BB has long been the gold standard of ebook promotion sites. But many have noted that it seems harder and harder to get accepted, and that it doesn't seem to deliver as much bang for the buck as it once did.
I've got an "international" BB promotion running right now (no US, just UK, Canada, Australia, though I haven't seen any action from Australia yet). I looked over the promoted books in my genre (which didn't include mine, because, duh, I'm in the US and am being promoted elsewhere) and was struck at how a good half of them were traditionally published. The trad publishers are taking over what had been indies' best promotion tool. No wonder it's hard to get accepted.
There are also dozens of books being promoted. I remember a year or two ago there might only be 4 or 6. No wonder the response rate has fallen off. Potential readers have been distracted by books Obviously Inferior to ours. I dropped the US price on my book to go along with the dropped international prices, and I think a lot of the sales I've had so far (fewer than I'd hoped) are US sales, not even being driven by BB.
I did note the very high quality of the covers of all the books being promoted. All looked professional, and not just fiverr professional, but artist paints a cover just for this book professional.
Will I try BB again in the future? Of course. They're the best game in town, and it's always the follow-on sales that really make it work. But they're not what they used to be.
I've found the same with ENT. They used to take my ads, but the last four times I haven't received an email denial from them. They also had only a half dozen in each category but now have more. It's rather disappointing that the opportunities are being taken by the traditional publishers, and likely for the same amount that we'd pay for the same ad space. It makes it impossible to compete.
Dale, I did an international Bookbub at the end of September, and I was pretty pleased with the results (over 600 copies sold in the first few days, across all retailers). This was for a 2-year-old literary fiction book. I also had a "long tail" of sales at regular price for over a month. However, I don't have a standard for comparison, since I've never done an international Bookbub promo before.
That said, I agree that Bookbub has been reinventing itself. It started a couple of years ago when they were heavily pushing free books over discounted ones, presumably to fatten up their sub*scriber lists. Then, as you noted, they opened the floodgates to traditional publishers. I would imagine that their investors (the last I heard, they had some $18 million in venture capital) are now demanding a return on their investment, so the Bub is doing what it takes to make that happen.
You and I have traded BookBub stats for years on this forum, and it looks as though we’re on the same page yet again.
I don’t know what’s going on with BB, but each consecutive promo I’ve done with them has performed about half as well as the one preceding it. I wrote it off to lack of new subscribers for their site—after so many promos on the same title, I assumed anyone who wanted my book already nabbed it—and there weren’t enough new people to ensure an earth-shattering promotion anymore.
But yikes. Forget earth-shattering. At this point, I’d be happy to see ANY results!
I just had my usual BookBub promo for the first book in my trilogy... they scheduled me for Thanksgiving (grrr). Since I don’t like to tell them no, I accepted the crappy date and hoped for the best. Spoiler alert: I barely made my money back! Downloads and follow-up sales are ABYSMAL. Granted, the lack of success could be attributed to numerous factors—the holiday, the fact that this is the 7th time I’ve promoted this same title, the book is 5 years old, etc.—but it’s discouraging to wait six entire months just for dead-in-the-water results.
Two BookBub promos a year used to practically double my annual income.
Now, I’m left wondering if I’ll ever bother with another one ever again.
It had been almost a year and a half since my last BB promotion. Back in 2016, a year that included two of them, I averaged $1000 a month in royalties. This month the number below the graph, "royalties in last 30 days," had dropped below $100 when the promotion started. I'm hoping this gooses things up a bit, but the glory days may be behind us.
This is the first time I've had a BB promotion on this book. It's the first in a new "next generation" series.
On the plus side, the "international" BB only costs $50. They said I could expect an average of 180 downloads in my category (YA) at 99c. So far (I'm into the second day) I have about 190, but a decent chunk of those are from the US, where I dropped the price too and just did my own social media promotion (mailing list, Twitter) since BB isn't promoting here, and sales from my good old first-book-I-ever-published 25 years ago, which I dropped the price on too and is still my perennial best-seller. (I featured it in my earlier BB promotions, the ones that did really well.)
Sorry they've never picked you, Jonathan! In spite of all the grumbling and Tina's and my lower results, they're still the gold standard.
I've now hit the 900s in total paid sales in the UK, 500s in Australia, and 200s in Canada, though I think that tells us more about how few books Amazon sells in those countries than how many I myself have sold. Maybe, since I made single-digits in sub-categories in all three markets, there will be continuing interest even after the price goes back up.
I've now hit the 900s in total paid sales in the UK, 500s in Australia, and 200s in Canada, though I think that tells us more about how few books Amazon sells in those countries than how many I myself have sold.
Mine actually made it higher than Hillary Clinton's What Happened and Stephen King's It in Canada. It was only for a half day or so, but I took screen shots Outside the Zon, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Kobo sales. I don't think all my other books combined have sold that much through Kobo.
Maybe, since I made single-digits in sub-categories in all three markets, there will be continuing interest even after the price goes back up.
That was the best part for me. Due to the Also Boughts, there was a continuing trickle of sales for about a month in the UK. Hopefully, it will happen for you as well.
My international BB promotion has now ended. I moved 183 copies of the promoted book in the UK, Canada, and Australia. (It was discounted to 99 cents/pence.) This is surprisingly close to what BB said was the anticipated outcome (180 downloads). Kobo and iTunes turned out to be major contributors to the total. So I more or less broke even on the promoted book itself and have started seeing sales of the sequel--in fact, on Kobo I've earned more from the sequel than the promoted book (due to difference between royalties on $4.99 versus 99c).
I'll be interested to see what sort of follow-on sales I have. Today, post-promotion, was the best sales day in over a month (excluding the actual promotion days), though certainly not stellar. I can't have exhausted the BB buyers for my book--less than 1% of the ones who opted in for my genre have bought it yet! But I'm glad I paid $50 for this promotion and not $500.
I m always amazed at other posters when the mention Kobo sales. I have yet to make even $100 in the four years I've had books on the platform. I've made more in the Smashwords store despite only having two books there (I have six on Kobo). My Amazon.ca sales are pretty good, so it can't just be a Canada thing.
I wish I had the key to unlock Kobo as you and others seem to have done.