by Molly Greene, @mollygreene
Staying on the radar via book promotion is a never-ending author task, while readers are always searching for new titles to enjoy. And, because the quality and success of various promo venues rise and fall, we’re ALL on the lookout for the latest trend, exciting places where both groups can meet.
In 2016, the New York Times announced that the chatbot (a.k.a. bot, talkbot, messaging app or chatterbot, a computer program that simulates human conversation via sound or text message), is marketing’s next big thing. And, more recently, per Mark Williams of the International Indie Author Facebook group, “Messaging Apps [are] ebook promotion for the smartphone generation.”
How does it work?
Bob is a brand new promo tool with a difference. It does not ask subscribers for an email address. Bob sends readers info about free blurbs + links, and Bookbot Bill sends info about discounted book blurbs + links, both right in Facebook Messenger. Readers decide which genres they want and the boys send them a book in each category. As simple as that. To sign up and check out Bob and Bill’s titles, go to the Bookbot Bob home page and click on the red rectangle that says “Hi Bob!”
FYI, Bob just added an email function for readers who wish to receive discounted pre-order books.
How much does it cost?
The service is free for readers. At this writing, Bob, which sends links to free titles, costs $5.00 (soon to be $10!) for each author submission per genre category, per day your link is shared. Bill, which sends discounted books, is so new that it’s currently free for authors, but will soon be $5.00, so jump on over there right now and sign up! Of course, you know these prices will rise as the platform grows more successful.
Note: There’s a way around that, if you act soon. Want to get Bookbot promos free forever? Purchase a lifetime Bob by signing up for the indigogo campaign here.
Available genre categories
The Bookbots offer Advice & How To, Children’s Books, Clean Romance, Cozy, Crime Fiction, Dystopian & Post Apocalyptic, Erotic Romance, Fantasy, Historical, Historical Romance, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fi, Short Stories, Steamy Romance (Not Erotica), Teen & YA, Urban Fantasy, and Women’s Fiction. LGBT and others may be added soon. Authors can choose multiple categories for one title by re-submitting the form for each category desired.
Author rules and requirements
Before you fill out the booking form, verify that your title meets these requirements: Each submission must be a full-length (aside from the “short story” category), widely available book (meaning not exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited) with a minimum of 10 reviews and a 4 star average. No multi-author box sets are allowed. Absolutely no books that require a reader to sign up to an email list, regardless of source, will be accepted. The same book or author may only be featured on Bob once every 12 weeks; the same applies to Bill.
But, in addition, authors can ALSO submit a free title to be sent as a “welcome book” to all new Bookbot subscribers. So, in theory, an author could run a Bookbot promo once a month – one title free via Bob, one discounted title via Bill, and one free welcome book to new subscribers, which can be the same title that went free via Bob. Plus a pre-release, when applicable. Pretty cool, eh?
Benefits for readers
Huge! 1) Readers are not required to submit an email address to get book offers, meaning they don’t have to commit to receiving additional author newsletters. 2) Texts are sent via Facebook (at this writing), with wider messaging availability to come. 3) Readers can change category preferences or unsubscribe at any time. 4) For now, Bob will send a maximum of one title per day, per genre chosen.
To change the type or number of categories, simply go into Messenger, click on the “Bookbot Bob” message, click on the three small horizontal lines to the left of the message box (where you type), then click on help, type in the genres you wish to remove, and hit send. For more information, read Bob’s FAQ. Again, to sign up to receive info about free and discounted books, go to the Bookbot Bob home page and click on the red rectangle that says “Hi Bob!”
Benefits for authors
First and foremost, Bob is a powerful, innovative new resource that puts authors’ books in front of new readers. Due to the“for a free book, subscribe to my email list” promotions that have exploded over the past year, it’s harder and harder to get readers’ email addresses. They’re overwhelmed. To the point that once they’ve got the book, it’s a challenge to get them to open another email.
Now, your own author subscriber list is the best marketing tool you have, but in the long term, the original method – readers who subscribe because they’ve actually enjoyed the book – seems to be the best business model. So authors are back to the old conundrum … how to get titles into readers’ hands in the first place. The answer? Book promotion platforms.
Keep in mind that this is a new venue. I used Bob on Monday, August 7 in three genre categories to promote my permafree first-in-series, Mark of the Loon, for a total cost of $15. Results? 360 downloads over two days, 302 on day one and 58 the following day. Since then, I’ve seen a decent bump in sales of other titles. Not bad for a brand-new service!
And in case you’re wondering, I have no financial position in the Bookbots and I am not getting paid for this post. My interest is purely selfish: I want it to succeed. I want to support viable, accessible venues where I can successfully promote my self-published books and gain new readers. Don’t you?
How to get the word out
Authors, join Bookbot Bob and Bill’s Facebook Author Group here. Share it on your blog and Twitter and Facebook. Readers, share the Bookbots by word of mouth, in your book clubs and reading circles, and on all your favorite social media platforms.
Authors can also share the Bookbot link with your newsletter readers. Here’s an incentive from Bookbot’s creator: 1) Include info and Bob’s sign-up link in your next reader newsletter. 2) Forward a link to that email to [email protected] along with the number of subscribers in your list (so they can keep a tally). Bob will reward you with one FREE send (one freebie title, one day, one genre). Yaay!
Note from Molly: If you haven’t already, check out my Amazon Author Page, friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe and you won’t miss a post. By the way, all original content by Molly Greene and guests is copyright protected. Mwah! Thank you so much.