Tag: KDP promotions

BookBub is my new husband.

Screenshot 2014-08-09 09.27.42Who, you ask, is that fancy person sitting on Amazon’s bestseller charts at Number 12 alongside Janet Evanovich and J.K. Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith)? Why it’s lil’ old me, with my BESTSELLING novel A Murder in Mount MoriahAnd how did a lowly self-published author reach these heady heights? Just ask my new husband, BookBub

With apologies to my actual husband, BookBub pleases me in ways that my actual husband never could, namely by selling a bub-load of my books. My husband has a lot of excellent qualities, but he has never sold 1,300 copies of my book in a single day the way that BookBub did.

For the uninitiated, BookBub is a company that sends daily email alerts about bargain books to their enormous subscriber list. In their own words:

BookBub features ebooks ranging from top-tier publishers to critically acclaimed independent authors. Our team of experts makes sure that we’re only featuring great deals on quality books that you’ll love. 

Note the section I’ve marked in bold. BookBub differs from other marketing avenues in that they feature indy/self-published books alongside traditionally published books. Although it is a paid service (and a very expensive one at that), there are no guarantees that they’ll allow you the privilege of forking over your cold, hard cash to them. I’ve heard of several instances where they reject books that aren’t well reviewed or that they don’t think will please their readership. They curate their offerings so that readers can be fairly certain of getting a book that is interesting, well-written and well-edited.

I realize that I’m gushing, and I don’t want to come across as a BookBub schill. But there is simply no other single marketing service that can deliver the kind of sales boost that I and some of my indy publishing friends experienced after our books were featured.

Here are my tips for deploying the B-Bomb:

  1. Make sure your book is in good shape before submitting it. It should have a fair number of positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. If you’re having trouble getting anyone to post reviews, try sending out free copies to people on Goodreads or Library Thing who read a lot of books in your genre (i.e. private message them to see if they’re interested in reading/reviewing). Or you can do what I did and run a free giveaway through Kindle Select. My book was downloaded about 10,000 times and I netted about 10 reviews that way. The rest just trickled in over time.
  2. Have more than one book. I always planned to try BookBub at some point, but I wanted to wait until my second novel, A Death in Duck was released. I figured that if people read and liked A Murder in Mount Moriah, they might go on to buy the next book. I’d get double bang for my (many) bucks. So far, my hunch has proven to be true. In the weeks before the BB promo, I’d sold about 40 copies of A Death in Duck–I suspect mainly to my friends and relatives. Since the promotion, I’ve seen a steady uptick in sales. I’ve sold between 3-10 copies per day of that title.
  3. Enjoy the surge, but gird your writerly loins for the inevitable slide. On the day of the promotion, I sold 1,300 copies of my book. The next day, around 250. It’s been downhill from there. Now, one month post-promo, I’m selling about 6-12 books per day. Part of the reason is undoubtedly because my 99 cent sale ended. People like cheap e-books. But another part of it is that once you leave the Amazon bestseller lists, your book becomes unfindable once again. No one sees it unless they seek it out. So, all in all, I’m heartened that 6-12 people are seeking out my titles each day. I think it can only be word-of-mouth at this point, because I’m not in the charts or doing any active marketing at present.
  4. Accept that BookBub will not make you a zillionaire. I paid $650 for my slot on BookBub (mystery is the most expensive category, because it has the widest subscriber base). I reckon that $1,200 in sales over the past month are attributable directly to the promotion (i.e. that’s how many more books I sold compared to previous months). So, my profit was about $550. I’ve heard of cases where authors didn’t break even after paying for their promotions, but I’ve heard of cases where people make even more money than I did. It’s fun to sit alongside J.K. Rowling in the charts, but a one-day (or one-week) sales spike does not a literary zillionaire make. Yet.

Maybe not to free next time!

I gave away about 750 free Kindle copies of A Murder in Mount Moriah during my Christmas promotion. That was nowhere near the 1300+ that I gave away during the first promo in October, but about what I was expecting, considering my promo ran on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, my belief that the free promo would improve my ranking proved unfounded. I was hovering around 60,000 before the promo. Now I’m at 320,000! Bawh?? I’m still hopeful that it will increase my audience and result in a few word-of-mouth sales. In better news, I’m up to 200 entries in my Goodreads giveaway and almost 100 people have added it to their “to read” lists. Onwards and upwards!

To Free or Not to Free, That Is the Question.

My indie publishing guru, Nicole Loughlin of littlespotforstories.com, told me that it’s important to boost your Kindle/Amazon ratings in the run-up to Christmas in order to capture the interest of the many millions of shoppers who receive Amazon gift vouchers for Christmas. Once your books drops out of the top 100,000, you lose a lot of visibility vis-a-vis other books. (i.e. when someone searches “cozy mysteries”, I want A Murder in Mount Moriah to pop up in their search, and when they buy a cozy, I want AMiMM to pop up in Amazon’s  “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” suggestion bar). I’ve only sold 3 copies this week (!), so my book is lurking dangerously near that 100,000 mark. I therefore had to decide whether to run another $0.99 promotion or to do a few days’ giveaway. I’ve had modest success with both methods in the past. My book wasn’t eligible for another discount promo until January 20th, which I feared might be too late for that post-Christmas bounce, so I opted for a few freebie days. Ideally, this will generate a few post-Christmas sales and/or a boost in my visibility. It may also generate some new reviews, which are another big part of improving visibility. I’ll let you know what happens.

p.s. I’ve had 175 people register for my Goodreads giveaway during the first few days. Woot!