Is BookBub worth it? (And other surprises in my author journey)

Here are my reflections on what marketing tactics have and have not worked for me.

The publishing industry is changing so quickly that business plans become obsolete almost as soon as they’re written.

My conclusion? Community is everything. Authors have to help one another. And the “sure things” aren’t, necessarily.


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Uh-oh. I just discovered BookBub.

It has three million subscribers and growing.  @JimKukral and Bryan Cohen (@bryancohenbooks) of the Sell More Books Podcast have a running joke about all of the free advertising they do for BookBub on their show.

What is it? Basically, it’s an author’s dream mailing list. BookBub sends notice of free or discounted ebooks to its database of eager readers. The catch for authors, and the reason readers love it? They’re very selective about which books they’ll promote. You can’t just go in waving your money at them and expect that they’ll promote your ebook.

At this time, I don’t have the option of participating as an author. I won’t have an ebook out for a while, and when I do, any price promotions will be at the discretion of my publisher. So I’ve been watching BookBub’s increasing popularity with sort of a distant interest, admiring their focus and discipline (how tempting it must be to increase income in the short term by accepting more books!)

Well, today I thought I’d see what it was like to be on the other side, and signed up to be on BookBub’s mailing list. It took about ten seconds. And then I had a look at all of the ebooks on offer.

Holy kazoo.

There are so many books. Books with hundreds of five-star reviews. Books with awards.

Many of them are free. And I can download them RIGHT NOW.

So yes, I should be writing, or, um, doing my day job. Instead of downloading books like this and this and this and this and this. And more, much more. Hours and hours of free reading pleasure.

For the record, I’m not goofing off. I am researching promotional strategies in the publishing industry.

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