by Lysa Grant on the Self Publishing Review site:
Most know that BookBub is very expensive, as well as very difficult to get into. SPR’s own BookBub alternative (starting at $339) has no barrier to entry, but it’s also expensive if your budget is…zero.
There are a number of BookBub-style newsletter services that allow for free submissions. These submissions aren’t guaranteed, and many offer a paid option to guarantee inclusion, but it’s still helpful if you really have no budget for book marketing, or you want to pad out your paid efforts with some other services.
As with pay sites, it’s best to spread out these listings over 3 days or more to ensure that your ranking keeps improving, and doesn’t fall off the map after one day.
There is an argument that you add one date for all promotions, so your ranking can shoot to the top, but Amazon’s algorithm likes books that show consistent sales over time, rather than a brief surge.
So best practice would be to:
Plan promotion 4-6 weeks in advance.
Lower the book to 99 cents or free for 3 or more days. Submissions are more likely to be accepted if the book is heavily discounted.
Frontload the promotion on the first day with the best newsletter sites (based on newsletter subscribers and social media – the first 5 on the list).
Make sure the above are accepted before scheduling other sites, in case submissions are not accepted.
Submit to other sites for subsequent days.
Note: having a good book cover/blurb/reviews is just as important for approval as a pay site, as these sites take a small percentage of submissions.