Did you know that BookBub is currently Amazon’s #1 competition?
Although both platforms vary from one another, BookBub is one self-publishing company that is taking the publishing world by storm.
As an author, you’ve no doubt published (or are thinking of publishing) on Amazon’s KDP, the world's most widely-known book publishing platform for self-published authors.
However, not all authors have discovered success with Amazon and its increasingly competitive marketplace. In order to scale up and expand sales, authors are moving to other publishing companies such as Kobo, Apple Books and Barnes and Noble.
And…you guessed it, BookBub is rapidly climbing the charts as a strong alternative.
But does BookBub actually outperform Amazon in several ways? Or is it just delivering more hype than it actually brings?
Related: How to Publish an eBook on Amazon
We'll uncover all that and more in this BookBub review, so you can make informed choices and get the most out of your book launch and promotion plan.
Do you know what you need to have a successful launch?
In this BookBub review, we will cover:
- What is BookBub?
- Boost Your Book Sales
- BookBub Review: Features & Benefits
- How to Set Up Your Author Profile on BookBub
- BookBub Featured Deals
- Findaway & Chirp Audiobook Deals
- BookBub Ads for Authors
- Amazon VS BookBub
- Final Review For Authors
What is BookBub?
BookBub is not a book-selling platform, but rather a book aggregating platform that offers free and discounted eBooks to readers while allowing authors to gain greater readership through advertised book deals.
BookBub offers a wide selection of books to readers at discounted prices for a limited time. This is available through their Bookbub Ads or “Featured Deal” campaigns.
Bookbub is a massive site with a huge following for authors, publishers, and readers. Because Bookbub is so popular, with over 15 million readers and a massive fanbase, authors have the opportunity to reach a massive audience through BookBub’s network.
Related: Book Marketing
According to the Alexa ranking, BookBub ranks 2,466 overall in the United States and #8,933 for global internet traffic. How is that for popularity!
Now, how can you best utilize the website to grow your sales, readers list, and shoot your book up the rankings so it sticks like paper fastened to a wall with crazy glue?
Let’s take a look!
Boost Book Sales With BookBub
BookBub is an amazing platform when it comes to boosting your book sales. Authors can leverage the platform to increase their readership and maximize their exposure.
But how do you increase your sales with a platform that is not owned by Amazon?
Here’s how to boost book sales on BookBub:
- Featured Deals. Getting accepted for a featured deal means your book will be in front of thousands of hungry readers.
- Advertising. Creating ads to promote your book on the platform is a powerful way to increase book sales.
- Recommendations. Recommending other authors' books will increase your author activity on the site, and increase engagement.
- Author Profile. Setting up an author profile means you have a designated webpage on the BookBub site just for you!
- Pre-Release. Using Bookbub’s pre-release feature is another strong way to increase book sales.
BookBub Review: Features & Benefits
So how exactly does BookBub work to get authors the results they seek?
Aside from BookBub being an engaging platform for readers by giving personalized book recommendations and free eBook deals, BookBub offers a number of features and benefits for authors to take advantage of.
For the purpose of this BookBub review, we’ll be focusing on the features that benefit self-published authors.
There are 5 valuable features BookBub offers:
#1 – BookBub Author Profile
We will expand on how to set this up in the next section. Your BookBub author profile is considered gold.
You can add Bookbub to your website via a link, and when you release a new book, followers on Bookbub get notified of your new release. It’s free advertising built in!
#2 – BookBub Recommendations
BookBub loves to promote books – it’s part of their strategy to engage readers, and offer incentives for participating authors.
73% of BookBub’s readers want to get alerts when authors they like launch a new title.
A strategy for engaging authors with other authors is making book recommendations. This can help authors to stay engaged with their readers and fans.
Many book lovers get recommendations from BookBub and other readers, but getting a book recommendation from an author is a special invitation.
#3 – New Release Alerts
The company automatically sends a dedicated email alert to an author’s BookBub followers whenever that author comes out with a new release.
How it works – Every time an author launches a new book, Bookbub will alert their BookBub followers via a dedicated email.
Add your upcoming releases to your profile to ensure they’ll send an alert.
#4 – Preorder Alerts
Readers on BookBub can follow their favorite authors to find out when they have a deal or new release available.
Pre-order Alerts let you email these loyal fans when an author has a book available for pre-order, helping to ensure your launch week is as successful as possible.
#5 – Marketing Tools for Authors
The greatest advantage to using Bookbub, and it’s core purpose, is to serve the needs of every author by offering a marketing platform that brings in sales, builds an email list, and exponentially increases discoverability.
How to Set Up Your Author Profile on BookBub
One of the unique features of the BookBub platform is being able to set up your own author profile, which is similar to Amazon Author Central, but with. more engagement tools.
This is a great feature that enables authors to showcase their books, follow favorite authors, and post book reviews for books. One more powerful benefit is, you can link your Bookbub profile directly to your author platform and website. This is great for search engine optimization as you drive traffic to your website via your Bookbub link.
Let’s take a look at how to set this up:
Here’s how to set up your author profile on BookBub:
Step #1 – Create Your BookBub Account
To begin the set-up process for creating your author profile, go here:
You will be asked to link to one of your books. Note that, you will need a published book to set up your author profile. Click the “Get Started” link in the section labeled “Create an Account & Claim Your Profile.”
Step #2 – Confirm Your Account
Within 3-7 days, Bookbub will approve your account and from there, you can begin building in marketing strategies. Log in to the BookBub Partner Dashboard.
You will be asked to link to one of your books. Note that, you will need a published book to set up your author profile. Click the “Get Started” link in the section labeled “Create an Account & Claim Your Profile.”
Step #4 – Fill in Author Bio/Upload Pic
Click on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then select “Edit Profile.”
Add your author cover photo and a biography. Then write a captivating author bio!
Step #5 – Add Genres
You want readers to discover your books, so you need to send them to the right categories. Add in the top genres your books are most likely to appear in.
Step #6 – Add Your Books to Your Author Page
This is where you really get to showcase your work. Add your books and then, when submitting a featured deal or setting up a Bookbub Ad, you can easily click on the books in your bookshelf and set it up.
Step #7 – View Your Author Profile
Click on the “View Profile” link at the top right-hand side of the page to see what your profile looks like to readers. You can confirm your bio is accurate and test your hyperlinks to make sure they’re working.
If you’re ready to set up your author profile on Bookbub, head over to this link and get started: https://partners.bookbub.com/authors
BookBub Featured Deals
One of the biggest features of BookBub—and the dream for many authors—is to get accepted by BookBub for a Featured Deal.
What is this deal so many authors are trying to get, why is it important, and mostly, how can you increase your chances of being selected?
In a nutshell, a BookBub featured deal is the book deal of the century, considered by most authors—and publishers—to be the “cream of the crop” when it comes to high-level book marketing.
How does BookBub work?
A featured deal is when your book is promoted by BookBub in a daily newsletter sent out to thousands of readers according to genre. These books are either discounted (.99 , $1.99) or free. You can apply for a featured deal at any time, as long as your book has not been submitted within 30 days, and this book hasn’t been promoted by BookBub within the past 6 months.
The company has spent thousands of hours testing and retesting books on their platform. They know what sells, why it sells, and how to curate books to match the needs of their readers.
Only a slight fraction of books are chosen for a BookBub deal. For many authors, they have applied numerous times (upwards of ten to twenty times) before a book was finally accepted.
BookBub deals are hard to secure, and continue to become more difficult to get accepted with the growing number of books and competitors.
The company has strict criteria for submitting a deal, and it’s even stricter for getting selected. You can do everything right and that is no guarantee your bestselling book will be one of the top 10% of the daily chosen.
It’s worth noting that it costs nothing to apply for a featured deal. You only pay after your book has been accepted.
Benefits of a Featured Deal for Authors
A bookbub deal is the most highly sought after deal by the majority of authors. Here are 5 reasons you definitely want to get that featured deal!
#1 – Acquire new subscribers and grow your platform
Imagine if you could add 200+ new subscribers to your email list within 48 hours. This could happen if you get hundreds (or thousands) of downloads, either free or for your discounted book. That means more people on your list and when you launch a new product, you have your marketing dialed into your funnel.
This is different from the Bookbub followers so, if you increase this list as well, you have two massive email lists to work with!
#2 – Increase book discoverability and exposure
A bookbub featured deal generates a high volume of sales. Readers who would normally not find your book are now downloading it to their devices—this could mean thousands of readers and book lovers. That means 10x more people talking about your book, sharing it on social media, and becoming lifelong fans of your work.
The high volume of sales from a Featured Deal can boost an ebook’s visibility on retailer bestseller lists and this drives additional sales from readers who aren’t currently subscribed to BookBub.
#3 – Immediate sales boost across additional book titles (and back list sales)
Following a featured deal, authors report a huge boost in sales, not just from the title featured in the deal but across other books in the series or in the author’s funnel. The cost an author invests in the deal is made back 10-50x and often much higher as the cases are reported.
#4 – Hit the New York Times Bestseller list…
Sounds like a dream? Lots of books have hit the NYT bestseller list after a featured deal. Yes, it is possible. There is also the USA today and Wallstreet Journal bestseller lists to consider.
#5 – Increase your following on BookBub
The ‘Follow’ feature is a huge way to grow your leadership through Bookbub. BB helps with this by messaging readers after the deal and encouraging people to follow the author.
You could add hundreds, if not thousands, of new followers to your Bookbub platform. Then, when you release that next new book, you have a built-in fanclub ready to buy your next book.
How do authors get a BookBub deal?
Before your book can be accepted (and before you consider applying) be sure that your book meets at minimum the following requirements:
- A professional looking cover. This is par the course to say that, any book with a bad cover won’t sell. When it comes to Bookbub, you must have a great book cover or, it is usually an instant rejection.
- A lot of reviews. Just as reviews on Amazon matter to buyers, they matter to Bookbub readers, too. Having just a few reviews on your book won’t cut it. You want to try for 50+ reviews before applying for a bookbub deal.
- The best deal available. Bookbub won’t consider your book if it has been offered for a better price in the last 30 days, or if it will be offered for less in the near future.
- Quality content. Your book must be error-free, professionally edited and formatted.
- A full length book. Novels and collections of short stories or novellas should be at least 150 pages in length, works of nonfiction at least 100 pages, cookbooks at least 70 pages, and children’s picture books at least 20 pages. Bookbub currently does not feature stand-alone novellas or short stories.
- Free or discounted by at least 50%. Bookbub promises members that they will only feature books that are deeply discounted.
- Widely available. This means your book needs to be available on at least one major retailer in the US or the UK. If your book is on Kobo, Apple Books, or Barnes and Noble, you have a better chance of getting a deal. The more retailers your books are available on, the better your chances.
There is a lot of competition to get a featured book on Bookbub. Even if your book hits all the right points, it could still get rejected. Bookbub will not give reasons for this so all you can do is follow up again. They do, however, offer tips on how you can improve your chances for any future submissions.
You can check out more on featured deal submission strategies by visiting: Tips on Optimizing Your Submission for a BookBub Featured Deal
How to Submit a Book for a Featured Deal
Step 1: Go to BookBub.com and log-in. Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage.
The other “best” option is to create a BookBub author page. This built-in feature pulls your data from Amazon. If you’ve listed your book on Bookbub under your author profile, you can select your book from within this page.
Step 2: Click on “Submit New Deal.”
Step 3: Choose your book from the “Previously Added Books” column.
If you have several books published, these run down the page and simply click on the “choose” button. If the book you want to submit isn’t there, you can “Add a Book” and bring it over to your BookBub author page.
Step 4: After selecting your book, fill out the form that includes:
- Suggested category. Based on the best category for your book, choose one category. Then, If it's selected for a Featured Deal, Bookbub’s editors will choose the final category based on members' current tastes.
- Regions. You can choose “United States” or “International”. An International Featured Deal includes the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Australia. Note that your book will be considered for the United States and International separately, so you may only be selected for one of the options requested.
- Pricing. Fill in the pricing for each country based on the original price for the book, and the deal price. Refer the requirements for pricing based on Bookbub’s criteria.
- Deal availability. Select the retailers where your book will be discounted. Providing Bookbub with the individual URL is optional but it will help speed up the review of your book.
- Date. If your book is selected, Bookbub will schedule your feature for the first available spot within the next 30 days. Please note any preferred promotion dates in the comments section. It is definitely worth it to be flexible with your promo dates.
- Comments (recommended!). Any comments you have about your book, drop it in the box. This is another “recommended” step. Don’t leave the box blank!
Step 5: Click “Submit.”
Bookbub should email you back within two to three days to let you know if your book got accepted or not. If accepted, They will send out a couple of reminders before your BookBub promo runs.
5 Reasons Why Books Get Rejected
After all your hard work in getting your book ready for a submission, you received that impending email from BookBub notifying you that your book has not been selected at this time.
By now, you realize how hard it can be to get a deal. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Check out the reasons why your book might have been turned away.
Remember that BookBub receives anywhere from 300—400 submissions per day. They accept less than 20% of those submissions.
#1 – The book isn’t available in enough retailers.
BookBub readers use many different retailers across five regions. For this reason, Bookbub wants to send book deals to as many readers as they can.
Bookbub’s success is determined by volume—the number of downloads matters big time. They must ensure that the deal is maximizing on the deal and taking full advantage of reaching as wide an audience as possible.
#2 – The cover isn’t up to BookBub standards.
BookBub editors know what types of covers readers gravitate towards, and if a book’s genre is unclear at a glance, or the image does not appear professionally designed, they may be less likely to accept it for the deal.
The image, typeface, character images, and colors impact how readers decide to buy a book.
It’s not uncommon for authors to change the cover after getting rejected for a Bookbub deal.
#3 – The submission didn’t meet BookBub’s pricing requirements.
One of the surest ways to get rejected for a BookBub deal is to fail at pricing the book accordingly.
Remember the submission requirements: Must be discounted by at least 50%, and be the best deal around for the book.
Bookbub looks at the book’s pricing history when deciding on a selection. You can raise the price of the book and try resubmitting in three months.
#4 – The book is too short/doesn’t meet length requirements.
As mentioned, the book has to be a full-length novel. Bookbub’s minimum page requirement is 100 pages. Any work that is too short isn’t eligible for a Featured Deal. You could bundle several titles together to create an anthology and resubmit your work.
Here are the required lengths for individual types of books:
- Novels and anthologies: at least 150 pages
- Children’s picture books: at least 20 pages
- Cookbooks: at least 70 pages
- Nonfiction books: at least 100 pages
- Middle grade books: at least 100 pages
#5 – The eBook quality doesn’t meet BookBub standards.
Remember: Bookbub is checking the quality of your book for typos, grammatical errors, and bad reviews. If your book’s reviews indicate the readers are dissatisfied with the quality of the book in any way, this is an indication it will be rejected. In many cases, authors will hire a new editor and put the book through another quality edit.
Resubmit Your Book Again & Keep Trying
Persistence is the name of the game when it comes to getting a BookBub deal. If you give up after the first time your book is rejected, you will likely never get a featured deal.
Continue to refine your book and make sure it’s up to the high requirements demanded by Bookbub.
If anything, putting it through this process will make it a better book in the long run. When it finally does get accepted, imagine the momentum this deal will contribute to the long term life of your book!
Findaway & Chirp Audiobook Deals
Chirp is an audiobook retailer powered by BookBub that allows members to purchase audiobooks à la carte with no subscription needed.
For authors and publishers, Chirp audiobook deals provide a way to spike traffic and drive traffic to spike audio sales, find new fans, and market digital audiobooks directly to consumers. This is another feature BookBub has integrated for authors looking to broaden the playing field on audiobooks.
How to Set Up a Chirp Account
If you have an audiobook to sell on Chirp, your audiobook must be available for sale on the site.
In order for this to happen, you have to upload your audiobook to Findaway.
If setting up a deal for your audiobook through BookBub and Chirp is a strategy you want to pursue, start here: https://partners.bookbub.com/audiobook_promotions/about
On this page, you can find the steps necessary to set everything up on Findaway and create a Chirp account. At the bottom of the page you’ll see this graphic:
After setting up your account on Findaway Voices and uploading your audiobook, you can set it up for sale on Chirp. Then, you can go ahead and submit an audiobook deal.
Click on the green “Submit an audiobook deal” in the top right corner of the page:
If your audiobook is available on Chirp, fill out the form and submit. This is a similar process to submitting a Bookbub featured deal.
After submitting your deal, you can expect to hear back within 7 days. Now go ahead and set up your Chirp and Findaway Voices accounts.
BookBub Ads for Authors
Okay…we now know how to set up a featured deal. But, there is another feature Bookbub launched several years ago…Bookbub Ads.
BookBub ads have a similar concept to Amazon AMS ads, but the platform is set up differently, so there are some distinct variations. Depending on your target audience and budget, we recommend testing Amazon ads and BookBub ads, to see which platform is more lucrative for your particular niche.
In this section, let’s take a look at what Bookbub ads are and how to set up an ad.
What are BookBub ads?
BookBub ads is a way for advertisers — authors, publishers, agents, and other publishing professionals — to reach millions of power readers via dedicated ad space in BookBub’s daily emails. For many publishers and authors, BookBub ads—if set up and run strategically—can be a game changer for books.
How do BookBub ads work?
You can run a BookBub ads campaign at any time for your book. When you create a campaign, you decide which readers you want to target, which authors to target, the budget you’re willing to pay for impressions or clicks from those readers, and the length of your ad campaign.
Once your ad is live, it competes with other ad campaigns in an auction. When a reader opens an email from BookBub, they serve the ad to the highest bidding advertiser targeting that reader at that moment.
How to set up a BookBub ad:
Step 1: Click on the green button “Create New Ad”. This will open up a new screen that looks like this:
Step 2: Choose a Book
Your next step is to choose a book. Start typing in your books name and wait for it to bring up your book. If you’re not seeing it, then you haven’t added it to your account.
Step 3: Add your ad creative.
Once you’ve chosen your book, it’s time to create your ad creative. You have two options, Upload Existing Creative or Build New Creative. For now, choose “Build New Creative”.
Step 4: Enter ad and button copy.
Now you need to enter in some Ad Copy and Button Copy. For your Ad Copy, you want something to encourage the reader to click on your ad.
Some options might include “Learn the strategies to break your fear today” or “Learn how to overcome rejection right now!” You only have 10-60 characters, so make it good.
For the Button Copy, choose a clear call to action, like “Buy Now” or “On Amazon” or “Read Now”.
Here is what you should be looking at:
Step 5: Add click-through links.
The next section is choosing your links. BookBub will automatically pull in the links that it can find, but you can also add your own.
This is where BookBub Ads are really powerful if you’re publishing on multiple platforms, like Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Google Play etc.
You can add those links here too. However, I’d recommend only doing one platform per ad. If you want to promote to Kobo readers, then create a new ad that is just targeting them. You can then easily track what works best for each platform.
Step 6: Adjust audience targeting.
The next area is the audience targeting. You should see this section for that:
You have the option to target the author or by book category. Only choose one audience per ad for tracking purposes. For your first ad, I’ll choose “add Authors”.
By typing in the author's name, the menu drops down and you can choose from the available list. Note: Not all authors will be available. Only authors who also run ads or featured deals on BookBub are available to be targeted. In this example, I chose Brian Tracy for personal development.
You can add the author’s name to your “audience targeting” box so it looks like this.
Choose only ONE author for this ad. You may need to do a bit of research on Amazon to find authors you think might be a good fit, then come back to BookBub and see if they are available to target. When you’ve got one, and BookBub doesn’t say “too broad” in the “Audience” area by the dial, you can move onto the next section. If you do get a “too broad” response, you’ll need to find another author.
Step 6: Enter schedule and budget.
Next, let’s take a look at setting your schedule and budget. Here is the screen you should be seeing:
You have the option to schedule your ads continuously or for a set timeframe. For your first ad, choose a start and end date.
Next, enter your total campaign budget (start off at $5.00 per day) and tick “spread across date range). So if you had opted to run your ad for 5 days at $5 per day, that would be a total campaign budget of $25.
The final part of setting up your BookBub ad is to choose your bid type and amount. We’re going to focus on the standard BookBub ad which is a CPM.
You should see this screen:
You’ll notice that BookBub enters in a suggested bidding amount. Enter in $5 as that’s what you’re planning to spend each day.
And the last part is to name your ad. Make sure you enter in the book name, date you’re starting it and which author your targeting.
Then click continue or save as draft. If you click continue, the ad will be submitted to BookBub for review and will be live within about 24 hours. Make sure you download this document so that you can follow along with these steps as you go through and set up your own BookBub ads.
Step 7: Monitor and edit your campaign.
Return to the “Manage Ad” section of your dashboard to access ad reporting. You can search for ad names or filter by campaign status to view live, completed, or scheduled campaigns.
- Impressions served indicates the number of times a reader viewed your ad.
- The click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of impressions that turned into clicks. It tells you the extent your target audience is engaging with the ad.
- The Effective CPM and Effective CPC calculate the rate you’re paying for each 1,000 impressions (eCPM) or for each click (eCPC) on your ad. These metrics can help determine whether your ad is cost effective.
- Budget Spent lets you know how much you’ve spent in total on your campaign. Remaining Budget indicates how much more you could spend on this particular campaign based on the max budget you set in step 6. You can view the total amount you’ve spent on the BookBub Ads platform across all campaigns on the Aggregate Stats tab of your dashboard.
Amazon VS BookBub
These strategies are somewhat similar to Amazon’s tactics used to promote and sell books.
Here's how Amazon and BookBub compare:
- Product Advertising: Amazon has Amazon Advertising and Bookbub utilizes BookBub Ads. However, the process of ad delivery and strategic targeting is different.
- Author Profiles: Both platforms have built in author pages. You can list your books, review books on the site, and write an author bio.
- Featured Deals: BookBub is a great way to get your book into the higher channels with a featured deal. We will look at this in more detail. Amazon has featured deals as well that are included in Prime Reading and Kindle Deals. Although these deals can boost the rankings of your books on Amazon, the “tidal wave” momentum is definitely generated by a BookBub feature.
- “Follow” button: On both sites you can follow your favorite authors. Where BookBub shines is recommending books by your favorite author.
BookBub Review For Authors
Now that you’ve been through this review, we hope you've learned how best to utilize this platform as an author.
Overall, BookBub is worth adding to your book's marketing strategy.
Set up your profile, continue educating yourself, and test it out! If you don't have experience with certain marketing tools like creating ads, we encourage you to follow an educational course or training to ensure you set it up correctly, and profitably.