being able to feature paperbacks would be a good feature.
Looks like all I have to do is get on ‘FL’ or whatever the latest name is, asap before they up the price from its present zero, make sure the text is immaculate, get at least 10 x 4*reviews and wait for the avalanche of orders.
Ah thank you so much for this info. As an Author there are 2 things that are really important to me: 1) Making money and 2) Gaining a following. I have been over to the BookBub website at least 40 times in the past year (2014) and while it seems amazing to think that I, Kristi Ambrose, could make $18,000 with a $1200 ad (which would be amazing lol) there is also that voice inside my head that says “Yea, but that’s the high note, what about the lowest note.” The highest “sold” books for my category is something like 4,960. Awesome. The lowest: 200. Ouch. If I sell my book for $2.99 getting ONLY 200 sales would kill me. It’s just the business side of me. I look at stuff like that and the dreamer/Pisces says go for it. The business side of me is what keeps me from buying the ad lol.
Anyway, for months I have been going back and forth back and forth. My only conclusion: WHY aren’t there MORE sites that offer what Bookbub does? I thought they were the only one. I mean I did a lot of searching around! I am definitely going to check TFL out as well as Book Gorilla. Maybe there prices will scare me a little less lol.
What about EReaderNewsToday? I’ve heard some people say they’ve gotten lots of success with that site. Do you have any similar posts on this topic? I’d be interested to read them. 🙂
Very good advices… but what about the language? I write in italian, can this three sites help me? Thanks!
I think at the moment the sites mainly cater for the English speaking audience.
Awesome Alex! Have or ANY of the wonderful readers had any serious ‘ FREE DOWNLOAD ‘ Success for Non-Fiction such as ‘ How to ‘ type ebooks?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts All?
Just curious, it’s been a bit over a year since you wrote this. Any updates on how much the Fussy Librarian has grown since then? Not that it matters much to me because I’ve got a looooong way to go with my number of reviews, but I want to be ready for when I do.
You can see the latest subscriber numbers here:
So, Fussy Librarian was free one year and a half ago? Now they charge…
I have a question I can’t seem to find and answer for. When an author sells a book for free, what is the purpose? If the book is for free, the author makes nothing, right? So why offer a free book?
Hi S.J., you might offer a book for free for a number of reasons, here are a few:
– You want your story to be as widely read as possible and don’t care about making any money.
– You are using your book to promote another service you provide, consulting, speaking etc.
– You are using the book as a marketing tool to build up you readership.
Thank you for an extremely informative article. It helped me make an instant decision. My book ” A Smattering of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales” is going to be featured on 9th February 2016 by The Fussy Librarian. The subscriber base has come a long way and they are no longer free but hopefully it will be worth it.
As an author I’ve used all of these sites, including some of the ones mentioned in the comments. My favorite is BookBub (if you can get accepted!) and I’ve also gotten decent results from Ereader News Today and Fussy Librarian. Another site I like but didn’t see mentioned is Robin Reads (they only accept a few genres but do really well at selling books in those genres). But I felt like there should be more sites like these! So, along with another author, I created one: BookStar (www.bookstardaily.com). We focus on books by women and for women, so if you’re looking for a place to submit your free or discounted book to in addition to the sites in this article, and your book falls in one of the genres we accept, you should totally submit!
Hi Alex. I love your posts, always so informative. My question is, what has happened to the share buttons? They seemed to have disappeared in the last week on the posts, making them unable to be shared.?
Thank you very much, I’m glad you find them useful.
The share buttons should be at the top and bottom of each post as in this screenshot from just now:
Thanks for your help Alex, Oddly enough I’m now on a different computer and can see them. They seemed to have vanished from my desktop where I read my subscriptions. Thanks for the tip. I’ll try the hard refresh on the other computer. 🙂
Thanks Alex, very helpful.
After reading informative posts on the internet, I like to read the comments because it’s usually just as informative as the post itself. That being said, I’ve found the holy grail to get listed on Bookbub and other top ebook services on this site. Next: I’m going to fiverr.com to buy reviews for the ebooks I’m interested in promoting with bookbub.
I recommend digital bookspot (aka bknights). For $10 you get really really good (sales) results. Check them out on fiverr.com – search for bknights. I promoted my free book titled: Very Short Stories. It triggered sales of many of my paid books especially on Amazon UK.
Thanks. This was very helpful. Have you considered an update? It seems there are even more of these now.
as a user of The Fussy Librarian I have to say , about 1% of the recommended books are the genre I would like.
I like mostly memoirs and non fiction.
And occasional mysteries.
I do not like romance , or Western type stories.
that is the majority of what they recommend to me , even though I do not have it on my preferences.