The Wide Indie Author Part 5: Feedback From My First Wide Bookbub

So I had my first wide Bookbub. Admittedly it was an international Bookbub (so didn’t cover the USA), but it was a Bookbub nonetheless.

One of the reasons I went wide was to increase my chances of getting Bookbub featured deals. Bookbub say they like books to be available widely, and surely having a wide range of retailers is going to be part of that.

I went wide at the beginning of April, applied for a Bookbub for one of my books almost immediately, and was accepted. Whether that backs up my theory or is simply coincidence, we’ll never know.

But another benefit of being wide when running a Bookbub is the flexibility you have over pricing (this is proving to be one of my favorite things about the non-Amazon platforms).

The last time I ran an international Bookbub, I had to run it in the UK alone, because I was using a KDP Countdown Deal to reduce the price, and you can only run those in the USA and UK. So it meant I couldn’t promote the book to Canada, Australia or India.

This time was different.

So how did the book do?

Well, I have to admit it was a disappointment. The majority of sales were still on Amazon, and because of no longer being in KDP, it meant I had to take the hit of being at 35% royalty. Which on a 99p book, isn’t very much.

There was also the issue of Amazon mysteriously removing my series page at some point before the deal ran, which meant that people buying this book couldn’t immediately see it was part of a trilogy. (So annoying!)

And, more importantly (and I can’t blame anyone else for this), there was the fact that my deal came during the school holidays and I didn’t have the time to set up ads to support this. I had a choice between rushing through the process of creating the ads and not being 100% comfortable with the investment, or leaving the deal to run on its own. So I decided to let the deal run on its own. That way I would at least have data about how sales perform when a Bookbub isn’t propped up by ads.

But there were some positives. I got my first sales on Kobo and iBooks, including a significant proportion in Canada (which would have been impossible if I was still in KDP Select). That gives me a much more solid platform to apply for Kobo promotions in the future.

But the unmistakeable truth is that this time round, my Bookbub made a loss.

There was a tail of sales after the featured deal ran, as you can see from this graphic.

But it dropped off more quickly than for my last Bookbub (for a different book), partly because there wasn’t a tail of page reads.

I’m already woking to rectify this. Firstly, I’m running ads to my audience on Bookbub via the Bookbub ads platform. One of the big bonuses of getting a featured deal is that you expand your own audience on Bookbub and can retarget them with ads. Those ads are designed to encourage people to buy the sequel. And then I’ll follow up with ads for Book 3, which will be on pre-order (it’ll be interesting to see how that does).

So I’m not writing this off as a complete failure. I don’t think this Bookbub made a loss because I’m wide. I think it made a loss because I didn’t approach it the right way. So next time, I will:

  • Ensure my series page is up and running beforehand.
  • Schedule ads before and after the deal.

And when I get my next Bookbub, and I do those things, I’ll report back to you! It’s all data, and it’s all useful.

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