Monday, May 21, 2018

BOOKBUB POSTMORTEM: Analysis of a Promo by @KarynGerrard #Opinion #Publishers

I read one author said she looks forward to a Bookbub ad more than she does her book's release day, which speaks volumes about visibility and sales. And the state of the romance book industry today.

So. I just had a Bookbub. It was paid by my publisher, so I have no sales figures to study and analyze, I can only speak of rankings, which at the end of the day, are not an indication of actual sales. The ad was on a Friday, which I learned through research on the Internet, is not always great for reporting weekly sales. It is better to have one near the start of a week.

Did I have hopes of reaching, say, the USA Today bestseller list? Not really, but when the book reached #19 on Amazon, #3 on Barnes and Noble, #7 for Itunes, (overall) a spark of hope came alive. Very, very briefly. Hey, I did hit #1 Historical Romance Author on Amazon! *yay*

But there are so many factors to hitting such a list.

First, I watched other Bookbubs from historical romance authors from Kensington/'Lyrical Press to see what I could expect. #19 on Amazon exceeded that. But when it dropped to #88 on the second day, I knew it wouldn't happen. My assumption is it would have had to stay in the top 20 (or higher) for at least another day or so.

Here's something interesting I learned: NYT (New York Times) and the USA Today lists are often (but not always) editorial decisions, and not based on actual sales. USA Today runs Monday-Sunday. So any sales I had from Friday, Saturday and Sunday would have to be passed along by the vendors on Monday for USA to compile the list to release on Thursday morning. Sometimes, not all sales are passed in by Monday. Just the luck of the draw.  Read this article: HERE about bestseller lists.

Barnes and Noble does not report any sales unless you sell 500 copies in a week. Anything under that? Nope. Google Play isn't included.

And with the editorial decision (if not all sales have been passed in), they often choose someone who has already been on the list, which is why you see the same names over and over on bestseller lists some of the time. Name recognition is everything.

Another note about the USA Today list: It is all genres, fiction and non-fiction. You will be competing with children's books, cookbooks, biographies, etc.

There are critics out there that say reaching the list doesn't mean the same it did 10 years ago. What they really mean is since ebooks burst onto the lists. Yes, a lot of romance authors have hit the list from being part of a box set or from a Bookbub, I say, so what? More power to them.

The bottom line is this: All the stars have to align and everything has to fall in place for you to make a bestseller list. Luck does play a part. Ad stacking is one way to boost the Bookbub, but I have learned the hard way, before you buy any of those extra promo ads out of your own pocket, confirm the sale dates with your publisher.

Just hitting a great ranking on the day of the ad does not guarantee you will make any list. You need to keep the 'tail' going, which is why having a Bookbub near the start of the week is better.

While the Bookbub did stimulate sales in pre-orders for book 2 and 3 of the series, it didn't do all that much for my back list. I will have to see how that plays out long term.

Side Note: I paid for an international Bookbub in March for one of my Indie books. I made a small profit. I have been seeing authors say the return on a Bookbub is not what it was 2-3 years ago.

Having a Bookbub is like being on a thrill ride at an amusement park. It was fun, brief, but time to get back to real life. Bookbub is still the #1 way to get your author name and book out in front of people. Just keep your expectations low to moderate, and enjoy the brief spike in sales and rankings! :)

1 comment:

  1. It's all such a mystery! I was very surprised to hear some of the NYT and USA Today rankings are "editorial decisions."


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