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Using BookBub for Book Promotion...

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A post of a ranting nature...

MJ DeMarco

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This is more of a rant, but if you want to comment on your BookBub experience, please do so.

I've had TMF featured in BookBub once a few years back as a "loss leader" to find new readers.

Then I tried to get Unscripted featured three times, and despite hundreds of reviews, continue to get rejected.

So I looked at my latest BookBub promotional email today and saw they were promoting Nora Roberts, who has sold billions of books and is already worth nearly HALF A BILLION dollars.

So awesome to hear that BookBub is willing to slot a billionaire author's books over, say, someone like @ChickenHawk who is simply trying to manage a career. In other words, you can bet she snagged a slot over someone who legitimately could have used the exposure.

Glad BookBub's priorities are to help near-billionaire authors actually become billionaires.

Reminds me of Amazon and their love affair with Ken Follett ... another author who doesn't need more help selling books, but never fail, Amazon puts him front and center EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

SMH.
 
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MTF

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This is yet another example why I think that self-publishing on Amazon is terrible these days.

It seems like the entire industry has gone full circle. First, authors had to beg major publishers to get published (and the publishers weren't willing to bet on newcomers). Then, self-published authors had their golden era where it was possible to compete against big publishers and win.

And today? Today you have to yet again beg big companies (the overlords simply changed) and yet again, they aren't willing to bet on newcomers (or anyone not super well recognized to be more precise).

A couple of years ago I was regularly featured on Bookbub. In fact, my first ad pretty much launched my career. Now it's impossible to get a spot, at least for the US market (sometimes they offer me international spots which I accept even though they aren't worth much). And I applied dozens of times.
 

SEBASTlAN

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What's equally crazy is that Goodreads doesn't have an advertising program. I inquired about it and they redirected me to a freelancer who has her own book advertising network which didn't seem like she had an impressive reach and was charging an arm and a leg for it.

Definitely a need in the market someone can execute on...
 

MTF

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What's equally crazy is that Goodreads doesn't have an advertising program. I inquired about it and they redirected me to a freelancer who has her own book advertising network which didn't seem like she had an impressive reach and was charging an arm and a leg for it.

Definitely a need in the market someone can execute on...
You can do paid giveaways with them (that used to be free) but they don't really generate any results except for some vanity numbers ("oh, so many people shelved my book never to read it!").
 
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MaxT

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Hello friends,
I am also an author, I did not know BookBub I will try ... ;)
My first book had a great success in France (where I live) but I had it translated into English to sell it in the USA, there are some sales but I think it deserves a lot more.
Do you have any advice for me to fully promote my book? What are your most effective techniques?
My book : The skateboarding bible: Learn about the world of skateboarding, it's history, how to progress and innovate.: Tant, Maxime: 9781700192240: Amazon.com: Books
Thanks
 

Boogie

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Do you have any advice for me to fully promote my book? What are your most effective techniques?

You were asking about how to promote, but I thought I'd address the structure of your offer if you don't mind. I'm not trying to sound like an a$$ if it comes across that way but just thought this might help.

First off, I'm not currently selling anything on Amazon, but as a marketer, put yourself in Amazon's shoes and your customer's shoes. Both of them are your audience You are selling to both your retailer and your reader just like any book publisher and distributor does. If you want the customer to buy, you need to make your stuff attractive to the customer. If you want Amazon to promote you and your work, you have to be attractive to Amazon.

I would think that you're probably losing a lot of possible sales with that cover. What can you tell me about the two books in the middle vs. the two books at the ends of picture below?

1642936388294.png
The titles on the two center books can be read easily. If someone just goes explicitly looking for you or your book by title, they might buy the book, but if you come up on a recommended list or a history list like this, will you even be noticed? Not by me. I just blow past anything that I can't figure out. It's not worth my time clicking around reading something that seems random.

The fiction book above was released a month ago today and has 453 reviews already. He does little to no advertising and he gets promoted on Prime day and I get emails from Amazon about his books a couple times per year and he shows up in my recommended books list. I picked up the first book in the series as a freebie and I may have purchased one other. There are lots of things that make his books appealing to buy or for Amazon to promote. The big one related to thumbnails is the title (and generally clear graphics). The author name could be clearer for recognition and the image could be simpler, but the main thing is that title. Look at MJ's. Pretty clear title even with the dark red. You may have to work a bit to read the subhead if you you are drawn to the book, but there's likely enough there to be interested. They look professional and made to be viewed relatively easily.

That image was what was presented on my full size monitor. Millions of people also browse and buy on their black and white kindles. What do these covers look like there? Millions of people buy through their phones or devices by looking first at the cover not the description. This is how people do a quick evaluation through the possible choices when browsing through books. It's with a thumb flick on a device. If you can't get attention there, then nobody will look at your description. It's almost impossible to read the text of your title or the tag under it or tell that it's a skateboarding book from the graphic. Larger, clearer titles would help. If you were doing color, then good separation of colors are necessary. They should also not cause issues for color blind people. Google this "what combinations are bad for colorblind people" to be sure you don't violate that in your covers or packaging if you ever release something in color. In all three cases, the computer, the phone and my black and white kindle, I can't read the title of your book. That can be death to a book.

From the graphic, I also can't tell it has anything to do with skateboarding. It looks like someone ready to dive into a pool or a pond with some trees in the background or maybe someone holding a fishing rod or someone standing at attention holding a gun. There's also a dark line at an angle. Why would I click into it if I'm a skateboarder and I can't tell what it is?

You might look at a tutorial like this if you're going to be doing a homemade cover: Creating the perfect cover for your Kindle Books

I understand that it was translated for you, but look at your description text critically as a buyer. Could you make that first question into a full sentence? Could you break the text into paragraphs to make it easier to read instead of a blob of text? Why is there a space before the question mark? Why do the other sentences have no space after the period? People may look at that and assume the text of the book is going to be difficult to read too. Does the text flow? The toilet sentence is kind of awkward. You seem to have a have a nice "look inside" setup. But will people bother to go look at it?

Amazon is intelligently run by computer algorithms and may show related authors or related books. Amazon is surely keeping track of how many people look at your book vs. how many buy it or how many people see the thumbnail vs how many click it. If they show your thumbnail and nobody clicks into it, will they keep showing it and at what frequency? If traffic comes to your description but doesn't convert because it doesn't look right or because your advertising was to too broad of an audience or you advertised a lot and it didn't convert, will they continue to promote you and again at what frequency? They have millions of books to promote. Why would they continue to show yours very often or at all if nobody clicks on your cover or buys from you when they do get a chance? You might still come up for suggested reading, but books with better stats will likely be promoted first.

Authors are likely heavily penalized in terms of amazon's promotion or search if someone runs a lot of ads say via google that drive traffic but don't convert for whatever reason. Amazon won't know the number of ads, but they can still tell conversion percentages. So optimizing cover and description is probably a good idea before promotion.

Good luck with your promotion.
 

MaxT

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Oct 22, 2020
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You were asking about how to promote, but I thought I'd address the structure of your offer if you don't mind. I'm not trying to sound like an a$$ if it comes across that way but just thought this might help.

First off, I'm not currently selling anything on Amazon, but as a marketer, put yourself in Amazon's shoes and your customer's shoes. Both of them are your audience You are selling to both your retailer and your reader just like any book publisher and distributor does. If you want the customer to buy, you need to make your stuff attractive to the customer. If you want Amazon to promote you and your work, you have to be attractive to Amazon.

I would think that you're probably losing a lot of possible sales with that cover. What can you tell me about the two books in the middle vs. the two books at the ends of picture below?

View attachment 41748
The titles on the two center books can be read easily. If someone just goes explicitly looking for you or your book by title, they might buy the book, but if you come up on a recommended list or a history list like this, will you even be noticed? Not by me. I just blow past anything that I can't figure out. It's not worth my time clicking around reading something that seems random.

The fiction book above was released a month ago today and has 453 reviews already. He does little to no advertising and he gets promoted on Prime day and I get emails from Amazon about his books a couple times per year and he shows up in my recommended books list. I picked up the first book in the series as a freebie and I may have purchased one other. There are lots of things that make his books appealing to buy or for Amazon to promote. The big one related to thumbnails is the title (and generally clear graphics). The author name could be clearer for recognition and the image could be simpler, but the main thing is that title. Look at MJ's. Pretty clear title even with the dark red. You may have to work a bit to read the subhead if you you are drawn to the book, but there's likely enough there to be interested. They look professional and made to be viewed relatively easily.

That image was what was presented on my full size monitor. Millions of people also browse and buy on their black and white kindles. What do these covers look like there? Millions of people buy through their phones or devices by looking first at the cover not the description. This is how people do a quick evaluation through the possible choices when browsing through books. It's with a thumb flick on a device. If you can't get attention there, then nobody will look at your description. It's almost impossible to read the text of your title or the tag under it or tell that it's a skateboarding book from the graphic. Larger, clearer titles would help. If you were doing color, then good separation of colors are necessary. They should also not cause issues for color blind people. Google this "what combinations are bad for colorblind people" to be sure you don't violate that in your covers or packaging if you ever release something in color. In all three cases, the computer, the phone and my black and white kindle, I can't read the title of your book. That can be death to a book.

From the graphic, I also can't tell it has anything to do with skateboarding. It looks like someone ready to dive into a pool or a pond with some trees in the background or maybe someone holding a fishing rod or someone standing at attention holding a gun. There's also a dark line at an angle. Why would I click into it if I'm a skateboarder and I can't tell what it is?

You might look at a tutorial like this if you're going to be doing a homemade cover: Creating the perfect cover for your Kindle Books

I understand that it was translated for you, but look at your description text critically as a buyer. Could you make that first question into a full sentence? Could you break the text into paragraphs to make it easier to read instead of a blob of text? Why is there a space before the question mark? Why do the other sentences have no space after the period? People may look at that and assume the text of the book is going to be difficult to read too. Does the text flow? The toilet sentence is kind of awkward. You seem to have a have a nice "look inside" setup. But will people bother to go look at it?

Amazon is intelligently run by computer algorithms and may show related authors or related books. Amazon is surely keeping track of how many people look at your book vs. how many buy it or how many people see the thumbnail vs how many click it. If they show your thumbnail and nobody clicks into it, will they keep showing it and at what frequency? If traffic comes to your description but doesn't convert because it doesn't look right or because your advertising was to too broad of an audience or you advertised a lot and it didn't convert, will they continue to promote you and again at what frequency? They have millions of books to promote. Why would they continue to show yours very often or at all if nobody clicks on your cover or buys from you when they do get a chance? You might still come up for suggested reading, but books with better stats will likely be promoted first.

Authors are likely heavily penalized in terms of amazon's promotion or search if someone runs a lot of ads say via google that drive traffic but don't convert for whatever reason. Amazon won't know the number of ads, but they can still tell conversion percentages. So optimizing cover and description is probably a good idea before promotion.

Good luck with your promotion.
That's right, you're totally right!
I'm going to work on a new, more colorful cover that stands out more.
And work again on all the axes that you announced to me.
In any case, it's really great, you helped me a lot thank you very much! ;)
Good day to you my friend, I wish you a lot of success and thank you for your help once again.
 
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Private Witt

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Hello friends,
I am also an author, I did not know BookBub I will try ... ;)
My first book had a great success in France (where I live) but I had it translated into English to sell it in the USA, there are some sales but I think it deserves a lot more.
Do you have any advice for me to fully promote my book? What are your most effective techniques?
My book : The skateboarding bible: Learn about the world of skateboarding, it's history, how to progress and innovate.: Tant, Maxime: 9781700192240: Amazon.com: Books
Thanks

Price point matters and when you go over 20 for a print book you are killing sales in particular for a book that targets younger more broke readers.
 

ChickenHawk

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IMO, BookBub has gone seriously downhill in terms of promoting indie books. All in all, I've had really good luck with getting daily deals, but it's been a few years since I tried to get one. (Thinking back, I don't think that my romance pen name was ever turned down for a Daily Deal, but this is probably because I was pretty selective in how I submitted them.)

During the indie goldrush years, traditional publishers weren't doing a lot of this sort of thing (advertising in new ways), which meant that Indie authors were competing mostly with each other. From what I understand, BookBub now features lots of books from traditional publishers, which surely makes it a lot harder to get daily deals if you're not published by one of the big six. Or is it the big five? They're consolidating so much, I can hardly keep track.

Maybe three years ago, I had some good results using BookBub's (non-daily deal) advertising program. But the last time I tried it, I paid a lot of money for pretty lackluster results.

When I jump back into self-publishing, I'll probably give BookBub another try. It will be interesting to see how it goes, but the last time I looked at it, even those authors lucky enough to get selected for a daily deal were grumbling that their results weren't all that great, considering how much the promo effort cost.

It also doesn't help that Amazon eliminated those also-boughts, which means that even if you DO get a BookBub daily deal, new readers will only see your featured book and not your other titles.

All in all, it's gotten a lot stingier out there.
 

MaxT

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Price point matters and when you go over 20 for a print book you are killing sales in particular for a book that targets younger more broke readers.
Thank you, I will put the price to 19,99 ;)
IMO, BookBub has gone seriously downhill in terms of promoting indie books. All in all, I've had really good luck with getting daily deals, but it's been a few years since I tried to get one. (Thinking back, I don't think that my romance pen name was ever turned down for a Daily Deal, but this is probably because I was pretty selective in how I submitted them.)

During the indie goldrush years, traditional publishers weren't doing a lot of this sort of thing (advertising in new ways), which meant that Indie authors were competing mostly with each other. From what I understand, BookBub now features lots of books from traditional publishers, which surely makes it a lot harder to get daily deals if you're not published by one of the big six. Or is it the big five? They're consolidating so much, I can hardly keep track.

Maybe three years ago, I had some good results using BookBub's (non-daily deal) advertising program. But the last time I tried it, I paid a lot of money for pretty lackluster results.

When I jump back into self-publishing, I'll probably give BookBub another try. It will be interesting to see how it goes, but the last time I looked at it, even those authors lucky enough to get selected for a daily deal were grumbling that their results weren't all that great, considering how much the promo effort cost.

It also doesn't help that Amazon eliminated those also-boughts, which means that even if you DO get a BookBub daily deal, new readers will only see your featured book and not your other titles.

All in all, it's gotten a lot stingier out there.
I will try anyway, it always allows to have a little more referencing ;).
Thank you for your feedback on Book Bub, it helps me learn more. :)
Have you tried promoting with Amazon? For my part, I had really disappointing results, and it is very expensive.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Sorta reflects what I've been saying, that the days of an indie-self-publisher waging war against a big trade publisher is disappearing fast as big-tech ups their collusion with deep pocketed corporations, so now we get more Ken Follet and Nora Roberts, and less Joe Indie and Martha DIY.

 

ChickenHawk

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Have you tried promoting with Amazon? For my part, I had really disappointing results, and it is very expensive.
Yup, I've done a lot of promoting with Amazon. As you say, it's quite pricey. It's soooooo easy to burn through a lot of money on those campaigns, that's for sure! I've had campaigns that were profitable and some that weren't. But it's been at least a year since I've spent serious money on it. I doubt the prices have gone down though!

* "Sorta reflects what I've been saying, that the days of an indie-self-publisher waging war against a big trade publisher is disappearing fast as big-tech ups their collusion with deep pocketed corporations, so now we get more Ken Follet and Nora Roberts, and less Joe Indie and Martha DIY." -- Quoting the post above by @MJ DeMarco*

Here's an annoying little nugget. I've been doing serious research on keywords in my genre (romance). I found this whole bunch of AWESOME keywords centered around "Indie Author," like "Indie Author New Adult Romance." But before I started using these great terms, I actually went to Amazon, and searched these terms in their "Kindle Store" (as opposed to just searching in the regular Amazon search bar without saying where I want it to search).

Anywaaaaay, so I type in "Indie Author New Adult Romance," and guess what comes up first? A DOZEN books by trad publishers. Why, you ask? Well, it's because these books are "Editor's Picks." So basically, there's this great batch of keywords just for fans of indie authors, and Amazon has crammed the prime spots with stuff by Simon & Schuster.

It's just amazing to me, and not in a good way, how manipulated much of Amazon's store has become.

(*Edited to include quote from MJ' DeMarco about indies vs. big-trade publishers because that's what got me thinking of my keyword frustration.)
 
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