Top 6 Picks of New Online Services for Authors

Book Expo America presented a wealth of new online services for authors. Some of these you may be familiar with, others are so new they are still in the testing stage. Here are the top six I found for you to check out. These are new platforms specifically designed to: connect authors and readers, help authors keep track of the books they sell, or offer new digital platforms for e-books.

BookBub alerts readers to limited-time promotions for free & discounted e-books. It allows readers to specify genres and sub-genres, for instance there are about ten categories under the heading “Mystery.” For authors, you can apply for a Bookbub “deal.” If you are chosen, your “deal” will be sent out to literally thousands of readers. A listing on Bookbub can really increase your sales. But it is expensive. It can cost several hundred dollars to do a Bookbub promotion.

  • Free for readers
  • Very expensive for authors
  • Potential return is excellent

top 6 online services

Ganxy helps authors “showcase content” by using business cards with special promo codes. Authors share these cards at networking events, shows, etc. as well as digitally, to introduce new people to their books. Each showcase includes a web address that can be linked to other sites. The “online showcase” includes a description of the book, cover image, and preview, with optional video and offers customers access to content through direct purchase from your own website or any other retailer.

  • Puts a direct marketing piece in the hands of your reader
  • Prices range from $100 to $250
  • The return on this type of marketing depends on numbers. Be prepared to spend.

instafreebie is another site that’s aim is to link readers with content. It allows authors to easily distribute free copies of books to their fans. The potential to share advance copies with reviewers or offer a give-away on your personal website is worth exploring. instafreebie promises the ability to create an unlimited number of giveaway campaigns, set your own expiration with a specific number of giveaways, include a password option, and deliver e-book files directly to the reader’s inbox. The ability to integrate your mailing list with Mail Chimp and a customized giveaway page are also available. Of course there is a cost. The more you pay, the more features you receive.

  • Free for readers
  • Author pricing ranges from free to $50 per month
  • Good for those looking to build a mailing list

Hummingbird allows an author, publisher, brick and mortar bookstore, or anyone else to put an e-book/audio book store on their website. The site is fairly new, but is a part of American West Publishers, giving it a better chance of success than many start-ups. Hummingbird’s motto is “democratizing e-book retailing.” In other words, giving people an option other than Amazon. This company is more complex and offers more options than other sites mentioned here. If you are an author think carefully about your e-book marketing strategies. If you are a Kindle Select (70 percent royalty) author you cannot use Hummingbird. But for other authors, as well as for website owners who want to offer books for sale on their site, there is a lot of potential.

  • No set up fees
  • Potential to make money
  • Only use if you are not a Kindle Select e-book author

Sequel Tracker is so new it is still in the beta testing phase. Get in on the ground floor and be one of their test subjects. It’s beautifully simple. Readers want to know when their favorite author’s next book is coming out, or are looking for books that are similar. As a reader, you fill out your email address and a short form that includes a list of authors you would like to follow, then, when that author announces a new book, you get an email. As an author, you sign up and let Sequel Tracker know when your next book is coming out. They handle the notification to current and potential fans who have signed up. Eventually there will be fees for authors and probably additional tracking features, but for now, sign in, sign up, and check it out.

  • Free for readers
  • Fees planned for authors
  • This site is in beta testing. Get in on the ground floor and see how it works.

Squirl is lots of fun, and again, the concept is really simple. Readers love to identify real life places that are mentioned in books. For instance, when I visited London, I wanted to see Kings Cross railway station, even though I know there really isn’t a Track 9 and ¾. Squirl lets authors upload information about their books, including a link to any and all sales sites, then link it to the real places mentioned in the book. So if your characters love to drink at a bar in Key West, go shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, or hide out in the Gobi Desert, you can set a link on a map. Readers download the app and when they pass that place, their phone will buzz. They will get information about the site, your book and a link to buy it. I said the concept is simple, but I’m taken a lot of time explaining it. The best thing to do is go try it out.

  • Free for readers
  • Free for authors
  • This is a fairly new site. It may not last, or it may be the next big thing.

The bottom line is we’ve done some research and now it’s time to take on some marketing tools for our authors. Once you write your book, marketing is the next challenge. We at Open Door Publications can help. Karen can be reached at khm@opendoorpublications.com.

 

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