Since my fellow indie authors seemed to enjoy the last over-share that I posted, I’m going to reveal all here too. There’s a load of authors across the internet talking about their experiences with BookBub (usually raves). This is more-or-less another of those. But with actual numbers, because honestly, there’s not enough authors sharing the actual sales (or lack thereof) they get.
First things first: I applied literally by just putting my book link into their application. I did the absolute minimum. I didn’t put anything into their comments field. The book I applied for, Falling for a Rake, had about 10 reviews on Amazon (4.4 average), about 40 ratings on Goodreads, and a couple of quotes from well known romance review sites in the editorial reviews. It’s on Kindle Unlimited and is 270 pages / 70k words. I applied for USA + International and had no hope, to be honest. I heard back within a few days. An international featured deal. I ummed and ahhed about whether it was worth it, but took the punt and I’m glad I did.
The deal was 6 days away when they emailed me. It was a featured deal at £0.99/$0.99 costing $108 USD (about £84), for a Monday (a poor slot, I suspected, but wasn’t going to be fussy). Price was down from £1.99/$2.99 or whatever the standard Az price point is. At the time Bookbub said their average downloads for this promo is 390. At last look it’s 420 (but unfortunately I can’t take any credit for that increase – really – none).
Okay, so I know what you really want. You want numbers. And I’m going to provide them. I was basically starting from zero. This book had occasional sales and KU reads, but they’re pretty much all US. I did literally no other promo during that period, so this is the pure BookBub numbers. All these numbers exclude the USA.
Day of Bookbub: 148 featured book, 1 other
Day 2: 90 featured book, 0 other
Day 3: 10 featured book, 0 other
Day 4: 6 featured book, 0 other
Days thereafter 1 – 5 per day featured book, 0 other
Tailed off after about 3 weeks, particularly when I put the price back up to normal.
KU Page reads
Day of BookBub: ~2000
Day 2: 6900
Day 3: 6200
The next several days reads averaged about 2500. After that it levelled off and has remained at an average of about 1200 page reads per day (varying between about 600 and 2500 per day, with no clear reason for good or bad days). Six weeks or so later it’s averaging about 800 for Falling for a Rake. The KU split between books and countries is about the same as for total income (see below).
Total takings for 19 days after the promo were £190 ($246 USD).
Of that £115 was UK. Canada £35. Australia £40. Rest of World, less than a quid.
By book, £182 was the book on promotion. About £3 was a novella, and £5 was the next book in the series.
£70 was ebook royalties (i.e. direct sales), and £120 was KU royalties (estimated at same rate as previous month).
Some Q and A.
Was it worth it financially? Definitely. I mean, I’m not a millionaire now, but the ROI is approximately 2.2:1 for this initial period.
Is there read-through? Not for direct sales, but maybe on KU. There’s not as much sell through to the next book in the series as I would have liked, but since UK Amazon doesn’t always show series links on books, that’s not a huge surprise.
Did it gather reviews? Not on Amazon, but a couple of reviews and another 10 or so ratings on GoodReads, yes.
Is there continued benefit? Yes. Three weeks later the benefits are still clear. Now the price is back to normal the sales are down, but the KU pages are maintaining.
Am I convinced it would have been worth it without KU? No. My (limited) experience is that Amazon is around 80% of sales. Without KU I’d expect to have only just broken even.
Did it hit some bestselling lists? Yes. It was #1 in Victorian romance in Canada, UK and NZ for a few hours and on the top 100 for a few days, which was gratifying.
Why did my book under perform compared to the average of 390 sales? Based on my own buying behaviour with Bookbub, I suspect that big name authors are the ones that get big numbers of downloads. Smaller authors, not so much. It only takes a few big names to skew the average with a high tail, such that the median number is much smaller. Or. It might be that my book sucks. That’s also possible. Maybe you should read it and find out?
If you’d like to read another experience of the same thing, then I recommend Charlotte Brentwood who posted the results of her International BookBub deal. Her post gave me the confidence to cough-up the money to gamble on it, and I really appreciated it. I read a few of these sort of posts but hers was the best by miles.
I hope that was interesting for you. If you’d like to chat, I’m often found hanging around on Twitter and will willingly dish out anecdotal advice and thoughts. I’m particularly interested to chat with someone who did a BookBub free (rather than $0.99) featured deal with Bookbub. Do the KU reads make it worthwhile? It seems like past-me disabled comments on this site due to spam, so I won’t invite you to comment below, sorry.