We often get questions from our partners about the Featured Deal selection process. We have a team of in-house editors who review every book that gets submitted to BookBub, and I interviewed one of these editors to give our partners some more insight into her process.
Hannah Reynolds has been working at BookBub for three and a half years — more than half of BookBub’s almost-five-year lifespan. Prior to joining the BookBub team, she worked in publishing for several years. Her experience includes positions at a literary agency and at Locus, a science fiction and fantasy trade review magazine. Hannah currently reviews submissions for a few of our romance categories.
What’s your process for reviewing each submission?
In addition to the details our partners include in their submissions, I also review the book’s cover, publisher’s description, and online reviews. I always look into whether we’ve run this author before. If we have, I check the data on their previous Featured Deals to find out how well the author’s titles have performed relative to other books in their price tier and category. That gives me a sense for how our audience has responded to this author’s books in the past.
Next, I read the publisher’s description and reader reviews for the book. I’ll check out the critical reviews, blurbs from other authors, and whether the author has ever hit a bestseller list. I’m trying to get a feel for how our subscribers will react to this book: Is the cover professional? Does it match the style readers in this category enjoy? Is the plot one our readers will find intriguing?
Knowing the answers to these questions is a crucial part of our jobs as editors. All of the editors meet on a weekly basis to review what content is currently performing best in every category, and we use these trends to influence our decisions on what will work for each audience and what won’t.
If you select a book for a different category than the one the author suggested, at what point does that happen?
The BookBub subscribers in each category have very particular tastes, which we track carefully. I might get a book submitted to Contemporary Romance with an edgier plot or cover than what those readers currently like — it might deal with rock stars or motorcycle clubs or have a healthy dose of angst, for example. Readers in other categories are responding better to these subjects right now, so I’ll discuss with the editors of those categories to find out if it’ll work for their readers.
How many submissions do you get in a week, on average?
The number varies drastically, but this week, I’ve received over 300 submissions to my categories.
There are a lot of elements that go into selecting books for Featured Deals, but are there any factors that can “make or break” a submission for you?
Since we’re tracking trends, everything depends on what the readers in my categories are currently interested in. A book might have 500 reviews but be on a topic our readers aren’t responding to, so I’d rather select a book with 20 reviews and a plot I know they’ll love.
The one other thing is that I’ll almost always take books on multiple retailers over books only available on one retailer — we have tons of subscribers on all the major retailers, so I want all of them to get deals.
What kind of information do you like to see in the “comments” section of a submission?
If you have a stellar author quote you’re hiding somewhere, tell us about it! If you hit the New York Times bestseller list last time you ran a Featured Deal with us, mention that too! (Though to be honest, we probably know already.) Don’t include your book description though — we already have that information. And if you want to say hello, please do! We’re real people, not robots.
Do you ever read books on your own time that partners submitted but you didn’t select for a feature?
Yes, all the time! Especially if it’s about royalty or a historical book that takes place outside of Regency England.
What advice would you give to an author submitting a deal for the first time? What about for the 10th time?
Don’t take anything personally! Being a writer is hard, and you don’t need the added stress of wondering what a stranger you’ve never met thinks of your book. Whether or not I select your book has absolutely no bearing on how good your book is — it’s only a judgement about what’s selling well with BookBub’s audience right now. Also, feel free to keep submitting — our readers’ tastes do change over time.
What’s your personal favorite romance trope to read?
I’m a sucker for books about opposites attract, or about ordinary-girl-meets-a-prince (yes, I’m also obsessed with Will and Kate). Recently I’ve been on a Regency kick, so anything with sassy young misses and starchy dukes is fab. I’m reading Courtney Milan’s Trade Me right now (which I bought during a BookBub deal!) which is delightful.
For additional insights into our editorial selection process, we’d encourage you to check out the following articles:
- How BookBub’s Selection Process Works
- Tips on Optimizing your Submission for a BookBub Featured Deal
- How BookBub’s Editors Pick Categories for Featured Deals
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