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Discussion Starter #1
Up until late last summer, I was getting consistent Bookbub featured ads, 99 cent ones and free ones, for my thrillers. It kept sales steady. Since then, they have decided that they hate me there, lol. I'm honestly beginning to wonder if they hired some editor who hates my books, it's been such a turnaround. I have been rejected 36 times in the past 13 months for similar books with similar ratings. Insane. My BBs always performed in their projected range or better. I even updated covers and titles in some case to more commercial ones. Still getting rejected.

I will admit I was so used to getting BBs, it was pretty much my business plan. I do have a mailing list, but only 3,000 and less than half is organic. For a mailing list to make a difference, you have to have WAY MORE subscribers, IMO. Like 40, 50 K. ENT, Freeboksy etc no longer packs a punch. I tend to break even, same with PPC Facebook and Bookbub ads.

I realize that my author brand/books have been all over the place, partly due to having no idea what I was doing and being in and out of KU since my start 2015. I have been insisting on writing edgy, weird thrillers the last couple of years, wrongly assuming after a strong sales streak I could take chances with my books, going for more original stuff. Bad idea. Thankfully, one can always start over with a brand new pen name, which I did this summer, that , unlike my main name, is KU exclusive. It made me happy to see that I can write a super commercial mystery and have it perform well. In less than two months, my pen name's first book has made almost $1,000. Also has a 4.6 average rating (13 reviews). I took out one Freebooksy ad and used one free day. If a book has legs, that should be  enough for it to sell decent even from a brand-new author. So, I'm trying to get the pen name sequel out ASAP, as you can imagine. I haven't given up on my main name, but it's on the back burner while I keep applying for BBs. Maybe one day that person who hates me there will quit, ahaha. Or at least their tastes will swing back to my kind of books.

Anyway, are you a wide author who does well without getting BBs? What's your main strategy then?
 

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Bookbub seems to have forsaken me recently as well. What's up with that? I was getting selected (somewhat) frequently, but this year (since March. anyway) they've rejected me about 30 times.  :eek:

Have they given up on indies?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
SaltObelisk said:
Bookbub seems to have forsaken me recently as well. What's up with that? I was getting selected (somewhat) frequently, but this year (since March. anyway) they've rejected me about 30 times. :eek:

Have they given up on indies?
Maybe. I have seen some of the very successful Indies getting ads, though. Can you believe I had 11 BBs, almost all back-to-back?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Patty Jansen said:
I've given up on Bookbub, after finding it's just a sugar hit, but my income analysis didn't actually show me that the Bookbubs had any lasting effect on sales, definitely not since 2018.
They really make a difference for me, especially since I got them so frequently. I'm sure the other things I pointed out in my original post have something to do with my plummeting sales too, though.
 

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I've had 18 Bookbubs but haven't applied for any since the start of this year.

My income has remarkably (or stubbornly) stuck at about 5k/month. I use:

1. Mailing lists. One personal author list and one deals list. Total 42k, mostly built through promo, FB ads and Bookfunnel giveaways. ($450 per year for Mailerlite)
2. Drip ads at all venues through AMS and Bookbub PPC. Just make your bids  really low and let them run. (about $300 per month. I just make sure the ads spend the budget)
3. Bookfunnel promos. These are good value for getting subscribers and for advertising your permafree/perma-99c titles. ($150 per year for Bookfunnel subscription)
 

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Patty Jansen said:
I've given up on Bookbub, after finding it's just a sugar hit, but my income analysis didn't actually show me that the Bookbubs had any lasting effect on sales, definitely not since 2018.
I've noticed this too. I used to get several months of sell-through, but that seems to have died off with recent Bookbubs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Patty Jansen said:
I've had 18 Bookbubs but haven't applied for any since the start of this year.

My income has remarkably (or stubbornly) stuck at about 5k/month. I use:

1. Mailing lists. One personal author list and one deals list. Total 42k, mostly built through promo, FB ads and Bookfunnel giveaways. ($450 per year for Mailerlite)
2. Drip ads at all venues through AMS and Bookbub PPC. Just make your bids really low and let them run. (about $300 per month. I just make sure the ads spend the budget)
3. Bookfunnel promos. These are good value for getting subscribers and for advertising your permafree/perma-99c titles. ($150 per year for Bookfunnel subscription)
Yes, I know you have a big mailing list, which is obviously a good thing. How many years did it take you to build that, though? Many years, right? I have been using Bookfunnel promos too, but even if you "romance" those subscribers with a few freebies/deals, they tend to not be very active. Seriously, you shouldn't have to romance them for years. That would defeat the purpose of having them in the first place. If I don't prune out inactive users, I would have more than 4,000 subscribers instead of 3.

I haven't tried drip ads. I will try that. I don't have any 99 cent first in series, though, only free-first. Can't imagine drip ads for free first is a good idea. Or is it? I will, however, make a couple of first in series 99 cents now.

Regarding Bookfunnel promos: I assume these are mailing list exchanges with other authors on Bookfunnel? Wouldn't your own mailing list get exhausted and start unsubscribing if you bombard them with other authors' freebies? I do these promos a few times a year. If you give away a freebie, it's pretty much like building your malling list, though, isn't it? Or you don't collect email addresses? Either way, it's hard to find authors who have an even moderate mailing list. Unless they have a couple of thousand, what's the point of sharing with them? Plus, nowadays you get that rating to verify if you're a good sharer. Twice I only shared to my list, yet my share no. was much higher than many other ppl's.

Finally, my BBs were over a 2 and half year period. Having that amount of BBs per year was very effective, by far better than any other method if you are wide. You get lots of sales, lots of reviews, and lots of new, organic subscribers, all of which leads to more sales--if you have enough BBs, that is.
 
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I second BookFunnel!  I like their sales promos.  We don't exchange anything...each author shares the promo link, so we're not recommending books we haven't read.  It's mutual promotion, so the success depends on each author actually promoting.  And you can have "private" promos with only invited authors if you prefer.

I LOVE Fussy Librarian.  I use them for a temporarily free book to give it a boost or help with first in series.  It's the only promo service I really use besides BookFunnel, and they rock!  8)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books] said:
I second BookFunnel! I like their sales promos. We don't exchange anything...each author shares the promo link, so we're not recommending books we haven't read. It's mutual promotion, so the success depends on each author actually promoting. And you can have "private" promos with only invited authors if you prefer.
Wouldn't sharing a promo link be the same as sharing other people's books, essentially recommending them to your mailing list (or however you're sharing it? I'd assume a mailing list is the main way. Social media is not nearly as effective.)
 
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Not the same thing to me.  This is me sharing links to various promos that readers can check out and see if they find books they want to read.  Even if I host the promo, I'm not recommending specific books.  I'm sharing the opportunity to find books in a specific genre.  Christmas/holiday promos are popular at the moment, but you can find many genres.  Maybe check it out to find more info?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books] said:
Not the same thing to me. This is me sharing links to various promos that readers can check out and see if they find books they want to read. Even if I host the promo, I'm not recommending specific books. I'm sharing the opportunity to find books in a specific genre. Christmas/holiday promos are popular at the moment, but you can find many genres. Maybe check it out to find more info?
I will check it out more. Thanks. But it sounds like it's the same principle they use for the newsletter builders, except in a sales promo the reader doesn't have to provide their email address to buy the book at 99cents (or whatever promo price you're using). I'm guessing the reader has to leave their email if the book is free? Yes or no?

This was not clear to me when I checked them out.
 
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I don't do the newsletter promos, but if my book is free on Amazon that day, BookFunnel just gives them the link.  Same with other distributors.  Check out my website if you want to see some of the promos.  I post them all in one area and update them as they change. :)
 

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My last Bookbub, a supernatural thriller @ 99c and wide, was expected to sell 1,600 copies according to Bookbub's stats. It sold 600. I was disappointed.
 

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juliatheswede said:
Yes, I know you have a big mailing list, which is obviously a good thing. How many years did it take you to build that, though? Many years, right? I have been using Bookfunnel promos too, but even if you "romance" those subscribers with a few freebies/deals, they tend to not be very active. Seriously, you shouldn't have to romance them for years. That would defeat the purpose of having them in the first place. If I don't prune out inactive users, I would have more than 4,000 subscribers instead of 3.

I haven't tried drip ads. I will try that. I don't have any 99 cent first in series, though, only free-first. Can't imagine drip ads for free first is a good idea. Or is it? I will, however, make a couple of first in series 99 cents now.

Regarding Bookfunnel promos: I assume these are mailing list exchanges with other authors on Bookfunnel? Wouldn't your own mailing list get exhausted and start unsubscribing if you bombard them with other authors' freebies? I do these promos a few times a year. If you give away a freebie, it's pretty much like building your malling list, though, isn't it? Or you don't collect email addresses? Either way, it's hard to find authors who have an even moderate mailing list. Unless they have a couple of thousand, what's the point of sharing with them? Plus, nowadays you get that rating to verify if you're a good sharer. Twice I only shared to my list, yet my share no. was much higher than many other ppl's.

Finally, my BBs were over a 2 and half year period. Having that amount of BBs per year was very effective, by far better than any other method if you are wide. You get lots of sales, lots of reviews, and lots of new, organic subscribers, all of which leads to more sales--if you have enough BBs, that is.
You know, we seem to have exactly the same discussion a few times a year and it always comes down to this.

I say what I do and why and how I don't need (or atm don't even use) BBFDs anymore, and then people come up with excuses why they can't or won't do it.

Of course I didn't build my list overnight, but if you never start, then you will never have the list.

If you want the list, start now, and quit comparing yourself with me, because I started this in 2015 and impatience is a terrible vice in the publishing world.

For building the list, I use permafrees, joint multi-author box sets, FB ads in many different countries, joint competitions with people putting up prizes for participants to win, Prolific Works, Story Origin and Bookfunnel, my website, Twitter, Instagram and a live link in the look inside in books that I advertise on AMS and BB CPC ads. It sounds like a lot, but many of these are passive links. There are also some companies that do listbuilding, and they're legit, although I haven't used any for a while. I'm cheap.

Building the list is hard work, and I try to draw as many people from as many sources as I can.

I have two lists: my personal author list and a deals list, which is very much like like Freebooksy, where I advertise mostly other people's books (and the Bookfunnel promos I'm in). I don't advertise promos to my author list.

But. I've said all this before. Somehow people always find excuses why they don't want to do the work. And then they complain that they need Bookbubs to sell. And they stop getting Bookbubs. Or some variation.

The bottom line is this: if you don't want to pay for ads (which is what BBFDs fall under), you need a BYO audience. Building an audience costs time and money.

Or you can do loads of paid list promos like Freebooksy and just rotate them on a schedule. Or you can do crosspromos, or multi-author box sets.
 

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Bookbubs is expensive and is more competiitve with each day to get a promo. If this is your only strategy...you won't last long.  Lately, more and more authors are becoming disappointed with their results.

Going wide takes considerable time and effort and there are lots of tools in the tool box for accomplishing this. BUT,you must realize that each costs time and/or money.

If you are releasing your first novel, you must manage your expectations and start the climb WHILE working on your second novel. It is very hard to build trust and credibility if you are writing fiction without any track record.

My approach with my first was to get "Editorial Reviews"...it costs money but I chose credible sources and while not getting 5 star got some very useful reviews and positive reviews (I used Foreword and BlueInk).

There is no magic bullet other than hard work and patience.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Patty Jansen said:
You know, we seem to have exactly the same discussion a few times a year and it always comes down to this.

I say what I do and why and how I don't need (or atm don't even use) BBFDs anymore, and then people come up with excuses why they can't or won't do it.

Of course I didn't build my list overnight, but if you never start, then you will never have the list.

If you want the list, start now, and quit comparing yourself with me, because I started this in 2015 and impatience is a terrible vice in the publishing world.

For building the list, I use permafrees, joint multi-author box sets, FB ads in many different countries, joint competitions with people putting up prizes for participants to win, Prolific Works, Story Origin and Bookfunnel, my website, Twitter, Instagram and a live link in the look inside in books that I advertise on AMS and BB CPC ads. It sounds like a lot, but many of these are passive links. There are also some companies that do listbuilding, and they're legit, although I haven't used any for a while. I'm cheap.

Building the list is hard work, and I try to draw as many people from as many sources as I can.

I have two lists: my personal author list and a deals list, which is very much like like Freebooksy, where I advertise mostly other people's books (and the Bookfunnel promos I'm in). I don't advertise promos to my author list.

But. I've said all this before. Somehow people always find excuses why they don't want to do the work. And then they complain that they need Bookbubs to sell. And they stop getting Bookbubs. Or some variation.

The bottom line is this: if you don't want to pay for ads (which is what BBFDs fall under), you need a BYO audience. Building an audience costs time and money.

Or you can do loads of paid list promos like Freebooksy and just rotate them on a schedule. Or you can do crosspromos, or multi-author box sets.
Thanks for the answer. It's true. Getting BBs did make me lazy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
markpauloleksiw said:
Bookbubs is expensive and is more competiitve with each day to get a promo. If this is your only strategy...you won't last long. Lately, more and more authors are becoming disappointed with their results.

Going wide takes considerable time and effort and there are lots of tools in the tool box for accomplishing this. BUT,you must realize that each costs time and/or money.

If you are releasing your first novel, you must manage your expectations and start the climb WHILE working on your second novel. It is very hard to build trust and credibility if you are writing fiction without any track record.

My approach with my first was to get "Editorial Reviews"...it costs money but I chose credible sources and while not getting 5 star got some very useful reviews and positive reviews (I used Foreword and BlueInk).

There is no magic bullet other than hard work and patience.

Mark
Thanks for your input.
 
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