Episode 113 – BookBub Ads, Book Titles, and Moneyball

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Question of the Week: Do you plan on buying BookBub Ads? Why or why not? Do you think BookBub Ads will be a success?

BookBub is selling ads and Jim thinks it’s a mistake. Welcome to the latest episode, which featured tips on creative scheduling, video marketing, and book titles. This week, you should check out Bryan’s upcoming webinar with Mark Dawson ( http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/bryan ), and our latest patron Percival Constantine (and his book Vanguard http://bit.ly/pcvanguard ). Our latest news stories included the continued rise of audio, adult coloring VAT, the team of Pronoun and MacMillan, Moneyball in publishing, what trad pub should fear, and BookBub Ads. This week’s Question of the Week: Do you plan on buying BookBub ads? Why or why not? Do you think BookBub Ads will be a success?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How to join Bryan on a free training with Mark Dawson
  • How to apply financial planning advice to your creativity
  • Why unprofessional video can be a mistake for your career
  • Jim’s opinion on title generators and why Bryan thinks they can help
  • How audio is continuing to grow, even in trad pub
  • Why the UK’s VAT policy may not be a money grab
  • How the Pronoun partnership with MacMillan looks for the industry
  • Why “the Biblioracle” is wrong about analytics
  • What trad pubs should really be afraid of with the indie movement
  • Why Jim thinks BookBub is making a mistake with their ad presentation
Links:
Question of the Week: Do you plan on buying BookBub Ads? Why or why not? Do you think BookBub Ads will be a success?

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  • Brian Brown

    First off, the Question of the Week should have been, “What is your cool nickname for Bryan?” The answer, of course, is, “Knacky McKnackface.”

    I think the BookBub platform should be tested just like any other option. Results will vary depending on genre and specific author. It all comes down to how much does each sale costs? If the marketing costs less than the amount it generates in sales, you have a positive ROI and if you don’t do it you are leaving money on the table. The hard part, as always, is tracking sales, website visits, email signups, etc. diligently enough so you have a realistic idea of how each advertising strategy affects sales.

    • Bryan

      Great nickname! 🙂

  • Simon Goodson

    I wouldn’t use the Bookbub ads for a paid book, but might use it for my first in series perma-frees. What I *really* want to use it for, though, is my newsletter signup hook which is 4 free books + 6 free short stories (you can see it at simon dot goodson dot com if you want). I think that could be a good return on money… though what Jim had to say does ring very true and I’ll be treating it with care and not assuming it must do well because it’s bookbub.

    • Bryan

      Nothing wrong with linking to a list!

  • Simon Goodson

    Also… I can’t believe how quickly I’ve gone from listening to the show thinking “I’m not sure about these guys, and the show seems very long” to thinking “come on, it should be out already! And why is it over so quickly?”

    Keep up the great work. 🙂

    • Bryan

      That’s awesome, Simon :). Thanks for the high compliment! Very glad to have you as a listener.

      • Simon Goodson

        Ah – one other thing. I’m in the UK and from experience it’s the HMRC themselves who often decide to “interpret” the rules differently to pull in more revenue, though at times I’m sure there’s a government minister behind it.

        I’d be interested to see who was liable for the VAT if it’s backdated – I suspect it would be at the point of selling to the public (so Amazon) rather than the indie publisher, though going forwards Amazon would definitely factor that into the royalty payments. Would Amazon seek to reclaim money it’s already paid out? I really don’t know.

        • Bryan

          Good old interpretation :).

  • wouldn’t bookbub lose subscribers if their mailers become full of ads eventually?
    No, I wouldn’t buy an ad, because if they don’t think I match their list, why force it? they know what to list, that’s why it works.

    • Bryan

      I assume they’re doing one ad per email, but who knows!

  • Daniel Martone

    I think, like some others, that going Free might still produce results, especially if you are doing it to build your email list. This would be the first time that an ad on BookBub would lead to your own landing page. FB ads might still be more effective but it could be worth a shot.

    • Bryan

      Ah, great point. Sending folks to your landing page would be key.

      • Robert Scanlon

        Apparently (as per Mark’s podcast episode with Katie from BB), they will not allow ads that go to an optin landing page (competition for BB).

        • Daniel Martone

          Wow, that really tells me this probably won’t be worth it. You have to pay. The placement is at the bottom. You get zero information from the customer.

        • Bryan

          Aw, boo!

  • Spider McGee

    What the — ?!? Isn’t Bookbub *already* an ad? Seems redundant.

    On a related, note, I was just eating the store-brand equivalent of Cheddar Cheese Chex Snack Mix, and when I tried to type “Bookbub” I typed “Boobbub” instead. I think I just created a new business model!

    • Laura Martone

      I’m surprised that a Boobbub doesn’t already exist. If it doesn’t, then what are you waiting for, Spider? Get on it!

      • Spider McGee

        Sadly, I’m a man of a million great ideas and zero accomplishments. My follow-through rate is nil. Boobs in the email sounds like a great idea, but surely someone’s done it already.

        • Laura Martone

          I know the feeling, Spider – ideas are easy, follow-through is much harder. Of course, when boobs are involved, I imagine it’s easier for most guys to find some much-needed motivation!

      • Bryan

        So, the boobs are discounted? Are only 5% of boobs accepted for a BoobBub?

        • Laura Martone

          Perfectly reasonable questions, Bryan – I can only wonder what kind of “reviews” one would need to be part of the 5%!

    • jamiearpinricci

      I accidentally emailed Joanna Penn with a question about Boobbub last week. Yeesh!

      • Bryan

        I’m sure she’s heard worse!

        • jamiearpinricci

          I can imagine, though I didn’t want to be among those did sent it. lol

  • Laura Martone

    Unlike Dan (my beloved hubby and writing partner), I’m not so sure that a BookBub ad is worth the money. Perhaps he (and others) are right that advertising a free book would result in some new fans (who may or may not buy one’s books in the future) – but I’m more inclined to agree with Jim on this one. Not only would BookBub ads be a potential waste of money for authors, they also seem to be a bad idea for Bookbub, who, although guaranteed to make some quick cash from desperate authors, could potentially hurt their own brand and credibility as a curated bookseller with this money-making stunt.

    • Bryan

      I hate it when you two fight! 😉

      • Laura Martone

        I know – it can make things so awkward! 😉

  • I might suggest authors experiment with an inexpensive version like Book Gorilla. Especially if your goal is things other than sales, such as ranking, driving readers to your Amazon page, selling other books on your page or series, etc. Experiment small and work up to a BookBub.

    • Bryan

      Have you had some good results with those, Darren?

      • I paid $150 for the add with the eBook “Fire on the Flight Deck” at $0.99. Sold about 300 so I didn’t make the money back there. I had a small surge in email list signups (valuable), Facebook likes (not so valuable), and got to boast that my book made the top 20 in military fiction next to the likes of Tom Clancy and Bernard Cornwell. I took screen shots and posted creating further buzz. So, I’m ok with the those results, but if that were scaled, I’d rather my actual sales cover the cost of the ad rather than the 70% I experienced. I tried a BookBub initially, but was turned down.

        • Bryan

          The other thing to keep in mind is to see if it boosts you further on down the line, when you string a few promos together. I’m playing around with about 2 weeks of free promos right now, and I’m seeing some boost, but it definitely won’t have a positive ROI during the promo. Hoping to see an increased boost through the end of the month though.

  • Connie B. Dowell

    Hi, guys. It’s been a long time since I commented, but I’m getting a lot less busy these days. Thank goodness.

    It’s nice that the Bookbub ads are now opening up opportunities for things like novellas and audiobooks, categories which Bookbub had just decided not to even consider for listings, but I wish they’d just give those their listings category. I think the ads will either be ignored or annoy readers who will then unsubscribe. Right now I think I’d pass on an ad, even though it is the only way I’d ever get my novella in a Bookbub email.

    • Bryan

      Happy to have you back!

  • jamiearpinricci

    I am skeptical that Bookbub ads will convert well for most emerging indie writers. While Mark Dawson seems to be doing well with the ads as part of the Beta, he comes with strong brand recognition and a strong background in ad making/promoting. I also think the initial novelty factor of something new on the email will wane quickly and be replaced by banner blindness.

    • Bryan

      Good points, Jamie.

  • According to Mark Dawson, who’s been beta testing the Bookbub ads, they work. The last episode of his podcast interviews someone from Bookbub, and the ads sound kind of cool. I’d definitely give them a try. I think if people make it to the bottom of the Bookbub email to check out the last book on the list, they’d just as easily check out the ad right below it…

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the info, Leslye! Hadn’t listened to that episode yet.

  • QOTW – Yes, and it’s possible that they will work better now, rather than later. It’s new now, so people will actually notice them.

    • Bryan

      Very possible.

  • If I can get in early enough. While I suspect that Jim’s concerns about the ads becoming invisible will prove true in the long run I can also see the potential for an initial boost based on the *this is new* factor before that kicks in. What I need most of all is more information on how this will work and the pricing. Time to check out the links in your show notes.

    • Bryan

      Go for it!

  • Crissy Moss

    I agree with Jim. Those ads look too much like ads and I really have reservations about them working. Bookbub is trusted because the books are vetted. If you can now get ads just for paying the most people won’t trust those ads, and the rest of the site may also suffer because of that. I’m more interested to hear what happens when people do get these ads (because we know people will buy them. Heck, lots of people pay for AS too, and we know that doesn’t work either.)

    • Bryan

      I’ve heard Mark Dawson was allowed to play around with them and had good results. He also has some killer covers and an awesome looking ad, I assume.

      • Simon Goodson

        I just listened to his podcast on that, and it occurred to me that at the moment there aren’t many people in the scheme so the cost per click will probably increase and the profit decrease as more people join up.

  • Robert Scanlon

    Clearly Jim is getting more cynical in his old age! (I should talk) I do think you guys should talk with Mark Dawson about this. There may well be an early mover advantage for a BookBub Display Ad – and Mark has already gotten positive ROI even in Beta. It’s a system that targets READERS for goodness sake – banner blindness or not, surely something with targeting that granular is worth testing.

    I demand the return of the SMBS mantra, “You gotta try it, Bryan, that’s what this show is about. If people just poo-poo stuff without testing, they could be missing out.”

    😀

    • Bryan

      Haha, cynical Jim. I’ll be mentioning Mark’s results on the show tomorrow for sure. Thanks, Robert :). Always the optimist!

  • Stella Wilkinson

    Confused to hear you talking about nicknames when you are firmly in my mind as Jazzy and The Badman. Lol, it’s absolutely my favourite of your sound-bites and I look forward to it every show 🙂

    • Bryan

      Tee hee, thanks Stella :).

  • Depending on the cost, I’d probably give it a try once — especially early on.