Author Topic: Bookbub free vs. 0.99  (Read 1201 times)  

Offline Herefortheride

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1330
  • Gender: Male
  • Chengdu
  • Loving every minute
    • View Profile
Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« on: March 07, 2018, 04:22:15 AM »
I see that some authors run free promos through bookbub and some run their books for 0.99.

For those of you who have done so what do you consider the main advantages to either strategy?

Does a big free run on a book that is regular 2.99 or 3.99 provide a lot of benefits with the tail? Any personal stories of how it's helped are encouraged!

For those of you who have had success (of failure) at 0.99 what do you attribute it to?

And does bookbub accept you more often for free over 0.99?
Havenglade Mysteries (Book 1) developmental editing: 75%

Daughter of Dragons(DoH book4) prologue and chapter one: 17%

world-building and conlang for new series: 1%
H.C. Harrington

Offline Eros82

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 07:48:29 AM »
I see that some authors run free promos through bookbub and some run their books for 0.99.

For those of you who have done so what do you consider the main advantages to either strategy?

Does a big free run on a book that is regular 2.99 or 3.99 provide a lot of benefits with the tail? Any personal stories of how it's helped are encouraged!

For those of you who have had success (of failure) at 0.99 what do you attribute it to?

And does bookbub accept you more often for free over 0.99?
I have never used bookbub, but my book is perma 99. It's is actually doing better than I expected. I use alot of social media for promo.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk


Offline GeneDoucette

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
    • View Profile
    • Gene Doucette's Blog
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 08:55:25 AM »
I haven't pulled the trigger on a Free BB promo yet, but i've done very well with $0.99. I price my books at $5.99 right now, though, so it was a decent discount.

Offline Herefortheride

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1330
  • Gender: Male
  • Chengdu
  • Loving every minute
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 09:27:12 AM »
I haven't pulled the trigger on a Free BB promo yet, but i've done very well with $0.99. I price my books at $5.99 right now, though, so it was a decent discount.

Gene,

Could you speak a bit more about your experience? What's a ballpark number of downloads on the .99 you attribute to the bookbub? Also, what is your idea behind going .99 as opposed to free on bookbub? I see a lot fo authors very happy with their free results but not sure about the exact "philosophies" behind either strategy.
Havenglade Mysteries (Book 1) developmental editing: 75%

Daughter of Dragons(DoH book4) prologue and chapter one: 17%

world-building and conlang for new series: 1%
H.C. Harrington

Offline David VanDyke

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1781
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 12:04:19 PM »
I try to get a 99c BB first, before I go permafree on a reader magnet. Then later, go permafree and get free BBs whenever I can. Free BBs are easier to get, and they're cheaper to buy.

The free/permafree tail has always given me better sales results, but I wanted to fish out the 99c pool first before going to free, and 99c readers tend to give better reviews on average (you have to accept some doofus reviews with permafree because of the perceived value problem, and because of people getting free books outside their preferred genre, and then evaluating the book as if it ought to conform to their preferences and genre, rather than its own genre).


Futuristic Thrillers, Mysteries and Science Fiction
David VanDyke | Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter[/

Offline GeneDoucette

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
    • View Profile
    • Gene Doucette's Blog
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 12:36:11 PM »
Gene,

Could you speak a bit more about your experience? What's a ballpark number of downloads on the .99 you attribute to the bookbub? Also, what is your idea behind going .99 as opposed to free on bookbub? I see a lot fo authors very happy with their free results but not sure about the exact "philosophies" behind either strategy.

I wouldn't necessarily call it a strategy so much as a logical call for my specific set of circumstances.

The first BB promo I got (I'm speaking only of worldwide promos, not int'l only) was for an anthology containing five novellas, that was ordinarily priced at $9.99. The second was for a standalone. In both of those instances, I had no 'next book' to drive readers toward aside from my regular catalog of existing books. But at that time, my full-length novels were published by an indie publisher, so driving traffic to them (given I was going to be getting the rights back) was something I did NOT want to do.

The first time I had a book that it made sense to run a free promo on was once I got my series back from the publisher, especially after I put out a fourth book to go along with the first three I'd republished. Then, running a free promotion for book 1 would have been a decent idea. But by then I'd run so many successful $0.99 promos I kind of chickened out on running the freebie for it. (I chickened out again recently, because it's got another $0.99 BB coming up in two weeks.)

As for 'successful' vs. not-successful', I don't know exactly how to measure that. The BB for the aforementioned standalone (Spaceship) was huge: over 4300 downloads, with a tail that lasted six months. None of the promotions I've gotten with BB since have been close to that good. That said, I actually make more from the promotion and tail of the first series book (Immortal) because of the buy-throughs. I keep telling myself I'll freebie it one day, and I will, but not--apparently-- soon.

Offline EB

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2448
  • Gender: Female
  • used to care
    • View Profile
    • EB on Amazon
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 02:11:36 PM »
Depends on the situation. For a first on series book, I've done $0.99 and free. Free promos, in my experience, definitely run a longer tail and the sell through is sustained longer. However, that may be because the $0.99 promos generally net less paid sales compared to how many books a free BB will move. I used to have a permafree (first in series) book that I had at least 4 BB's on, and every time it performed well, had a nice long tail, and good sell through, although it appeared to me that the power of the permafree was starting to slip, so I changed it to paid.
I'm running a free BB right now for one of my KU/first in series and once again, I'm pretty happy with the results and it has already earned back what I spent and then some since the Bb email went out today.

Online Patty Jansen

  • Status: Harvey Chute
  • *********
  • Posts: 12209
  • Gender: Female
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Destroyer of Science Fiction
    • View Profile
    • Patty Jansen Author of SF and fantasy
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 02:20:21 PM »
The strategy is: you take whatever they accept. If they don't take the book as paid, try free, and vice versa.

ETA: I'm having my 13th Bookbub next week.

What does exceptionally well tends to be a bit of a fluke. I've had a paid Bookbub do really well (12,000 sales all up) and a free one do  very well (10K+ earned in a month).

Mostly, depending on genre, but in SFF, free will get you 30-50k downloads depending if you're in KU or wide or other circumstances. An average paid Bookbub in SFF will get you 1500-3000 sales.

The rest depends on the sellthrough rate of your series, the length of your series and the magic fluke ingredient.

Offline Bob Stewart

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
    • View Profile
    • Street Car Mysteries
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 02:24:59 PM »
My books that had a free BB while in KU had nice tails when they reverted to paid because all the KU borrows during the 5-day promo were spiking the paid sales rank.

I would still go with a paid listing first, but BB has never given me one.

Offline Catherine Lea

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 349
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 02:44:35 PM »
I've just done one free for February 26th on Child of the State. You're far more likely to get accepted with free, and your sales are way more likely to follow.

For mine, I got just over 97K free downloads, hit #1 in the free store overall, plus #1 in Suspense, Thriller and Mystery in all territories except India (which Amazon told me can't be price-matched) and my sales on other books in the series (which only has three books including the free one) have come to around $1200 for Feb/March. I've also had just over 51K page reads on the third in the series which is the only one in KU. The others are wide.

I didn't expect much, but I was lucky enough to have my book at the top slot in the Bookbub email, which I think also helps. There are three in each email, two of which don't show up unless you scroll down.

The great after-Bookbub crash is beginning to set in now. My sales are slowing and within days, I'll go from being a semi-successful smarty-pants to just another author trying to get her books noticed. But the ride is fun, and I now know that when people say, "Write good books. Write in series. Publish often," they know of what they speak. 


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
Catherine Lea | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon

Offline Crystal_

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2347
  • Gender: Female
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 03:00:34 PM »
I try to get a 99c BB first, before I go permafree on a reader magnet. Then later, go permafree and get free BBs whenever I can. Free BBs are easier to get, and they're cheaper to buy.

The free/permafree tail has always given me better sales results, but I wanted to fish out the 99c pool first before going to free, and 99c readers tend to give better reviews on average (you have to accept some doofus reviews with permafree because of the perceived value problem, and because of people getting free books outside their preferred genre, and then evaluating the book as if it ought to conform to their preferences and genre, rather than its own genre).

I've had an easier time getting .99 lately. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule to which is easier to get. It depends on the category and the competition.

I'd go with free on a first in series, .99 on anything else. But, really, I'll take whatever BookBub wants to give me. I've only ever had NA BookBubs. They do pretty well, 500-1k sales at .99 (depending on if it's US only or international), 20k+ downloads on a virgin free run (anything from 30-50k over the five days). I'm in KU, so I'm sure wide numbers are a bit higher too. And my books are more niche, so I'm sure that broader stuff has bigger numbers as well.

The tail isn't what it used to be, but I still make a nice profit and get a bit of a bump.

Offline MelanieCellier

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 624
  • Gender: Female
  • Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2018, 03:07:15 PM »
I completely agree with Patty--the strategy is to take whatever they'll give you. You don't have to wait four weeks to apply again at a lower price, so apply for 99c, if they reject it, apply again for free, if they reject it, wait 28 days and apply again for 99c. Keep cycling through in that way.

As far as numbers, check out Bookbub's Pricing page. As well as prices, it gives average free downloads and average sales for each list--the numbers vary hugely by list.

Another word of caution on the variance between lists. A couple of people have said it's easier to get a free Bookbub--that's the opposite of the list I apply to where it's much easier to get a 99c deal. (I have both observed this reflected in the daily deals, experienced it myself, and then recently had it confirmed by a Bookbub rep responsible for this list.) Obviously other lists may vary. I believe over all it was easier to get a free deal in the past, but that seems to have changed sometime around the point when Amazon cracked down on free affiliate links (although maybe I'm remembering the order of things wrong). Anyway, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a bad Bookbub, so I'd say apply as much and as often as you can :)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 01:12:37 AM by MelanieCellier »

Melanie Cellier | Website | Facebook

Offline Bob Stewart

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
    • View Profile
    • Street Car Mysteries
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2018, 03:30:38 PM »
For mine, I got just over 97K free downloads...

Damn, is that a record? Very impressive, Catherine! Mine are like 30-35k.

How did it distribute among retailers?

Offline Kate.

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
  • Gender: Female
  • Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2018, 08:05:47 PM »
Just to break it down a bit...

99c is best for:
- Standalone novels
- When you want immediate profit
- A higher rank on the paid chart

Free is best for:
- Series
- The longer the series, the better
- Especially if the first book in a series is already 99c or permanently free

Free bookbubs may earn their cost back on the day (especially if the book is in KU and can get page reads) but the real profit comes when customers work their way through books 2, 3, 4, etc...

Offline C.A. Huggins

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
    • CAHuggins.com
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2018, 08:24:46 PM »
Just to break it down a bit...

99c is best for:
- Standalone novels
- When you want immediate profit
- A higher rank on the paid chart

Free is best for:
- Series
- The longer the series, the better
- Especially if the first book in a series is already 99c or permanently free

Free bookbubs may earn their cost back on the day (especially if the book is in KU and can get page reads) but the real profit comes when customers work their way through books 2, 3, 4, etc...

How can a free or permafree book be in KU?

C.A. Huggins | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Offline Herefortheride

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1330
  • Gender: Male
  • Chengdu
  • Loving every minute
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2018, 10:26:37 PM »
I completely agree with Pattythe strategy is to take whatever theyll give you. You dont have to wait four weeks to apply again at a lower price, so apply for 99c, if they reject it, apply again for free, if they reject it, wait 28 days and apply again for 99c. Keep cycling through in that way.

As far as numbers, check out Bookbubs Pricing page. As well as prices, it gives average free downloads and average sales for each listthe numbers vary hugely by list.

Another word of caution on the variance between lists. A couple of people have said its easier to get a free Bookbubthats the opposite of my main list where its much easier to get a 99c deal. (I have both observed this reflected in the daily deals, experienced it myself, and then recently had it confirmed by a Bookbub rep responsible for this list.) Obviously other lists may vary. I believe over all it was easier to get a free deal in the past, but that seems to have changed sometime around the point when Amazon cracked down on free affiliate links (although maybe Im remembering the order of things wrong). Anyway, there doesnt seem to be such a thing as a bad Bookbub, so Id say apply as much and as often as you can :)

This I did not know :o

That's why I ask these kinds of open-ended questions. There is often some important lessons to be learned.

Havenglade Mysteries (Book 1) developmental editing: 75%

Daughter of Dragons(DoH book4) prologue and chapter one: 17%

world-building and conlang for new series: 1%
H.C. Harrington

Offline MelanieCellier

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 624
  • Gender: Female
  • Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2018, 01:10:12 AM »
How can a free or permafree book be in KU?

A permafree book can't be in KU, but you can have a free Bookbub on a KU book using the five free Select days.

Melanie Cellier | Website | Facebook

Offline Catherine Lea

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 349
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2018, 10:14:04 AM »
Damn, is that a record? Very impressive, Catherine! Mine are like 30-35k.

How did it distribute among retailers?
Not great on Kobo, although it was in their free mystery thriller on the same day. But D2D doing really well still. I do think the ratio of paid to free on D2D is better and the tail appears to be a little longer. Google, I've only just played around with the keywords and sales have picked up, but free went well.


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
Catherine Lea | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon

Offline C.A. Huggins

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
    • CAHuggins.com
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2018, 02:44:16 PM »
A permafree book can't be in KU, but you can have a free Bookbub on a KU book using the five free Select days.

Got it. Thank you. I always forget about the free days.

But if it's in KU and you use free days, do you still accumulate page reads?

C.A. Huggins | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Offline thevoiceofone

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2043
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2018, 05:34:02 PM »
I see that some authors run free promos through bookbub and some run their books for 0.99.

For those of you who have done so what do you consider the main advantages to either strategy?

Does a big free run on a book that is regular 2.99 or 3.99 provide a lot of benefits with the tail? Any personal stories of how it's helped are encouraged!

For those of you who have had success (of failure) at 0.99 what do you attribute it to?

And does bookbub accept you more often for free over 0.99?

I've only ever landed a book FREE deal twice.

It's always been good and worth it. But you must have books on your backend to make it worth while. Ideally you want the first FREE, then have about 5 or more books for people to buy after that.

Offline VirginiaMcClain

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
    • View Profile
    • Virginia McClain's Blog
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2018, 01:52:52 PM »
Got it. Thank you. I always forget about the free days.

But if it's in KU and you use free days, do you still accumulate page reads?

I'm fairly certain it gives you the option to "read for free" in KU or "buy now for free" during the promotion, so folks with KU just download it if they want, and everyone else hits "buy now." Also, anyone coming back to the e-mail a day or two late would still find it available in KU if they have it.
Virginia McClain | Blog | Cover Designs & Formatting

Offline C. Gockel

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4527
  • Chicago, IL
    • View Profile
Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2018, 02:35:42 PM »
Just to break it down a bit...

99c is best for:
- Standalone novels
- When you want immediate profit
- A higher rank on the paid chart

Free is best for:
- Series
- The longer the series, the better
- Especially if the first book in a series is already 99c or permanently free

Free bookbubs may earn their cost back on the day (especially if the book is in KU and can get page reads) but the real profit comes when customers work their way through books 2, 3, 4, etc...

Perfect summary.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website