As an independent author, having an ebook edition can be integral to book sales. Indie ebooks control somewhere between 10% and 20% of the publishing market, so maximizing your online e-book sales should be part of your marketing plan.
BookBub is a well-established email service, notifying subscribers of discounted ebooks. It was originally designed to help lesser-known authors – specifically independent authors – connect with their target audience. BookBub subscribers have the option to choose from 40 distinct genre categories and receive daily featured deals based on their interests. With more than two million members, Bookbub can be a great way for you as an author to gain readers, reviews, and an increase in ebook sales.
How it works for authors
As an author, you’ll first need to create a partner account. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to pitch your ebook to BookBub’s team of editors by applying for a featured deal. The BookBub editors meet weekly to discuss trends within each category, and select featured deals from the 100+ submissions they receive each day.
You may need to apply multiple times to have your ebook featured on one of BookBub’s daily emails. If your pitch is rejected, you’ll have to wait 4 weeks before resubmitting, but there is no limit on the number of times you can apply for a featured deal.
When selected, you’ll pay to have your book featured in one of their daily emails. The prices are dependent on the number of subscribers for each category. The more subscribers there are, the more exposure you’ll be gaining, and the more you’ll need to pay to be featured. The most popular categories on BookBub are Mystery and Contemporary Romance.
Making the most of your pitch
Here are some things you’ll want to consider when submitting your pitch to maximize your chances of being selected for a featured deal:
Choose your category carefully.
In other words, know your book’s genre, and know who your target audience is. You may find your book falls under multiple categories. If this is the case, determine what the main category is, and include all other relevant categories in the “Notes” section of your application.
Make your price point a major discount.
In your pitch, you’ll need to tell BookBub the discounted price of your ebook, in comparison to its original price point. The sweet spot for discounted ebooks is $0.99, so if you really want to increase sales and exposure, list your book for that price or consider making it free. Free ebooks lead to massive exposure, which in the long run will lead to a boost in sales. If your ebook is selected for a featured deal, be sure to change the book pricing in advance so the changes come into effect by the time the email goes out to subscribers.
Exposure is extremely important.
As a new author, you’ll want to wait about 5 months post-publication to submit a pitch to BookBub. This is because the editors will examine your book cover and synopsis, sales and availability, book reviews, and your overall exposure and scope during their selection process. In your pitch, you’ll need to prove to the editors why your book would appeal to their subscribers. Tell them in the “Notes” section of the pitch about any book awards, killer testimonials from prominent figures, or publicity you’ve received for the book.
Be flexible with dates/timing.
If your book is selected for a featured deal, it usually won’t appear in BookBub’s daily emails for another month. So, it’s important to plan your pitch in advance. If you tie your book to an upcoming holiday, special occasion, or online trend, be sure to apply about 5 weeks before the time you’d ideally want your ebook to be featured. If you have a specific timeframe in mind, be sure to include that in the “Notes” section of the pitch, but don’t rely on one day in particular.
In fact, they are a major factor when it comes to the selection process. Whether you have tons of reviews, or a handful, you’ll want to include one or two poignant reviews right in the heart of your pitch to showcase your book’s potential. Tell the editors exactly who would appreciate your book most, and use the testimonial as an example of how much that reader loved your book.
Do your part in advertising the ebook featured deal.
If your book is selected for BookBub’s emails, you’ll want to tell everyone outside of the BookBub subscriber list about the discount to maximize sales potential. Start by advertising it on social media a couple weeks beforehand, and again during the week it’s being featured in BookBub’s email. Consider investing in Facebook advertising and ads on other ebook news platforms like EReader News Today, Kindle National Daily or FreeBooksy. You could even target some book bloggers, who specialize in your genre, to feature the deal on their blogs too.
While it may seem like a lot of work, not to mention a costly investment on your part (depending on the category of your book,) having your ebook featured in one of BookBub’s daily emails is great for creating a ‘halo effect.’ In other words, the cost upfront can create a lasting flow of ebook sales, even after the initial promotional deal. If you’re writing a book series, or other books, this can be an effective way to build a fan base of readers eager to buy your next book.