Bookbub is a new company which, as you probably know, sends out email shots to hundreds of thousands of registered readers, publicizing a handful of free and discounted books each day. It’s not just for indies either; recently I’ve seen ads for books by James Patterson and Ian Rankin.
Ad prices vary, depending on the book’s genre and offer price ( http://www.bookbub.com/advertise/pricing.php ). Their ad prices are apparently rising steadily. Also, they’re selective in which ads they take. The good folk at Bookbub clearly have impeccable taste, because last week they chose to publicize my novel HOPE ROAD. I didn’t ask them to feature it, and I didn’t pay anything. In fact, until they mailed me to let me know I’d been featured I had no idea that Bookbub existed. It seems that, as they develop their business, they select the odd Amazon freebie and include it alongside their paid ads, no charge to the author.
HOPE ROAD was only on a freebie because, well, why not? It had been on a free run a few months ago, and I simply kept it in Select because it was still getting a good few borrows. So, in it went for its second free offer, although I didn’t have very high expectations, coming so soon after its earlier free run. However, I got 55,000 downloads in the US alone, and I reckon Bookbub must have been a significant factor in that.
So, the question is: would you PAY to advertise that your book is FREE? I can understand paying for an ad when a book is on special (paid) offer; you can calculate exactly how many purchases you need to generate to justify the cost of the ad. But paying to publicize a freebie?
A free run on Amazon within the region of 50-60k downloads will probably net you well in excess of a thousand dollars in sales and Prime borrows in the days and weeks that follow. If a Bookbub ad contributes to that, and it costs you $60-230, then I guess it’s worth it. Yet there’s still something which might stop me from paying for the service.
And I think the reason is that if I paid for an ad on a free run and the cost of the ad was not demonstrably recouped in extra sales, I’d feel like an absolute chump.