We’d love to promote your book to our eager readers, but please review these guidelines carefully to see what we’re looking for. The following factors play into whether or not your book will be chosen for a feature on our site. We want our customers to receive the best content-rated books at the best price on retailers, so if you have a great book, we’d love to present it to our subscribers. We do review each and every submission individually. You can see our subscriber lists and the pricing here.
How Your Ebook Promotion Works
You plan to discount your book on the ebooks retailers where it is being sold and request a promotional feature with us. If your book is chosen for a feature, you make sure it’s discounted on the agreed-upon date for as long as you’ve specified, and we’ll send the information and links in an email to our subscribers who have chosen the genre and content rating that match your book. Your book will be emailed to our subscribers only on the first day of your promotion with us, but it will be listed on our site for the rest of the time it’s discounted. Your book may also be chosen to be featured as an “Book Cave Picks” and/or may be listed on social media, but that is not guaranteed. For social media posts, we generally choose books we feel will bring the most visitors to the site to see all the books we have discounted. Keep in mind that the best marketing tool we have is the email we send directly to subscribers’ inboxes. The second is the website listing; we have thousands of visitors to the website every month. Discounting your book for more days will allow time for more downloads.
The result? Our subscribers find great content-rated book deals, and you gain new readers who may go on to read your other books. Featured books are always significantly discounted, usually for a limited time (permafree books and permanently 99 cent books are also considered). We generally respond within a few days, but if you haven’t heard from us in a week, please contact us. The only time you will not receive an email from us is when your book is in a genre we don’t promote (for more information, see below).
You Need an Account to Submit but You Won’t Receive Our Daily Deals Emails
In order to submit a promotion, you will need an account. This is because we automatically save all the books you put in so you can easily choose them for future promotions. You can also see at a glance which books are under promotion, which have been accepted, and which are pending. Signing up for the author account will NOT sign you up for daily emails. If you are a reader and want to hear about deals, you will have to indicate that on your account.
As a side benefit of submitting your first promotion, you can opt in to receive our weekly author newsletter that details our current promotion openings and opportunities, including magnets groups or discount coupons. In that newsletter, we also link to a blog post with our weekly author tips. You can subscribe or unsubscribe on your dashboard.
Each submission is reviewed by an editor who is over the chosen genre. Editors will not approve books with excessive spelling and grammatical errors. Book cover, description, and overall appeal is also considered. For instance, fiction with extra spacing between paragraphs and no indents (block formatting) will not be accepted. Past acceptance is not a guarantee of future acceptance. Please see below for the genre and cover type that we do not accept.
Reviews and Star Ratings
Books generally need to have enough reviews that we can get a feel for the content. We can’t read every page of your book, so we need some sort of yardstick. Yes, we know how to take reviews with a grain of salt. We generally like to see at least 10-20 reviews, and love to see a lot more. If it is a newer release, reviews on the author’s other books may be taken into consideration, but even then, you should have at least 5 reviews. When we do take the author’s other books into consideration, generally it’s because the author has published 5+ full-length books with great reviews (though exceptions are occasionally made). It’s harder to sell a book without reviews!
Generally, a rating of at least 4 stars or higher is what we like to see, but we understand that books sold at reduced prices for extended periods sometime get reviewers who really weren’t the target readers, and they leave poor reviews. So we aren’t firm on an exact star rating requirement. We’ll do our own research into the book to decide. However, if you have a bunch of negative reviews showing on your book’s first page, it makes a really hard sell for us. See our Author FAQ to discover how you can mitigate poor reviews.
New Release Reviews Exception
If the book you are discounting is a new release and you have other highly reviewed books, we can feature it without reviews and with a “New Release” tag on the promotion. But we limit this to one book a day at most. To promote a new release to our email list, be sure to check the New Release box when submitting your book for a feature. If you provide a link to a sample chapter, we can send you an approval email before your book is released. Keep in mind that the promotion date must be on the release day or later. We absolutely DO NOT promote pre-orders. If you do not provide a sample chapter, we will send your approval email after the book is released. Again, authors must have other published books with good reviews to qualify for this option.
Note: if you gain enough reviews before your book promotion, you will not be required to have the “New Release” tag explaining the lack of reviews.
Discount on Retailers
Keep in mind your ebook promotion is designed to introduce your book to a new audience who will risk downloading your book not only because we recommended it but because it’s steeply discounted. Thus, nearly every book we promote is either free or 99 cents.
We will consider ebooks priced up to $2.99, but usually any price above 99 cents is reserved for box sets or special cases. All books with a regular price above 99 cents must be discounted at least 50% (within a cent or two). Regular pricing is based on your ebook price, not the price of your print book or the price your ebook at its original release. We do not promote books or sets listed over $2.99.
Books that are permanently (or semi-permanently) free are always eligible for promotion, and we find that free books are the best way to entice new readers and sell more books. Books that are permanently (or semi-permanently) 99 cents are also eligible.
There is no need to raise your regular price to submit to us.
Make sure your price is discounted by 1:00 am Pacific Time (PT) and does not end until 11:59 pm Pacific Time (PT) on the day you have indicated your promotion will end. On some retailers there is a delay in price reductions when rescheduling during a promotion, so checking dates well before the promotion will ensure a continuous listing on our site. If you are running Amazon free promotions, their ending and beginning times are acceptable, so don’t stress over whether or not they’re doing it at the right time. However, on Kindle Countdown promotions, you will need to manually set the start/end times.
Ending Your Promotion Early is Not Cool
Changing your price back to normal early on retailers, and especially ending it on the day we send out your promo to our subscribers, is not cool at all, and it very much disappoints our readers and can cause them to unsubscribe, and that hurts all our authors. If your book returns to regular price on retailers before 12:59 midnight PDT on the day we send it to our list, we will not promote any of your books in the future. No exceptions. If you have a multiple-day promo and wish to end it early (still must be after the first day is completed), please contact us and we’ll change the ending day before the promotion begins. We also understand that for promotions lasting weeks or months, things can come up, so with promotions longer than three days, just shoot us an email and let us know before those days elapse.
Length Requirement for Books
Adult, YA, and Teen fiction must be at least 160 pages long to qualify for our ebook promotion. Use only the page count of your actual story and not the front and back matter or sample chapters. Normally, books that contain fewer than 160 pages (as estimated on ebook listings) we’ll consider as novellas (see novellas below). However, our editors who approve books have a slight leeway with the page count. Preference is given to full-length books in the 250-500 range. Please do not boost your page count by inserting blank lines between paragraphs. For more information on this, see our post on block formatting.
Picture Books should be at least 24 pages long (as estimated on ebook listings).
Chapter Books are generally at least 60 or 70 pages long (as estimated on ebook listings), but can be longer. If they are for very young school children, we will accept shorter books.
Middle Grade novels are generally longer than 100 pages (as estimated on ebook listings) and often can be 200+ pages.
Nonfiction needs to be at least 100 pages (as estimated on ebook listings). Your sample needs to show more text than just a table of contents.
We will accept shorter works but only if they are offered for free. With all the full novels offer for free and 99-cents, our goal is to make our novella listings appealing to readers and thus make promotions more beneficial to authors (who will introduce their works to more readers who then will buy their other books). However, novellas for our retailer deals must still be at least 100-169 pages. Please choose Free Novellas for your genre and note the actual genre in the comments. Our editors have the ability to add more than one genre. If you don’t note a genre, we’ll add it for you. Do not count sample chapters in the word/page count for novellas. Currently, we do not promote short stories alone. However, we do promote a bundle of short stories by the same author as long as they are book length.
A word about serials: We promote series, but not always serials. The difference is that in a series there is some kind of satisfying closure in the novel/novella, even though more novels may be needed to tie every thread. Serials are basically pieces from one novel that have been divided into different segments. Sometimes if the serial is long enough, we may include it in a promotion under the Free Novella genre. But generally, we do not promote serials, even those that are free.
We no longer accept box sets unless they are all written by a single author (or co-writing team). Even if the submitter has read all the books, it’s unlikely they will be able to rate them efficiently, and unfortunately at this time, we cannot research the individual titles. The only exception to this are sets that are obviously religious or “sweet.” This mean all the reviews say the stories are sweet and the individual authors are known for publishing that type of work.
We give preference to books that are offered on multiple vendors but will still accept books that are only sold on Amazon. The first of a series is generally the best book to promote because if readers love it, you’ll make money on sales of the sequels.
Variable promotion dates will result in a higher likelihood of acceptance. We recommend at least three days of discounting, but longer dates will bring more opportunity for readers to find your book on our site. Listings will remain on Book Cave until the promotion expires, until the book is featured again, or for six months for permafree titles. We rarely feature books that are discounted only one day, though it does happen. We have new visitors every day, so you receive more exposure with more days.
Rating your content is extremely important, and you are on your honor to do it correctly. Authors often receive reviews that state “This book has too much sex” or “This novel is rated G, and I was expecting more heat.” These reviews say nothing about the plot or writing skill but rather tell volumes about reader expectation. At Book Cave we want to meet reader expectation. This makes for better reviews, happier readers, and subsequent sales.
Swearing: Please do not underestimate your profanity, regardless of your own personal feelings on the subject. Readers who choose All Ages and Mild don’t care to see even mild swears. Often they choose books for their children this way. This goes the same for the lower swearing levels (Mild+ and Moderate). If you have an F-bomb, you can’t choose a rating less than Moderate+ profanity level. Otherwise, the people who don’t want profanity, or certain kinds of profanity, in their books have no choice. We find that generally authors underestimate their profanity by two levels, so do a check for swearing in your book by using the search feature in your word processing program. Your content is up to you, but please report it accurately to maintain the integrity of our site for your future promotions. Click here for more details about how to rate your profanity and crude humor/language.
Heat: Choose the most severe instance in your book. Choosing “no kissing or discussing intimacy” really means just that. To find readers who will love your book, click the right levels. For instance, unless it’s religious and has no kissing at all and a very bland storyline (in the view of an adult), a romance will rarely be for All Ages. And that’s okay! No one really thinks four-year-olds are eager to read romance.
Violence: If your book is a murder mystery or has similar violence, you cannot choose All Ages no matter how mild (unless your book is mind-numbingly boring). Even Christian books targeted for young teens will often have mild or moderate violence.
Do NOT pick an All Ages rating for a fiction title if the violence, heat, and language levels aren’t appropriate to read to a four-year-old. Other than that, don’t sweat the content rating too much. Just answer the questions as honestly as you can. If you have a specific question regarding content, please contact us, or write in the comment box what is a concern for you, and we’ll make the final decision on the rating. Authors who are reported for not choosing the appropriate content rating will not be chosen for future listings. Likewise, books that are submitted with an erroneous rating will not be accepted (i.e. a murder mystery with no violence level checked or a book rated All Ages that contains intimacy or swearing). We do review each and every submission before approving.
Authors need to choose one genre for their books. However, in an effort to provide a better experience for our subscribers, Book Cave reserves the right to change your chosen genre. For instance, if your book has a religious theme, please choose Religious & Inspirational or Christian Fiction instead of another genre for your work. If your work is primarily one genre, be it fantasy, or sci-fi, or mystery or LGTBQ+, please choose that one so you will please the most readers looking for the kind of book you write. This prevents you from receiving bad reviews from readers who are not your target audience and who feel tricked into clicking. Unfortunately, while there may be more initial clicks if you choose a larger list, these do not translate to sales because people really do sign up for the books they’re interested in. We strongly recommend targeting the people you are writing to or writing something different with a wider appeal. Again, we reserve the right to change the submitted genre or add to it because we want readers to have the best experience.
If you feel your book falls into two categories, please note that in the comments. Our editors have the ability to choose multiple genres when they approve your book, though doing so is rare because it means we have to use up two of the limited daily slots we have for books.
Note About YA Books
Unless they are religious in nature, all books that classify as teen & YA literature go into the “Teen & Young Adult Fiction, Realistic” or “Teen & Young Adult, Speculative (Sci-fi, Fantasy, Paranormal).” Please do not put them into the other categories, which are targeted toward adults. Children’s stories also need to go in the genres targeted for people who are signed up for children’s books.
At this time, there are some genres we have not yet added to our list. We are always striving to improve our business, so more categories may be added in the future. The genres we now have are a reflection of the top categories our current subscribers prefer.
Please Do Not Submit Poetry, Polarizing Literature, or Erotic Book Covers
Currently, we do not accept literature, whether fiction or nonfiction, that is divisive in nature, especially if this literature might contribute to the chaotic atmosphere currently being propagated in the United States. This includes books that serious or satire in nature, especially those targeting a specific political figure or group of people, regardless of the “side” you are promoting or mocking. However, these books can be used as subscriber magnets, and we’ll list them in our My Book Ratings database.
Book with titles that are blatantly erotic will also not be featured or sent out in our emails. While we do feature select books with the Adult+ rating, our site is family friendly, so we won’t feature books on our deals page whose covers have undressed women (or women who look undressed, even if critical parts are covered by a man’s arm or a title), men whose pants are too low or open, or models in overly suggestive positions (lying down or cuddling together half dressed). If the couple is dressed, kissing or hugging are okay. You may, however, use books with any cover or title as subscriber magnets, and we’ll list them in our My Book Ratings database.
We will not promote the same book in a 90 day period, and generally we will not feature two different books by the same author within 7 days. Exceptions are sometimes made for books in a series, and those are generally listed several days apart. Pen names are considered a separate author. For best choice of dates, submit 3-12 weeks before your promotion begins. If you submit multiple books for promotion on the same day or a close range, we will not be able to run all of them. All books will be posted on our sister site, My Book Ratings, where all books have a permanent content-rated listing.
Retailer Group Promotions
UPDATE: THESE HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED AS WE DO SOME SITE UPDATING. We now offer retailer group promotions. These will be different genres and will have their own group page on our site. A group promotion is different from a single retailer promotions in that participating authors also send out the group page link to their email subscribers, and Book Cave sends out the group link for up to five days in an ad in their daily emails. The target is sustained download on retailers for all the days of the promotion. You can run a single and a group promotion at the same time, but you can submit the same book for a retailer group promotion only once every 90 days. Learn about group promotions in our author newsletter or see available group promotions here.
There are ebooks with some types of formatting we do not generally accept. Fiction with block formatting is the most common. For more information, see our blog Standard VS Block Formatting and our Author FAQ.
If Your Book is Not Accepted for a Promotion
If your book is not accepted for promotion, please read these guidelines carefully, correct the listing, and resubmit. If you read these guidelines and still do not know why you weren’t accepted, please feel free to resubmit in four weeks. We have different needs at different times, depending on overall submissions. Please do not take any rejection as a reflection on your work or subject matter. We love career authors!
We wish we could comment more on each individual title, but that’s impossible. However, here are some common submission problems we see every day.
Our Email Lists
All content-rated books will be sent out to our email subscribers, but only on the first day of the promotion. Only some of the books will be posted on our social media sites.
There is a huge need for content-ratings for books, and there are bound to be a few snags as we grow, but we have people working around the clock to get out these promotions.
All invoices must be paid within three days of submission approval of your ebook promotion, whichever is less. So if you submit the minimum of five days before the promotion and you are accepted, you will have only two days to make the payment, but if you submit two weeks in advance, you will have three days to pay. You can see our pricing page here. Promotions are nonrefundable. We have saved that spot for you and only you, taking your genre and rating into account, so make sure you get your book discounted on time or we won’t be able to run it. However, if you let us know about any difficulty a week before your promotion, we may be able to switch days or books for you. We will send a reminder about an unpaid promotion, but then the promotion will be canceled to make room for other books.