The Wide Indie Author: My Second Bookbub

One of the reasons I decided to go wide with my books was because it’s easier to get a Bookbub featured deal. It’s said that Bookbub look more favorably on books that are available outside Amazon, and they say so themselves in their submission criteria.

So I’ve been interested to see how my Bookbub submissions have been getting along since going wide.

The news is pretty good: so far, I’ve been accepted for two International Bookbubs (which means they don’t run in the US). I’m still applying every 30 days for the elusive US Bookbub, as I know how powerful they can be. But for my UK-based political thrillers, it’s more appriate to focus outside the US as they don’t fare so well there.

My first Bookbub wasn’t a huge success. It was for part one in my political thriller trilogy, and broke even – just.

So how would my second ‘bub fare?

This one did much better. It was for Sea Of Lies, the second part in a trilogy of psychological thrillers with a lightly post-apolcalyptic setting (no zombies, which is why I market them as psychological thrillers and not postapoc).

The interesting thing was that running a Bookbub on book 2 in a trilogy led to a bog boost in sales for book 1, which was a bonus. It also boosted pre-orders of book 3, which came out in early August, after the Bookbub.

Here are my figures for the month including and after the featured deal:

  • Thicker Than Water (book 1) sold 132 copies on Kindle, 27 on Kobo, 20 on iBooks and 7 on Barnes & Noble
  • Sea of Lies (book 2, the featured one) sold 338 on Kindle, 120 on Kobo, 108 on iBooks and 4 (wow!) on Barnes & Noble
  • One of Us (book 3) had 37 pre-orders on Kindle and 11 on Kobo

In total that’s 804 books sold. Not loads, but I hadn’t been doing any marketing for that series so it was a boost. 507 of those were on Amazon and the remaining 297 (37%) wide.

I ran ads to the series page in the days before and after the deal but almost half of sales were on the day of the deal. I also ran placements on the smaller reader newsletters (bargainbooksy etc.) for book 1 the day of the deal and book 2 the day after to keep rank up. I believe the ads sold more than the newsletter placements.

The good news is that despite having to take the 35% royalty because of not being exclusive (I couldn’t run a countdown deal) and not having KU page reads, I still made a profit – my ROI when you factor in the ads and other newsletters was approximately 127%. If I’d been more aggressive with the ads it could have been more, but then with being wide, it might not – short term visibility isn’t such a good thing when you aren’t in Kindle Unlimited.

I may have made more if I’d been exclusive, as more than 50% of sales were on Amazon, but the question is: would I have got the Bookbub in the first place? Maybe, maybe not.

It’s put me in a stronger position to be accepted for promotions on Kobo in the future and helped me start to build a wide readership – so I’m happy. Not ecstatic just yet – I’m keeping an eye on progress – but happy.

If I get any more featured deals I’ll write it up here – I’m still trying to get a US and International one, I haven’t had one of those yet. That would be sweet!

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