Given the litany of companies offering promotional services within the literary industry, it’s no wonder that many are trying to find an edge or a USP to differentiate themselves from the pack.
From quirky branding to running competitions, anything that can be done to encourage their use over a similar company is vital. One way of doing so is to simply admit the truth about the competition, be open that you aren’t the only ones offering this service and resist the temptation to make grandiose claims about how what you do is unique or a one-of-a-kind service.
One company doing just this is Buck Books which has adopted an up-front, no-nonsense and playful tone in its copy to attract the attention of both readers and writers.
In this Buck Books review, we’ll break down what it is exactly that they do, who they are and whether or not they can back up the talk with a service worth considering.
What is Buck Books?
Buck Books are as the name suggests, a budget book site that promotes e-books to their audience for $1 or less and has been in operation since 2014. They introduce their readers to new books for a cheap price and writers can pay a fee to have their books featured or promoted on their site. This business model has exploded since e-books and Kindle have taken off and shows no sign of slowing down given the increasing uptake of such technology in new regions and markets.
As they acknowledge themselves, however, they are not the only company offering such a service. They are from research however the only company with a presumably fictitious owner who serves as a character for their audience to follow along with. Any attempt to summarise how he’s described would be underwhelming compared to their own description so let’s include it below.
“Buck Books is not the ONLY great spot for deals on books (although our deals are the best because they are ALWAYS a dollar or less), but it’s definitely the most ENTERTAINING thanks to the head honcho deal master, Buck Flogging. The man. The myth. The LEGEND. Get your deals and a daily dose of the semi-fictitious chauvinistic internet tycoon, Buck Flogging, also known as The Flogfather, Buck Floggy Flogg, Buckaroo Flogging, Uncle Buck, and countless others (a long list of nicknames is expected with over 2,000 daily deals emails sent!).
You’ll hear the ongoing saga about Buck’s oft-drunken cigar-smoking wife Francesca and her countless infidelities with the revolving door of pool boys. You’ll hear the most outlandish and confusing political views you’ve ever encountered. You’ll hear more juvenile dick jokes than you’ll find in even the best of Seth Rogen films. And it’s all topped with a nauseatingly irresistible level of gloating that will leave you craving tomorrow’s broadcast!”
As we said earlier, it’s hardly the type of tone or copy you’d expect to see from a publisher, but it’s certainly unique and absolutely separates them from others in the same space.
Readers looking to sign up only have to enter their email address and they will be added to the mailing list where every day they will receive a list of 5 – 7 ebooks in their inbox. Spanning a wide variety of subjects including but not limited to self-help, thrillers, memoirs and fitness, it seems as if Buck Books are truly genre-agnostic. Readers will also receive 4 free books upon signing up.
What types of books are promoted with Buck Books?
Unusually, they seem to operate through their mailing list only, whereas many promotional companies have a list of books available on their website too. This has pros and cons for any authors using their service. The upside is it results in clarity regarding the number of readers their book can reach, with website traffic a vague and uncertain reporting tool. The downside is that it adds a barrier for readers to find the writer's work.
People who click on their website may not wish to sign up for a mailing list, as there is growing scepticism in all industries about the benefits of receiving these types of emails and concern that it will result in being spammed.
Aside from the aforementioned genres that we discussed, a glimpse at their website does give a snapshot of a few books they have promoted which we’ll include below.
- More Leads Less Work – Barbara Grassey
- Master Your Emotions – Thibaut Meurisse
- The Reluctant Detective – Tom Fowler
Can Authors Submit to Buck Books?
Yes, they openly invite submissions but seemingly have a stricter set of criteria than many other promotion sites, where the impression is often that will accept absolutely anything providing they are receiving money.
To apply for a book to be promoted, writers are requested to fill out an online form via the website with information such as personal details, a date range for said promotion and a link to the kindle page for the book for them to assess.
The only decision the writer has to make in this process is deciding which of the two promotion options they would like to go for.
1. Daily Deals Broadcast – $29
2. Solo Feature Broadcast – $100
The solo feature broadcast runs once a week and is self-described as being very competitive. They also state that any books which aren’t good in their eyes, with professional cover art and without good reviews will not be accepted.
What are some alternatives to Buck Books?
Whilst certainly a unique option, Buck Books is by absolutely no means the only option, as to their credit they acknowledge themselves. Broadly speaking writers will have 3 main options.
First, if they aren’t comfortable with self-publishing, they can submit their work to a conventional publisher through a submission process. This takes out any financial outlay on the writer's behalf but does come with elongated waiting times and a high chance of no acceptance.
It’s obviously a pre-requisite for a writer to have already self-published their work to use a service like Buck Books, but in doing so they may discover that they do not need to enlist the services of a promotional company. Between social media, private advertising, YouTube and blogs etc there are various pathways for writers to take care of the promotion themselves and may feel that the autonomy provided in doing this is right for them.
Lastly, a writer could consider the services of a company like Buck Books or something similar. There are various pros and cons based on Buck Books that we’ll evaluate in our final review below.
Buck Books Review – Final Verdict
Buck Books' novel approach will certainly be divisive. Some authors may feel their brash and boisterous approach does not fit in with the tone of the work, whereas others may love it. Alongside this, the price limitations of $1, plus the seeming uncertainty around readership numbers and lack of case studies may prove too much of a sticking point.
However, there will also be writers who have the time and patience to engage with such a process and who are looking for the type of audience Buck Books' personality resonates with. If so, they will certainly provide the writer with new readers and the chance to grow their profile and reach.
For those who aren’t sure, it may be worth utilising the resources available to them to self-promote first to see if that can be a success. Ultimately it will be up to each writer to decide what’s best for them, but one thing is for sure. Anyone who works with Buck Books is in for a fun process!