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BookBub is a Game Changer

I'm going to avoid talking about things happening in our nation right now because this is basically us:

So instead, I'll give some quick writing updates. I'm finally making some headway with Spring of Crows again! I got a little stuck with Owen's character and with Phee not wanting to embrace her role as narrator, but both of those problems have worked themselves out. Clint sat down with me and helped me outline Part 2 of the book, and honestly it's so much better than I could have pulled off on my own. I love having his guy humor to sprinkle in my stories.

In other writing-related news, I'm still experiencing an impact from the BookBub promotion I ran three weeks ago. I've been using a spreadsheet to keep track of everything, and here's where I'm at as of today:

In a previous post, I had stated the following:

" campaign has [probably] given me 150 + new readers. I'm hoping of these, about half of them will reach the end of the novel and purchase the sequel, but I have no research or stats to support this..."

So at the time, I was hoping I'd have about 75 readers purchase Black Lilies.And look what I ended up with! 121 paid units sold. This is why I love keeping my expectations on the low (and maybe slightly grim) side.

But the best part of all of this came from a totally unexpected source: Kindle Unlimited. BookBub typically avoids listing books that are enrolled in KU, for two reasons:

  1. BookBub prefers promoting books that can be found at multiple retailers. KU books are available through Amazon only (KU is like the Netflix of books, priding themselves in offering exclusives that can be found at no other retailers).

  2. BookBub's entire claim to fame is free (or dramatically discounted) books, but that claim falls flat if a book is already available for free outside of the BookBub promotion through the Kindle Library.

Since my book was enrolled in KU, it should have never been accepted by BookBub. And honestly I totally forgot that Chasing Echoes was even listed under KU when I applied for BookBub, because I've never made any money through the lending library. A needle in a haystack is a needle in a haystack, whether it costs money or is free. But through a crazy accidental loophole (I'll skip the details right now), BookBub accepted my novel. Best accident ever. On the first day of my promotion, I had over 12,000 free downloads of Chasing Echoes, and it bumped me so high in Amazon's algorithms that Kindle Unlimited subscribers were now having my book recommended to them. Out of nowhere, my needle in a haystack was being found! Even once my five day promotion ended, the number of pages read through KU kept going strong. When Clint saw this, he talked me into enrolling Black Lilies into KU as well. At first I was reluctant because the whole point of giving Chasing Echoes away for free is to attract new readers, knowing that those who enjoy the free book will purchase the sequel. It's common knowledge in the indie world that you don't make money from your first book--that first novel is nothing more than bait. For KU, on the other hand, authors get paid about half a cent for every page read. But Clint and I did the math, and it turns out that if someone borrows Black Lilies from the Kindle Lending Library and reads it from beginning to end, I make the same amount of money as if they had purchased the book. So I decided to enroll Black Lilies in KU too. This would allow Kindle Unlimited subscribers to glide straight from Chasing Echoes into Black Lilies, and it'd be the same as me selling that second book.

Anyway, here's my estimated royalties for May (estimated because the money per page varies anywhere from .4 to .5 of a cent):

Check out how many pages were read before May 12. (Spoiler alert, it was none.) 😜 My ad started on the 12th. The blue bar is Chasing Echoes, the orange is Black Lilies. There should be a point where blue drops down as readers switch over to Black Lilies, but it hasn't happened yet.

We're only six days into June, but here's June's data so far:

By tomorrow I'll have made $1000! I know this kind of steam can't last much longer (I'm seeing a small dip these past few days that might be permanent), but like I said a few posts ago, it feels so good to have my book(s) on the map. I'm just really kicking myself now that I didn't wait until the final book in the series was out to run my BookBub promotion. My readers are reaching the cliffhanger ending of book 2, with book 3 pending for at least another year. By the time book 3 is released, my readers will have lost interest. Dumb dumb dumb. But I honestly had no idea that my promotion would get accepted, let alone have these kind of results. So...I'll just keep trying to focus on the positive.

If you've authored an engaging series, I highly recommend that you apply for BookBub. And since you'll probably be rejected the first time out, apply again. Then again. Then one more time. It's worth it.


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