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Last updated on Apr 12, 2024

BookBub for Authors: How to Reach a Million+ New Readers

Gone are the days when new authors had to travel the country and personally promote their books in bookshops, schools, and church fairs. There are now many tried-and-true methods for getting your book in front of new readers, but few of them are as powerful as BookBub.

In this guide, we'll examine the single most powerful book promotion service on the Internet and show you how authors at all stages of their careers can benefit from BookBub's ocean of users.

An author's guide to BookBub:

What is BookBub?

BookBub is a free service focused on helping readers discover new books. Best known for its daily newsletters promoting a handpicked selection of "deals” (i.e., books that are discounted or free for a limited time), BookBub can generate hundreds or even thousands of sales for featured titles and tens of thousands of downloads for free titles.

Readers will sign up for BookBub for the express purpose of having book deals promoted to them — which makes the mailing list a veritable gold mine for authors. These readers choose the genres they like, and they'll get a targeted newsletter every day with new discounted books from mainstream and indie authors.

bookbub interface
Readers can find discounted and free books in their favorite genres.

For popular categories like Crime Fiction, BookBub's newsletters will reach over 2.5 million users, while more niche newsletters like Business Books might only get to 400,000 readers.

In the past few years, BookBub’s reputation for helping to 'break' new writers has made them an indispensable part of any self-publishing author’s promotional plan

In the rest of this guide, we'll examine the three main ways that authors can reach these audiences. 

Featured Deals are the crown jewel in BookBub's offerings for authors. For each of its 42 genre categories, BookBub sends a daily newsletter to readers featuring discounted and/or free book deals.

In recent years, securing a spot among these Featured Deals has become somewhat of a holy grail for independent authors.

BookBub/Featured Deals

It's free to submit your book for a Featured Deal, but if it’s accepted, you’ll have to pay BookBub for the feature. Prices will vary depending on the genre and your discount rate: the more popular a genre is, the pricier the featured deal. Similarly, a 99c book deal is cheaper to feature than a deal where the book is reduced to $2.49. 

As an example, here are the rates for a Contemporary Romance book in 2024:

  • Free book: $665
  • 99c book: $966
  • $1–$2 book: $1,694    
  • $2-$3 book: $2,417    

In this category, BookBub guarantees that it will send this deal to over 1,540,000 subscribers, which, according to its data, can result in an average of 35,050 downloads (for a free book) and anywhere between 250 and 6,550 purchases for a paid book. For authors looking to acquire new readers, this is potentially massive.

You can view a full table of prices here, along with average sales and downloads for each genre.

BookBub is highly selective about the books they promote to their mailing list, so it’s important that your submission meets their official criteria. However, meeting these requirements certainly doesn’t guarantee your title a spot in a newsletter — far from it.

Tips for securing a bookbub featured dealSome say that BookBub’s editorial teams nowadays favor deals from traditional publishers, though the company has formally denied this. Regardless, one thing is for sure: BookBub bases its decisions on book performance data.

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can boost your chances of getting that coveted Featured Deal.

1. Have enough reviews. Look through your category on Amazon and see how many user and editorial reviews the other books have. Don't waste your time applying for featured deals until you can compete with the other books in your genre.

2. Polish your product pages on all retailers. BookBub will push its readers to your page on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, etc. If your landing pages aren't compelling and optimized for sales, they'll reflect poorly on BookBub.

3. Keep submitting. BookBub allows you to re-submit a book every 30 days. If you have multiple books, you can continually submit them all on a 30-day rolling basis.

4. Be flexible with your re-submissions. BookBub’s goal is to offer its audience the best possible deals, so the lower the price you can offer, the higher your chances of being accepted.

5. Go wide. So if a book is available on all major retailers, more readers will be able to snatch it up, which makes the book more appealing to the editors. If you're enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (and are, therefore, Amazon-only), this could hurt your chances



Amazon Author Page Checklist

Our step-by-step guide will help you make the most of your author page.

As you might have gleaned, landing a Featured Deal is no easy feat. So what are your other options?

Note: it's highly unrealistic to apply for a BookBub Featured Deal for a new release, as you won’t have any reviews to show for it. If you want your book launch to go off with a bang, you could submit your book to Reedsy’s reviewers and gain exposure to thousands of new readers, or you could try another one of their products: Featured New Releases.

BookBub Ads

While each newsletter generally contains three to five Featured Deals, each will have an advertisement at the bottom, also targeted at that newsletter’s audience. With this promo spot, BookBub is a little less fussy about who gets shown there.

BookBub/self-serve ads
A featured deal (top) followed by a BookBub ad.

Considering the reach of BookBub's newsletters (which can drive thousands of buys and downloads), these ads have incredible potential.

How much does it cost to advertise on BookBub?

Like many digital advertising platforms, BookBub Ads works on a bidding system. Users can set the maximum amount they're willing to pay to have their advert displayed to a certain audience. When the reader opens their newsletter, the system will see who has bid the highest and then serve their ad.

Naturally, more popular and lucrative genres will have, on average, higher winning bids – which might be over $10 per 1,000 user impressions. Advertisers also have the option to choose CPC (cost-per-click) ads, in which they only pay when users interact with the ad spot.

For tips on how to set up a campaign and start experimenting with audiences and creatives, see our in-depth guide to BookBub advertising.

If advertising isn't quite your bag, BookBub still offers one more promotional feature.

BookBub Reviews

Like many sites in the book space, BookBub has a book discovery aspect that lets users "follow" authors they like and view all their books. A quick browse will reveal bestselling authors like Neil Gaiman and N.K. Jemisin. However, any author can claim a profile on BookBub.

BookBub/follow features

Once you’ve claimed your author profile and books on BookBub, you’ll soon notice that readers can rate and review your book on the platform. In many ways, this is similar to reader reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Reedsy Discovery.

Collecting a handful of positive reviews and five-star ratings under its belt on this platform could mean that your book will be in a much better position to convince any readers who arrive on your ‘deal’ page.

A bookbub review of "How to Market a Book"
Reedsy's Ricardo Fayet has nine reviews on BookBub. Come on, Ricardo! You can do better 😜

Through this review platform, fellow BookBub authors can recommend you to their readers, which gives you yet another route to accrue new readers. If anything, it’s another great incentive for you to network with other writers!

Though a relatively minor opportunity compared to Ads and Featured Deals, securing your BookBub page is very low effort — so it's something that every author should do. 

For a deeper look into this feature, check out Reedsy's review of BookBub Reviews.

That’s pretty much the short version of what BookBub can do for authors. If you're interested in checking out their advertising feature, remember to check out our guide to BookBub ads.

2 responses

Peter Ralph says:

19/07/2019 – 01:21

Some perspective. What authors should know is that BookBub’s daily email (all categories) on average comprises 41 books. Of that 41, 27 to 28 are allocated to traditional publishers (16-20 to Random House & Harper Collins), and 13 to 14, to indies. “Not bad,” I hear you say. However, of the indie allocations, 6 go to romance writers (there are 11 to 12 romance novels featured per day). So, after omitting romance, there are 7 to 8 deals allocated to indies. Today (18 July 2019) was a good day for indies … there were 9 … thrillers 2, LGBT 1, African American 1, Horror 1, Fantasy 1, Science Fiction 1, Christian fiction 1, and chick lit 1. Thrillers and Crime Fiction are on average allocated 4 deals per day. In the past seven days, there were 26 Deals … Harper Collins 8, Random House 5, other traditional publishers 5, and indies 8 (about one per day). Of the 8 deals allocated to indies, 6 were FREE, and 2 were $0.99. Indies who win deals in these categories seem to be “regulars.” Dennis Carstens won his third deal in the past 12 months today and J A Konrath his second in the past 6 months. On the face of it this appears to be a minus, however, if you can crack it for one deal, it may be the entrée to more? BookBub’s “criteria” for selecting books should be viewed as loose guidelines rather than strict rules. Many books do not meet the page guidelines, many are not remotely close to being error-free, and authors OFTEN receive multiple deals within a thirty-day period. The evidence suggests that reader reviews play little part in BookBub’s selection process. Many books are selected with very few reviews, and others are selected when the vast majority of reviews are unverified. However, editorial reviews appear to have a significant impact. I today’s email, the LGBT book had 20 reviews, 5 verified, the African American book 5 all verified, the horror book 43, 12 verified, the science fiction 1 verified. That’s 4 books with an aggregate 23 reviews! Hardly a ringing endorsement of the view that reader reviews play a major part in the selection process. Contrary to the claim in the article, 18% of featured books are made up of new releases (my definition of a “new release” being a book released within twelve months of being featured). In terms of resubmitting your books, this can be done twice in every 30-day period ... once as a FREE submission and the other as a PRICED submission. The odds of an indie’s book being selected for a PRICED submission are extremely long, and it is rare to see an indie’s book ever break $0.99 to the upside. Winning an international deal is, in most cases, like winning the booby prize. Without the U.S. market, the ROI will probably be negative. Authors should think carefully before accepting an international deal. David Gaughran in his excellent BookBub Ads Expert, says Featured Deals are “heavily curated” without defining heavily curated. I’d love to know what he means because it certainly doesn’t include “error free.” Curate is one of today’s most misused words. My shoe shop is now curating shoes. Spare me!

Brenda says:

17/08/2019 – 09:42

Are there any non-USA based authors out there who run BookBub Ads? Just wondering how it works on your country's credit card!I am particularly interested in Australia. Do they keep 'taking off' a little bit each time? OK for USA cards, but not for those requiring conversion of currencies surely?

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