Is BookBub's Book Discovery Service Worth It?
A cry I hear often from authors is, “How can I get readers to find my books?” There are several book discovery and promotion services out there, but it can be hard to decide which ones to trust, especially those that come with a hefty price tag, like BookBub. And, is it worth the investment?
Book discovery service, BookBub, is designed to help readers find new books and authors. BookBub promotes free and discounted ebooks picked by its editorial team, including book recommendations, updates from authors, and articles about books. I asked a couple of published authors, who have used BookBub, to share their experiences.
1. How did you land your BookBub deal (including how long it took to get a freebie, if you got one)?
I simply applied. There are some really well-written guidelines for people to read and determine how well they might "qualify". I have only done International Deals and have not yet applied for a Domestic Deal or both. It is very expensive, but then, you'll be making a whole lot of sales. I had my last one in July 2020, and sold well over 500 books. This has helped my sales substantially and has raised my ratings on Amazon, as I have chosen NOT to be a part of Kindle Select (Kindle Unlimited).
I’d applied three times, with different titles, before I got my first Featured Deal in 2017, with Dark Deceit. I’ve had two further Featured Deals for Highland Arms since then. All books were *free*, not 99c. I don’t apply often, though.
2. What was the best thing about using BookBub?
You have such a huge pool of potential buyers, since BookBub is such a large marketing group. And for $204 I have achieved bestseller status in both Canada and Australia, which is a wonderful achievement to be able to mention on ads.
I received some lovely reviews and it’s a great way to become a bestseller in your genre category. Both ‘first time’ deals (Dark Deceit & Highland Arms), I made back three times my investment, so that was a great bonus.
3. What would you differently next time?
I will probably start alternating sales between BookBub and another marketing group, every three months. It seems to have benefited another author friend, so I intend to try it. However, I'll continue using BookBub. Eventually, I'm hoping to snag a Domestic Deal with them, but for now, I'll continue International Deals.
I’ve since applied twice for another novel for the International & US Deal, at 99c, and it was rejected. I’ll likely have to try again, but make it *free*. That’s what they seem to prefer. Also, don’t put forward the same book twice within a year or two.
4. If you’ve had more than one BookBub deal, could you please compare your own experiences.
I sold more books in my first deal, back in January 2020. Then along came Covid-19, which I think has dealt a blow to most peoples' sales—including mine. I did not achieve the BookBub estimated number of sales this time; however, I still only lost about $25, but hitting Bestseller status was still worth it. My first sale back in January also had longer lasting results. I kept selling anywhere between 6–17 books per day for about a month afterward. Not so this time, during the pandemic. I'm pretty much selling what I was to begin with prior to my BookBub Deal.
The first *free* deals for Dark Deceit and Highland Arms did really well, with many tens of thousands of Pages Read and hundreds of ‘sales’, including the second novel linked by series to Highland Arms, which I put at 99c / 99p for a couple of days. I then had a subsequent Featured Deal for Highland Arms seven months later—and I barely made back what I paid, so readers had clearly already downloaded it. It’s not worth using the same title in a row.
Also, don’t use books with a cliff-hanger ending—I got a flurry of 2* reviews for Dark Deceit as there’s no sequel—and some were not happy that it might need to be read as a series.
BookBub Resources (Free)
New York Times and US Today best-seller, Cheryl Bradshaw, wrote this excellent blog that details her highly successful BookBub strategy
How to Promote a Book Launch (and How BookBub Can Help!) by Diana Urban
Amy Maroney, historical fiction author, shares her recent (August 2020) BookBub success in her BookBub Diary
BookBub Resources (To Buy)
BookBub Ads Expert: A Marketing Guide to Author Discovery by David Gaughran
BookBub Mastery: An Indie Author Mastery Guide by Nick Thacker
Other Book Promotion Services
I have experience dealing with:
Andrew Noakes (The History Quill Book Club)
Mary Anne Yarde (The Coffee Pot Book Club)
through their editorial, guest blogging, and book-blog-tour services—and I can vouch for their top-notch professionalism.
Disclaimer: I’m not paid to promote any services in this article.
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