What is BookBub for authors and how does it work?
Ads are one of the most important things you can do to sell more books.
Arguably, more important and effective than social media.
And BookBub is the Mac Daddy of the newsletter promotion realm.
Are you a reader? Then the best place for you to find books is on BookBub.
Bookbub’s Product Marketing Manager Carlyn Robertson reported in 2019 that BookBub platform has 15 million members.
While that number is not terribly high. It does represent 15 million readers. Readers who choose which categories or genres they like.
And since you’re a writer, this is gold. BookBub takes that information and sends that reader only the emails that pertain to that genre.
How do Bookbub’s algos work?
BookBub’s algorithms build data on the reader based on the offered preferences, but also on the reader’s clicks to featured deals and other ads. The algo also knows which authors the reader follows on BookBub.
Lastly, the system knows which devices readers read their ebooks on and how they buy those books. So if a reader typically reads his/her ebook on a tablet and buys from Kobo, BookBub knows that too.
All of this helps you find the reader who reads in your genre and from your retailer.
If you write in crime fiction, congratulations, you have the most subscribers at your disposal. Here are some great stats for authors:
- BB has more than 3.8 million crime fiction subscribers
- Cozy and historical mysteries are next with a combined 5.5 million subscribers
- 95% of their readers will buy from an unknown author because of a discount offer
- 73% of their readers signed up for alerts for authors they like
- 74% of their subscribers will buy new books at full price
How do authors work with BookBub?
- Featured Deals
- Featured New Release
- BookBub Ads
Featured Deals are the holy grail for author promotion.
They are expensive and hard to come by.
But if you can get a deal, you can sell a lot of books. To get one of these, you have to apply for them.
Robertson reported BookBub receives nearly 300 applications per day for these deals, and only 10-20% of them get approved.
To apply for a featured deal, you first have to discount your ebook at least 50% on all your retailers. Then submit it to their editorial board, which will review everything about that book:
- Awards or accolades
- Content fit for the genre
The board considers also the reader trends of the day.
If readers are picking up vampire young adult but not werewolf, then the werewolf probably won’t get picked up for a Feature Deal because Bookbub wants to offer what readers want.
Because of that, you can resubmit your book every 30 days.
Trends change and BookBub recognizes that. So keep submitting!
Featured New Releases
This is a weekly email by genre or category for books that have released in the past two weeks.
What’s different about this email is it is not for discounted or free books. It is for full-priced books.
You can submit your book up to six months prior to release date and on release date. BookBub will run your ad for two weeks after your launch date.
A perk of this one is that you are only competing with authors who are also releasing the same time you are.
Additionally, the email is just as targeted as the other emails.
These subscribers know they are getting information about new books, and they signed up for. Can you say, “Primed to buy?”
You apply for these deals the same way you apply for the Featured Deals.
BookBub Ads (for authors)
Ads on BookBub are similar to ads on Amazon or Facebook.
They are on an auction system where you bid based on similar authors or genres, called categories by BookBub.
Typically, BookBub ads are cheaper than the other two ad platforms, and much simpler to use.
Analytic results are usually faster than Facebook or Amazon as well. That’s because its ecosystem is microniche and not nearly as big as those two, both of which operate monstrous-sized amounts of data.
BookBub knows which of its subscribers like which genres and which authors because they asked the reader.
Your ad will show to the reader who has told BookBub they like your genre and the authors you’ve chosen as similar to you.
It’s that simple.
The primary goals of BookBub ads are to sell books or create brand awareness.
BookBub doesn’t make you spell that out the way Facebook does, but the goal matters. You get a choice between CPM or CPC ads. CPM is more for brand awareness. CPC is for clicks to buy books. CPM is helpful when you are testing your ad.
You can spend little to see if the audience is right and then once you’ve found a rhythm, run the same ad for CPC instead.
As for budget, BookBub recommends profit. If you are paying more for your ad than your book costs, then you’re paying too much.
I know that sounds pretty obvious, but sometimes it isn’t. Your cost per click should warrant you a profit for your work. Period.
To create your ad, think about these things:
- Your genre must be absolutely clear
- Utilize ad copy – short, sweet, to the point
- Call to Action – what do you want the reader to do? Be clear.
- Use reviews if you have them
- Use reviews from well-known authors if you have them
- Romance writers: state the trope clearly in the ad (BookBub reports a 21% increase in click-thru-rates)
- Compare your book to other well-known authors or to a similar TV/film (very similar to the log line you pitch to agents as conferences: “Readers of CJ Box will love this!”
As with every other ad platform, test everything. Even the smallest revisions to your ad copy can make a big difference.
The best resource out there right now for BookBub is David Gaughran’s book, ““BookBub Ads Expert: A Marketing Guide to Author Discovery.” Grab it for a more in-depth look at this platform.