Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
BookBub is the leading online price-promotion vehicle for authors of digital books. Their ads expose millions of new readers to ebooks, offering immense exposure for authors. But getting a listing in a BookBub email is not as easy as placing an order and paying the fee. BookBub estimates that it only accepts 10 to 15% of tthe books that are submitted.
In the first part of this two-part article, Three Reasons To Shed No Tears If Your Book Is Rejected By BookBub, I urged writers not to become heartbroken when BookBub turns down your request to advertise your book. Hey, you’re among the majority. Now, however, I’m adding to that article by breaking your heart all over again. Well, not directly—and for a good reason. I want you to see your BookBub rejection as a wake-up call. You should use it to start changing your ways. If BookBub doesn’t want you, it’s time for you to turn it around marketing-wise.
Turn-It-Around Tactic #1: Change your merchandising for the better
Even though you shouldn’t pine over being left behind by BookBub, there are compelling reasons to take a fresh look at your book merchandising.
What is online bookstore merchandising? Merchandising in a brick-and-mortar store is the art of making products look appealing to shoppers. Merchandising in a digital store includes having a great book cover, a compelling blurb, and double-digit customer reviews—25, 50, or more.
BookBub rewards authors who are actively performing these best-practice digital store merchandising methods. If your cover, sales description, and customer reviews can’t impress BookBub, what makes you think they’re good enough to impress a reader? Okay, maybe your book is too niche for BookBub. Maybe your book simply is too new. But maybe, just maybe, your merchandising needs adjustment. Here’s how:
- Hire a new cover designer—a professional with experience designing today’s ebooks.
- Actively solicit reviews by adding a pitch inside your book on the last page.
- Get a marketing professional to help you write a powerful blurb. Or read this classic DBW article on writing blurbs.
If you correct the elements that are lacking in your book’s online profile, your offering will become attractive to BookBub’s editors—and those same things are attractive to regular customers, too.
In short, BookBub’s decision-making process is very similar to that of an actual book buyer. So if your title can appeal to BookBub, it will probably appeal to lots of other people. And whether or not BookBub ever chooses your title for a promotion, with a better cover, description, and more sales reviews, your overall sales will surely improve.
Turn-It-Around Tactic #2:. A bigger, overall strategy is what sells books… so if you don’t have a marketing strategy, it’s time to create one.
Don’t fret about getting a “no” from BookBub. But do go ahead and use BookBub’s dis as a motivating source for forming and enacting a broader marketing strategy.
As an independent author, you’re not just a writer. You’re a small business. No small business would expect to succeed without a broad-based, long-term marketing strategy. Here’s another harsh reality: With or without BookBub, it’s unlikely that you’ll recover your book production costs if you don’t invest time, energy, and money in a marketing strategy..
- Know your Audience. Your marketing strategy outlines your ideal audience members, and the competition. Meet your audience’s expectations. Look as professional as the books you’re competing with.
- Define Your Book’s Unique Attributes. Give your book a brand. Help readers understand what they’ll get out of your book in a few, short words: A cozy mystery in a mob-run bowling alley? A self-help guide for grieving dog owners? A moody nightmare set in post-communist Croatia? Make it short, pithy and accurate. Stick to it every time you say anything about your book.
- Have a Pricing Strategy. In addition to all of that definition work,Your overall marketing strategy includes a pricing strategy (of which reducing your book temporarily to free status is an important part) as well as a “series” strategy that includes a range of sequels and related titles that can be used as hooks, loss leaders, and momentum builders.
- Make A Calendar of Marketing Activities. An overall marketing strategy includes a well thought out schedule of activities. Make a plan of specific, regular marketing activities that build on each other to convert curious viewers into eager purchasers. Marketing activities can include blog tours, review solicitations, and of course, price promotions such as BookBub ads. Decide how often you want to carry out these tactics (at least once a month, once a week, etc). Stick to that plan to keep the energy flowing on your online store.
Your broader marketing strategy defines what makes your title unique among the millions of books out there. Wikipedia says that currently about 305,000 new books a year are being posted from the US alone, that’s roughly a thousand a day. You need a wide-ranging plan to cut through the clutter.
Don’t blame BookBub: Get your marketing in gear
You shouldn’t fret about not being selected for a BookBub ad. Because of sheer numbers alone, your title may never get accepted by that mighty book marketing champion. Still, there are are very good reasons to use this bit of bad news to make adjustments in your marketing. Oh, and once you’ve made those improvements, keep on applying for a BookBub ad. Even if BookBub never chooses your book for its promotions, improving your marketing tactics and strategic plan will help your overall sales.