The astonishing success of the SF/F promotion


Remember I posted this a few days ago? Well, the promotion is now live and we’ve had over 62,000 clicks to book links so far, with almost a day still to go. I’m flabbergasted, and very pleased and astonished.

Why is this model so successful?

Cross-promotions are nothing new, but ironically, I think I stumbled on a fluke by being too lazy to bother with adding a competition with a rafflecopter thingie to it. I mean– the promotion is simple: get books for free or 99c (this alternates each month). It’s a promotion about READERS, not about people who want to win competitions, or who want to win some device.

The premise is crystal clear: get cheap or free books. It’s not about leaving email addresses for authors to use, or about other author-driven goals. It’s about people getting a selection of a lot of books.

It’s also not about everyone doing the same thing. The authors pay nothing, except I ask them to post about the promo in a place where they normally hang out, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, their blog, Google+ or Instagram or wherever. I am normally on Twitter and a little bit on Facebook. I have a Google+ account but never use it. I *think* I have a Reddit account, but I have no idea what the password is. So for me to start posting on Google+ or Reddit would be spammy. It’s not spammy for someone who frequents the place and has friends there.

That is why it works.

There will be some changes coming. Every month, we add a couple of hundred email addresses to the list of people who get the promo mailed to them. We’re about to smash Mailchimp’s free limit of 2000 addresses, and I’m going to have to pony up for the list. I have some ideas for further cross-promo projects that will be cool for readers, help promo authors and help me fund the site.

I’m getting a lot from this, but bucketloads of money is not one of those things 😛


  1. When we come together, it’s powerful! I for one really appreciate you facilitating these, and I know I’m not alone.

  2. Thomas Houseman

    I must admit, whenever I see rafflecopter or something similar, I stop doing whatever it was I was doing and leave the site. I hate that junk.

  3. I think you’re right about the simplicity of the thing. As a reader, I’m one of those who won’t sign up for anything if it means I’ll get spam out of it. A list of free or 99c books once a month or so? Yeah, I’d sign up for that.

    No strings attached, no annoying spam. It’s a beautiful system.

    • I think the problem is that lists are not clear about what they will send and how often. If you sign up for a list and they tell you “you’ll get an email every day”, you’re more likely to be happy with this than if you sign up and then find that they email every day after the fact.

    • Exactly, Rafflecopter has turned me off promotions before.

  4. Maybe you could make it a membership thing, and charge for membership. Whatever you do, don’t take a loss. You’re producing a lot of value here.

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