Marketing books can be expensive, and if you’re on a budget, navigating the costs of different opportunities may feel daunting. The good news is, it’s not impossible!
BookBub’s full suite of marketing tools is aimed to support our partners with diverse needs and goals — including those with a limited budget. Here are our top tips for anyone looking to leverage our marketing tools and maximize visibility on our platform without breaking the bank.
1. Claim your Author Profile (free!)
Claiming your Author Profile is the best starting point for any author with an ebook available on a major US retailer. Not only does claiming your profile enable you to edit your author bio, change your profile picture, and add any books you’ve written, but it’ll show readers on our site that you’re an active author. This is a great way for BookBub members to discover your books on BookBub and stay up to date with your work!
2. Grow your followers (free!)
The best way to get the word out on your profile is to grow your following. The more followers an author has, the more readers will receive dedicated emails about that author’s new releases and BookBub price promotions. Plus, getting 1,000 followers unlocks the ability to send BookBub Preorder Alerts — another budget-friendly option we’ll touch on in tip #4!
We have a number of tips and case studies on how to grow your following, but if you’re just getting started, we’d encourage you to leverage your existing network. Social media, author newsletters, reader groups, and other places you can reach existing fans are great ways to find new BookBub followers. Plus, if you have a website or blog, we have premade BookBub follow and bookmark buttons you can add to your site!
3. Set yourself up for a New Release Alert (free!)
Whenever an author launches a new book, their US followers receive a New Release Alert — a dedicated email promoting the new title. New Release Alerts are one of the many reasons growing a following is so beneficial; the more followers an author has on BookBub, the more readers will be notified about their new releases! All books with upcoming release dates on our site are automatically reviewed for an alert, so there’s nothing partners need to submit in order for their title to be reviewed.
What you should do, however, is familiarize yourself with our New Release Alert policies, and make sure your new release is on your Author Profile with accurate book data. Knowing which titles are eligible for alerts and ensuring all the information we’d include in your alert is up to date will allow you to maximize each alert opportunity!
4. Promote your preorder to a targeted audience
The months before a release are a golden opportunity to drive awareness, and what better way to create buzz than by reaching a group of readers that have expressed explicit interest in following your work. That’s where Preorder Alerts come in — a dedicated email authors with 1,000+ followers can schedule to notify their US followers that their title is available for preorder. You can send up to two alerts on any dates prior to the release you’d like, and schedule them up to one year in advance.
At just $0.02 per deliverable US follower, these alerts are incredibly cost-effective for how targeted and flexible they are. Even if you haven’t hit the 1,000-follower threshold yet, we’d encourage you to set a follower count goal and keep Preorder Alerts in mind!
5. Increase visibility with BookBub Recommendations (free!)
A great way authors can engage with their fans is by recommending books on the BookBub site. BookBub Recommendations are surfaced in a number of ways throughout our platform, the most notable being the emails we send to that author’s followers if a book they’ve recommended has a live deal in either our Featured Deals email or The Short List.
A great strategy to drive the visibility of these recommendations is to coordinate with fellow authors when you have an upcoming deal. For example, you could ask an author who’s blurbed your book or recommended it to their social media followers to post their recommendation on BookBub as well — and then pay it forward for any books you’ve blurbed or recommended elsewhere. You can also post a recommendation if you see we’re featuring a deal for a book you’ve read in the past. If the deal is still live the next day, we’ll email your new recommendation to your followers, so they’ll have an opportunity to check out the deal.
This doesn’t mean you should only recommend books with upcoming deals; recommending any books you’ve genuinely loved is also a great way to connect with readers perusing your Author Profile on our site. 76% of BookBub readers have purchased a book because it was recommended by an author they like, meaning these recommendations hold a lot of weight for your fans.
6. Think of BookBub when you’re already running a price promotion
While price promotions are a marketing strategy that can help you achieve a variety of marketing goals, we know they require time, effort, and financial commitment. We also know BookBub readers love a good deal, so if you already have plans to discount your ebook, planning ahead on how you can leverage BookBub tools to market that discount is a great way to cross-promote!
The first tool to consider is Featured Deals — our flagship, curated email of daily discounted ebooks sent to avid readers of each category. Featured Deals require an upfront investment which, depending on your budget, may not be possible. However, because of the sales and revenue driven by the significant exposure of these features, and our editors’ expertise in selecting titles that best align with our readers’ category-specific preferences at any given time, we consistently hear that these features are the best marketing bang for your buck. If you have an upcoming price promotion and hope to submit for a Featured Deal, we’d encourage you to review our requirements and submit 30 days prior to your planned promotion, since our schedule fills up fast.
Another tool to consider is BookBub Ads — our self-serve display ads platform that gives you the flexibility to market any type of book you want, when you want, to any readers you want. BookBub Ads gives you complete control over your budget, which is great for anyone who’s cost-conscious. If you have a price promotion planned, it’s even better, as we’ve seen ads promoting books at lower prices tend to have higher click-through rates (CTRs). If you’re new to BookBub Ads, we’d recommend watching our tutorial to learn the basics of the platform, and reading our next tip!
7. Set aside a test budget
BookBub Ads can help you achieve a variety of book marketing goals, but it can be tricky to master. If you’re a BookBub Ads user, or have considered running ads, you may have heard our advice to test your campaigns. Testing offers a data-driven way to help you avoid common pitfalls before committing a bigger budget to ads that aren’t producing the results you want.
While setting aside a test budget may feel daunting, you don’t need much per campaign; a budget of $5–10 can be enough to learn how the readers you’re targeting are responding to your ads, which ad creative drives the most engagement, and more. The insights you learn from short, inexpensive test campaigns can be instrumental in making your bigger-budget campaigns more worthwhile, making it a key strategy for those with a limited budget.
If you’re not sure how to calculate the ROI of your ads campaigns, this ads bidding calculator and strategy guide is a fantastic resource. Data will give you real-time insights into what’s working best to support your marketing goals. The more data-driven insights you’re armed with, the more comfortable you’ll be making budgeting decisions. You can start a new campaign here.
8. Try CPC bidding
You have two bidding options to choose from for BookBub Ads campaigns: cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) or cost-per-click (CPC). There are benefits and tradeoffs to both bidding styles, but CPC is usually the better strategy for advertisers on a budget. A CPC bid sets the maximum rate you’ll pay for each click on your ad, and a lower bid will keep your ad costs down. While many advertisers prefer CPM bidding for test campaigns to quickly get results, some have found that testing with CPC allows them to see which ads will generate results without spending too much.
It takes some trial and error to ensure your ad gets the results you want at a lower cost per click, but these tips from successful CPC advertisers might help!
As you can see, there are a number of ways you can leverage BookBub to get the most out of your marketing budget, so test these strategies to find what works best for you!
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This post was last updated on October 5, 2023.