So What’s the Deal with Bookbub?

On Monday of this week, I got an email from my publisher with some exciting news: Tidepool is going to be one of BookBub’s featured deals on Sunday, Sept. 5, in both the US and international newsletters.

I’m mostly writing this entry because the first thing I did when I found out about the deal was start frantically Googling to see what kind of pointers I could find. Perhaps a future frantic Googler will find this entry and appreciate my story. Hi, future person! 

A BookBub featured deal has often been called the Holy Grail of author promotions. BookBub sends out a daily newsletter featuring links to heavily discounted or free eBooks. And BookBub is notoriously picky. Authors or their publishers have to apply for a deal, and those aren’t cheap. The staff curates their choices very carefully, and their subscribers trust them to promote good stuff. The result is that an author will usually get a massive bump in sales during a BookBub feature. Author friends of mine have rocketed to the top of their Amazon categories after being in a newsletter. A BookBub deal is that good. 

Not surprisingly, tons of authors apply for BookBub featured deals, and relatively few get one without trying several times. I had no idea my publisher had applied for one for me, so the news came as a complete surprise. 

However, we all learned about the deal last Monday, and Tidepool is going to be in BookBub’s newsletter this Sunday. That’s a very short turnaround, and I have my work cut out for me if I want to maximize this incredible opportunity. 

Because authors hunting for a BookBub deal are curious about these things, here are my quick stats for Tidepool: 

– I’m traditionally published with a small publisher (Parliament House Press);

Tidepool came out on August 3, 2021, and had 37 Amazon reviews at the time it was chosen, averaging about a 4.4; 

Tidepool’s cover is freaking awesome–people have been marveling over Shayne Leighton’s amazing work since the day my cover was revealed, and I’m willing to bet the cover factored into BookBub’s decision; 

– The eBook was in wide release rather than just being uploaded to Amazon; and

– My deal is both US and international (which means the UK, Canada, Australia, and India). 

Today is the Thursday before the deal. My publisher set Tidepool’s eBook price to 99 cents on Tuesday, and I’ve been watching it sneak up the Amazon rankings all week since the price drop. 

After about a day or two in the top 100 of different genre categories after its release on August 3rd,  the eBook had been hovering around the mid-500s in Occult Fiction, Occult Horror, and Gothic Fiction. 

Today it hit the highest ranking it’s ever reached on Amazon: #63 in Gothic Fiction, #66 in Occult Horror, and #10, 219 overall in the Kindle Store. 

After some Googling, I learned about the concept of ad stacking, in which authors schedule several other newsletter promos around the same time as their BookBub deals to drive even more reader traffic to the sale and capitalize on Amazon’s algorithms to maintain bestseller status a little longer. Amazon’s skittery algorithms respond more favorably to steady growth than to a sudden spike and drop. 

However, while lots of similar promotional newsletters drive attention to free and discounted eBooks, you have to apply for those too and they fill up quickly. Several that I checked out had no spots available. And they aren’t free either; I’ve tried very hard not to spend more money promoting this novel than I’m realistically going to make from it.

In the end, I have a Fussy Librarian promo scheduled for tomorrow (Friday), and two promos, Robin Reads and Bargain Booksy, scheduled for Saturday, leading into the big BookBub feature on Sunday. Sounds pretty stack-y to me.

I whipped up some graphics on Canva and BookBrush, and I’ve been hitting my social media networks on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pretty hard. I also made an Instagram promoted post; those have always done a nice job of driving attention to Tidepool in the past. 

I’ve often felt reluctant to go overboard on social media promo, as I know some users are turned off when authors tout their books too much. But for this weekend? Screw that. If someone thinks I’m tacky for advertising the sale too much, they can mute me or just unfollow. Now is not the time to be timid. 

What’s going to happen? I’ll cover the results in the next entry. I can’t see my direct sales figures, but I hope the Amazon rankings will give me enough of a clue about how this is working out. I’m really, really excited about this opportunity to get Tidepool in front of a lot more readers all over the world. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Note: I copied a lot of my strategy from this article, which I found enormously helpful. I’m also stealing his animal photo idea on Sunday, although I’m using my cats instead of dogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *