Advertising with BookBub

There are a lot of ways and a lot of places to advertise your books. I’m not talking about marketing your books, I’m talking advertising. Advertising is a piece of marketing, one component in a larger marketing plan, and in this case, I’m specifically talking about paid advertising.

At first, paid advertising can be daunting. How can you afford to advertise to sell your book before your book is selling?? I get that completely. But you know the old saying, you have to spend money to make money? It’s kinda true. Paid advertising can boost sales in ways few other things can.

Let me tell you, I’ve done it all. Facebook ads, goodreads ads, google ads, ect. Fun fact, my book was selected to be featured as a summer read in Glamour UK, all I had to do was come up with the $5K price tag. YOUCH! (Ultimately, I passed on that one, because UK sales make up such a small fraction of my income. If it had been US Glamour, I’d have sold a kidney in Mexico to make it happen)

Now there are some free places that you can advertise your book, but it has to be on sale or free. One of my favorite places is http://www.ebookbooster.com/. You can pay them a small fee and they will send your book to like 50 blast sites, or you can do it yourself for free. It’s time consuming, but ultimately worth it. Again, this only works for ebooks that are free or on sale.

There are some other places too, some charge a small fee, others are free. Places like BookGorilla and Midlist are a few of my favorites. They have huge lists of clients and they blast a selection of books to that list every day, so being on those lists can give you a serious jump in sales.

Then there’s the big guns. Places like BookBub. They have MILLIONS of subscribers who want books. They charge a hefty fee, depending on the price of your book and the genre, anywhere from $100 to $600 for a one day listing. I I KNOW, Right??

It’s a lot to fork out. And it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the spot. My book was being submitted every month for nearly a year and it just now got accepted. (You do not pay unless your book is accepted, so you can request a listing over and over for no cost, as long as you can pony up when you get that YES) So I thought I’d share some real time results with you about how that ad worked out for me. I also want to mention that sometimes publishers will pay for these ads, so it’s worth asking, but sometimes you are on your own. I’m very fortunate to have a good company who invests real funds in advertising. Some aren’t so lucky. And also, as with everything, your experience may be vastly different. There are a lot of factors in why people choose books, and yours may do way better, or way worse. There’s no way to know for sure, but I feel like this is a pretty good average experience.

It’s also worth noting that my books are already selling extremely well. Both book 2 and 3 are holding strong in the top 20 of their primary categories and book one is #1 in those same categories (in the free store). So I went into this ad with a lot of momentum already. Will that help or hurt? I don’t know. It’s possible that my pool of readers, that is the people who are going to buy my books, is already saturated. Or on the flip side I could see a huge sales spike. We shall see.

Book Listed: Queen of Someday

Price: Free

Listing Date: 8/25

Fee for listing: $110 (Teen YA, Free)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173 Free in Kindle Store

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Historical Fiction

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

#12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Literature & Fiction

Other Book in Series:

Queen of Tomorrow #2
Price: $4.99

Starting Sales Rank on Amazon: 10,009 over all

#10 in Books > Teens > Romance > Historical

#12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

Queen of Always #3 (pre-order)

Price: $5.99

Starting Sales Rank on Amazon: 18,335 over all

#18 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

#24 in Books > Teens > Romance > Historical

Why am I showing you all three titles? Because the goal of advertising a free book is to boost sales on the books that aren’t free as well. Yes, having 20K downloads on a free book is great for getting reviews, exposing your stories to new readers, and ultimately cultivating fans. But it’s in the sales that we are able to judge how it’s working. Also, this is same ad is happening over in iBooks, B&N, and KOBO, but because those numbers are a little harder to track in real time, I’m sticking with Amazon. It’s my #1 sales portal right now anyway (with iBooks closing fast, whoda thought?).

Again, a word of caution. All the paid advertising in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t already have the key components in place, which are: a sell-able cover (and a sell-able cover and a cover you like are not always the same thing, just FYI), a well written book with good editing and formatting, and a professional online presence, even if it’s just an amazon author page.

Now, it’s been 24 hours since the ad ran and here’s where I’m sitting:

Queen of Someday

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15 overall (free) (though it hit #11 at the wee hours of the morning)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Historical Fiction

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Literature & Fiction

Queen of Tomorrow #2

Sales Rank on Amazon: 6,202 over all (paid)

#2 in Books > Teens > Romance > Historical

#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

Queen of Always #3 (pre-order)

Sales Rank on Amazon: 11,003 over all (paid)

#13 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

#17 in Books > Teens > Romance > Historical

That breaks down to over 15K free downloads, and double my average daily sales on book 2, and a slight bump in book 3.

After 48 hours:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26 overall (free)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Historical Fiction

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Literature & Fiction

Queen of Tomorrow #2

Sales Rank on Amazon: 4,810 over all (paid)

#2 in Books > Teens > Romance > Historical

#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

Queen of Always #3 (pre-order)

Sales Rank on Amazon: 15,303 over all (paid)

#18 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical

#23 in Books > Teens > Romance > Historical

Now, while I fully expect to see the Queen of Someday numbers slowly creeping back up as downloads wane, I also expect sales on the other books to hold pretty steady as people read the free book and then go purchase the others. I ended up the three days at around 17K downloads of book one, and double to triple my average daily sales on the second book. The third book only saw a slight bump initially, but it’s a pre-order and that could always change. The real question is, did we make our money back on the ad?

Yes. In the first three days alone the ad has paid for itself and then some, and I could see this increase of sales last for weeks to come. And I had paid more, say rather than having book one free I listed it at a sale price of $1.99, and gotten even a fraction of those downloads… well, you can do the math.

And that is how Bookbub and similar ads work. Also keep in mind that this is all on a book that has been out for several months and has had many similar ads run for it already.

Oh, and one more quick bit of advice. I see many authors make their book free or dirt cheap (and not as a sale, but permafree or .99) before there is another book in the series on sale. IMHO, this is a huge mistake. It’s one thing to use a free or low cost book to draw in sales for a series, but if your book is free of cheap to try to garner reviews or get exposure, that’s almost always a bad plan. Here’s why. Of those 17K downloads, how many people do you think will leave reviews? Because I’m betting it’s a very small number, like maybe a handfull. Typically, people who grab those free and discounted books don’t leave reviews, some fill their kindle with free books and never even read them. That is why it’s in the sales you measure a success, and not in those free downloads. So before you go making something free to run an ad, be sure you have other books already published to point people too. Otherwise, you are throwing away your money.

If your goal is to get reviews and exposure, I highly suggest a Netgalley listing instead. It gets your book in front of people who DO review books. They can be expensive, but if you want to do a shorter listing, say 1-3 months rather than 6, you can use a service like Xpresso tours or Broad Universe and it becomes much more affordable.

Hope this info is super usefull! And, shameless plug, you can grab my free book, Queen of Someday, HERE. Have a great weekend everyone!


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