Today, we are excited to announce the blog tour LitNuts.com - a website that benefits the reader and the author. Why? LitNuts brings you books from independent publishers that you aren’t likely to hear about elsewhere. They promise to bring you the “Best of the Indies” because they believe indie presses are the lifeblood of American literature.
So, LitNuts brings you books of short stories, essays, or poetry that many other newsletters refuse to include (because collections don’t sell as well as novels). LitNuts also features new releases and award-winning books that other newsletters exclude because of price. (Many newsletters feature ONLY ebooks priced at $2.99 or less, which is fine – but not all great books are $2.99 or less!).
For authors, you'll be happy to hear that LitNuts founders Mike O’Mary and Kathleen Meyer handled publishing and marketing for an indie press for more than 10 years. This is important because that means they understand the challenge of getting your books in front of readers.
LitNuts is an affordable vehicle that focuses on indie books and has engaged subscribers. Their goal is to help authors increase their book’s sales rank with online retailers, generate more reader reviews, and create positive word-of-mouth.
Toward that end, they are building a subscriber base of booklovers who want to hear from indie presses. And we are focused on keeping things simple and flexible for authors. They offer a flat price of $25, so it’s simple. No tiered pricing or convoluted advertising offers to analyze.
At the same time, they give authors the flexibility to advertise short story, essay and poetry collections, to link to your website so book lovers can purchase directly from you, and to set the price of your e-book according to your needs.
SPECIAL DISCOUNT: Authors receive a free ad in the LitNuts newsletter by using discount code: WOW! (Deal ends 12/31/20).
About LitNut and owners Kathleen Meyer and her father, Mike O'Mary:
Authors and readers, visit LitNuts.com to sign up for their newsletter, where you can hear about incredible books from indie publishers that you wouldn't hear about anywhere else.
---- Interview by Nicole Pyles
WOW: Why did you decide to start LitNuts?
Kathleen: My father started an indie press in 2009, and I did a lot of the marketing for him. There are many e-newsletters and websites that do book promotions, and we used most of them. But the results were uneven, and none of them focused on indie books. So we felt there was an opportunity to do it better…to better connect readers with the world of indie publishing, and to deliver better value to authors and publishers.
Mike: I want to reiterate the part about better connecting readers with indie publishing. The Big Five publishers dominate the scene when it comes to visibility online and in bookstores. But if that’s all you’re seeing, you’re really missing out on the many, many innovative and creative books coming out of the indie world.
WOW: I absolutely agree! There are a ton of indie and self-published books that are absolutely brilliant and don't get nearly enough attention. You say on your website that LitNuts features books readers won't find elsewhere. Why is that?
Kathleen: There are several reasons. One is definitely our focus on indie books – and even then, we cast as wide a net as possible in order to bring more variety to readers. For example, we will feature collections of short stories, essays and poetry in LitNuts. But some newsletters won’t even accept those types of books because they don’t sell as well as novels and book-length nonfiction – which is a Catch-22: they won’t feature those books because they don’t sell well, but part of the reason they don’t sell as well is because newsletters won’t include them!
Mike: Another reason readers will find books in LitNuts that aren’t featured elsewhere is that most other newsletters focus on bargain books. LitNuts has lots of bargains, but we also realize that not all great books are $2.99 or less. So we feature great books across a range of price points. If you want bargains, we have them. But we’re not limiting authors or readers to the bargain basement! Our strategy is to give readers as broad a selection as possible. When it comes to what to read, the choice is yours.
Kathleen: The other thing is that in addition to featuring books that are submitted to LitNuts by authors and publishers, we also hand-pick books that we think merit your attention. So there really is quite a bit of variety in LitNuts.
WOW: I love seeing a variety of book recommendations! So, how does eBook pricing influence whether or not someone buys a book?
Mike: Generally, lower-price eBooks will get more attention and maybe even qualify as an “impulse” purchase with some readers. So here’s what I tell authors and publishers about pricing: I think $9.99 should be the ceiling price on eBooks. A price higher than that is difficult for readers to rationalize – because for a few dollars more, they can probably buy the print edition, which many readers still prefer. Beyond that, if you can price the eBook at $4.99 or less, I think that’s very desirable. And if you’re a self-published author with no middle men to deal with, maybe you can price your eBook at $2.99 and still make a profit, which is great. I wouldn’t price an eBook for less than $2.99 except for promotional purposes.
It’s funny that $2.99 is kind of a hurdle when it comes to eBooks, especially when you’re talking about something that could give you hours of reading pleasure and maybe even change your life.
Kathleen: Another thing about LitNuts is that we’re trying really hard to be agnostic when it comes to format. All the books we feature have a “Starting at” price, which is usually the eBook price. But for each book that we feature, we provide links to a dozen or more eRetailers where readers can purchase any format they want, including print and audio editions.
WOW: That really is another reason you stand out in your newsletter! You offer links to other eRetailers, which is wonderful. And I love that you feature indie books! Being a blog tour manager has exposed me some amazing books I never would have found otherwise. Why should people give indie books a chance?
Mike: There was a very good article in The Atlantic a while back that describes what’s going on with the Big Five publishers: We are in the age of the million-dollar book deal. So the Big Five increasingly gamble on massive book advances in the hope that they’ll produce a major bestseller. But these big investments come at the cost of investing in fewer writers.
Kathleen: The good news is that this scenario creates an opportunity for indie presses to do what they do best: cultivating new authors and focusing on creativity and originality over sales. There’s nothing wrong with reading a bestseller from a Big Five imprint. But if you’re not looking at indie books, you’re missing out on some incredible books.
WOW: I totally agree! What books are on your reading list at the moment?
Mike: Producing an e-newsletter about indie books is a bit of a mixed blessing! We learn about all kinds of great books, but we don’t have time to read them all. But I’m currently reading two books that I learned about as a result of working on LitNuts. One is The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement by Hans Schell. If you’re anywhere near retirement age (or already in it, like me), I highly recommend it. I’m also reading Remembering Shanghai by Claire Chao, which was also featured in LitNuts and is a good example of a book you might not find in other newsletters. It’s a phenomenal story that traces five generations of a family’s history in parallel with the modern history of Shanghai. It has won 16 awards from all over the world, but newsletters that focus on bargain books would never feature Remembering Shanghai because the eBook edition is more than $2.99. (It's $9.99 and well worth it!)
Kathleen: I’m currently reading multiple books. I’m working my way through A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I love horror, so I am reading The Taming of the Shrew while we watch The Haunting of Bly House. I am loving The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner – highly recommend for all women. And I just started Hope & Heartbreak by Scott Brown, a memoir about opioid addiction that was featured in LitNuts.
WOW: What a great collection of books! I'm definitely taking notes. What sort of feedback have you heard from authors about using your services?
Kathleen: We’re hearing good things. A number of authors and publishers have noted that they like how easy it is to schedule a book promotion – and we’re glad to hear it because that was a major goal for us: Keep It Simple.
We know from experience that when you go to schedule a book promotion, you’re going to encounter all sorts of things: from the convoluted “Sponsorship Packages” of Kindle Nation Daily, to the tiered pricing structure of Bargain Booksy, to the high prices and uncertainty (will they accept my promotion or not?) of BookBub. So we worked hard to make it easy and affordable – including a simple order form that gives authors the ability to pick the date for their book promotion, and one low price for all promotions.
Mike: All of that said, LitNuts is still relatively new, and we’re intent on finding readers who want info on indie books. So we’re building our subscriber base from scratch (instead of buying lists), and that takes time. While we’re doing that, we’re giving discounts (like the free book promotion with discount code WOW!), and we’re also asking authors to temper expectations. You may not see a huge bump in sales as a result of doing a book promotion with LitNuts right now. But your book will be seen by hundreds of readers, and over time, as we gain more subscribers, we expect LitNuts book promotions to generate more sales, more online reader reviews and more word-of-mouth, which is exactly what authors want.
WOW: Well, thank you so much for talking with us today! I am one of your newest newsletter fans and I hope everyone else subscribes too and takes advantage of your generous advertising offer. Best of luck on the tour!
--- Blog Tour Dates
Visit Michelle Cornish's blog today and you can read a guest post about a closer look inside the world of publishing.
Blogger Ashley Hubbard shares LitNut's experiences with some of their favorite authors. A fun guest post you don't want to miss!
Join Rozelyn as she shares LitNuts' guest post with some excellent book recommendations you'll add to your reading list.
**** GIVEAWAY ****
Enter to win a one-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited ($119.98 value). The giveaway ends December 6th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner on the Rafflecopter widget on the next day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway