My forays into advertising my self-published books continue. I know I’m tardy on reporting on many of my ad buys (like, by a few months), but I’ve recently had such success with Bookbub.com that I wanted to tell you about this out of order.
Writer friend Karen Cantwell (of Take the Monkeys and Run fame) heard from other pen-smythe and colleague Scott Nicholson (he of The Red Church, Liquid Fear, and a google of other books) that young upstart book-bargain site Bookbub.com was a great place to advertise for indies. The skinny: Bookbub’s price was steep in comparison to almost all other advertising venues of its kind–maybe the highest–but the returns were worth it.
Since I’m in the “it’s time to advertise or get lost in the shuffle” camp, I checked it out, blanched at the price, but dove in anyway.
There’s nothing groundbreaking about Bookbub’s approach: subscribers register and let the ‘Bub know what genres they’re interested in. In return, Bookbub sends out a daily email with deeply discounted or free books in only those genres. The refreshing twist is that they only feature a handful of books per day (seems to be about 6-8), as opposed to burying their subscribers under an avalanche of crappy free books.
From an author’s perspective, there are several attractive points to advertising with the ‘Bub:
- The primary advantage to the restricted featuring is that, obviously, you aren’t competing against a zillion other titles.
- Many sites promise their subscribers that they only feature “quality” books, but the editorial staff at Bookbub seems to keep their promise and only features books with high ratings or an author with a proven track record. This means that, if you make the cut, your title is viewed in a different light than the vast majority of books out there.
- Bookbub’s overall subscriber base is over a million (and has grown like gangbusters…it was 440k in February when I was checking them out). That’s a huge advertising reach, but…
- …even better, since your title is matched to a particular genre’s subscriber list, you’re only being show to qualified readers. You might argue that it would be better to be shown to all one million in the off-chance they might buy your book, but I think BB’s approach is one that instills confidence in their readership (i.e., they won’t be spammed by Romance if they didn’t sign up for it). In any event, subscribers can sign up for multiple genres.
I should also mention that the daily deals are on the site and can be reviewed by genre or reading device (to address Kindle users vs. Nook users).
In general, Bookbub has some common sense requirements:
- Your book has to be discounted or temporarily (not perma-) free at the time of the deal.
- It can’t be less than the advertised price or free just before or after the ad (i.e., they’re trying to offer the best deal possible to their subscribers).
- The “quality” requirement is nebulous, but I would imagine they won’t accept titles under 10-15 reviews with 4+ stars, but that’s a guess. If you’re a proven author trying to promote a new book in a series, I would guess they’re going to cut you a break.
- Must be a full-length book.
- The book can’t be featured more than once per 90 days, nor can the author be featured more than once every 30 days.
Read the rest of the requirements at http://www.bookbub.com/advertise/guidelines.php.
The ‘Bub’s cost works on an intelligent, graduated scale based on the popularity of your genre, the number of subscribers you’ll reach with your ad, and the cost of your book. You can check out cost, subscriber base, and download metrics at http://www.bookbub.com/advertise/pricing.php.
As an example, I featured Marty Singer #2, Blueblood, for free. It’s a detective novel, so fell under Mysteries & Thrillers. Total cost: $230.
Stay tuned for my results in Part II…not to mention a colossal mistake I made that almost cost me the whole shebang!