Today’s guest post is by Geraldine Evans, a British writer of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama. She and I met in LinkedIn’s Book Marketing group when she shared her experience using BookBub, a site that alerts interested readers to limited-time free and discounted ebooks matching their interests.
I’ve used BookBub to find new reading material for a couple of years now, but had wondered how it works out from the author’s perspective. When Geraldine shared such a comprehensive review of her experience, I asked her if she’d be willing to do the same thing here for you.
I know there are a lot of numbers involved and that sometimes you’d prefer to avoid those, but they’re worth delving into. So, sit back and enjoy! I promise you, it will get those creative juices flowing.
Are you considering paying for an ad for your book with BookBub? What are you waiting for? Go for it! You’re likely to find it’s worth every penny. Yes, it’s expensive; it was the cost that held me back. Well, that, and the comments on kboards.com/Writers’ Café. According to many members on that forum, getting your book accepted by BookBub was about as likely as flying off on Richard Branson’s spaceship.
But my book was accepted on my very first application. No, I’m not a well-known name. No, I don’t have hundreds of reviews from a dedicated coterie of readers. And I’m definitely not sleeping with the management! And the book for which I wanted the ad is in the mystery/thriller genre, one of their most popular categories. So I had lots of competition.
But, what I think may have worked in my favour is that I was willing to be flexible on my choice of date for the ad. Perhaps, too, the fact that I write mainly in series was also a no-brainer for them. Maybe they assumed I’d be only too willing to pay for further ads for each of the other books in my 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series. They wouldn’t be wrong about that as my experience with them was very positive.
Death Line is the third book in the series. I went with this book rather than the first in the series because, although it had fewer reviews than the first in series, cumulatively, they were better, averaging over four stars. Okay, I know BookBub themselves state on their website that good reviews aren’t the only criteria. But I thought it couldn’t hurt.
You’re probably interested in some figures. Just bear in mind that I’m not an international superstar selling in thousands. I’m just a humble, workaday author, striving to earn a reasonable living. If that sounds like you, too, an ad with BookBub might just serve to raise your profile.
As I said, the ad was for Death Line, the third in my 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn procedural series. The date of the BB ad was 9 March 2014.
I chose BB’s ‘free’ ad for the book, so, in order to get it free on Amazon, I also entered it in their Select programme and had four free days from 7 – 10 March 2014. I would guess that most of the increase in sales was down to the BB ad, as I’ve had books on Select in the past and their paid behaviour afterwards was not much improved.
Here’s the screenshot for 9 March, the day of my best ranking on amazon.com:
As you can see, Death Line reached a ranking of 2 Free Overall.
No 1 in Police Procedurals.
No 1 in British Detectives.
There was an all-country total download of 46,882, with the US responsible for nearly all of it.
Here’s the country by country Amazon breakdown mid-morning on 11 March, one day after my freebie offer finished and two days after the BookBub ad.
The paid sales are for ALL books, not just Death Line:
[Download Excel file: Death Line Free Sales on 11 March 2014 after BookBub ad on 9 March 2014]
Total Free Downloads: 46,882
Total Paid Sales ALL Books by 11 March 2014: 472
This total compares with an All Books Paid sales rate of 272 (including 3 borrows) by the same date in the previous month.
This worked out as a Total Daily Sales Rate for all books of 42.90 on 11 March compared to a Total Daily Sales Rate of 24.72 on 11 February 2014. The Predicted Monthly Sales Rates were 1,330, compared to a Predicted Monthly Sales Rate of 766.54 and an actual February Sales Rate of 630. (I’ve had to pretend in the predicted figure that February had 31 days instead of only 28 to give a proper comparison.)
In addition, the sales of the first and second in the series greatly increased and at mid-morning on 11 March had sales for the US totaling 152 for the first and 94 for the second in the series. Prior to the BookBub ad, sales for these two books were 11 and 8 respectively at 23.30 GMT on 7 March. Just over one a day.
So that would make the comparative Daily Sales of these books:
- Dead Before Morning 13.81 on 11 March and only 1.57 on 7 March
- Down Among the Dead Men 8.54 on 11 March and only 1.14 on 7 March.
I also made my very first sales of any sort to Brazil and Mexico and had only my second-ever Japanese downloads.
My latest sales figures for the first three books in the series (at 1.30 p m GMT on Monday 24 March 2014) are as follows:
My usual monthly income from all Amazon book sales is between £1,200 and £1,500, which is around US$1,978 to $2,473.
I have 24 books altogether on sale at Amazon (some under pen names).
Admittedly, we’re not dealing in enormous numbers of sales here; no J K Rowling, me! But the BB ad shifted an awful lot more books. I’ll leave you to work out the percentage increase.
So, if you’re considering investing in a BookBub ad, I’d say ‘Go for it’! You’ll find new readers, who will, hopefully, like your books enough to buy the entire series.
So what are your thoughts about Geraldine’s experience? Is a BookBub ad in your future?
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