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Breaking into BookBub

Alessandra Torre, NYT Bestselling Author

There was a time when getting a BookBub Featured Deal was akin to hitting the lottery. Champagne was popped, authors started screaming in joy, and money was guaranteed to fall from the sky (or at least via ACH deposit).

Those windfall days are over, but a BookBub Featured Deal is still a gold mine of opportunity for authors – and it isn’t the only opportunity BookBub provides. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how Featured Deals work, how you can increase your odds of getting one, what you can do to capitalize on your Featured Deal and other BookBub promo opportunities.

Okay, let’s dive into…

What is a BookBub Featured Deal and how does it work?

Each day, BookBub emails millions of readers a curated list of discounted ebooks targeted by category. As an author, you can apply for one of those paid slots. They receive hundreds of submissions (an average of 300+ per day) and only select a handful per genre, so your book has to stand out (see below for tips). If selected, you will have to pay the invoice and discount your book on the appropriate day. Because the BookBub email reaches hundreds of thousands of readers, sales or downloads typically spike due to a BookBub Featured Deal placement.

How can my book be accepted for a BookBub Featured Deal?

There are ways that you can increase your chances of being accepted for a Featured Deal. Here are 8 tips:

  1. Publish wide. If you have a book in Kindle Unlimited, the chances are greatly diminished of being accepted. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it is much, much harder. Most KU authors trying to get an FD will publish wide just for the BookBub, then return their book to KU after the price promotion.
  2. Take a hard look at your cover. BookBub has made it clear that they (and readers) DO judge a book by its cover, and will only select books that have professional-looking covers that are appealing to readers. If your cover looks outdated, homemade, or outside the norms – they will likely pass on your book.
  3. Make sure you have enough reviews. BookBub doesn’t have an official review minimum, but word on the street is that you need at least 25 reviews to be considered – and an average of 4.25 stars or more.
  4. Point out the tropes and trends that your book appeals to. They are looking for and are more likely to select books that appeal to current and popular trends, tropes, and subgenres. When you fill out the application, there’s an optional box for comments. Use that to alert BookBub to any reader hot points that might not be apparent in your book’s blurb or cover.
  5. Discount further. Make sure that your discount is at least 75% off the list price. If your book is permafree or normally a 99c title, it won’t be accepted. You need to be discounting a full-price book (one that hasn’t been put on sale in at least 90 days), and the steeper the discount, the more likely the acceptance.
  6. Be flexible with timing. There is a question on the application that asks if your dates are flexible. There is only one correct answer: YES.
  7. Make your Amazon book page as attractive as possible. This means great reviews (as mentioned above), but also a book description with a clear elevator pitch and the plot/stakes revealed.
  8. Apply often. You can submit the same title at the same price point every 30 days, or lower the price point and resubmit right away. Some authors apply over a dozen times before they are accepted, so don’t be shy or get discouraged if you aren’t accepted.

If accepted, how do I capitalize on my BookBub Featured Deal?

BookBub Featured Deals aren’t cheap. They vary in price depending on your price point and the genre you apply for, but they can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands (see full price list here). So with that investment – you want to make sure that you have as much of an impact as possible.

Update your back matter. Make sure your back matter is ON POINT. This is very, very important, hence the all caps. Your BBFD will not pay for itself on the discounted book (unless your book is a magical unicorn). You will lose money on the discounted book – so you need to make money on the read-through from the discounted book.

Bottom line: Your discounted book needs to sell readers on a different, full-priced book, and the end of the book is where you will do that. Add a clear and appealing Call-To-Action on the final page of your book with a purchase link – and make sure that book is a natural follow to the discounted book (either in the same series or same subgenre/trope/feel.

Stack promos and widely publicize the sale. Your BBFD will give you a nice jump in sales rank and should get you on some Amazon Top 100 charts. You can improve your rank further by:

  • purchase ads on other email lists like Bargain Booksy or Fussy Librarian
  • run BookBub CPC (Cost-per-click) ads
  • run Amazon AMS or Facebook ads
  • boost social media posts
  • send out an email to your readers
  • set up cross-promotions or newsletter swaps with other authors

Interested in applying for a Featured Deal or exploring their other opportunities for authors? Start at https://www.bookbub.com/partners/overview

They also have a fantastic blog for authors – https://insights.bookbub.com/

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