Book publishing is a competitive industry. If you don’t know how to market your book, chances are it won’t sell as well as someone who does.
There are endless author software and services that claim to help you sell more books.
But it’s hard to know which ones actually help, and which just want your money.
That’s why the Booklinker team contacted the creators of Booksprout, an online book marketing tool that helps authors build their readership, manage reviews, and gain valuable feedback from readers, in order to create this review.
Keep reading for an honest review of Booksprout, and find out if Booksprout is the book marketing tool you’ve been looking for.
What is Booksprout?
Booksprout is an online service designed to help authors manage their reviewers.
As we know, reviews are an essential component of any successful book marketing strategy.
Positive reviews provide social proof, boost organic algorithm rankings, and spike the interest of your target audience. The trouble is, managing reviewers as a self-published author can be time-consuming and expensive.
Booksprout was created with this in mind. Its main function is to connect authors with reviewers and to help authors save time managing their review teams.
It all started when Booksprout’s Founder, Chris Leippi, decided to self-publish his book.
A skilled programmer, Chris knew there had to be a better way to manage review teams. That’s when he decided to take matters into his own hands and create a software program to help automate the process of managing his review team.
Chris’s goal: to create a user-friendly and efficient way to boost your book launch with “more reviews in less time.”
In other words, Booksprout was created by a self-published author, for self-published authors.
How Booksprout Works
Booksprout is an ecosystem that requires both authors and readers in order to thrive.
Using the platforms filtering, readers search for books they want to read by genre or keywords.
Upon finding a book they’d like to read, readers can claim it, promising to leave a review by a certain date, and on the author’s requested platform(s).
Readers can follow the authors of books they’ve enjoyed, in order to be alerted of new releases.
On the flip side, authors can publish books on Booksprout, making it easy to manage a review team, and for new readers to discover them. As authors gain more followers and invite team members, their review team will grow.
By connecting authors and reviewers on an interactive and user-friendly website, self-published authors can gain traction for their books, build more reviews, while also providing bookworms with more books to read.
It’s a win-win!
Benefits of Using Booksprout
While we already touched upon the basic benefits of Booksprout, we’ll cover some of the other main benefits of the platform for authors.
Opposed to other book marketing services that only release reviews on launch day, Booksprout allows authors to have ongoing review campaigns.
In other words, if you’ve already launched your book, and you want to run another review campaign a few months later, you can use Booksprout on an ongoing basis to continue to build reviews for your book over time.
Another significant benefit of using Booksprout is the author’s ability to request specific kinds of reviews.
For example, if an author specifically wants Amazon reviews, Booksprout has a request feature for that.
What’s more, Booksprout allows authors to keep certain members from reviewing their books if their feedback lacks depth or is inappropriate.
If a “ghost-follower” has been getting your books for free, but hasn’t reviewed any of your books, you can keep them from downloading more.
Booksprout also manually approves readers that have met their criteria into their Top Reviewer program to help self-published authors get the most honest reviews possible. Authors can limit their review team to include only those Top Reviewers and get the best quality reviews for their books.
This bleeds into another significant benefit provided by Booksprout. Booksprout makes it easy to build an effective review team.
By inviting reviewers to your review team, readers will be notified the next time you launch a book.
This means that by using Booksprout, your review team is in a constant state of growth.
Not to mention, Booksprout has a massive reader base giving authors the potential to grow their readers.
Last but certainly not least, Booksprout is unique to other book marketing tools because it doesn’t charge per book. With Booksprout, authors only have to pay a monthly subscription cost.
This means that authors can run a campaign for multiple books at the same time and still only pay either $9, $19, or $29 per month. We’ll dive into all of Booksprouts plans and pricing later in the article.
Guide to the Booksprout Platform
In this section, we’ll uncover everything Booksprout has to offer from both the perspective of an author, as well as the reader.
While this is the Booklinker blog and this guide is designed for authors, we think it would be helpful to understand what a reader sees on the platform.
First, let’s uncover the different areas authors have access to inside their Booksprout account.
Before getting started, authors are given the opportunity to create a profile or pen name. This is the name readers will see as the author of the book. It also serves as a way for authors that write under multiple names to divide their books properly.
You’ll be asked to create an author bio, profile image, and list social handles and website links. By populating this area, readers will be able to easily find authors on their channel of choice.
If you’d like some tips on setting up a great profile page, check out our guide on Amazon Author Central pages.
Authors must have a pen name and book uploaded before they can start any review campaigns, so let’s teach you how to add books next.
After an author profile is set up, the “Books” tab is where authors should look. This section is where authors can upload their books. The easiest way to add a book to Booksprout is by importing it from Amazon.
Otherwise, you can go through the manual upload process. The information you put in this section such as category, keywords, and book description is essential to maximizing results from Booksprout, as it’s what determines the organic discovery of your book on the platform.
In Booksprout, the “Review Campaigns” tab is where any ongoing campaigns are shown. If you’d like to create a new campaign, click “Create New” on the top left.
From this page, you can see anything from the number of participants, the average rating of your reviews, the campaign end date, and more.
After starting a campaign, Booksprout is a relatively hands-off tool for authors. Check back here every so often to view and manage your campaigns from the top down.
The “Reviews” tab is where authors can view any incoming reviews from readers across all their books, teams, and pen names.
It will let you know the rating given, the date reviewed, the reviewer, as well as the actual review itself.
Booksprout opens up a channel for you to speak directly with the reviewer if you’d like, or the availability to block the reviewer from all future reviews if you feel they did a poor job.
The “Team” tab is where authors can manage all of their different review teams. Upon creation, authors can populate the team by uploading lists of emails. This makes it easy for any authors that managed their review team outside of a software platform.
If done correctly, over time, Booksprouts discovery on the reader side will bring more members to your team. You can also invite any new readers you come across via email.
Authors that stick around on Booksprout for the long run and let the power of their review teams compound will find a lot of success.
Next, we’ll show you what the Booksprout platform looks like from the reader’s side.
Find Review Copies
In order to begin the whole cycle, a reader must search for a book to read, and eventually review. As stated above, readers can also be invited to read a specific book if they already follow the author.
Assuming a reader isn’t invited, they can discover books by navigating to the “Find Review Copies” tab and using the search filters to identify a book that they want to read and review.
From here, they can claim the book and will be given some info about what the author is looking to get out of it.
My Review Copies
After going through the above process, readers will then be able to view their claimed books inside the “My Review Copies” tab. Readers can leave a review on this page upon completion of the book.
Under “My Teams”, readers can view any of the review teams that they’ve been invited to by an author.
If a reader no longer wants to be part of a review team, they can leave.
Readers can also request to be added to your team and will be able to track those applications on that page.
Lastly, under the author’s tab, readers can view all of the authors they’re following on Booksprout as well as search for new ones to follow.
Success Stories: Author Experiences with Booksprout
Not only does Booksprout have a massive readership, but it’s also a go-to for some pretty significant authors.
For example, Michelle M. Pillow, NYT & USA Today Best-Selling Romance Author, uses Booksprout to manage her ARC review team.
This is what she had to say about her experience with Booksprout:
Clearly, one of the main reasons Booksprout is so highly recommended is because of its ability to help authors build considerable review teams.
Thanks to Booksprout, an author can launch a book and get a significant number of reviews off the bat from their growing team.
As an author who is new to the platform, you might not get the same results right away as these best-selling authors. But the more you use the platform and grow your following, the better your results will be.
Pricing and Considerations
Booksprout can help you grow your reader base and gain a following.
That being said, it’s up to you to make sure your book is attractive enough to make readers want to read it.
You’re not always going to get five-star reviews.
Signing up for Booksprout will allow you access to a huge community of readers and reviewers, but your book’s success is ultimately up to you.
If you want to get the most out of Booksprout, make sure your book is attractive to readers.
For instance, you will want to create the perfect book cover and description to gain more engaged readers.
Another point of consideration is pricing. Booksprout isn’t free. But then again, neither is self-publishing nor most author software tools.
Booksprout has three pricing plans, starting with the Growing Author Plan at $9 per month.
The Growing Author plan is $9/m and perfect for authors who don’t necessarily have a big following already. With this plan, authors can run only one review campaign at a time as well as provide access to Booksprout’s reader base, and includes a privacy protection feature.
Booksprout also offers a plan called the Pro Author plan for $19/m.
The main difference between the Growing Author plan and the Pro Author plan is that the Pro Author plan has access to audiobook reviews and includes three active campaigns at a time.
Lastly, the Bestselling Author plan is Booksprout’s most popular plan. This plan goes for $29/m and offers unlimited review campaigns and unlimited reviewers.
You’ll also be able to run review campaigns exclusively for their manually vetted Top Reviewers and run endless review campaigns.
Now that you know the benefits of using Booksprout as a book marketing tool, it’s time to decide if it’s the right choice for you as an author to grow your business.
Overall, Booksprout is a cost-effective and efficient way to gain a following, traction on your newest book release, and valuable feedback and reviews.
However, at press time, the platform does seem to cater to the romance genre, so if that’s what you write, it seems to be a no-brainer at its low price point. Especially compared to some of the other book promotion services out there.
If you’re an author of other genres, it may be worth looking elsewhere or waiting for Booksprout to expand its author and readership.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Booksprout. If you have any questions about the review or the platform itself, be sure to drop a comment and someone from the Booklinker or Booksprout team will answer it for you.