Tag Archives: BookBub

All Those Reviews…All of Them!

Book reviews are like gold for authors. We all want them. They’re the “social proof” our books are being read by readers. But…how important are they? How many do you really need? What’s their point? What do we do with them?

how-to-post-a-book-review-memeEarning reviews on books helps potential readers decide if the book is for them or not. I worked hard to earn 50 reviews on my book The Selection. I joined groups for reviews.

I started a Facebook group called The Review Circle where a bunch of authors would agree to read and review the book of another author while also being read and reviewed by a third author. It works like this: Author A reviews Author B. Author B reviews Author C. Author C then reviews Author A. I didn’t want review exchanges, but the freedom of the author to read and honestly review a different book knowing they were not being reviewed by that same author. The concept works and we’ve done many “review circles,” but it was difficult to keep up with, especially when the same authors signed up and we avoided (as best we could) having people review authors who have already read them.

With all that work, how important are reviews? It depends on what your goals are.write-a-review

Many book promotion sites require a certain number of reviews before they’ll accept your book. Many need to see at least 10 reviews, others less. It’s funny because the largest and most effective book promo site, BookBub, does not have such rigid requirements. I understand why some of the services do. They want their readers to know the books they’re promoting aren’t hack pieces and have some legitimacy to them.

How many do you need? I guess this depends on what you need them for. If your book sells even though you have few reviews, maybe you don’t need that many. Or, maybe you could use more to increase those daily sales. If you want to schedule an email blast promo, you’ll need as many as they require for you to sign-up.

Why do we crave reviews, what do they do for us? The easy answer is that they let us know we’ve somehow touched the reader with our book in a way that compelled them to leave a review. It’s one of the most gratifying experiences to read a positive review of your work. At the same time, it’s crushing to read a negative one, though if taken as a learning tool, it can help sharpen the writer’s skill for future works.

I welcome any and all reviews, as long as they’re honest. If you’ve spent your money on my books or picked them up for free during a promo, I fully expect that your time will not be wasted in my words and my hope is that you’ll leave an honest review of my work. If you don’t, that’s cool too. It’s your call.

I’ve retrained myself to always leave a review of the books I’ve read, especially if it’s a fellow indie author. My hope is that it will encourage them to continue or maybe give them just enough to book a promo they’ve wanted to do. And the great thing is, it doesn’t have to be a long in-depth review. Just a few words saying “I really liked this book” or something like that works too.

What’s your take on reviews? Do you think they carry more weight than I’ve described above? Do you leave them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Have you followed me on BookBub yet? If not, click the image below enter into a drawing where two lucky winners get a $100 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is follow me to enter. Gain over 80 additional chances by following the other scifi and/or fantasy authors as well.

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Want my book The Selection for free? Grab a copy when you sign-up for my email list through the Birthday Book Party giveaway. While you’re there, check out all the other free scifi and fantasy novels!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!