Sunday, August 21, 2016

#BookBub Promo Comparison: #Free vs. #99cents

Hey guys!!!! Okay, forgive my exuberance. I'm a little over the moon right now. Today is a big day for me. It's my first time being featured for a 99¢ deal with BookBub. Squeeee! 

I've run 4 free book promos with BookBub in the past, all of which yielded fantastic results. I really cannot sing enough praises about BookBub. Which is why I thought it would be worthwhile to run a 99¢ promo with them too. I know, I know. The cost is twice as much as a free promo, but if the free promo results were any indication, I knew it would be worth the added expense.

Here are a few key things that pushed me to sign up for a paid vs. a free BookBub promo this time around:

1) Amazon has 2 separate bestsellers lists--one for free books and one for paid books. Let's not sugarcoat it. The paid list is definitely the one authors want to see their name on the most. Not only does it result in a nicer paycheck (even if you've discounted your book), but it holds more prestige.

2) Free book downloads do not count toward the NYT or USA Today bestsellers lists. They only care about paid sales, so authors promoting a free book can kiss their chance (no matter how slim, we all like to dream, yeah?) at hitting those lists goodbye. 

3) I've already run 4 free book promos with BookBub. For the same book. Don't get me wrong--each promo has been amazing, and each resulted in lots of sales for my other books. I will totally be submitting for more free book promos in the future. But it definitely felt like it was time to do something fresh. The bundled set of my first 3 Lana books usually goes for $4.99, the highest priced book I have on the market currently. Dropping the price to 99¢ was the best deal I could offer after my free book, so that's the direction I chose to go.

There are some pretty serious differences when it comes to running a discounted book rather than a perma-free book. If you too are considering taking a step up with BookBub and submitting for a most costly (and more rewarding) promo, here are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind:

1) Your book has to be available at your discounted price by 12am Pacific time on the day of your deal. Amazon's fine print says they can take up to 72 hours to apply a price change to your book. It usually doesn't take that long (mine took about 24 hours), but better safe than sorry. If you distribute to non-Amazon retailers through Smashwords (or another multi-retailer distribution service) discount your book several days in advance--check the site FAQs for more specifics. Often, it can take several days for the change to be applied at all retailers.

2) Be extra careful when it comes to retailer sites in other countries. The Apple stores in Canada and Australia do not like to discount books below $1.99, so even when you change your price to 99¢, you will not see that reflected in those stores unless you go the extra mile and email your distributor directly... maybe. If you're lucky. On second thought, I might just not check those 2 boxes next time.

3)  If you're seriously trying to hit a big list, don't rely on BookBub to do 100% of the work. They're like a trampoline, greatly multiplying your efforts, but you'll always go higher if you put in a little extra effort. Send out a newsletter, create (or hire someone to create) several graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Change out your FB cover, post a graphic on your website, post links to Facebook groups for bargain books. Sign up for other book promos. Every little bit helps when you're reaching for the moon.

#1 in Fantasy Anthologies on Amazon. Not too bad. And it's only 3 o'clock. Now time to aim for the Amazon top 100! ; )

Best of luck in all your Bookish adventures! xoxo

***UPDATE: The Lana bundle reached #40 in the US Kindle store yesterday! It also reached #8 in Canada, #21 in Australia, and #96 in the UK. Author level unlocked: International Best Seller status. Score!

The numbers are slowly declining now, as expected, but they're still not bad, including the author list rankings. ♥

 Here I am, just hanging out with some of my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy authors. No big deal. *must contain squees*


  1. I've always done paid Bookbub promos, never for a free book, so I'm curious: How long did it take for you to break even on the cost of the BookBub promo for the free book with sales of your other books? And how many other books saw sales spikes? This is research for a writing biz book I'm getting ready to release, and I'll be happy to attribute you (and this article) if you like.
    Thanks and have a lovely week!
    Kim Headlee
    Stories make us greater.

    1. Hi Kim! A free title does best with BookBub when it's the first in a series and available on multiple platforms. I had 3 novels in my Lana Harvey series before running a free book promo for Graveyard Shift, book 1, and purchases for the other 2 books skyrocketed. I broke even before dinnertime on promo day. :) Good luck with your business book! It sounds interesting. :) Hope you have a lovely week too!

    2. Thanks so much for your insight, Angela! It confirms what I've suspected all along: three is the magic minimum number of volumes to have available before making volume 1 free. Right now I have 2.1 volumes in my Dragon's Dove Chronicles series available; the second installment of book 3 is in the hands of my editor. I think I'll wait on trying a free promo of book one until book 3 is completely finished -- and, as you say, available on multiple platforms. :)


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