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What I’ve Learned About Book Bub

Book Bub (BB) is a subscription service, which offers daily e-mails recommending free and discounted e-books to readers. Recently I was fortunate (after three rejections for my YA books) to have my Scottish Historical book featured on BB. With the feature coming up, I took the free RWA Webinar given by Carolyn Robertson of BB. Here is what I learned from her and from experiencing my first Feature Deal as a fairly unknown author. Please note that if I got anything wrong from the seminar, it is totally my fault.

Book Bub has ten million subscribers (okay, very impressed here). Most subscribers are over forty years old and tend to read a lot. Many are willing to read unknown authors. BB has about 1,620,000 historical readers who subscribe.

Book Bub has three opportunities for authors to have their books on their site. Featured Deals, BB Ads and Author Profiles. They are all very different beasts.

A Featured Deal (FD) is an ad sent out to subscribers in a one-time e-mail. Featured Deals go through a stringent selection process. Only 10-20% of submissions are accepted. There is a flat rate fee for being featured, based on the discount for the book and under which category it falls (Historical Romance on sale for $0.99 costs $604). The featured deal goes out to all subscribers in the book category.

Featured Deals Books:

Must be full length

Free or discounted for a limited time (lower price is better for selection)

A specific book can be a FD once every 6 months.

An author can have a FD once every 30 days.

Submit one month before your scheduled discount.

Authors can submit the same book over & over. It may be accepted at a different time & depends on what else has already been accepted.

 

What helps your book to be selected?

Good reviews – BB reads them

Author accolades

Multiple buy sites

Good historical performance

Content Fit – this can change based on trends. At the time of the seminar, historical trends for selection were Regency, Mistaken Identity and Marriage of Convenience. Infidelity and drug use did not fit well and were not selected.

Take seasonality into account – Christmas book in November

75% of selected titles are Indie Published, 25% Traditionally Published

In the Notes box for submission, say hello to BB reviewers.

 

Book Bub Ad Campaigns are ads placed at the bottom of the daily e-mails to subscribers.

Any author can promote any book at any time.

Author determines bid, budget and schedule – the bidding process is somewhat complex and is better described on the BB Partners web site.

Ads should be 300X250 pixels.

A URL for each ad should be distinct for a particular retailer.

Authors can choose their audience.

Running low budget tests ($10 – $20 each), to figure out best audience categories, is suggested.

An author can set up an audience who targets another author’s fans (similar books).

Partners@bookbub.com can help set up these creative ads.

 

Author Profiles is a place for all authors to showcase their e-books on BB for free.

Log onto BB and claim your Author Profile for free.

Put your new releases under your Author Profile before release or within 7 days after release to take advantage of BB’s free New Release e-mail to your BB followers.

Authors can only list e-books on BB’s site.

 

So, how about my FD? My book, CAPTURED HEART, is a Scottish Historical Romance published in 2012. It is 100K words and is the first book in a five-book series. My publisher discounted it to $0.99 for a two-week period. My book takes place in the 16th century and involves a mistaken identity. It has 75 reviews on Amazon (4.4 star average), and overall it has 455 ratings.

For the last year my poor book has been languishing around the 300,000 ranking number of paid kindle books on Amazon. At my request, my publisher submitted it to BB, and it was selected to be a Featured Deal (much jumping up and down at my house). My publicist created some ads I could use for the sale on social media. I also decided that I would pay to advertise the sale before and after the BB Featured Deal. My publicist thought advertising afterwards could keep the Amazon numbers up longer. The day before the sale started, it sat at 523,965 on Amazon’s list. (yeah, rock bottom). Here’s a table showing what happened after that.

 

Date

Time

Promotion

Amazon Paid Kindle Books Ranking

Jan 29

 

Before my $0.99 sale

523,965

Jan 30

 

$0.99 sale, advertise through social media

49,747

Feb 3 (Friday)

7:00 AM

Author Billboard Ad

59,800

Feb 3

9:00 PM

 

86,156

Feb 4 (Saturday)

10:30 AM

 

149,815

Feb 5 (Superbowl Sunday)

8:42 AM

BB Featured Deal

231,934

Feb 5

11:29 AM

 

52,091

Feb 5

2:08 PM

 

626

Feb 5

7:30 PM

 

74

#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 6 (Monday)

6:37 AM

 

67

#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 6

12:00 PM

Book Sends Ad went live at 11AM

78

#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 6

9:39 PM

 

126

#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 7 (Tuesday)

10:25 AM

Book Sends Ad ends at 11AM

198

#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 7

4:55 PM

 

270

#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 9

3:06 PM

 

864

#4 Scottish Historical

So, it looks like the small ad didn’t help, although it could have given some people a first glance at the book, so that when they saw it on BB, they bought. BB was indeed amazing for me, sending my book from 231,934 on Paid Kindle Books to 67 in one day. The Book Sends Ad (which cost me $90) may have helped my numbers stay up longer. I also ran a small ($10) FB ad on Sunday with the BB Feature Deal, and my publisher featured my book sale on their Steals and Deals page. It was a combined push, but BB was the main player.

What does this mean for my sales/royalties? I don’t know yet, but I will let you know if I see a good or bad ROI. Plus, the other four books in the series moved up significantly on the Amazon list (300K up to 14K).

Have you had a BB ad or Feature Deal? Did you have a good ROI? Where else have you run successful ads?

14 responses to “What I’ve Learned About Book Bub”

  1. Jenn! says:

    Thanks so much for this, Heather. I’ve seen all sorts of talk on Book Bub, but they’ve always been for a different genre than what I write. I’m still on the fence about it. BookBub is entirely too expensive and I don’t have that kind of money to gamble. So I appreciate your breakdown.

    Here’s hoping your ROI is black. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jenn : ) I know. There’s so much risk in this business. It’s a good thing I love to write. It would be a good thing if I could also pay for my kids’ college tuition.

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  2. Great info, Heather. As an author who writes in multiple genres, I’m looking forward to hearing if the BB ad led to an uptick in sales not only for other books in your historical series but also in your other series. Happy, happy sales!

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  3. Thank you for the great information, Heather! And congrats on landing a BookBub Ad! I hope it continues to have fabulous results for you. 🙂

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  4. Great summary, Heather. BookBub is the BEST! I’ve been advertising with them almost since they began. I’ve NEVER lost money taking an ad. Some months, my ROI is better than others. Much of it depends on timing.

    I haven’t seen much difference on my ROI between FREE ads and 99 cent ads since the cost to advertise is twice as much. Of course, with FREE ads you tend to make your money on readers buying the rest of your series. So the more books in the series, the higher your income. With standalone books, I would imagine the 99 cent ads are more profitable because readers don’t buy an author’s other books as readily if they’re not linked to the promo book.

    FREE ads seem to be easier to get approved by BB, and the boost to my rank seemed to last longer after a FREE ad. However, that also means GIVING AWAY a lot of books. Some authors have a real problem with that. My feeling is that the 40,000 books I might give away, introduces a LOT of readers to my work, leaving MILLIONS of romance readers to still buy my book and the other novels in the series. Free offers are what have allowed me to earn a lot more than I would have as an admin assistant for the last five years.

    The ROI on BookBub ads probably isn’t as good for authors who only have a couple of books published. My advice is to stick with titles that are part of a series with at least 3 volumes.

    I actually had a BB ad run on Wednesday on my LL Kellogg title, HYPNOTIC SEDUCTION http://amzn.to/2kjwxA7 . If anyone is interested, it’s STILL free until midnight tonight. And the first book of my Return to Redemption series is only 99 cents http://amzn.to/2llxasZ .

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  5. Beth Trissel says:

    Thanks Heather. Very interesting.

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  6. Rita Henuber says:

    Ooooo. Thanks you for sharing. Good stuff.

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  7. Thanks Heather. Great summary. Congrats on getting the ad and wishing you sustained sales with many new readers!

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  8. Great information here, Heather! Thanks so much for putting it together and sharing it! And here’s hoping for a great return on the ad!!

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  9. Tamara Hogan says:

    I’m totally geeking out over your sales rank data, Heather. Thanks so much for sharing, and I hope your BookBub translates to a nice payday 😉

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  10. Thanks for being so open about your experience with BB and the inform considering them. I had a BB ad for Perfect back 2013 and had wonderful results. It was a stand alone, at the time, and I ran it free. Over 100K downloads happened and the book stayed at #1 paid for days in the UK and top 10 in US comtemporary romance. I made my money back many times over and I made PAN as an indie author in four weeks. It was magical.

    One thing more BB ad / readers did was to really pump the reviews. And all know reviews are so important.

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