After 36 tries, I finally was accepted to advertise one of my Indie books on BookBub.
My practical husband said "You have to be accepted for a paid ad?"
Yes, yes you do.
Book Bub is the tried and true nirvana of book advertising. I've submitted dozens of times with almost all of my books, getting the same rejection letter whose second sentence begins with "Unfortunately." That letter makes me pretty much cry in my soup about not being good enough like some teen trying to get in the cool crowd at high school. But, I keep trying. I liken my tenacity to Sue, a character on the TV show, The Middle, someone with the sunniest attitude I've ever seen (even if she is fictional.)
Indie Authors aren't always chosen first. The famous authors who are NYT Bestsellers are going to be way more appealing because they will definitely keep Book Bub's street cred up there. Readers will sign up to get the daily notice in their inbox because hey, they let you know when Obama's book is only .99.
Today, for example, they have the Neil deGrassie Tyson book, Rick Riordan, Alice Munro and Heather Graham.
I understand. It's a gamble with an Indie author trying to compete with Alice Hoffman, Stephen King, Nora Roberts. BUT, so many of my author friends get these ads, it's hard to take it personally.
Certain categories are busier than others. For instance, our Romance Box Set of 12 books for 99 cents tried twice and we were told the category is super-competitive at Christmas leading us to think that we did not win something. Had we included Nora Roberts in our set or Catherine Bybee, we might have gotten the ad. As it was, we had one NYT Bestselling Author and 7 USA Today Bestselling Authors in the set.
However, looking to the Deals site today, I see a cozy mystery that has only 8 reviews in that many years of being published and has very little success, so the skeptic in me wonders if she knows an editor at Book Bub or slipped in there with luck on her side. I'm rooting for her.
An author can try once a month to get an ad for each book and I'm getting ready to try again for Romancing the Holidays. It was this process and thinking that caught me unaware and without $748 extra dollars last week when Book Bub sent and email that did not have the word "Unfortunately" in it.
And tomorrow, I have my Complete Dream Jumper Series going live on Book Bub. How did the heavens open up and my luck change?
On the advice of Romantic Suspense superstar Kaylea Cross, I put the set at $1.99 and they accepted my offer to pay $748. to have it in the Supernatural Suspense category. (I actually had to borrow the money from a faithful and generous friend!)
I got an acceptance email and jumped at the opportunity like a hungry puppy.
In order to make the money back, I need to sell about 1,000 books which, according to Book Bub's projections and numbers, I will. They estimate between 1,400 and 3,000 sales. I'm sending a message to the Universe that I want that last number please.
Getting ready for tomorrow's promotion, I rechecked the manuscript for formatting, added the link to signup for my newsletter, and asked readers to follow me on Book Bub. I added a list of my other books, fixed one typo, and changed the cover to look cleaner. I had the individual book covers above the titles on the side of the 3-D image and thinking that looked messy, I asked the cover artist, Novak Illustrations, to remove them.
I have all my other books priced to make the set look particularly attractive, mentioned the books in the set are optioned for film in the description and am trying to see my book set through strangers' eyes to insure a sale.
The thing I'm worried about is that the set is multi-genre. It's Mystery/Suspense/Supernatural/Romance/Thriller/Travel/Action and appeals to readers of many genres, not just Supernatural Suspense. I want anyone seeing the ad to think the books will appeal to them if they read the above categories that but I guess beggars can't be choosers. I'll take what I get. I fixed the AMAZON description to include better wording and am keeping my fingers crossed.
Tomorrow, I will update this blog to include info about the sales and will continue to update for the few days after the ad, if you're interested in knowing how it did.
As a means of comparison, the box set has had 4 sales in the month of November and all of those happened when I reduced the price yesterday in anticipation of the ad and posted on Facebook.
Follow this blog to hear updates.
Out for now... BookBub Deals Here
UPDATE: The ad was Friday and this is Sunday at noon. So far I've sold 1100 books, which is fantastic but I need 1232 sales to break even from the $748 ad. Yes, I'll gain new readers probably and the exposure was wonderful (check me out on twitter to see my photos - www.twitter.com/kimhornsby) and I took pictures of reaching #1 in several categories but I also needed to break even. I'm not so successful that I could take a hit here. I'll have to keep the series at $1.99 for another few days, I guess to catch the stragglers.
3 Weeks Later
To date I've sold $880 worth of the book which pays for the $748 ad, thank goodness! I wouldn't say it was the windfall I've heard about though.
I wonder if the problem was the $1.99 price point which isn't as attractive as $.99 or even $2.99 according to studies, or if it was the strange cover, or the strange category - Supernatural Suspense, at a time when readers are buying Christmas stories. I'll never know.
Would I do Book Bub again? Yes but with lower expectations. For my first time with a Book Bub ad, I really expected to sell thousands of books. I only sold 1500.
Still a win, though.
KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes books about women in dire circumstances rescuing themselves.
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