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Pulling Back the Curtain of a BookBub

Last week I discussed a few myths about BookBub Featured Deals. This week, as promised, I’m sharing raw numbers for both of my deals. I hope to help shed light on how great these promos are, even with such a high cost.

A few things to clarify first. Both books are standalones, which means no read-through in a series. They are both in Kindle Unlimited. Both were originally $2.99 and the deal ran for .99 in the US and International markets. As horror novels, both Featured Deals cost $356 to run.

Now, on to the numbers.

My first Featured Deal ran on Sunday August 5th. I was a bit apprehensive of a horror novel being featured on a Sunday, but it turned out fine. I hoped to have a ton of downloads and make my money back on the first day.

That didn’t happen.

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 8.30.43 pmHonestly, I was kinda freaked out about this development. I questioned my ability as a writer. I considered throwing in the towel. It really bothered me. Then I took a walk around Lake Murphysboro and let the stress dissipate. I’ve read all kinds of stories about authors selling tons of books and here I was with a total of 308 copies sold. I ended the month selling 443 copies. That wasn’t enough to cover the cost of the promo. However, I also had 44,751 page reads. Those helped recoup the costs of the promo and were key to a successful run.

It took nearly three weeks for me to earn back my money, but it was well worth it. I introduced a pen name to a world of readers who knew nothing of me before.

Then I had my second Featured Deal run on December 26th. I was super pumped about this and couldn’t wait to see the results.

It started out ok with 312 copies sold on the day of the deal with another 64 on the day screen shot 2019-01-14 at 8.34.38 pmafter. Sweet! I thought. They tapered off pretty quick after that.

Since the date of the promo, I’ve sold 461 copies of the book with just over 22,000 page reads in KU. It’s taken a little bit longer to recoup my costs with the lower overall page reads, but as of this post, I’m nearly there. I have no doubt if these were for a series, I’d have covered my ad spend a long time ago.

So I ask…is BookBub worth it? Yep! There is no service that performs like them. I’ve tried others and they lack the volume BookBub delivers. I’ve read about how they aren’t as good as they used to be which might be true, but of all the email blast promos out there, they are by far the most effective.

Marketing, whether you’re traditionally published or an indie author like myself, is key to long-term sustainability. BookBub can give your efforts a major boost if you’re willing to be patient and let the promo run its course. I plan on trying them again when I can.

How are your marketing efforts? What’s working and what’s not? Feel free to comment below. If you’ve had a BookBub deal, how’d it go? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Care to follow me on BookBub? Want to try for an Amazon $100 gift card? Click the image below for a bunch of chances to win by following scifi and fantasy authors on BookBub, including myself. It’s free to enter and who knows, you might win!

 

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BookBub Myths (And What You Can Do!)

Getting a BookBub is every indie author’s dream. It’s a spectacular email blast promo service that shares your discounted or free book to eager readers waiting to buy. There are other services, but none pack the punch of BookBub.

Because they don’t share what really goes into a Featured Deal acceptance, rumors run rampant throughout the indie author community about what it takes in order to get them to select your book.

I’m not an expert, but what follows are my experiences which I hope will help other authors plan and hopefully experience the joy of “Getting a BookBub!” Let’s start with a couple myths.

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Myth #1: You need at least X amount of reviews to get a BookBub.

Ok, so reviews are important. They’re social proof that readers like your book. I work hard to earn honest reviews so hopefully other readers will see how my book might appeal to them.

One of the biggest myths I’ve heard about BookBub is that they need to see at least 50 reviews on a book to even consider it. Umm…no.

I have no idea if they really have a baseline for number of reviews. What I do know is that both of my books selected for Featured Deals had less than 10 reviews at the time of the deal. Actually, they both still have less than 10 (one of them only has 3 reviews!)

From my experience, the thought that you need at least 50 reviews for BookBub to accept your book is flawed. Yes, you want reviews but they won’t hold you back. It’s funny because services that have a much lower ROI than BookBub require a certain amount of reviews and both my books would have been denied on that point alone.

 

Myth #2: You need to be wide (Not Amazon exclusive).

It might actually help if your books are wide (meaning on more than just Amazon) but from my experience, it wasn’t necessary. Both of my books were in Kindle Unlimited and still are.

What’s this mean to you? If you’re comfortable going wide, do it. If you prefer to stay within the confines of KU, do that. No matter what, present the best book possible, which leads to my recommendations.

I think what tipped the scales in my favor were a few factors.

The first was the cover.

For my horror novels under my pen name, I chose a new cover designer that rocked it! They nailed the genre while touching on the material within the book. I think if you want to be considered for a BookBub, make sure you get a killer cover first.

My novel “The Selection” has been rejected like a dozen times from BookBub, but the first time I submitted my first horror novel, it was accepted. I want to recover all three books in my trilogy but…money.

The second thing that helped was a decent blurb. So, I suck at these and always need help. I’m never satisfied with them. However, you want to make sure you create a blurb that leaves the reader wanting more and ready to hand over their money for your book. I think mine weren’t perfect, but they were good enough.

Finally, I think genre had a role. As I mentioned, my young adult scifi novel has never been accepted, but both my horror novels were. I’m thinking maybe not too many apply for that genre? Or maybe it’s a genre that’s growing? I honestly don’t know but I think with the great covers and decent blurbs, I stood a greater chance to get accepted.

Are there other myths you’ve heard that I didn’t touch on here? Please leave a comment below and let’s get the discussion going.

How did my BookBub Featured Deals do? Come back next week for a follow up post where I peel back the curtain and let you know exactly how they did.

In the meantime, why not click below and follow me on BookBub? You’ll always be alerted when I have a new release.

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Grabbing 2019 By The…

Happy New Year!

Say good-bye to the old and let’s welcome a new start for 2019.

I don’t remember if I made any resolutions or goals for last year, but I wanted to approach this annual reset with greater determination and focus.

It actually started the day after my 44th birthday when I walked around nearby Lake Murphysboro. As I trudged up and down the hills, the phrase “Before 45” kept repeating in my mind. I decided then to create actionable goals to measure my progress and force me to work harder. My birthday is December 15th, so it’s close enough to the end of the year to make these annual goals (though I do want to achieve them before I turn 45!)

In no particular order, these are my 2019 writer goals:

Publish 8 books

vintage-1148940_640Yeah, I know that sounds ludicrous, but it’s possible and who says I don’t have a few novels in my back pocket already? Quicker releases don’t mean lesser quality. I’ve got a process that works for me and I feel I can scale it up and increase what I’m doing. I’m in mid-trilogy writing now (it may turn into more than three books) and I’ve got a new novel near ready for my pen name. I’ve been working with two other authors on different series, though it’s still in the early stages of the projects. I’m also contracted with a small press to co-write a trilogy due for later this year, so 8 isn’t that crazy of a number.

 

Grow my newsletter list to over 5,000 subscribers

It’s now less than 900 because of serious culling a few months ago, but it needs to grow. No matter what happens, this has to be a priority moving forward. I believe in the power of a vibrant, healthy email list. I’m already putting in steps to achieve this.

 

Earn over $10,000 in book sales

Honestly I’d love this number to be much higher, but using my past performance as a guide, I’ll start here. If I can be transparent with my sales numbers, my hope is that it will help others learn and grow. Look for a post in the coming weeks with a recap of what I’ve earned so far. It’ll be brutal for me but instructive for you.

 

Grow my BookBub followers to over 1,000

BookBub is an amazing service that I’ve yet to fully utilize. Eager readers use BookBub to find new books to read. Why not try and grow my presence there for the future I have planned? They get notified of my new releases and keeps my name in front of the best kind of audience: readers!

 

Launch a book with over 100 pre-orders

Pre-orders are a point of contention amongst the indie author community, but I’d like to make this happen. My highest has been just under 50, so it’s a stretch but I feel quite achievable.

 

Blog once a week

This one will be difficult to maintain, but it’s something I feel is important. It gives me a place to share my journey and is where I found my first readers. You guys are super important to me and I need to honor that. Expect new posts at least once a week, most likely on Tuesday’s.

 

Attend 8 Cons

This one was tough because I considered doing very few, but with 3-4 already scheduled, I think I can make it happen. I’m looking for a few more Horror cons this year as my pen name has been crushing it and I might as well build the readership as much as possible.


There you have my look into the future. These are my measuring sticks. I expect yours might be different and that’s great! We all have different paths up the mountain (That’s a Craig Martelle reference for those who don’t know!) and no one path is the best. All that counts is that it’s your path. We all define success in our own terms.

So what are yours? What are your goals/resolutions for 2019? Feel free to comment with a few so we can all support one another. Onward and upward!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New & New-ish Releases On the Way

I’m pretty excited to share that I’ve bundled the Forgotten Chronicles Trilogy into one volume and you can pre-order it for only $2.99.

If you’ve yet to try my young adult sci-fi action/adventure series, there’s no better time to try it out than now. For the cost of one book, you get all three novels in one bundle.

The Forgotten Chronicles: The Complete Trilogy features the books The Selection, Rise of ForgottentrilogyCoverthe Forgotten, and The War For Truth and comes out December 15th. If you like fast-paced action set on a human colonized alien world where the natural dangers are almost as bad as the human ones, check out The Forgotten Chronicles and pre-order the trilogy for only $2.99 (after the 15th it goes to $4.99). Click the image or link above and start a new adventure today!


 

Several excellent authors I know are in a massive boxed set aiming for a USA Today bestseller status. If that’s not enough to consider their books, just think of the value you get when you buy their collection of over 20 paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels for only .99! Though I’m not normally a reader of paranormal romance, I did pre-order my copy. I know several of the authors and I know they write amazing books, so I figured why not give it a shot? At .99, how could I lose? Even if one of the novels was all that I liked, it was still only .99.

image1Please consider adding your support by sharing their set or pre-ordering your copy today. It would mean a lot to me to help them out and who knows, you might find a new favorite author to read!

You can get Rite to Reign at all major ebook retailers by clicking the image above or by going here.

 

Do A Kindness For Others

Have you ever found yourself doing the right thing when it was so easy not to?

Years ago while on my way to class at SIU, I stopped at a local McDonald’s for breakfast. I paid the cashier at the drive-thru window with a $20 bill and received a $20 bill and change in return.

My first thought? “Right on! I’ve got some extra money!

I drove to school grinning at my gain.

But then the guilt got to me.

DriveThruAt the time, I was working at a fast food restaurant as an assistant manager and I knew if any of my cashiers came up at least $20 short at the end of their shift, it might be grounds for dismissal. Was the extra cash worth it for me? Was the greed worth someone else possibly losing their job? What if the cashier was struggling and this was their last chance with their employer?

I wasn’t rolling in money. The extra money sure would’ve helped, but at what cost?

I only had one class that morning so on my way back home, I stopped at the McDonald’s and went inside.

“Can I speak with the manager?” I asked. The cashier looked at me with wide eyes. As a manager myself, I knew almost 100% of the time when a customer asked for the manager, it meant something was wrong.

“How can I help?” the nervous manager asked.

“I went through the drive-thru this morning and the cashier gave me $20 too much money.”

He misunderstood what I was doing and thought I was asking for more money back.

“No,” I said, “He gave me too much in change. I need to return this.” I handed him the $20 and turned to leave. A customer in line stopped me.

“You did the right thing,” she said, smiling at me as I left.

The money would’ve been great, but the cost to the cashier was not worth it. They would’ve never known where the money went and I would’ve gotten away with it. But in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble it would’ve caused the other person.

I don’t share this to brag or gloat, but to inspire others to always do the right thing, even when no one would know if you got away with the wrong thing. In the end, it’s worth it. I promise.

How about you? Any cool stories when you did the right thing though you knew you could get away with the wrong thing? Feel free to share! Or maybe you were the recipient of someone else’s kindness. Let’s brighten things up a bit, shall we?

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Support

NaNoWriMo is upon us! Who of you are writing a novel this month as part of the annual event? Don’t be shy. Share your intent in the comments so the rest of us can support your efforts.

I’m a long time fan of NaNo and five-time winner. I’m not participating this year as I was in mid-writing on my current project and the timing wasn’t right for me. For the rest that are, I hope you’ve been hitting your word counts so far. What’s working for you? What’s keeping you from achieving your goals?

nanoprepIf you’re part of NaNo this year, I’d love to be your cheerleader. Writing can often be a lonely exercise but it doesn’t have to be. You’ve got a ton of others ready to see you hit that 50k mark and I’m one of them.

NaNo taught me to focus. It taught me to crush through my first drafts and go back to fix it later. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just written. Get those words out, only you can tell your story.

It wasn’t until I won my first NaNo that I realized I could do this writing thing. Before then I wrote short stories, mostly flash fiction, and winning gave me the confidence to push on and keep at it. Now with five novels released since I won, I can honestly say without NaNo, I wouldn’t be a published author. It’s meant so much to me and I want others to experience this joy.

Write on my friends. Keep at it. I invite you to share your tales and your experience with the rest of us. Having a strong support system helps tremendously and I want you to succeed!

Happy writing everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#RiteToReign #iBooks Bundle

Hey readers, I wanted to share a new bundle of amazing stories from fellow authors I’ve known for a while. Read on for more info…


Something wicked this way comes…

Willful witches, supernatural sorcerers, cruel queens, and powerful priestesses fall out of favor and rise to rule in this highly sought-after collection of spellbinding stories!

More than 20 award-winning and bestselling authors have come together to curate this bewitching boxed set collection of the best PARANORMAL ROMANCE and URBAN FANTASY books in the genre, each brimming with stories of royal magic.

Journey through worlds of danger and mayhem, where witches and warlocks battle for influence and wizards fight for unrestricted power.

But reader beware: the highly addictive stories in RITE TO REIGN will put you under their spell. One click to secure your limited edition copy today!

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Call for Submissions: SciFi Anthology

Hey readers and fellow authors, some talented author friends of mine are creating a new anthology that I wanted to share. The title of the project is not yet finalized, however they are taking submissions from now through November. If you’re interested, check out the details below.


Call for Submissions for an anthology highlighting the capabilities and contributions of disabled people in science fiction. This will be a charity anthology with the proceeds and any royalties donated to the Special Olympics. We welcome involvement from disabled authors or those that would be interested in beta reading the final anthology.

PlanetsGenre: is geared toward science fiction, however, science fantasy, urban fantasy, space opera, other types of fantasy and speculative fiction are also acceptable as long as we’re focused on now or the future instead of ancient history. Other planets and non-human characters are acceptable. Dark fantasy/SF and horror are also acceptable as long as disabled heroes are not turned into victims.

Theme: The main characters must be disabled and succeed through their own efforts and without normalizing (i.e. undoing their disabilities with technology). This book is about celebrating the people who exist today and making them represented in the future.

Age level: should be no racier than PG 13 and YA is not precluded but we will not be targeting a YA or underage audience.

Length: 1500-7500 words

Deadline: All submissions should be received no later than November 30th, 2018 with expectation of a February 2019 publication date.

Send submissions to stephanieebarr@Dragonfaeriecreative.org with the subject “Disabled Heroes.”

Format: Word .doc/.docx file, 1″ margins, 12-14pt Times (or other serif font), double-spaced, contact info and word count on first page, running header w/name, title, page #, etc. The usual stuff. And please include your name and the story title in the filename. I will accept reprints if you (a) have the rights and (b) it fits our criteria.

Please edit your story carefully. We’re all busy indie authors and will not take the time to help you rewrite your work into something that works for us. Please make an effort to send something in finished form that meets the criteria we’ve set.

Title and cover are not yet finalized.

You can find out more on facebook by joining: https://www.facebook.com/groups/disabledheroes/

First Ever BookBub Deal (Results)

I recently ran my first ever BookBub Featured Deal, the gold standard of all book promotions, and I wanted to share the results for all my fellow writers and interested readers. If my experience can help you better organize your business or promotional goals, right on!

In case you didn’t know, I started a pen name for my horror works. Several months ago I set-up a Twitter account, Instagram, and even a Facebook Author page as well as a free Wix website for the name. I went this route out of respect for my family. Needless to say, the pen name doesn’t have much of a social media presence and nothing published under that name until now.

On July 20th, I released the first novel under that name and had a couple sales. Literally a couple. By the time my Featured Deal ran, it only had nine sales.

I tend to submit my novel The Selection to BookBub every thirty days, as is their policy, and have been rejected at least nine times. On July 25th, not even a week after I released my horror novel, I submitted The Selection and while there, I figured I’d give my new book a shot knowing I’d get rejected and would have to wait another thirty days.

Two days later, a full week after the book’s release, I got the email from BookBub accepting my submission and that it would run my .99 deal on August 5th if I wanted it. Umm…YES! I paid the bill, about $350, and geared up for the email blast.

My novel had a ton of things going against it for a successful BookBub promo. It was a new novel by a new author with very little social media presence. It was a stand alone book with no series to back it up. It was exclusive to Amazon. It only had (and as I write this still does) two reviews. I did nothing else to promote the book other than a couple low cost AMS ads and a low budget BookBub ad (which is waaaay different than their Featured Deal). I did add another book on pre-order so potential readers had more to try from me and to know I wasn’t a one trick pony.

The morning of the 5th came and the email blast went live. I was nervous and worried I wouldn’t get any downloads. I knew how many I needed to sell to cover the ad cost and waited anxiously for the numbers. I’d been watching other authors on kBoards share their BookBub success and hoped I’d follow suit.

One the first day, I sold a grand total of 286 copies, well short of my goal and a bit discouraging. It was the single biggest selling day ever for me, but I knew then I wasn’t going to cover the ad cost. That day, as the numbers rolled in, I went through a series of emotions, mostly rethinking my ability to write and if maybe I ought to toss it all and give up. So far, I’ve not made back the cost of producing a book, ads, or anything. At the end of that day, I was bummed but decided to carry on because I feel I can write compelling stories that others enjoy. My time will come.

youtuber-2838945_1280So day two came and went and I sold a total of 42 copies. So far today, day three, I’ve sold 3 copies. I’ve also started to see a rise in Kindle Unlimited page reads which will help. There have been 4 pre-orders of the other book I put up just before the promo.

So what’s my take away? After the initial shock of watching sales come in slowly and talking myself off the ledge, I’m viewing this as an extremely positive experience.

To land a BookBub Featured Deal on the first try with a new book and new pen name was amazing. What better way to introduce that name to readers than the best promo service around? I expect this will set up my name for quite a while and give it the foundation it needs for future success.

Promoting a horror novel on a Sunday might not have been the best day. Don’t get me wrong, when BookBub says we wanna share your book, you jump at the chance. I’ve tried other services and none have the return they have.

I knew going into it that a stand alone book stood less of a chance to recoup ad costs and in my case, that has proven correct. If it were the first in a series, the read through to the other books would’ve helped tremendously.

For those that wanted to know, there ya go.

Oh, on the bright side, my novel did rise to number one in two of its three categories, earning the coveted orange Best Seller stripe and in one category, I was beating out Stephen King!

Onward and upward friends!

 

June 2018 Author Recap

I hope you enjoyed the previous month’s worth of introductions to authors you may not know. It was my pleasure to share such talented writers with all of you.

AUTHORSYOUSHOULD KNOWI had the idea in late May to do a month long series exposing my followers to other writers who I admire and read. When I started this project, I told no one. I wanted it to be a surprise for all the authors involved. No one knew who I was going to share or when. It was pretty cool to see the surprise coming in from those whom I featured. For those writers, I do hope it was a well-received surprise. For you readers, I hope you found a new author or two to check out and sample their work.

I want to stress that there were many other authors I could’ve included. I don’t want to upset any of my author friends that may not have been included in this first series of Authors You Should Know. Please don’t take it as a slight against you or your work.

For a recap of each author, please click their name below and it will take you to the brief post I published. I encourage you to try someone new and try one of their books. You never know when you might come across a writer you’ll absolutely have to read. It’s difficult finding readers. My hope is that you found something useful through the month of June within these posts.

 

Jason’s Authors You Should Know – June 2018

Amy Hale                    June 1

Leland Lydecker        June 2

Donna McCarthy       June 3

Vince Churchill          June 4

Mirren Hogan             June5

Brian K. Morris          June 6

SA Gibson                   June 7

Mark Pannebecker   June 8

RJ Batla                       June 9

Simon Bleaken           June 10

F. Kenneth Taylor        June 11

Brent A. Harris           June 12

MD. Parker                 June 13

Pamela Morris           June 14

Ray Wenck                 June 15

Stephanie Barr          June 16

Thomas Gunther       June 17

Greg Alldredge          June 18

C.A. King                     June 19

PC3                             June 20

Jay Noel                      June 21

Christa Yelich-Koth   June 22

Eric Asher                  June 23

Diane Morrison         June 24

John W. Smith           June 25

Lucinda Moebius       June 26

Merri Halma              June 27

Bryan Caron              June 28

Leo McBride               June 29

Aaron Hamilton         June 30