• Barbara Stark-Nemon
  • BookBub Basics -International E-Book Sale-An Assessment by a She Writes Press Author
BookBub Basics -International E-Book Sale-An Assessment by a She Writes Press Author
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Before focusing on bringing my next book to publication, I applied last fall for a BookBub featured deal for my historical novel, Even in Darkness, which came out in April 2015. Following a previous successful campaign in December 2015, I wanted a second shot at BookBub, hoping for a pre-holiday spot. Attempting to target a different readership, I switched from the historical fiction category of my 2015 deal to literary fiction. (The campaign was less expensive, but also had a smaller subscription)  I was offered an International only campaign (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and India) and wishing for both US, and International, I declined and reapplied, but again, received only an international offer for January 2017. I accepted the International deal to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the end of the month. Because my book is set in Europe, I decided it was worth focusing on an international audience.  To that end, I arranged 

1. The international BookBub campaign- a great primer for international sales is this article.

2. A Kindle Book Review campaign involving a Kindle sale, giveaway, and social media campaign (directed to U.S. readers during the same time. As long as I was running a sale......)

3. Three different Facebook ads, boosting posts about these campaigns and the tie-in to Int’l Holocaust Remembrance.  (I took a page from several She Writes Sisters’ playbooks and tried my hand at targeting Facebook ads by age, country and gender (Thank you Liz Gelb O'Connor, Jodi Wright, Nicole Wagner and others). I also set up my own barrage of tweets.

Results summary

1. Getting Ingram to price my e-book correctly across all countries and platforms was a challenge. As a result, my featured deal was not offered on I-books or on Kobo Great Britain. Understand that Kobo represents about 20% of e-books sold in Canada, I-books about 15% but these percentages are much lower in all other countries, so Amazon Kindle is by far the biggest player.

2. The combined campaign produced e-book sales of approximately 1200 e-books, 897 of which were reported from the BookBub International deal.  Not only were sales boosted internationally, but Even in Darkness was an Amazon Kindle best seller in Canada, the UK, and Australia, and even here in the U.S., and a Kobo best seller in Canada and Australia for a period that extended well beyond the sale dates. These numbers were substantially below my previous U.S. + International campaign, but it accomplished my goals of exposure and more than paid for the campaign.

The table below summarizes the numbers, and I’ve listed my top tips if you want to pursue this type of campaign.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, claim your Amazon author page at author central for every country that has one in which you will be featuring your e-book sale. I added the UK and Germany in addition to my US page.  Canada, Australia and India do not offer authorcentral pages. (This blogpost by Janice Hardy is helpful)

  2. If you’ve never done so, familiarize yourself with Facebook’s Ad Manager. Read  blogs about how to design a good FB ad- the ad I designed did much better than the (somewhat pathetic) one Kindle Book Review sent me to use. Mark Dawson's Facebook Ads for Authors webinar was very helpful.
  3. Define your goals for the campaign- mine were to increase international exposure to Even in Darkness,to take advantage of a concurrent U.S. e-book sale, and to achieve enough sales to entirely cover the costs of the total campaign (including promotion).
  4. Set a budget for the campaign, to include the cost of the BookBub featured deal, and any concurrent book sale you want to offer as well as Promotion- e.g. Facebook ad
  5. Notify She Writes Press in PLENTY of time as to what you wish to set your e-book sale price to.  (I used $.99) This is an enormous pain for SWP to accomplish with Ingram, and you have to monitor with each retailer in each country.  BookBub will not advertise your deal if the price isn’t the one stated in your deal. Brooke and Cait have worked hard to deal with Ingram about this, but it’s a potential barrier.
  6. Decide how closely you wish to track the campaign and set up means of recording/tracking.  I tracked my Amazon sales ranking in my three categories before during and after my campaign, I used novelrank.com to track sales, and made a lot of screen shots.  I then compiled tables. I made use of Facebook’s Ad Manager pages to track my ads. 

 

Country

Strategy

Costs

Reach

Engagement

Sales

UK, CA, IN AU

BookBub- Kobo, Kindle, Apple

$140

 

2005

874 reported by BookBub- Total sales in these countries combined= 1065

 M & W 30-65 in US

Targeted FB Ad

$  35

1999

54

 

W 30-65 in US

Targeted FB

Ad

$  35

1034

71

 

W 30-65 in AU, CA, UK, IN

Targeted FB Ad

$  60

7414

2210

 

Kindle Book Review e-book promotion

Kindle giveaway + social media promotion

$  54

18,000 subscribers

95,000 Social Media fans

No data

US sales during campaign= 150

Total

 

$324

 

 

1215

 

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