Help! Promo Newsletters (Bookbub, Pixel of Ink, Choosy Bookworm) are Dying! - Indie Pub It
Just today, as I write this column, the news has erupted in the indie world that Amazon has cracked down on its Amazon Associates Terms and Conditions. One of those conditions is that Associate links can’t be included inside emails. This means promotion newsletters like Bookbub and Choosy Bookworm, among many others, are in breech.
Promotion newsletters like these examples have always been in breech of those terms and until now, Amazon has turned a blind eye toward the practice. It was bringing them sales and traffic. A couple of years ago, Amazon did get a little stroppy about the numbers of free ebooks the newsletters were promoting, forcing them to more evenly balance their free versus paid promotions, but after some adjustment, the newsletters were permitted to continue
Now, however, Amazon are shutting down such newsletters altogether by closing down their Amazon Associate accounts. Pixel of Ink and two other newsletters have announced they have been forced to shut their doors, or severely remodel their businesses.
The reason is quite simple: Amazon owns GOODREADS, and Goodreads now has its own email promotion newsletter. Amazon is culling their competition.
The Digital Reader has a succinct summary of the ruckus as of June 16, 2016.
I am, however, expecting more and more announcements over the next few weeks, as newsletters go down for the count. In particular, I will be monitoring Bookbub, the heavyweight champion of promotion newsletters, to see if Amazon takes them on, and if so, will Bookbub adjust and move on?
I am also expecting a lot of indie authors to start thumping their chests, bewailing the loss of these promotion platforms. I am sympathetic—a single advertisement in Bookbub alone can push an author into the bestseller stratosphere within a few hours and the effects can linger for weeks. No one is arguing that newsletter promotion does not work.
If you’re one of the indie authors chewing their fingernails, wondering what to do now the promotion newsletters are under threat (or even gone, by the time you read this), then you are emphasizing the wrong marketing strategies for your indie business.
When you deconstruct how your business relates to these promotion newsletters, at the base of the transaction is a simple concept: You are paying to leverage their email list of subscribers.
This is why, if paying for such promotions is the core of your marketing portfolio, you’re now panicking.
Why not use your own email list for exactly the same purpose? If you are using your own list of subscribers, then you have no need to add associate links to earn revenue, which keeps Amazon happy. Plus, you still sell books.
It’s the best of both worlds.
I mentioned this last month, but it bears repeating. Building and maintaining your own newsletter email list of dedicated readers is the single most effective marketing strategy an indie author can do today. Having your own email list conforms with the indie credo that control over your own
destiny career is good for your ego, your sanity, your creativity and your bottom line.
No one can take your email list away from you. No one (e.g. Amazon) can tell you not to email your readers or tell them about your books.
Your list of readers are 100% devoted to you and your books. If you have a new book release, you don’t have to jump through hoops and submission lists to see if you might be granted a mention. You don’t have to keep your fingers crossed that the list will be receptive to your books. You already know they are.
If you don’t currently have a newsletter list, start one immediately. Now. Preferably yesterday. Mailchimp is free for authors with under 2,000 subscribers and that will get you started. You have absolutely no excuse for not starting a newsletter.
Even if Bookbub, et al, survive the Amazon storm, your own mailing list still remains the best strategy for marketing your books. Use Bookbub, paid advertising, and other forms of promotion as ways to build your own list. Then leverage your list to sell your books.
There are hundreds of blogs, sites, podcasts and courses out there that teach you how to build a newsletter list, including some dedicated to indie authors. If you have no clue, then consult with the great Google and find the resources and help you need.
It’s worth it.
Tracy Cooper-Posey writes vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. After a decade of legacy publishing, she switched to indie publishing has released over 60 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Faring Soul was awarded a SFR Galaxy Award in 2015. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.