The biggest challenge in book discovery is setting your book apart from the millions of other books online. Every so often, some readers will pull your book out of a hat because it’s on an also bought list or because Amazon sent out word of your book through a targeted email. Most promotions like that are out of an author’s control, but there are some lists you can pay to get your book listed on.
Email is the best way to market almost anything, so it’s no surprise that companies like BookBub with massive curated email lists have been very successful selling books. BookBub is the only email advertiser with almost guaranteed profitability, though there is a strong second tier with a good track record that includes eReaderNewsToday, Kindle Books & Tips, and Bargain Booksy. What these email advertisers have in common is their ability to get your needle of a book out of its Amazon haystack to put it in front of new potential readers.
Why Does This Strategy Work?
As the digital book age began to flourish, several companies saw the value in creating a service that would alert readers to discounts on good books. Millions of readers flocked to these services, and BookBub was the most successful of the bunch. BookBub topped former email advertising stalwart Kindle Nation Daily because the former never compromised its strict quality standards. It rarely recommended a bad book, so voracious readers knew they could trust the service to only point out the best titles.
The strongest email advertisers have curated lists of book buyers who make purchases in certain genres. When you have a sci-fi book, for instance, there are few better ways to promote the book than to send a link of it out to 50,000 sci-fi fans who don’t have a problem clicking the buy button. The email advertisers work because they have incredible lists that are proven to move thousands of books at a time.
BookBub and similar services also promote free books to their subscribers. By purchasing the right combination of services, authors have been known to give away tens of thousands of copies of their free books in a single weekend.
How Does The Strategy Work?
Most of the hard work in getting an email advertiser on board comes in making your book seem strong enough to warrant a feature. BookBub’s standards are extremely high and the majority of authors who submit are rejected. What the 80 to 90 percent of rejections don’t realize is that there’s a sliding scale of qualifications for each genre.
You must look at the books BookBub has featured in your genre and judge your submission against theirs. If the books range from 150 to 500 reviews at a very high rating, then your book with 25 reviews isn’t going to stand a chance. The only exception here is a single author book bundle, which they’ll give a little leeway to as long as the books inside it have a large number of reviews on their own.
Get your book to the same level as the other books in your genre that BookBub has previously featured. If that means getting 300 reviews to get in the middle of 150 and 500 reviews the other books have, then that’s the burden you must bear. That may sound insane if you’re just starting out, but it’s what you’ve got to do to even be considered for a feature.
Once you’re accepted by the almighty BookBub, you can plan the rest of your promotion around the date you’ve been given. Seek out promotions at eReaderNewsToday, Kindle Books & Tips, The Midlist, Bargain Booksy and other well-known second tier email advertisers. Do your research to make sure you aren’t throwing your money away on an unknown service.
Amazon’s algorithm works in your favor when you have consistent sales or downloads over the course of multiple days. That’s why you should spread out your email advertisers over the course of five or more days. For instance, if you get a BookBub scheduled for a Tuesday, then you might want to get other email advertisers on that Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.
The last part of the strategy is to make sure your book is prepared for your promotion. Schedule any discounts to go through at least 24 hours before your promotion. Use our previously mentioned Two Books Free strategy and have a version of your book with your email list advertisement uploaded at least a week ahead of time. Ensure that all your books link to future books in your series to get the best chance of a sell-through.
Getting Accepted Is a Journey Worth Taking
Many authors have described applying to BookBub as a Sisyphean task that often sees them getting crushed by an out-of-control boulder. If you go about the first part of the strategy in the right way, however, then you’ll work your tail off to get more reviews on your book and constantly strengthen your cover, your description, and your Look Inside. You may never get accepted by the big kahuna of email marketing, but if you work hard to try, you’ll only improve your chances of selling more books.
By the time you’ve finally improved your book’s credentials to the level of BookBub acceptance, you’ll have a title that’s bound to get much more reader attention as well.