Earlier this week, I had a BookBub Featured Deal for The Princess, book #1 of my Bride Quest series of medieval romances. The book is discounted to 99 cents. The Princess was my very first book to land on the USA Today list – it was #93 in its first week on sale, way back in 1998. In those days, of course, it was a mass market edition. That’s the original cover on the right.
This was the first time I had a featured deal for international markets only, and I was curious about its effectiveness. This week’s Indie Publishing post is about my results.
My previous BBFDs have been for all markets. At BookBub, this means US, UK, CA, AU and IN. An “international-only” deal means that BB will only email the deal to readers in the UK, CA, AU and IN, not those in the US. The book doesn’t have to be discounted in the US, but I discounted it there anyway – that discount was promoted only on my website, newsletter, and social media.
There are two variables here: the relative size of each market itself, and the number of BookBub subscribers in each market. My Claire Delacroix BookBub profile shows that I have 18,780 followers.
When I sign in, BB tells me that 15,618 of those followers are in the US. That’s 3,162 non-US followers or 16%. I know that I have a lot of audience in outside of the US market so the BB follower list isn’t reflecting that. (Click that link above or the graphic to follow me on BookBub, regardless of where you are.)
(In contrast, and just for comparison, my Deborah Cooke BookBub profile has 87,884 followers, and 55,579 are in the US – which means 32,305 (or 36%) are international followers. That’s a break that fits better with my own perception of my audience and their location.)
Since these four English language markets are much smaller than the US, the assumption is that resulting sales will be lower than for a full deal and the ad is priced accordingly. Here’s the pricing chart for BookBub ads – the prices listed are for full ads. If you scroll down to Historical Romance, the featured deal for a 99 cent book is priced at $692 US. If that ad only runs internationally and not in the US, as mine did, the price is $108. So, $584 is for the US market, which gives you an idea of comparative reach.
For $108, I decided to give the international deal a try. The deal ran on Monday, December 3.
So, what happened?
At Amazon.ca on Tuesday morning, The Princess had a #1 bestseller ribbon for medieval romance.
It was also #52 paid in the Kindle store overall, which is pretty cool.
It also had an orange #1 bestseller ribbon for medieval romance in the Amazon Australia store.
It was #119 paid overall in the Amazon Australia store on Tuesday, too.
In terms of raw units moved, the traffic was almost equally divided between CA, AU and UK, with slightly more units sold in the UK. There were a few in the US, too. The halo was strong in these territories: at 8AM on Tuesday, sales for the day for The Princess were already 1/3 of what they had been on the day of the feature. The Damsel, book #2 in the series, and The Heiress, book #3 in the series, began to sell at full price on the day of the ad.
At Kobo, which has a large customer base in the territories covered by the international deal, The Princess was listed as #2 in historical romance on its product page on Tuesday morning.
But when I clicked through to the bestseller list, it was actually #1 🙂
The raw units at Kobo were less than at Amazon, of course, but almost half – and more than sold at Amazon.ca. This is a very good showing at Kobo for a BookBub ad and likely a result of the territories matching Kobo’s market footprint. (Although I have had some BBFDs show very strong results at Kobo this year.) Kobo customers do love their boxed sets and Kobo does display them on the series page (unlike other retailers), so the first products to move in the halo at Kobo were the two boxed sets: The Bride Quest I Boxed Set and The Bride Quest II Boxed Set.
At Apple, The Princess popped onto the First in Series Bestsellers list, but without the US market, there weren’t enough units moved to place it high on any of the charts. The halo there will only be from links in the books that were sold and probably won’t be that significant.
In terms of money, there were enough units sold of The Princess on the first day to cover the cost of the ad. And as noted above, there is a halo, both in sales of The Princess in those markets afterward where it had visibility thanks to its placement on the charts and in the linked books. (There are five more titles in the series.)
One of the interesting things was that the book’s appearance on the charts was stickier in those smaller markets: typically, in the Amazon US store, a BookBub feature makes the book spike for a day, hitting high on the charts, then it drops hard. If it remains on a list for three days, that’s cause for celebration. But in these smaller markets, probably because there are fewer units being moved, the book stayed on the list longer.
On Wednesday, The Princess was at #2 in Medieval and #215 overall in the Amazon.ca store.
Similarly, it was still #2 in medieval romance in the Australia store on Wednesday, though it had dropped to #508 overall paid in the store:
This is a good thing. One of the benefits of running a promotion like this is the visibility that the book gets on the bestseller lists, and more visibility is better.
In conclusion, it wasn’t a failed experiment, but it wasn’t such a success that it left me dizzy with joy. I don’t think I’ll run a BookBub featured ad in the international markets in historical romance again.
By the way, the book is on sale until December 8, so you can still pick up a copy on sale.