Three Reasons to Experiment with BookBub Ads (Guest Post by Anne Janzer)

We reached out to author Anne Janzer after she shared her experiences below in her own newsletter. Anne's books are marvelous examples of nonfiction done right, and we appreciated her willingness to share her experiments and conclusions with our readers.

BookBub is renowned for its Featured Deals. Every author I’ve spoken with who ever got a Featured Deal sings BookBub’s praises.

But here’s the thing – I’m a nonfiction author, and those deals are harder to come by. (So far, I’ve landed two “international-only” featured deals in the self-help category, but none in the US. Harumph.)

Lucky for me, there are BookBub Ads.

BookBub ads haven’t been around as long as the Featured Deals, and the company has been making changes to the platform. But from my perspective, they’re terrific.

If you’re considering using paid advertising to support a book launch or promotion, BookBub ads definitely worth a look. Experiment and see if they find a place in your book marketing plans.

How they Work

BookBub sends its subscribers emails with the Featured Deals for the day. At the end of that email, there’s an ad. Here’s one from a recent email to me:

The advertiser provided the image. At the bottom of the email, you can see that BookBub showed me this ad because I follow Daniel Pink. If I click on it, it takes me to my preferred ebook source (in this case, Amazon in the US).

While these ads may be less compelling than the Featured Deals, they can perform well. My own experience has been that they can and do send people to the book page and generate sales, with a few caveats (see below).

Three Reasons to Consider BookBub Ads

Successful Facebook advertising still stumps me. Amazon advertising is tricky; getting Amazon to scale up your spending can be a challenge.

In contrast, BookBub ads are consistent, reliable, and have definite advantages for indie authors. These are the things I most love about them:

  1. Control—You control when the ads show. If you bid high enough for a number of impressions, BookBub will show your ad.
  2. Scalable Spending—You can spend as much or as little as you want. For example, test the waters on an ad image by running it as a “pay-per-click” campaign, in which you pay only when someone clicks on the ad. If you’re happy with it, you can drop $30-50 on “pay-per-impression” ads and get a burst of traffic for a few days.
  3. Author Targeting—BookBub lets you target fans of specific authors. This means that if you choose well, you’ll send the right kind of traffic to your Amazon page.

A Few Caveats

As with any advertising strategy, it takes careful copywriting, financial tracking, and a sound strategy to make sense. In particular, pay attention to the following:

Your landing page: If you spend a bunch of money sending people to your Amazon page and it doesn’t do sell your book, then you’re wasting your advertising budget. Start by tightening up that page.

The ad image: You don’t have a lot of territory in the ad image to earn a click. It helps if your book cover is compelling. See this post on the BookBub blog: Top 20 BookBub Ad Designs Readers Want to Click.

The price: BookBub readers sign up to get the heavily discounted books, so these ads work best when you’re running a discounted promotion, or your ebook is priced low. You probably won’t sell a bunch of $9.99 Kindle books using BookBub ads.

The authors: Target fans of authors who would appeal to your readers. People who have big sales on Amazon don’t always have followings on BookBub. Go to BookBub and search for the author’s name to see how many followers they have. You may have to think creatively to find your ideal set of authors.

Your financial comfort level. Your advertising campaign should pay for itself. You can blow through the money using “Pay per impression” ads, so pay attention to how they are performing. Consider allocating a small budget for ads, then tracking your results. Think of it as an investment in learning that should pay for itself.

Success requires experimentation. Run the same ad to different authors, or different ad images to the same authors. Try an ad campaign as part of a launch, or schedule a promotion and advertise it on BookBub. As with everything in book marketing, there’s no single right answer.

Be willing to experiment.

For More Information

Learn before you start advertising. Here are a couple resources:

Anne Janzer is an award-winning author on a mission to help people communicate more effectively through writing. Her books include The Writer's Process and Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why. Find her ramblings at AnneJanzer.com.

Goodreads Basics for Authors

Goodreads is a useful social media platform for authors but some find it challenging to navigate and use. Here are a few tips for setting up your account, interacting with readers, and advertising.

Setting Up Your Account

  • Sync your blog to your author page.
  • Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Add images (book covers) and videos (book trailers).

Interacting with Readers

At Goodreads avid readers share what they’re reading, what they want to read, and what they think of what they’ve just read. You’ll get more out of using the platform if you participate also as a reader, not just as an author.

  • Join groups that interest you and participate in discussions as yourself (not as your book or as an author).
  • Follow other authors you like.
  • Review books you like. (If you want to get reviews, you first need to give reviews).
  • Vote and comment on lists: https://www.goodreads.com/list. Though you can’t add your own book to a list, you can always ask a friend to do it for you. 😊
  • Add books to your Want to Read list.
  • Set up Ask the Author and respond to comments.

Advertising on Goodreads

Are you on Goodreads? Leave a comment with a link to your profile so we can connect. You can find me here.

As Good as the Next Guy

At the supermarket I noticed a package of batteries with this blurb: Lasts as long as Energizer.

So, they're as good as the next guy.

Is that any way to advertise yourself? Is anyone going to switch battery brands (or, more importantly, start working with a "virtual" partner on mission-critical tasks) because they're "as good as the next guy" ?

Marketers talk about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for a good reason. If you can't show a prospect why you are the only possible choice, why you are the perfect match for them, ask yourself: why should they choose you?

If you're only as good as the next guy, what happens when the next guy gets just a little bit cheaper, or a little better, or both?

(By the way, even if you're far better than the next guy, if you can't show a prospect why you're a perfect match, consider the possibility that they aren't a perfect match for you.)

Corrupting Gift Culture

Have I got an amazing special for you!

You just know those words are going to be followed by a pitch, don't you?

First, I'll get the rant off my chest: telling me that you have $10,000 worth of 'products' for only $297 is selling, period. It's not special, it's not a gift. In fact, if these are electronic products with zero cost to reproduce, there's no such thing as a 'special' price because even if I only give you a nickel, your profit margin on that sale was 100%.

Folks looking for yet another tricky advertising gimmick (you can tell them a mile off because all their prices end in '7') are delighted to imply that they're giving you a gift, some amazing mega deluxe special extra deal, in order to make a sale.

Let's stop corrupting what the words 'gift' and 'special' mean. Don't you dare imply you're doing someone a favor, and then ask them for money. Making a smaller profit isn't a favor, it's business.

Remember when you used to be able to ask someone out for coffee in order to get to know their business better? Smart folks realised that by unselfishly learning about others in order to send them qualified prospects, our networks grew and in the long run, it came back around to us.

Selfish folks figured this out, and started asking networking victims out to coffee to 'learn about your business.' And then, as soon as they'd trudged through the formalities, the hard sell started. Pitch pitch pitch.

Try asking someone out for coffee so you can learn about their business. Watch the panic in their eyes, the scramble for an excuse. Selfish sellers have done their best to suck the juice out of an unselfish but brilliant method of organically, humanly, growing your business.

Promise me that you, yes you, reading right there, will never resort to deception, no matter how subtle, in your marketing or your business. Promise me that if you offer a gift, it is truly a gift, with no thought of return. Promise me that your 'special' price is actually less than what you've actually sold for in the past, and explain why you're reducing the price (otherwise, it just looks like you couldn't sell it for a hundred so you'll try fifty.) Promise me that you'll stop ending prices in the number 7 because even if it works, it's psychological trickery and it's unethical and immoral.

Find someone who's corrupting the gift culture which has been fundamental to civilization for thousands of years, and send them a link to this post. Let's make sure everyone everywhere knows that we're not gonna take it anymore. At the very least, the lazy clowns will have to find something else to corrupt.

Rise above the garbage and noise. You're better than that. You know that, of course, but you're afraid. I get it.

Sometimes being a hero is hard.

Why Aren't Business Ethics Ethical?

While studying real estate I stumbled across the difference between business ethics, and ethics in the real world. They're not necessarily the same.

Many industries, like real estate, have created a code of ethics for their members; a firm set of rules by which they must abide. And, as long as the follow those rules, they are officially ethical.

Thing is, two 6-year-olds on the playground know the difference between right and wrong, between fair and cheating. If your industry has a code of ethics, its purpose is not to provide loopholes, to let you get away with sleazy behaviour because it's not officially sanctioned by the code of ethics.

Don't ever misbehave just because there's not a rule saying it's wrong. Ask your 6-year-old. Or mine. They'll tell you what's fair.