#BookBub Featured Deal – final analysis

I fully admit to having had my heart in my mouth when I hit ‘send’ on the payment for this deal. It was a LOT of money, $704, to be precise.

I also admit that despite applying for a Featured Deal several times a year for several years, I still dithered about accepting it when faced with the reality of forking out that sort of sum for an advert.
Now that it’s over, I am so happy I did go through with it, and in case you are in two minds yourself about the possible ROI (return on investment), I’m going to share all my figures with you, to show you just how worthwhile it can be.

Obviously, any ad is a gamble of sorts. BB shows you the average number of sales you might expect, and you don’t know at the outset whether you will achieve that, or be one of those who contributes to the figures but has a result on the lower side.

Even so, I’d still say that provided you have more than one book published, preferably in a series, it’s going to be worth it.

I already shared with you, in my interim report, the number of Amazon Bestseller rankings that THE PRINCE’S MAN achieved during the peak of the Featured Deal sales, so I’ll just summarise here:

My book earned 8 orange tags in total, across US, Canadian, and Australian stores.

Figures

And so onto the bit you’ve been waiting for!

To set the scene, I ran a number of ads over the course of a week. Current best advice is to try to show a gradual increase in sales rank, not a sudden spike. It seems the almighty Amazon Algorithm considers a lone spike to be an anomaly, and this makes the rankings you earn vanish far quicker than if you show a gradual ‘organic’ build up.

Now, when you apply, BB asks if you are flexible on the dates you intend to run your promo. Saying ‘yes’ increases the likelihood of success, but as in my case, that doesn’t give you much time to prepare when they allocate you a date not much more than a week in advance.

As a result, most of the more successful ad platforms I would usually use were already sold out. This is what I managed to put together, in my last minute rush (several of these sites are genre-specific):

YourNewBooks.com    whole week    $10   

Art of Arcane      Dec 1st  $9.67                                    

JustKindleBooks      Dec 2nd  $18                      

PrettyHot.com          Dec 4th     $15                  

Ebookaroo Dec 4th Free

And then, because I couldn’t get earlier dates, I also ran a couple of other ads after the BB deal, and extended my promo by an extra week

Fussy Librarian       Dec 8th   $17     

Geektastic                  Dec 9th    $9

 Book Raid Dec 14th   $15.56  (pay per click, this resulted in quite a lot of clicks)

That makes a total of $94.23 , so with the BB Featured ad, I spent a grand total of $798.23 on advertising.

I sold 25 copies of THE PRINCE’S MAN in the days leading up to the BB, and those are NOT included in the numbers I am about to report.

I tracked sales for 4 weeks from the date of the BB, with the following results:

On the day of the BB: Amazon 1570 Apple 120 Kobo 70

on the next day Amazon 283 Apple 40 Kobo 38 Paperbacks 3

You can assume not everyone will open their BB newsletter on the day it is delivered, but I had no other ads scheduled on those 2 days, so they can be attributed to the BB alone.

To make things a little confusing, this was over a period when Barns & Noble had a reporting failure. When they came back online, it was a bonus! I can’t allocate sales from B&N to separate days, but over the 2 days I sold 210 copies there, bringing me to a 2 day total of:

Amazon 1853 Apple 160 Kobo 108 B&N 210 paperbacks 3

a grand total of 2331 eBooks plus 3 paperbacks.

BookBub reports average sales for a Featured Deal in fantasy as 1860, so a target well exceeded!

In fact, is you look closely, you’ll note that my Amazon sales alone are almost spot on. I think this makes a good case for going wide (unless you have had much success in KU, which I haven’t – I’ve tried it a few times and always ended up going back to wide distribution) as I sold 478 copies on the other platforms.

This was a 99c deal, which I’d planned for one week, extended to 2 weeks, and then extended further again because for some reason Amazon’s interface refused to allow me to put the price back up to its usual $3.99

It took a couple of messages to KDP support before it finally went back up to regular price on December 23rd, so my reporting on the BB tail is not quite as anticipated, but I’m still very happy with the results.

Over the 4 weeks from the day of the BB ad, THE PRINCE’S MAN sold:

Amazon 2285 Other platforms (through Draft2Digital) 547 Total 2832 (+5 paperbacks)

of which 2766 were at 99c, and 66 copies were at full price.

I have 3 books out in the series so far, and read through was quick and promising, selling 699 copies at full price. (+4 paperbacks)

Going into the finances for the 4 weeks THE PRINCE’S MAN earned:

Amazon $894.98   +  D2D $320.63  Grand total   $1215.61

A profit after ad expenses of: $417.38

As I wasn’t even certain I would make a profit on the one book at 99c I’m delighted with that result, but far more thrilled with the overall figures once you factor in read through.

For all books sold over the period:

Amazon income total  $2465.40  +  D2D $726.26  Grand total   $3191.66

A final profit of $2393.43

And in case you are wondering, the tail is still going. Since January 5th, I’m selling on average 10 books a day (up from one book a day), of which 3 are THE PRINCE’S MAN, all at full price.

The other bonus is that in a month, THE PRINCE’S MAN has gone from 83 ratings on Amazon, to 130, still maintaining its 4.5* rating, and with some lovely new reviews, one of which I shared last week.

So, if you get the chance at a BookBub Featured Deal, and you have several books out already, I highly recommend you take it!

26 comments

  1. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    Thank you for this enlightening information, Debbie. Something to consider for sure! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the past I’ve found such shared info incredibly useful and encouraging, so I wanted to do the same for others – the essence of the indie community.

      Like

  2. That’s superb 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on such a great success, Debby! I’m so pleased at how well it worked for you, and who knows how many future sales might also be attributed to folks having learned about your work from this promo?

    Thanks so much for sharing the details, too. I have NEVER done any advertising at all, other than social media/blogging, and have sworn that this is the year I’m going to master that form of marketing. Your experiences will help me plot a course that just could end in my own BookBub promo at some point.

    One question. I want to start small with some other ads here and there, and am curious as to which you’ve had success with? I know about Fussy Librarian, and will check the others you’ve listed above, too. Are there more you’ve tried over time? I subscribe to BookGoodies, BookGorilla, and a couple of others, but have never used them, myself. I plan to start small, and work my way toward BookBub, so any suggestions would be helpful.

    Again, congrats on your huge success! Yay, you! (And well deserved, I’ll add, even though I’m a book behind on your series. I plan to fix that very soon!) 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you want to dip your toe in the marketing world, Marcia – even before this I’ve run one or two paid promos a year (on a much smaller scale) and they have always been worth it.
      Lots of promo sites come and go, and of course the best ones are genre specific. I tried Books Butterfly which others had great results with, but it didn’t work for me. Good one to try though, as they refunded me when I didn’t get their anticipated sales.
      In addition to the ones you see in the post above, best sites have been: BookGorilla, EreaderNewsToday (ENT – difficult to get into but well worth it when you do), BookBarbarian, and eBookBetty.
      I’ve tried lots of others, with variable success, but these have given me the best numbers. Unfortunately several of them book up months in advance, so you need to forward plan your promo much earlier than the BB gave me the opportunity to do. I will probably long term plan another promo for the autumn.
      Also checck out:
      https://www.paidauthor.com/best-ebook-promotion-sites/
      https://nicholaserik.com/promo-sites/
      https://blog.reedsy.com/book-promotion-services/
      There are also free promo services to investigate, I always include a few of those though I’m not sure how effective they are.
      Most often, I just break even or slightly better than, but the pay off is in the read through and the increase in ranking.
      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks so much for the additional info, Debby. You are MUCH smarter at this than I, but I do hope to get better. I’m making a list of these sites and hope to make some progress in marketing soon! (If I can stop shuddering every time I say the word “marketing,” that is. 😀 ) I’m much better at marketing in person, I’m afraid. My local readership has been super supportive, but of course I need to reach higher numbers, so will give it my very best shot. You’ve been super helpful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, and while I hear you about being more comfortable with in person marketing, for these, you just fill in forms and pay the bills. Not tricky, more tedious than anything, Then sit back and track sales when it goes live – I always schedule sites on different days over a week, and although most sites will have an effect on 2 days, its the best I can figure. That way, I know which sites are working best for my books, and keep a list for future reference.
      I also don’t tend to use the same site more than once a year, to give them time to get enough new readers signed up to make it worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good tips! Making notes, here. Thanks again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Deb, I so appreciate your succinct lowdown here, and congrats! Hard to imagine a book at 99 cents with a 30% royalty could bring in that much. I’ve archived your post for my own investigations and shared. Thanks so much and wow you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀
      Wow. That’s about what I keep thinking!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the detailed report, Deborah. I’ll be sharing this to my Facebook page.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Kathy, hopefully lots of people will find it informative and encouraging.

      Like

  8. I’ve never tried ads but know I should. One day I must try! Thanks for sharing. Out of interest what would you suggest as an initial amount to invest in this for someone like me who has never taken the plunge?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marje, glad my post has nudged you in this direction. Aside from social media, I find a couple of promos a year do wonders for keeping sales going.
      Unless I have a BookBub (this was my third, although the other two were ‘International BBs’ – everything BUT the US, which is where the big numbers are), I keep my spend per promo to under $100, over as many outlets as I can fit into that budget. Most are under $20, and I try to use several of those plus one of the more expensive ones each time. I also rotate which sites I use, as there’s no point putting your book in front of the same people too often,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much Deborah. I must try at some point. That’s really helpful. I may dabble with my new This Is Lockdown book. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bear in mind ads work best if you have other books linked to the one you are promoting.

        Like

      3. Thanks Deborah. It would be good to do when I publish second curse of time.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful analysis. I can’t believe how much work you had to do, all those outlets, but it all paid off. Kudos, Deborah. It looks like a model for a successful promo!

    I never see people talk about B&N so that was a plus, too. I’m sharing this…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was definitely worth it, Jacqui, and not as much work as it perhaps sounds – I have all the info I need for completing sales outlets forms stored in a master promo file, so it’s just copy and paste.

      Like

  10. Congrats on your successful promo, Deborah. I’ve used Bookbub a few times in the past, and as you say, while the outlying cost os handed over with a gulp, it’s so worth it in the end.
    I have one booked next week, so wish me luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacquie, and good luck next week!
      I’ve had a couple of International BBs before, but this was my first All Regions, and I’m thrilled with the result.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet! I’ve always seen a positive return for months after 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, Deborah. I was looking forward to this post, and it’s great to see how well you did. It not only made me think that I need to pursue a Bookbub promotion, but it also made me think that it might be time to experiment with going wide with one of my series and seeing what happens. I do okay with KU, but it’s not amazing. Hmmm. Congrats, congrats! And thanks so much for generously sharing your experience in such detail. You’ve inspired me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’ve given you some inspiration. Good luck with seeking a Featured Deal, they aren’t easy to get, but provided you are sure about the things you can control (cover and blurb) persistence is the answer. You can apply once a month every month, so I should get started!
      And going wide has, for me, turned out to be far better than KU, especially during promos and the inevitable follow on tail. Mind you, I had very little result with KU, so for me it was a no brainer. You can at least experiment – nothing to stop you going back into KU if it doesn’t work out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I favorited your post so I can use it as a reference. Such great info. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

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