As 2023 has come and gone, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the successes our self-published partners saw throughout last year with their Featured Deals. These books were some of the highest performers in their respective categories, and with polished covers, perfect content fits, and enticing tropes, it’s easy to see why the deals so excited our audience! Dive into the list below to learn more about what’s working well for our readers these days — and remember, our categories vary in size, so sales numbers do, too!
Note: Sales numbers are estimates only, based on a mix of retailer data and projected conversions from BookBub members who clicked directly on a deal. We always recommend partners check their own sales reporting for a more complete and accurate assessment of their deal’s performance.
Contemporary Romance: If We Never Met by Barbara Freethy
With well over double the average sales for the category at this price point — not to mention a terrific click-through rate to start with — If We Never Met by Barbara Freethy was our #1 bestselling indie contemporary romance in 2023. The professional cover combines with reader-favorite tropes like the small-town setting, a mistaken identity, and a wedding to create a match made in heaven for our subscribers. We’ve been featuring Barbara’s work for many years, and we’re thrilled her books continue to delight our readers.
New Adult Romance: The Beckmeyer Family: The Complete Collection by Bree Kraemer
What made The Beckmeyer Family: The Complete Collection stand out to our readers was undoubtedly the fact that it’s a complete series made up of interconnected standalone books. With a group of siblings each finding love in their small town, this series is full of tropes our New Adult Romance readers adore — from friends-to-lovers and one-night stands to second-chance romance and more.
Erotic Romance: Down and Dirty by Mari Carr
Our Erotic Romance readers were thrilled to get their hands on this book that’s packed with tropes they love. Featuring forced proximity, a ménage element, and a single mom heroine who’s down on her luck, Down and Dirty by Mari Carr was well-suited to this category’s current tastes. Mari is already a popular author with BookBub’s romance readers — she’s been working with us since 2014! — but the steamy yet polished cover was also a factor in raking in 2,200 sales for this Featured Deal.
American Historical Romance: The Brides of the Oregon Trail: Collection One by Cynthia Woolf
This charming collection of American Historical Romances by Cynthia Woolf swept readers off their feet in April! Individual books in this series have run to this category before with great fanfare, so it’s no surprise that a box set of them was of such interest to our readers. Mail-order bride stories have long been popular in this category, and the Oregon Trail setting has been a trend to watch more recently. This set of books managed to pull in over twice the average sales for the category at this price point, and led to high-performing Featured Deals on the next two volumes in the series. We love seeing such a success story for a long-time partner — Cynthia has been running Featured Deals with us since 2013!
Our Fantasy readers love a box set — particularly one that includes a complete series! Lucía Ashta’s Dragon Force: Complete Series resonated with Fantasy subscribers not only because it was a terrific bargain, but also because of the plot. An outcast who must uncover the truth about her people’s leader — with a baby dragon by her side — makes for a compelling content fit for these subscribers, who always enjoy stories about human relationships with dragons.
Science Fiction: The Anvil by Christopher Coates
The Anvil by Christopher Coates is an excellent fit for our Science Fiction readers — impending doom from a comet headed toward Earth, necessitating underground shelters, makes for a compelling plot for readers who love high stakes and human survival stories. This book garnered a standout number of clicks, especially for its second run to the category, with a knockout 2,325 sales to boot.
Supernatural Suspense: Merlin the Magical Fluff: Full Series by Molly Fitz
Fun fact: Nine out of the top 10 bestsellers in the Supernatural Suspense category in 2023 were box sets! Once again, choosing to feature a complete series proves to be a successful strategy for bumping up sales. Our Supernatural Suspense readers love humor and high jinks with their mysteries, and with an irresistible cat as the protagonist, this series by Molly Fitz sets itself apart from others in the category.
Horror: From Below by Darcy Coates
This performance from a longtime partner and mainstay of the indie horror sphere saw over two and a half times the sales of the average .99 book in this category! With its atmospheric cover, on-trend deep-sea setting, and just the right kind of menacing creature that our Horror readers love, From Below by Darcy Coates was spot-on for its category.
Cozy Mysteries: Death by Chocolate Box Set: Books 1–3 by Sally Berneathy
With a whopping 3,000-plus sales, this Cozy Mystery box set brought together enticing plot elements — a baker protagonist, murder by poison, and more — at a great value for our readers. Death by Chocolate Box Set: Books 1–3 generated strong interest and stats across the board when it ran in January, and it remains the #1 bestselling Cozy Mystery of 2023 at the end of the year!
Thrillers: Into the Fire by Rick Mofina
Rick Mofina is a hybrid author who has had Featured Deals on his self-published work as well as his traditionally published books. But this self-pubbed book in particular really knocked it out of the park! Rick saw nearly 5,300 sales for this title, making it the top indie performer of the year across all categories. This was thanks in large part to his platform in the thriller space but also because the book is an ideal content fit for our Thrillers readers, who are drawn to stories about children in peril — especially with an atmospheric wilderness setting. We’re lucky to have worked with Rick for years, and congratulate him on this resounding success!
Christian Fiction: Tomorrow’s First Light by Naomi Rawlings
With impressive click-through, conversion, and sales numbers, Tomorrow’s First Light by Naomi Rawlings really hit the spot for our Christian Fiction readers. Including an excellent mash-up of tropes — a mail-order bride seeking a home for her orphaned siblings, and a rancher who finds a ready-made family — this read generated strong interest and sold fantastically well. We’ve been working with Naomi since 2015, and this is far and away her best Featured Deals performance!
Action and Adventure: The Last Soviet by J. Robert Kennedy
The plot of The Last Soviet by J. Robert Kennedy couldn’t be more inviting for our Action and Adventure subscribers, who love archaeology, centuries-old conspiracies, and high stakes. This book’s got all three! BookBub readers have been fans of J. Robert’s work since his first deal in 2014, and this particular book clocked in at over twice the average sales for the category with a notably high conversion rate. We’re happy to see such enduring interest in a longtime partner’s books!
Humor readers were highly intrigued by The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey, which was borne out by the incredible click-through rate and strong sales numbers it saw in September. In addition to being a great content fit — Humor subscribers love stories featuring rollicking high jinks in the world of organized crime — the bit of foul language in the title adds to the appeal for this category. We love to see such a success, especially because this book was submitted over a dozen times before we were able to offer it a spot!
Advice and How-To: Balance Exercises for Seniors by Michael Smith
Michael Smith’s Balance Exercises for Seniors is full of the approachable, functional home exercises that readers in this category often find appealing. Offering options with minimal time and equipment required, this book is targeted toward older readers, a niche that works well for our Advice and How-To category. The professional cover was also a perfect fit. This was the author’s very first Featured Deal, and we’re so happy to see it do so well, garnering an impressive number of clicks and following through with nearly 1,900 sales.
True Crime: Love Me to Death by Steve Jackson
The content of Love Me to Death by Steve Jackson was a great hit with our readers for two reasons. First, there’s been a steadily increasing interest in con artists and scammers in this category in recent years following the high-profile release of the Dirty John podcast and television show. And secondly, in this particular book, the con man was actually a serial killer — an evergreen trend in this category. Since we’ve featured Steve’s work several times in the past, readers likely recognized his name, helping bump up his impressive sales rate even further.
Children’s: Turtles Have Secret Ears! by Kelly Tills
Turtles Have Secret Ears! by Kelly Tills has lots of appeal for our Children’s readers, who love fun facts about animals, picture books that offer information in an engaging way, and interactive books, like this call-and-response format. Platform is important in this category, so the polished Amazon page and strong review count were especially helpful to this performance, which was the author’s first US Featured Deal!
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