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A few years ago, Bookbub was the gold standard of indie pub marketing. That's back when KDP Select was fairly new and everyone flocked to score a Bookbub slot to advertise their free Select days. There were always limited slots and it was tough to get one. They were also pricey. Most applicants were rejected, mostly because they needed to have a certain number of positive reviews (which was a challenge for a new book). Those who scored a coveted slot usually reported big download ("freeload") numbers - sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands.

 

I was always leery of the whole KDP Select model, and wasn't the only one wondering if those Bookbub driven freeloads were all real. There was rampant suspicion of click-farm activity boosting results, but nothing was ever proven. I often asked those who reported large Select freeloads (on another forum) if it lead to a large bump in sales. I would never get a direct answer, which lead me to believe they really didn't.

 

Since then Bookbub has expanded their offerings. On a couple of occasions I tried their CPC ads, which were similar to the Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) click ads. I never got them to work very well. Not sure why, but I had more success with AMS.

 

When I say "more success", I mean that I got more clicks, sold a few books, but never got a positive ROI on any campaign - nor did it result in additional sales outside of an AMS campaign. I gave up both, as it felt more like I was just feeding quarters into slot machines in Vegas.

 

I'm also not sure how Bookbub is doing with their traditional advertising model these days. Things in the indie pub world are in constant change, and it wouldn't surprise me if Bookbub has lost much of it's former luster.

 

 

 

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I've done some marketing with Bookbub. I've not landed their famed Featured Deal, but I have had a Featured New Release on the third book I published. I didn't make back the investment. However, I gained a number of followers who now get alerts whenever I release something else and when I recommend books. So, it did increase my readership in a modest way. I plan on trying for another Featured New Release when I launch the first book in my new series because I think the exposure is worth it. When I've finished getting my current series in audio, I'll try to apply for a Featured Deal.

 

I've also dabbled in Bookbub's pay-per-click ads, but only for about five days. Those were costing me a good amount of money and I didn't see any benefits that made it worth continuing.

 

I've also tried Amazon ads. I was making a small profit... until I got hit by the tax bill. I'm in the UK and we have to pay 20% tax on all pay-per-click ads. So, in effect, I'm paying $1.20 for every $1 American advertisers pay. I can't claim it back unless I jump through some red tape that'll cost me a ton in accountants' fees and admin headache. It wasn't worth it for me with only a small catalogue of books and a modest number of sales. I might try again when I have a bigger backlist, but that won't be for at least another year, and likely longer.

 

The best marketing results I've had are with paid newsletter services such as Faithful Reads, Fussy Librarian, MyBookCave, and Freebooksy.

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Back in the day, when I was exhorted by fellow writers to market my books, I primarily used guest "appearances" on the blogs of the day, which was free. And, since this was before Select, I used the "make the first book free" to boost sales of the others. I made a lot of sales doing that, but it took up too much time and kept me from writing, and I realized the important thing to me was to write, not to be a salesman. Now, if they sell, I'm ok with that. If they don't sell, I'm ok with that. I just wish I could get over the block that's stopping me from writing now.

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20 hours ago, Tommie Lyn said:

I just wish I could get over the block that's stopping me from writing now.

If the inability to write is a block, then I might help you dig a mouse-size hole into the block. My counselor started me writing freewrites, letters, and other personal-yet-not-fiction pieces. I used to write articles, but got bored with that. All those things she had me do felt the same way.

So, she asked me to write a short story. It's hard to get back to short-story size after writing a novel, but I used it as a side story with one of my MCs. I also only had a week, so I couldn't do my picayuning on every word/sentence like I prefer. That was the first true nibble off the block to my mouse-size hole. I'm just getting to writing the novel again, albeit slow going. (1000 words in a mere two weeks. That slow. 🥺) But, at least I'm doing what I like to do.

 

Might I suggest writing something so short, you wouldn't have bothered your hubby with it. (My hubby is not into fiction, so he's out for helping me on the writing part, so excuse me if I wasn't any help.)

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