Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Business of Writing: BookBub Roller Coaster Marketing Ride #MFRWOrg #ASMSG

The Giant Dipper ride, 6/23/2015,
Belmont Park, San Diego, CA (c)2015 by neilld,
Bigstock ID 96268628, editorial license only.
Welcome to part 2 of my BookBub marketing adventure, or…
Squealing My Vocal Cords Raw. :)

I may be benched from riding real roller coasters these days, but the BookBub promo of Dawnflight was quite the thrilling ride indeed!

You may recall from last week's description, I ended with the metaphysical peering over the pinnacle of the ride, otherwise known as the stage of:

"Oh, crap, what have I gotten myself into?!?"

You are welcome to read the details in that post, but the bottom line is that I had shelled out close to $500.00 for all the promos I had bought ($380 for the US-only BookBub feature of Dawnflight, and another $102 for several other marketing slots), and because I could host my fan base in my living room, I harbored serious concerns as to whether I would recoup the investment.

Not "when", mind you, but "whether."

Cue the gut churning.

The burst of speed.

In the notes that I had made when I learned of Dawnflight's selection—tips I'll be blogging about in a "lessons learned" post next month—I reminded myself to start checking for sales after 3 p.m. ET on the day of the feature.

This estimate was based upon a statement in the BookBub Deal Checklist: "Your deal will go live on our website between 6-9 a.m. PST, and the email will generally be delivered by 10 a.m.-noon PST."

Still, I couldn't resist taking an early peek. I fired up my KDP dashboard at around 11:15 a.m. that morning and noticed that I had already logged well over a hundred downloads of Dawnflight alone, and its sequels and my standalone books were attracting the attention of buyers too! The needle had already moved into the respectable range on Nook as well.

In an hour those numbers had doubled, and the counters kept spinning at a dizzying rate throughout the afternoon and evening, and well on into the night.

Squealing my vocal cords raw.

I broke even on the BookBub promo investment by 11:00 p.m., around 12 hours into the feature period. By the beginning of the next day, when most of the other paid promos were scheduled to begin, I had already broken even on those too.

At last I could let go of the rail and truly enjoy the feel of the wind whipping my hair and slipping past my face and fingers.

The best coasters have lesser, tighter loops and dips to rekindle your squeals as the ride thunders toward its conclusion, and the coaster that is a BookBub promotion for an indie-published novel is no different.

The first such secondary squeal occurred when I learned that BookBub had placed Dawnflight in its top slot for the Fantasy category that day. The curators also verified my USA Today review blurb, and even mined a few more words from it than I usually use. :)

BookBub Fantasy page, Thursday, 3/3/2016.

And although I've had novels hit the top 20 in an Amazon category—Snow in July stayed among the top 20 Teen Medieval Romance novels for about 10 weeks after it was released (late July–early October, 2014), and BookBub and those other paid promo sites weren't so much as a gleam in my eye in those days—I never thought I'd see the day when I could take a screenshot like this:

Top 3 Amazon Greco-Roman myths & legends, 3/4/2016.
Dawnflight, Raging Sea: Reckonings, and Morning's Journey
in top 3 slots, respectively.
Or this:

Dawnflight Amazon page, 10:17 a.m. ET 3/4/2016,
#291 paid in Kindle Store; #1 in Arthurian Fantasy + 2 others,
Kim Headlee's Amazon author rank #39 in Kindle Fantasy.
And you could have pushed me over with a feather, four days after the BookBub promo, when I saw this:

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court Amazon page 09:00 3/7/16
Dawnflight still at #1 in Greco-Roman myths & legends category.

Another mini-squeal occurred when I learned about my iTunes sales, since I distribute to that platform via Draft2Digital (D2D), where royalty reporting is delayed by as much as two days.

You may have even heard the whoop I let out when I checked my ACX dashboard and learned that approximately 10% of the Dawnflight e-book customers had purchased its audiobook edition! That in itself was as great a thrill as the mountain of e-book downloads.

All good things…

In the vacuum of space, a body in motion will stay in motion. Here on earth, alas, all bodies are subject to outside forces such as gravity and friction, and hence coasters must roll to a stop. After all, it's time for the next batch of passengers to have their turn.

As of this writing, Dawnflight has been reset to its pre-BookBub pricing but my books are still logging more downloads per day than they experienced prior to the BookBub feature. This is every bit as valuable as the initial rush, for it means that I'm gaining fans who wish to seek out more of my work.

My promo train may be in the process of coasting to a stop, but I'm already planning my next trip on the ride. BookBub will feature the same book no more frequently than once every six months, but an author may be featured as often as every 30 days. And I do have several other books that qualify.

Follow me on BookBub to find out what the next great deal will be!


All this month, you are invited to…

— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Follow Kim on Pinterest
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow

and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books. 

Please enter often, and good luck!


  1. Congratulations on such great sales. Bookbub is the end all in marketing, that's for sure!

    1. Thanks so much, Debra, for visiting and for your kind words today! :)

  2. That is WONDERFUL! I may definitely have to check into that!

  3. Great posts about your successes and trials. I'm going back to read the first post.

  4. Thanks so much, Pamela and Leslie! Happy reading, writing, and promoting! :)


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