BookBub Promos

You may have heard of BookBub, or already know all about it, but if not, I've come across some potentially helpful information I wanted to share. First off, BookBub is an online service that reaches "millions of readers" while providing authors a way to increase sales. BookBub’s marketing tools let authors promote their books, for a substantial fee.

I've never submitted to BookBub, but my research shows it is the premiere service for book sale promotions and exposure. I've also learned BookBub is very discerning about the books they sell ad space to. In addition, it's no small investment to promote your book on BookBub. While writing this post, I checked the price to advertise my fantasy novel Crimson & Cream for a US-only sale. The BookBub cost was $470. To run an international sale adding the UK and Canada, the cost was $688.

For me, that cost is daunting not only for the upfront fee, but the realization that I would need to sell over 700 eBooks priced at $0.99 to break even. For now, advertising on BookBub is probably not even an option, based on the helpful information Jason B. Ladd e-mailed me (via his mailing list).

In addition to being an indie author, Jason runs IndieListers, where I did a lot of research on book sale promo sites. What Jason gleaned is that a majority of book promotion sites are ineffective at increasing book sales. The reason is that generating book sales is not the primary goal of these sites. Rather, the purpose of these websites is to get a click-through to Amazon (via your book's link) so they can earn a commission (via the Amazon Affiliates program) on any sales that originate through their website (not just for your book).

Most book promotion sites also charge authors a fee for advertising, for basically nothing more than exposing your book (and Amazon link) to its followers. Therefore, book download results don't factor into the profit model for that type of service; they generate revenue from Amazon commissions and advertising fees from authors. After a while, these sites disappear as return customers dwindle (due to lack of sales), and then reappear with a new website, name, and sales pitch.

However, as Jason attests (and I have also experienced), some of these book promotion services do work. As I've mentioned in prior posts, I've turned a profit on ads I've run on EReader News Today (ENT), Booksends, Book Barbarian, and Fantasy Book Deals. However, when comparing data from other authors (including IndieListers), BookBub generates the most book sales (by a fair margin).

Per Jason's e-mail, 80-90% of books submitted by authors for a BookBub 'Featured Promotion' will be rejected. Jason randomly sampled 100 books on BookBub and found that 96 of these books had over 100 reviews on Amazon, while the remainder had at least 50 reviews. Further digging revealed a small number of books with very few (even under 10) Amazon reviews. What Jason discovered was that these books were from authors with multiple published books on Amazon and a high review count for at least one of their other books, or they were authors published by a major publisher.

So, for an indie author to advertise on BookBub, it appears a minimum of one of their books needs 50 or more Amazon reviews to have a legitimate chance. Which, for many of us, means we need more reviews before wading into the BookBub pool with our pocket full of cash.

Since I've referenced Jason's work in this post, I'll plug his Book Review Banzai program for getting more Amazon reviews. Full disclosure, due to time constraints (and my own laziness) I've not yet completed the Book Review Banzai course (though I have looked into it). If you're interested, please check out the link above. And, as always, please let me know what you think.