Before I get into more details and tips for success, remember, a promotion that doesn’t do as well as hoped isn’t necessarily a failure on the author’s part. It can be a failure of the marketing done on the author’s behalf – and marketing does fail frequently in my experience. That said, it's up to the author to put his or her best foot forward. You really need to take your time with any submissions to these services, make sure your work is highly polished with good cover art, and provide as much detail as possible in your submission.
Further, to be clear, no one who participated in the study was disappointed with BookBub. Participants gave BookBub two thumbs up with caveats and our highest rating.
Did the participants think BookBub was a good value? Yes, that's what the score of 10 indicated.
Did the participants think BookBub was perfect? No, that’s why the score was a 10 and not a 20. Online promotion services in this category have a long way to go towards perfection—BookBub included.
Will the participants be using BookBub again? Yes, absolutely.
I was asked many questions about the residual value of online book promotion services, as in: Is there value beyond the promotion period?
To be clear, the study looked at the value of the promotion not just on the day of promotion but within a reasonable window of time that extended beyond. As an example, a book may see 80% of its boost on Day 1 and Day 2, 15% of its boost on Days 3 to 5, and 5% of its boost on Days 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, and that windowing effect was taken into account.
These offerings are really one-time and done, with little residual value. Remember, many of these services are featuring 20 – 30 or more books a day with promotions appearing on “daily feature” pages, promoted through daily emails, and often on social media. It’s important to remember that success with these services isn’t just about the daily newsletter emails to followers. It’s also about the service’s web site and social media channels. Thus, there are 3-parts to promotion strategies using these services that must be considered.
With the “daily feature” page, your book is one of many. Successive daily promotion pages quickly follow the page your book is on. Thus, after 7 to 10 days, your book is already several hundred books back in the queue. Some promotion services distinguish themselves by making their web sites about more than the listings, and that helps to build traction.
With daily emails, your book is included in a daily email. Successive daily emails quickly follow. Thus, after a few days, the email containing your book has already been superseded several times.
It’s also important to remember that just because a service has 1,000,000 followers doesn’t mean 1,000,000 are going to see your promotion. Typical open rates for promotion services that use daily emails are likely 2 to 3%, though I’ve seen claims as high as 6 to 12%. Open rates are posted by some services if you look for them, though self-reported and based on all classes of recipients.
With an open rate of 2 – 3% and 1,000,000 emails sent, that means about 20,000 to 30,000 are opening the email. With an open rate of 6% and 1,000,000 email sent, that means about 60,000 are opening the email. With an open rate of 12% and 1,000,000 email sent, that means about 120,000 are opening the email. Once those emails have been opened, some subset of those who did so will make one or more purchases based on what they read.
Going back to the idea of residual value. Marketing isn’t just about the sales made, but also building brand, following and cache. However, most of these services would have to rethink their entire approach to build any actual product awareness: daily pages and daily emails don’t build anything.
With 20, 30 or more books featured at a time each and every day, readers are simply being overwhelmed and it’s highly unlikely any value is being built. ENT and BookBub might be exceptions, as their larger followings make the building of traction more likely. As ENT and BookBub are quite popular, they may also have higher open rates than smaller services.
Anyone working at these services may wonder how they can start providing more value more consistently. There's no easy answer but here's a start: Don't feature so many books at once. Build additional value using your website and social media. For examples of better websites, start by looking at how ENT is doing things.
Tips for Getting into BookBub from BookBub, Plus 20 Questions and Answers from BookBub
Or in other words, they're largely looking for already successful authors to make even more successful.
Submit your book to BookBub @ https://www.bookbub.com/submit-order/new
Learn about BookBub pricing @ https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing
Thanks for reading,