My First BookBub Deal!

I realized I never mentioned this. I got a BookBub (BB from here out)! If that name means nothing to you, you should sign up if you like getting great deals on books. They’re basically the big dog of book promo sites. Getting a BB is a big deal, getting rejected is a badge of honor among indie authors.

There are two types of BB deals, free and discounted. Within those, there’s also international and US only. I got a free book, international deal.

When you apply for your deal, one of the questions is are your dates flexible? Since I was applying on a lark, as I hadn’t in a few months, and now had two books, I checked, ‘yes’.

I got the deal. After spinning around in my chair a bit, I went and applied for a few other promos. It seems to be common practice to stack promos when you can. I was on a roll apparently as I got an ENT deal and Book Barbarian. I had applied for a few ENT deals and never been accepted. Now I had three promos spread over about 7 days.

How books are selected for BB deals is something a mystical legend among writers, but (and I am 100% guessing) I’m thinking that being wide/not only in KU was a factor. 

So this post will be about results. The next will be about the nerve-wracking drama that came with my BB deal.

So, data. Consider this your only warning, charts ahead, LOTS of them.

So my BB Deal was 9/19, the ENT was 9/25, and Book Barbarian was 9/27. That means from a bit before the 19th, to the 29th(ish) Space Rogues Book 1 was free everywhere (well not everywhere, but that’s another post).

So, how’d it go? 

Kobo.

“3400 ebooks sold” is really the free books. You can see the day the BB email went out. As one might expect it’s a reverse hockey stick type graph. For a day or two you get the folks that don’t open their emails right away, then it just starts to trickle, folks taking days to read email, folks hearing about the book, the book moving up free charts and being more discoverable, etc.

Barnes & Noble

B&N doesn’t give great graphs, so I missed snapping a week graphic.

What’s nice, and I’m guessing you’ve noticed it by now, it’s not all free. Books are selling, that’s book two. BB Deals are great when you have back catalog. The leading thinking is folks will grab your other stuff (especially if you discounted it as well, which I did. Book 2 was $1.99, from $3.99) while they’re grabbing the free book, since deal lovers, love deals.

iBooks (Now Apple Books)

Apple Books has long been a challenge for me. Even before the BB deal, the other markets were moving a few books a week, roughly. Apple Books, most weeks, no sales. The first graph is paid books for September, the second is free. In all cases, the long tail continued into October.

Google

There isn’t much to say about Google other than their backend is HORRIBLE, and the only way to see ANY data is exporting a CSV file. They do offer a graph, but it’s generated as an image, so there are no tooltips to explain it. So yeah. I moved a bunch on Google Play, sold a smaller bunch, but it’s one of my worst performing platforms.

Amazon

The first chart is sales, the second (Blue) is free. So you might recall, my BB was 9/19. The blue graph doesn’t line up with that, but the orange does. That’s a story for another time. As expected, Amazon moved a ton of units, had had the strongest long tail. Again that’s likely because the book moved up the free charts as well as the paid charts, which made it more discoverable.

The Long Tail

So I mentioned the long tail, below is my book report for September and October. 

October was the best month so far, ever. I can see why folks rave about BB deals, and why 20booksto50k is a thing. The common saying is, “It’s easier to sell 20 books to one person, than one book to 20 people.” I wholeheartedly agree. 

Many dislike series, but there’s business logic to writing them. Folks fall in love and want more, and if you have a back catalog, you give them what they want. 

What’s Next?

Space Rogues 3: The Behemoth Job comes out December 26th (At least that’s the plan). I’ll start applying for BB deals after the first of the year. They’re not cheap, but they do seem to pay for themselves.

Oh, One More Thing

It’s Tuesday, November 6th. Please, PLEASE Go vote.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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