My second Bookbub experience: what’s new, what’s different?

A couple of years ago, I did my first Bookbub. My publisher and I did a weeklong giveaway of The Opera House. In hindsight, I’m still amazed that we got that thing in because actually ‘getting’ one of your books included in a coveted Bookbub newsletter is like winning the lottery: almost impossible. I’ve tried at least a dozen times since but never had any success. Part of the problem (I think) is that the Bookbub LGBT category is almost exclusively Romance, and yeah, my books, not so much. This time, I tried something else: a ninety-nine cent deal on my most recent novel in the literary fiction category.

First, let’s look at the results…

I didn’t expect it to get accepted and was pleasantly surprised when I won a runner-up prize of sorts: all countries except the U.S. Okay, I can roll with this. On Tuesday, it was time, and here’s what happened:

Bookbub results


Bookbub results


Bookbub results


Theoretically, this qualifies me as a “bestselling author”, but yeah, who wants to add the caveat “for as long as it lasted in the tiny obscure category/country where you actually made it”, because by now, the book has slipped again in these highly coveted charts. It’s still too soon to see any long-term result because this is what you really want to see:

  • pick-up in sales of other titles over time
  • lasting sales increase on back-list

At this point, I can easily say this: I’ve barely broken even. For now. We don’t really know what the long-term impact is going to be. As an author who can’t live off of his writing, you need to find satisfaction elsewhere, and this image is one I’ll treasure for a long time:

Bookbub results.

The landing page of Amazon Canada, where, for a few hours, my book outsold the of the world’s most talked about book by Michael Wolff…

To see your book on Amazon’s first page? Priceless. Even if it’s only in Canada, eh? LOL I was really curious as to how many books it takes to land yourself there. Keep in mind that this is the Canadian Amazon page (.ca), not the .com one, the one that “really” matters. And yeah, Canadians don’t seem to read much: for less than two hundred copies a day, you end up where Disease ended up! Surprised? I was…

Is it worth it?

So how many books did I move? About five-hundred at this stage, and at 35 cents royalty, I’ve broken even, so I have to be satisfied. When we did the first Bookbub, for free, we moved over 13,000 copies. However, that was a global deal, and for free. I have a hunch that people mostly download all those free books never to really read them. It’s impossible to compare the two campaigns, no matter how much I’d want to.

Amazon provides us authors with interesting “statistical” tools, and I’m not ashamed to share my meager results with you. If you’re a budding author, this might just explain how difficult it is to make a living as a writer:

Bookbub effect

My author rank in the past weeks. Yes, the Bookbub makes a difference, but it’s not a lasting effect.

Bookbub blast results

The price reduction has given the book a significant bump in sales, even on the .com site, which was NOT included in the BookBub blast. Let’s see how long it lasts… As a comment, a few sold copies a day means millions of places on the bestseller list.

How to interpret all those numbers

Let me just add a word about the author rank. Back in the late summer of 2015, I hovered in a spot around 16K, but even then, there weren’t nearly enough sales to pay any bills. I have a hunch that only the top two- to three thousand authors on Amazon make a living. The rest of us, millions, do not. Take this for what it is, but if you dream of making millions with your debut book, consider this your wake-up call. LOL

Most of us are interested in long-term results, not quick fixes. At this stage, I can’t provide those. But if you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll try and write a follow-up in a few months. For now, the most burning question might be this one: was it worth it? Does Bookbub still work? Given what I and others experience, I’d say yes, even more so, if you get one in for a series. I wouldn’t do another free one because it did little to nothing for my sales. I did get a few extra reviews, but not much else. If you haven’t bought Disease yet, the discount lapses on Sunday, so get your copy today! 😉 Have you done a Bookbub? What are your experiences? I just noticed that Amazon offers a similar tool, called Kindle Daily Deals, but I can’t find any links on how to work with them (no matter how much I google…) If you have any information, feel free to comment below.


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