The Wide Indie Author Part 3: Can Going Wide Help You Get a Bookbub?

The Bookbub featured deal.

Holy grail to so many indie authors, the elusive promotional opportunity we all try so hard to get, and are so often knocked back for.

But are you more likely to get a Bookbub as a wide author?

The Bookbub promotion requirements would indicate as much. Here’s the sixth item on the list:

Widely available. We only feature deals that are available on at least one major retailer in either the US or the UK. And the more, the merrier.”

Bookbub featured deal requirements

That ‘the more, the merrier’ makes it pretty clear. Bookbub like books to be available on as many retailers as possible.

And by going wide, you expand your reach massively. I’ve gone from having my books available via one retailer (Amazon) to over a dozen (iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Nook, Scribd and more internationally), plus libraries.

And I know that the experience of one just-gone-wide author isn’t much to go on, but last week I got a featured deal for one of my thrillers, Thicker Than Water, the first time I applied after going wide. Admittedly it is an international deal, which will run everywhere except the US, but it’s still a featured deal, and will be much cheaper to run than a US one so should still be profitable.

I haven’t applied for a deal for this book before. It was my first novel and didn’t have many reviews. I gave it a big review push earlier this year (it also got an edit and a new cover) and now has enough reviews that I felt Bookbub would look at it favorably.

Bookbub don’t say you have to have reviews to get a deal, but anecdotal evidence from writers I’ve spoken to would suggest that it helps. So I waited until I had those reviews, and until I’d taken the book wide.

My deal runs in just under two weeks, and of course I’ll be reporting back here on how it went. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how it sells in the non-Amazon stores. And I want to be reassured that my wide sales will make up for the fact that in Amazon, I’ll be on a 35% royalty share and not the 70% I would have been if I’d run a countdown deal.

Bookbub is one of the reasons I went wide. I’ve had success advertising this book using Bookbub ads (which are different from featured deals) and wanted to be able to widen that promotion to other retailers. A featured deal is even better, and means I haven’t run any ads on Bookbub for this book yet – I can’t see much point when it’s getting a deal. But I do need to put together a plan for advertising the book in the run-up to the featured deal, to keep its rankings buoyant.

Although part of me is tempted to just leave it alone. I’d like to see the impact of a Bookbub featured deal on a wide book without any extra promo, just to see how it compares on the retailers.

What I actually do in terms of promotion will be down to time, budget, and what data I want to gather: I still haven’t decided.

So here are my (current) goals from the deal:

  1. To make a profit in the week of the deal.
  2. To increase sales in the following two weeks, both of this book and its sequel.
  3. To increase visibility outside Amazon and outside the UK and US (Canada is a market that has responded quite well to this book on Amazon so I hope to get good sales on Kobo)
  4. To gather data about the impact of a Bookbub on sales in the wide retailers which will help me make judgements about future promotions.
  5. To get pre-orders for the third book in the series, which will be published in July (I haven’t written it yet, so putting it on pre-order will be interesting!)

I’ll report back on those goals after the deal. See you then!

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