It should be apparent to anyone following this blog that a weekly post is probably too much to ask, so I shall try to make this a bi- or tri-weekly occurrence. Let’s see how that goes.
This week, I would like to write about BookBub and how it can be a very powerful advertising tool for authors and publishers.
For those of you who are wondering what BookBub is, here’s a little excerpt of their About page:
BookBub is a free service that helps millions of readers discover great deals on acclaimed ebooks while providing publishers and authors with a way to drive sales and find new fans. Members receive a personalized daily email alerting them to the best free and deeply discounted titles matching their interests as selected by our editorial team.
For readers, it’s a great way to discover books that are temporarily on sale or free. They can choose which categories of books they are interested in and will only receive deals featured in those categories. And they can also follow authors they like (if the authors have claimed their author profile on BookBub) and they will get an alert whenever these authors have a new book out.
For authors, BookBub, with its millions of subscribers, feels a bit like the holy grail of advertising. Every day hundreds of books are submitted to the BookBub editorial team, hoping to get included in a daily email, but only a few are selected. The criteria for acceptance are not clearly defined, but we know several things factor in: is it an interesting discount for the readers? Does the book have reviews and how good are the reviews? Does it look like a professional product? Will enough people potentially be interested in this book?
The cost of having your book featured in a daily email depends on the category in which you advertise and the price at which your deal is set, and for some categories it’s not cheap. But still, people submit because they know that a book featured in a BookBub email will earn back the price of the ad, and more, either through sales of the advertised book at the discount price and even after it gets back to normal price (the so-called halo effect), or, especially for free books, through sales of other books after people have read the advertised one.
We have submitted a book to BookBub four times in the past nine months and have been lucky enough to get selected every time. We think one of the reasons for our success in getting accepted is that the category we advertise in, LGBT, is less competitive than others, such as contemporary romance or crime fiction. But we also like to think that the books got picked because the editorial review team at BookBub saw that we were offering a qualitative and professional product that could bring in a substantive number of sales. BookBub is in it to make money as well of course, so they want to make sure they offer products that people will want to buy.
So far we have only advertised Harper Bliss novels or series, and they have all earned back the cost of the ad through sales of the discounted book. French Kissing: Season One was especially successful because we saw an impressive sell-through of Season Two and Three in the weeks after the ad.
We’ve seen other publishers advertise anthologies in BookBub daily emails so next month for the first time we will submit an anthology. We have no idea whether it will be accepted, and if it is, whether it will sell enough to recoup the cost and what, if any, the sell-through will be. But as we have several anthologies in our catalogue, we are curious to see what the BookBub effect can be for that kind of book.
BookBub has really become an important part of our marketing strategy, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. Even if you’ve tried and been rejected, keep submitting, because it’s really worth it.
Don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast Harper Bliss & Her Mrs on The Lesbian Talk Show!