Many indie authors call Bookbub the golden standard of online book advertising and I can’t say I disagree. Over the years their competitors like Pixel of Ink have either stopped accepting submissions or have gone under. Meanwhile Bookbub has only continued to grow with no signs of slowing down. In fact just two weeks ago, Bookbub announced they’ve secured seven million dollars in funding to take their company global. This is great news for indie authors who want to reach more readers and make more money from advertising.
Facts You Need to Know
- BookBub has a subscriber base of over 5 million members
- BookBub subscribers are spenders.
- BookBub has strict standards accepting only 10-20% of submissions
- They are not the most expensive place to advertise
- Most indie authors who use their services get an ROI (Return on investment)
- Even indie authors who don’t get an ROI, report a small boost in sales
Reviews Are Critical?
Author Brian Cohen, from the Sell More Books Show wanted to get his YA book, Ted Saves the World a Boobkbub ad however, that proved to be more difficult than expected. After several rejections, he wanted to know what the problem was. Determined to get answers, he studied BookBub and particularly, their YA list then noticed that many of the books in his genre had over 130 reviews, at the time, his book only had 115. Meanwhile, the bestsellers had anywhere between 200-300 reviews. He’s not the only author to notice this, many indie authors have also had to secure more reviews before Bookbub gave them the nod. However Bookbub claims reviews aren’t a deal breaker but I doubt they hurt your odds.
Tip: In February, BookBub held a discussion on the Kboards and answered many questions for indie authors. It’s very informative for those considering buying an ad.
Next to editing, writing a blurb is the most hated of tasks according to most authors. In fact, there are books and online courses devoted solely to helping authors nail this craft. However your blurb is not only important for your book’s Amazon sales page but also to BookBub. If your book sounds boring, why would they want to promote it? This would hurt their reputation with their subscribers. You have to remember this site is oriented toward readers, not authors. They don’t just take anything that comes in the door.
Many authors believe that they need to like their book cover but that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. This year at IndieRecon, bestselling author H.M. Ward, talked about how she didn’t necessary like all her book covers. In the beginning of her career, when her romance novels weren’t selling, she did some careful investigation and realized none of her book covers matched those on the market. Hers were more artsy and whimsical, while the books that were selling had pictures of attractive people in sexy poses.
It was a harsh lesson in marketing but she learned, romance readers expect a certain type of product. BookBub is no different, they expect your book to look a certain way whether it’s a sci-fi novel, or an erotic book. If the cover looks bland or weird, they may just pass it up. Remember presentation matters in this industry.
Price is a big deal on BookBub, if you read the page written exclusively for their subscribers, you’ll see they promise free and deeply discounted books. This means you have to compete and either go low, or even free. For those of you who are concerned about going too low, BookBub claims that 65% of their readers have reported recommending books they got for free on the site. Who knew?
Some authors have been willing to forgo advertising on major holidays and weekends in order to get their book in BookBub. There is a comment section of the application that allows you to alert them to the fact that you are not particular about dates. P.S. This didn’t work with our friend Brian Cohen. 😦
Study BookBub’s Patterns
In every genre there is a pattern or theme that BookBub is favoring at any given time. Now ask yourself, does your book even come near that? For example, if you’re looking to advertise your romance novel, are they favoring historical romances or contemporary ones? It would be wise to sign up for their newsletter (for readers) and see if you can find patterns. Also, don’t forget to sign up for their blog as well.
If you’ve done all that you can and BookBub is still not accepting your submission, then try going to their competitor like Ereader News Today, another site that indie authors rave about. You can also check out a post I wrote last year: Cheap Advertising for Indie Authors for more alternatives.