BookBub Promo: A First Time for Everything
by A.L. Wright
As an indie author, my biggest expense is advertising. That includes pulling money out of thin air for paid promos to get my books in front of potential readers. I’ve been using quite a few services, with medium to decent results, but they have been generally short-lived.
How does an indie, who often puts out more money than she earns, get ahead in this digital age, competing against thousands of other authors?
I turn to an author mentor every now and then with these questions, and his most recent advice (among other gems) was to get into a BookBub promo and run them regularly.
Of course, we all want to do that, right? But every time I submitted, I was denied. Not to mention it’s a bit more expensive than other promos sites. Especially for fantasy genre writers like myself. But I decided to try it with one of my romance novels. The results were beyond what I expected.
Here’s what I learned:
- Don’t just submit your promo request – sell yourself! Fill out the submission form. Then, after you submit, take note of the box that asks if you have any additional info to provide. Most authors just skip this part. Mistake! That is why many books never get chosen for a promo spot. Provide info, juicy info, like your 5-star critic reviews, any awards the book has won, and the number and average of your Amazon reviews. Yes, they may already have planned to look up your Amazon reviews, but providing this info altogether and up front truly helps. I submitted a dozen times and was denied – until I actually wrote this info in that box!
- Free is not bad! The promo I ran recently was for free downloads of a book that is in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program. I ended up with 5,480 downloads! It potentially could have been more, but many of those readers who were KU members clicked on the KU Read It Free button, and then I earned pages read. Up until this promo, the most KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) pages read I’d had for this book in one month was 18,000. I ended the month with just shy of 50,000 KENP pages read!Remember, KENP helps your overall paid rankings, too. My book was #1 in several categories during the free promo period and continued for almost two weeks in all the same categories for paid rankings.
- Residual sales matter. After my promo free period ran out, I changed the price to 99 cents for a week. Then back up to the normal price of $2.99. I had an additional 84 sales in the two weeks after the promo period ended.
- Remember Audio Book formats. My book has an audio version that I rarely remember to advertise, which therefore results in dismal sales. I happened to look at my sales records a couple of weeks after this promo, and realized I had scored 24 audio sales I would not have made otherwise.
- Reviews are a bonus! I’ve received four additional reviews on Amazon, and 43 ratings and 5 reviews on Goodreads.
- Grow your follower base on BookBub. Not only will you gain a follower or two on Amazon and Goodreads, but BookBub offers its own excellent system of followers and reviews. I had zero followers on BB at the start of this promo, and now I have 27. And 11 of those followers gave recommendations for my book on their own page!
So, to summarize, I paid $104 for the BB promo because I chose a book in a less expensive category.
I earned $260 via KU; $94 in eBook residual sales; and $150 (estimated) in audio book sales for a total of $504. To break that down, I spent $104 and earned $400 from one promo.
The genre for which I ran my promo was lesbian romance fiction, which is admittedly pretty niche. That is also why the fee was less, and the potential downloads and residual sales may be less. I’m convinced that running the promo for a high-quality fantasy or Sci-Fi novel will have just as good, if not better results, even with the higher initial cost.
As a result of this experience, BookBub will now be my go-to for promo advertising, with the other services I’ve used coming in just for a boost. Between BB and KU, I can see myself continuing to grow sales, and perhaps coming out ahead at the end of the year.
Now, just to get more writing done!
Writing under pen names A.L. Wright and A. Lynn Wright, the author is a mother of two living in the Arizona desert. She enjoys driving fast, riding motorcycles, hiking and chilling with her Corgi. Her book referenced in this blog, Agent Colt, and all other books, can be found on Amazon.