So, how does it work? Well, if you apply to BookBub and they accept you for a listing—yep, that’s right, you apply and then pay them to list your book if accepted—they give your book a prominent listing on their website and blast a blurb out on the selected day to their millions of subscribers. But first you’ve got to put it on sale—that’s the big hook, after all. So when Serengeti was accepted (after 4 tries), Severed Press dropped the price to $0.99 for a week) and then we all sat back and chewed our nails.
I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into BookBub day. BookBub’s pricing page (https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing) provides average sales for books by category, and Serengeti (a sci-fi novel on sale for $0.99 in coordination with the BookBub promo) was targeted for 2,200 sales.
But those were just estimates. Averages based on other promos. And this was my book, my promo—I had no idea how Serengeti would measure up.
The $0.99 sale started on Monday, 1 August—I saw a few extra sales right away but not much. And then Serengeti’s big day rolled around--4 August 2016, Serengeti BookBub day. After a slow start, things really got rolling, Serengeti’s Amazon ranking jumping by leaps and bounds. At its peak, Serengeti maxed out at #22 in Kindle ebooks and #1 in all its sci-fi categories. And that 2,200 sales expectation? Well, from everything I read I should hit that on BookBub day.
Well, I didn’t. I didn’t even come close. Granted, I can only see Amazon sales data as reported by NovelRank (http://www.novelrank.com), not data from other sales outlets. And NovelRank only reports on some Amazon sites—Australia, critically, is missing from their data, which is potentially significant given my publisher, Severed Press, is an Australian company. Whatever the case, the data I did have access to told me that, on BookBub day, Serengeti sold just 159 ebook copies—a significant uptick from previous days, but nowhere near the 2,200 average advertised on the BookBub page.
That’s not what typically happens. From everything I’ve read, sales tend to peak on BookBub day, drop off precipitously and all but die once the sales promo is over. Oh! And as an added (and entirely unexpected) bonus? The ebook promo spilled over into audiobook sales. I don’t have access to audiobook sales data like I do for ebooks but at one point, Serengeti was ranked #6 in sci-fi audiobooks.
Interesting. Very interesting. Especially since I can only see a portion of the sales data. And it’ll be even more interesting to see if those sales stay.
Even if they don’t, BookBub helped me connect with a ton more readers and secure a few more fans. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, right? I mean, yeah. Sales are nice and all but connecting with a reader, having them really, truly enjoy something you’ve written. Have them ask for a sequel because they really, really, really want more. Well, that’s it, isn’t it? Everything a writer could ever ask for. The whole reason I started writing in the first place.
So, three cheers for BookBub and a huge thanks to my publisher, Severed Press, for landing the promo for Serengeti. It was fun, it was exciting, and it helped me find all of you.