This blog was featured on 08/24/2017
6 Must-Do’s for a BookBub Promo
Written by
Betty Hafner
August 2017
Written by
Betty Hafner
August 2017

“Why do authors lust after a BookBub promotion?” you might ask. It costs hundreds of dollars. You give your e-book away free or almost free for a day or two, and they announce it to their list of people interested in your genre. Big deal, right?

No, as it turns out, it is a HUGE deal. BookBub’s pricing and statistics list showed me they had about two million subscribers for my genre. It was impossible to ignore that kind of exposure, so I took the plunge, finished a successful promotion of my memoir, and can share ways to make the most of it.

1. Get intimate with their website.

If BookBub is in your future, claim your author profile right away. Sign up for their daily email suggestions, selecting the category of your book. Notice what they include in their brief write-ups to get a good sense of how they promote books like yours. The Partner pages (that’s you, author) are filled with practical blogs, covering every topic you could imagine, so start here.

2. Wait until you have bragging rights before applying.

I arbitrarily waited nine months after publication to try for a promotion. Their submission tips report that book awards and lots of positive Amazon reviews help (though they have no minimum), so I decided to wait until I had fifty Amazon reviews and a few awards. If you’re at the early stage of asking authors for book blurbs, try for some with recognizable names, since BookBub reports their readers look for that, and you’ll notice that most blurbs in their daily book descriptions have a familiar name weighing in on the book. No trade reviews? Consider paying for a Kirkus Indie review (to be listed only as a Kirkus Review), though it’s expensive, and there’s no promise of a positive review. Publishers Weekly now has BookLife which also gives paid reviews.

3. Decide on what you want from the promo.

For me, it was simply exposure. Most of my online promotion has been directed towards people who are interested in women’s issues, abusive relationships, feminism, therapy, etc., and I saw this as a way to introduce my book to a broad spectrum of serious readers. The right price for you depends on several factors, so with them in mind, I chose to price it at $.99 on five platforms—Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Google Play and Kobo. I ran it for only one day because of the expense. BookBub regularly changes the cost so check every few weeks.

4. Plan how YOU will promote it while it’s discounted.

There are smaller, paid book promotion sites with the same model as BookBub—The Fussy Librarian, Bargain Booksy, eReader Cafe, Book Gorilla, etc. I checked the number of followers many of them had on Facebook to get a sense of their reach. (They are also a promotional option for you, while waiting for a BookBub deal.) If you have a Facebook Author Page, you’ll want to boost a post for your day containing a link to buy on one of the retailers. I also posted a few announcements and news of results on Instagram and my personal Facebook page, but because of Twitter’s free-for-all environment, I blasted it out frequently to fellow Tweeters!

5. Give yourself plenty of prep time.

In the future, I would arrange for at least a month of prep time. I speak from the frenzied experience of having had only two weeks between my acceptance and the promotion. A lot of the above-mentioned smaller promotions were already filled for my date, and, in one case, I paid for a Last-Minute deal, which meant my book was way down on the list they sent out, and it was not profitable. I rushed to ensure that my online presence (Amazon, Goodreads, my website, etc.) was up-to-date and looked good. I would have liked to have had my online posts and tweets ready to go out automatically or quickly. I was also unaware that Amazon in Canada and in the UK (perhaps, others) would lower their Kindle price, too, and improve sales there, though that was not part of the BookBub deal. I assume my social media posts helped with that. [Note to self: where possible, set up my Author Page in a few other countries.]

6. Be prepared to follow your promotion. (The fun part!)

I intended to follow my promotion results on the actual day, and maybe a few days after, but the promotion affected sales and ranks for weeks! I casually made note of my Kindle stats the day before, so on the promo day, I watched my Kindle overall rank go from the hundreds of thousands to fifty-something and stay low for three days. It was also #1 in Biographies/Memoirs on Kobo for days and in the top twenty iBooks downloaded for that week. Since Amazon kept my Kindle book at $.99, it was #1 in Partner Abuse and #3 in Marriage and Long Term Relationships for at least three weeks post-promotion. The upshot was that Amazon began promoting it as a Bestseller, so I also saw an improvement in paperback sales.

A featured deal with BookBub is a big investment, but their pricing is intended to keep us “partners” coming back because of profit gained. Thanks to BookBub, my memoir has given me the exposure I could only have dreamed of, as well as something to put in the bank.


Please add your own must-do's in the comments. Thanks.

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  • Nancy Chadwick Writing

    Thanks, Betty. Honestly, I don't know much about BookBub but after reading this, I am interested in learning more about it.

  • Betty — thank you for this article. I was turned down twice before for a BookBub deal. After following your recommendations to the letter, I was accepted for an international BookBuB deal. THANK YOU!

  • Great article! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the community.