This is part II of a two-part series on advertising with the site Bookbub.com Please check Part I out here.
Several friends–Amanda Brice, Karen Cantwell, and Misha Crews–had amazing results using Bookbub for Romance and Mystery. Misha, in particular, had great success featuring her novel Homesong, garnering 68,000 downloads in just three days. So, I had high hopes going in…and not just for the book on sale–the main thing was to get lateral sales to Marty Singer #1, A Reason to Live, and the brand-spanking new #3, One Right Thing, e-published the night before the sale.
I wasn’t disappointed. Blueblood was featured for free March 12-13 via KDP Select. Here are the sale and post-sale numbers as of 3/24/2013 at noon:
Units sold: 1013
Net units sold: 984
Units borrowed: 313
Free units-promo: 41574
Highest rank free: #1 overall (!)
Highest rank paid (3/17): #550 paid (?), #3 Hard boiled, #14 Crime & Mystery
New reviews: 19
A Reason to Live
Units sold: 644
Net units sold: 625
Free units-promo (3/13-3/22): 21,542 (explanation below)
Highest rank free (3/17): #50 overall, #2 Hard boiled
Highest rank paid: ?
New reviews: 11
One Right Thing
Units sold: 485
Net units sold: 481
Highest rank paid (3/24): #2,582; #30 Hard boiled
New reviews: 6
Needless to say, I was stunned. These are fantastic numbers. At one point I had the #1 and #2 spots in Hard Boiled detective fiction (against guys like Michael Connolly and Lee Child). Blueblood was the #1 book in the entire Kindle (free) store for about 24 hours. None of my titles have fallen out of the Top 100 (paid) in Hard Boiled since I started.
Bookbub.com has a permanent fan.
What Not to Do
You may have noticed the 21,542 free giveaways of A Reason to Live…and may be asking yourself, wasn’t the Bookbub deal supposed to be for Blueblood?
Well, yes. The original “deal” was to feature ARTL so that readers would be tempted to buy #2 and #3 in consecutive order. But all attempts at making ARTL free by 3/12 (the day of the ad) went nowhere…Amazon wouldn’t price match (for complicated reasons, ARTL is my only title not in KDP Select, so I had no control over making it free).
After a series of anxiety attacks in the days leading up to the ad, I finally contacted Bookbub directly and asked them if they would feature Blueblood instead–it was in Select and had free days left. To my ever-lasting appreciation, they said yes in about 10 minutes. The day was saved…right?
Nope! Amazon, curse their black hearts (just kidding, Zon!), price matched to free the day after the ad. I’d already sold a whopping 300 copies of ARTL in just 24 hours…but it all came to a screeching halt as it went free for the next week. I then had two out of three titles free for a substantial time and thought I’d just screwed myself out of thousands of dollars. Apply palm of hand to forehead.
But the silver lining was that the 21,500 giveaways of ARTL catapulted it up the free charts at the same time Blueblood was selling like hot cakes and once I got it off free on 3/22, I started selling it like gangbusters, too (so far, averaging around 75 copies a day or so).
Lesson learned: Price matching is just too random…don’t do a free Bookbub ad if your title isn’t in Select.
The cynic in me feels that Bookbub will eventually be pressured into making big bucks by increasing prices or watering down its offerings, or be so swamped with writers clamoring for ads that you can almost number the days of its value to indies. In a way, that’s okay–something else will come along to take its place.
But for now, you better believe I’ll be applying every 30 days. At the moment, Bookbub equals indie advertising nirvana and, long story short, no. For now, no one can beat Bookbub.