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Posted on Jul 03, 2019

What is BookBub: The Ultimate Guide for Authors

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

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. However, their deals aren’t the only things that BookBub has to offer to authors.

If you want to know how best you can leverage BookBub’s different tools to propel your own books in the rankings, then this series of posts will help you do just that! 

Featured Deals are the crown jewel in BookBub's offerings for authors. 

For each of their 42 genre categories, BookBub sends a daily newsletter to readers featuring discounted and/or free book deals. Securing a spot among these Featured Deals has, in recent years, become somewhat of a holy grail for independent authors.

BookBub/Featured Deals

Although it doesn’t cost a penny to submit your book for a Featured Deal, if it’s accepted, you’ll have to pay BookBub for the feature (and fork out for a bottle of champagne to celebrate🍾). 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 lucrative $2.49 deal. You can view a full table of prices here.

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.

For top tips on nabbing those elusive spots, jump straight to our next article on getting a BookBub Featured Deal.

BookBub self-serve CPM/CPC ads

While it’s getting more and more difficult for indie authors to get a Featured Deal, it’s very easy to get your book in a newsletter. How? Through BookBub’s self-serve ads

A few years ago, the company launched “BookBub Ads,” an advertising platform that lets authors and publishers place image ads in their newsletters (and on their website). While each newsletter generally contains three to five Featured Deals, each of them will have an ad at the bottom, targeted at that newsletter’s audience.

BookBub/self-serve ads

This star-spangled image is not a Featured Deal — it’s an ad placed by an author or their publisher. Considering the reach of BookBub's newsletters (which can drive thousands of buys and downloads), these ads have incredible potential.

How do you secure such an ad? To find out, skip straight to our section on creating a killer BookBub ad.

BookBub author accounts and follow features

BookBub allows readers to “follow” the authors they like, and view all of their works on their author profiles. How do I create an author profile on BookBub? we hear you ask.

It’s easy (and completely free). Just head here, search for your name, and claim your author profile. You’ll then be able to customize it and add all your books. Here’s what a typical BookBub profile looks like.

BookBub/follow features

Notice that “follow” button? Readers who come across your books are prompted by BookBub to “follow” your profile. They’ll also be able to find you in their “Discover” section.

Followers are valuable because BookBub sends an automatic “New Release Alert” to all your followers when you release a new book. So if you have 5,000 followers on there, that’s 5,000 marketing emails that BookBub sends for you — for free!

BookBub reviews

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 and Amazon. With a handful of positive reviews and five-star ratings under its belt, your book will be in a much better position to convince any readers who arrive on your ‘deal’ page.

bookbub for authors | the bookbub deal page showing a star rating
Your reviews can turn a wary reader into an excited one.

BookBub’s review platform also allows fellow BookBub authors to 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!

For a closer look at this platform (and whether developing your profile there is worth your time) check, head straight to our section on BookBub reviews.

And that’s pretty much the long-and-short of what BookBub can do for authors. If you’re ready, check out the next post in this series where we’ll show you how to maximize your chances of securing a coveted BookBub Featured Deal.

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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