I’m often asked about the best places and services to market sapphic books, so I thought I’ve add a series about the best services for sapphic fiction authors to the blog. One I would highly recommend is I Heart SapphFic.
What is I Heart SapphFic?
I Heart SapphFic (often shortened to IHS), founded in 2017 and run by TB Markinson and Miranda MacLeod, is a website dedicated to authors and readers of sapphic fiction.
IHS started as a new release newsletter but now offers authors many ways to promote both new and backlist books. The amount of work TB and Miranda put into IHS and into promoting sapphic fiction and their fellow authors is amazing! Best of all, nearly all of their services are free!
They relaunched their website last year, added a massive database of sapphic fiction that is very popular with readers, and have increased traffic to the IHS website to about 100,000 views every month.
TB and Miranda are constantly brainstorming ideas to promote sapphic books in a fun and engaging way. As authors themselves, they know how important marketing is, and the best way to sell books is to get more eyeballs on them and to make connections with readers.
What services does I Heart SapphFic offer authors?
IHS offers authors a variety of services. All but the last one—paid ads—are free.
SapphFic BookFinder listing
I Heart SapphFic will give your book its own page on their website and include it in their massive, easily searchable database of sapphic books. They average 5,000+ searches each month, meaning any time a reader is looking for a book like yours, they have a chance to find it.
For a book that is older than 60 days, you can submit your book to the IHS BookFinder here. For newer books, keep reading.
New release listing
Each Tuesday, I Heart SapphFic creates a list of new releases that gets posted on their site and featured in their newsletter. A new release is any book that has been available from Amazon for 60 days or fewer. They will feature a title once for the ebook and will feature it again if it releases in audiobook.
Submit your new release to the IHS newsletter here.
I Heart SapphFic Reading Challenge
I Heart SapphFic has been running a popular reading challenge since 2022. Each Monday, they release the two categories of the week.
They are also offering authors three ways to make the most out of the event. During the week their book is featured in the IHS Reading Challenge, authors can put the book on sale, host a trivia giveaway in the IHS Facebook group, and join the ebook giveaway on the site. If you submitted a book to the IHS Reading Challenge, TB and Miranda will email you in advance so you get a chance to put your book on sale during that week. Make sure you email back and let them know your book will be on sale.
For more ways to use the IHS Reading Challenge to market your books, also check out this blog post on the Sapphic Book Bingo.
IHS will be announcing their 2024 challenge soon. Sign up for the IHS author newsletter to hear all about it.
IHS mega sales
One of the most popular features is the massive sales I Heart SapphFic organizes each year. They usually include well over 100 books and garner thousands of views during the 5-day sale. The best way to stay informed about the sales is to subscribe to the IHS author newsletter.
Sale and free books
If you’re planning to offer your book for sale or free and are looking for a way to get more eyes on it, look no further! IHS offers a sale page and a free book page that get a lot of eyeballs. Books that are permanently free on Amazon are also welcome.
Submit your free and sale books here.
Every Friday, IHS publishes a feature called Friday Feels to celebrate the start of the weekend. Each week, they highlight a free book. Readers love it, and it’s a great way to increase your visibility.
You might want to offer an older book as a way to call attention to your new release or offer the first book in a series free to get readers hooked.
Here is how to submit your free book to Friday Freebies.
5 Random Things
Each week IHS features 5 random or silly facts about an author and gives them the opportunity to share a call to action with IHS readers. This can be a new release, sale book, newsletter signup link, or anything to promote your author brand.
Submit your 5 Random Things here.
Take a photo of yourself holding your book, and IHS will feature it in the Author Selfie section of the SapphFic Mischief post. IHS currently offers one slot per week and will book requests on a first-come, first-served basis.
Submit your Author Selfie here.
Best of the Best Polls
Every week, IHS posts the latest best of the best polls that include books that readers recommend. Authors can encourage their fans to vote for their book. The winners are announced on the IHS website and tagged on social media.
All About the Books
This feature allows authors to provide some behind-the-scenes details about their books, including the inspiration, what cocktails their leads would enjoy on launch day, if the author and main character would get along, and more.
Submit your All About the Books here.
The only paid option on IHS is to purchase ad space. IHS offers premium and standard ads to fit a variety of budgets, ranging from $25 to $50. Both premium and standard ads run for 4 weeks.
Ads are swapped out on Sunday evenings. Check out the current rates and read a detailed description of each ad type on the IHS website.
IHS averages over 100,000 views per month, and visitors average 6 page views per visit. Dynamic ads change each time a visitor loads a new page.
As an added bonus, each ad is also included in one email newsletter during the ad period, which is sent out to over 8,000 subscribers.
Testimonials from advertisers:
Edale Lane: Thank you, thank you – best advertising dollars I ever spent. I just loaded up this new release, and you have the ad out in the daily email ON RELEASE DAY! You are so marvelous!
Sienna Waters: The ad process was quick and easy and well worth the money. I definitely got higher visibility and more sales than expected, so I don’t hesitate to recommend the service. Add in the fact that help was readily available and all my questions were answered, and I really couldn’t ask for more.