Marketing–I think as authors we all have mixed emotions when it comes to this word. One one hand it can be a necessary evil, but sometimes it can be fun. But either way, it takes a lot of planning. And it’s especially scary to jump in and pay what seems like a huge amount of money for a one day ad, which is why I decided to sit down and jot out some notes on my experience.
I’m not one to talk about sales figures or income or all of that jazz, but in order for me to give you any idea of how my ads worked out, I’m going to crawl out on a limb and do just that. I can’t guarantee that anyone else will have similar results, and I’ve rounded just to make the numbers easier to work with, but this was my experience with BookBub.
BookBub is one of the biggest services for ebook price promotions that I know of (if not THE biggest). For at least the last year, I’ve heard some people touting the greatness of being able to get a BookBub.
There have been so many times that I’ve thought about doing it, and then I looked at the prices….
- $500 to promote an Erotic Romance sale priced at 99 cents!
- $90 to promote a Supernatural Suspense sale priced for FREE!
So my brain goes into calculations (actually, I pull up my calculator because I suck at math). On Amazon, you get 35% royalties at the .99 price point, so about .35 per book (rounded up). So, I’d have to sell almost 1430 books to even break even with the first ad.
1430 books–that’s possible right, with the right marketing, which I should get from BookBub–and according to BookBub stats, they average 2,010 sales for such an ad, so I should definitely be good.
The problem was coming up with the initial $500 to cover the ad–and I’d never sold more than 1000 copies of any book at any price, so it seemed a little far fetched until I released Irrevocable.
It did fairly well on its own–netted me a couple thousand, and was receiving good reviews. So, I talked my husband into letting me invest the money into a BookBub ad. They gave me September 14, and so I lowered the prices and waited…
Before the sale even ran, my sales more than quadrupled from the lowered price alone. Irrevocable, which was 2 months old at this point was selling anywhere from 20-50 copies a day, once the 99 cent price hit, I sold more than 200.
Within the two days after the ad hit, I sold more than 4500 copies. And sales remained double to triple what they were before the sale even after the price returned to normal. I hit overall bestseller lists on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And not only did I make my money back, and see a profit, I also gained new reviews, more subscribers to my mailing list and increases in numbers on all of my social media accounts.
So, with my paranormal series, I decided to repeat this “test” and I got another BookBub ad for Fractured Legacy and sale priced it for FREE. Now, this time I knew I’d be shelling out $90 for the ad and making nothing during the sale. But, I had a second book in the series that came out right before the sale, and I was banking on the ad selling that book.
So, back to the numbers;
Fractured Legacy, had been almost stagnant since I released it over a year ago. I think I’ve made maybe $200 from sales. Maybe.
The day of the ad, I had more than 16,000 downloads. 16,000!! And this wasn’t the first time Fractured Legacy was free, the last time I did this I had about 2000 downloads over the course of a week. Since the ad, I’ve had more than 32,000 downloads on Amazon alone.
And, the day of the ad, I sold more than 100 copies of the sequel, Beyond the Divide, which was also discounted at 99 cents for the release. Since then, Beyond the Divide has continued to sell, with nearly no other marketing going on aside from a small blog tour. I’ve made the cost of the BookBub ad up and turned a profit just from sales of this book alone. The series had gained more exposure, getting unsolicited reviews from book blogs with large followings–not something I ever expected for this series since I believe it appeals to a much smaller niche audience than my romance works.
Overall, my experience with BookBub was a positive one, and I hope my experience helps you decide whether or not this would be a good investment for you. Of course, I can’t guarantee that everyone will have the same experience, and you might want to talk with other authors to get their experiences.
If you decide to try it yourself and get approved, be sure to set up the sale price well enough in advance that you won’t be having a panic attack they day before (especially if your ad date falls on a weekend). With the Irrevocable ad, I ended up only having Amazon and Barnes & Noble included because Kobo and iTunes didn’t change the price in time.