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SPF-014: Promoting with Bookbub – With Katie Donelan

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It’s difficult to talk about marketing for self publishing and indie authors without the name of Bookbub coming into the conversation. That’s because Bookbub is a very effective and powerful platform for getting indie authors notices in the very niches their readers love. On this episode of the Self Publishing Formula James and Mark host Katie Donelan, the first non-founder employee of Bookbub, to chat about how Bookbub works, why it’s so powerful, and how self published authors can use the platform to promote their own work.

How does the Bookbub promotion platform work?

Bookbub has been around since 2012 and has build a very powerful platform for promoting self published books to the specific niches of readers who are interested in their genre. Its main approach hinges on an email they send out to readers who have opted-in to their list. Authors are able to submit their books for consideration and the Bookbub team makes the decision about whether to include the author’s book or not. Since Bookbub gets so many submissions, there is a very careful selection process and not all submissions are accepted. You can find out how Katie suggests you go about applying to get your work included in the Bookbub newsletter.

The Bookbub approach focuses on quality and data, with an editorial twist.

Katie shares how Bookbub uses the data regarding authors and their past successes as well as a group of editors who evaluate submitted books with a human touch to make sure that there is a proper assessment of each submission.

Coming soon: The Bookbub ad platform.

For a while now the Bookbub team has been running a beta program of their new ad platform where authors can purchase ads to promote their books within the Bookbub newsletter. They can do so without the editorial hoops to jump through and with the ability for their ads to appear to their specific audience. It’s a masterful move by the Bookbub team and Mark has actually been trying it out. On this episode you’re going to be able to hear how the ad platform has been going for Mark and why he’s convinced it’s going to be a great tool for authors of any stripe and skill level.

What can you do if your submission to Bookbub has never been approved?

Many authors have submitted to be included in the Bookbub newsletter but have never been accepted for inclusion. Why? It has to do with the genre your book is in and whether there is a high demand for books in that niche. It also has to do with the historical success of books within that genre as well as the success of the author in past book sales. There’s also the issue of quality and the view Bookbub has of taking care of its reader audience by only promoting books that meet their quality standards. So what should you do if you’ve never been accepted by Bookbub? You can find out on this episode.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:33] Why James and Mark are incredibly excited about this episode.
  • [1:55] The conversation with Katie Donelan of Bookbub.
  • [2:56] What IS Bookbub and why is it so important in book marketing?
  • [5:40] Why Mark believes Bookbub is a huge benefit to authors.
  • [7:50] Why books don’t get approved to be on the Bookbub platform?
  • [10:25] The things Bookbub looks for in addition to its basic criteria.
  • [13:15] Which is more important to Bookbub, data or editorial assessment?
  • [14:25] Who are the Bookbub editors and how are they chosen?
  • [15:40] How Bookbub adds new categories to their newsletters.
  • [18:00] How Bookbub attracts readers to new categories.
  • [19:32] In the early days, how did Bookbub build their email list and how is it done now?
  • [22:06] How often does Bookbub cull or clean its email lists?
  • [23:10] Would Bookbub consider new releases for authors who have past track records?
  • [24:56] Bookbub ads and how they benefit authors.
  • [28:50] Mark’s recent experience with Bookbub ads.
  • [32:34] Details of how the Bookbub ads are working compared to the newsletter.
  • [34:30] No editorial aspect of the Bookbub ad platform, but the same ability for authors to hit their target readers.
  • [36:20] How you can get into Bookbub ads.
  • [39:07] What are the main differences in Bookbub options based on location?
  • [41:50] 2D or 3D images?
  • [42:29] How to keep momentum going after a Bookbub campaign is over.
  • [44:55] 99 cents or free – which is best in the Bookbub view?
  • [46:42] Future plans for Bookbub: French language or audiobooks?
  • [47:58] Which genres are most problematic and most successful?
  • [49:34] Anything different about how traditional publishing and self publishing are handled?
  • [51:00] What companies are Bookbub’s main competitors?
  • [54:00] Is there any danger of Bookbub being sold within the next 5 years?
  • [55:20] The reason Bookbub is focused primarily on readers – and why it’s important.
  • [56:44] What should a person do if they’ve never been accepted for Bookbub?

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SPF-009: Self Publishing Success through Book Promotions – With Ricci Wolman

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The book promotion piece is one of the most vital but neglected aspects of being a self published author. Today’s guest, Ricci Wolman, is not an author herself but IS a marketing specialist who has made a career (and a business) out of helping authors successfully promote their books. She is founder and CEO of Written Word Media the parent company of www.FreeBooksy.com – a site that authors can use to promote their own work across vast lists of interested readers. Today Mark and James chat with Ricci about promotional best practices for new and experienced authors alike. The insights and tips she shares could be the keys to increasing your sales and success as an indie author. Be sure you take the time to listen.

10 years of online audience building has placed Ricci Wolman in a unique place to help authors.

Book promotions don’t come easy for most authors because they aren’t marketers – they are writers. So when somebody comes along who has the skill and expertise to help an author get outside their own “writer’s head” and see how the bells and whistles of marketing their books can increase sales, it’s a winning proposition. Ricci Wolman is exactly that person. She began her venture into helping self published authors by endeavoring to help her own mother gain traction with her first self published book and the efforts have led to her very successful business. You can hear Ricci’s story and learn how she might be able to help you in this episode of the Self Publishing Formula Podcast.

“Free” book promotions on Amazon is not a sure fire way to get more downloads.

Free giveaways on Amazon are still very powerful, but there are so many free books on Amazon any given day, it’s hard for your book to surface. What should you do? Learn how to do great promotions alongside those free offers to increase your visibility, gain more downloads, and start the Amazon sales engine working on your behalf. If you listen to this episode you’ll come away with some very tangible things you can do to make your next book promotion a greater success than your last.

Why indie authors MUST build a mailing list now.

One of the most important aspects of your book sales is the ability to put your writing in front of audiences that are not only engaged with your genre but also interested in YOUR work in particular. That’s where building an email list comes in. As you publish your work you have the opportunity to build a list of people who express interest in your work, and once they are on your email list they are the first people you should tell about what’s going on in your writing process and publication schedules. Why? Because they’ve already expressed interest and are your first likely buyers once your next book publishes. Ricci walks new indie authors through the first steps of building an email subscription list for their followers. 

If you promote your books, you will make more money.

That’s the blunt fact of the matter. On this episode, Ricci shares her advice regarding the step by step process indie authors should use to build an email list, set up promotions for their self published books, and improve the success of their writing. 

Outline of this episode

  • [0:21] Mark and James’ overview of the fun had at the LBF (London Book Fair).
  • [2:21] Interview with Ricci Wolman begins.
  • [3:32] How Mark came to be a “fan” of Ricci’s methods of promotion.
  • [5:04] How Ricci began her own publishing in the first place.
  • [8:46] Why “free” on Amazon is not necessarily the answer to book downloads.
  • [10:42] The growth of self published books on Amazon.
  • [12:20] Why authors need to develop their own marketing skills.
  • [13:41] Entry level tips for building and engaging a mailing list.
  • [20:46] Promotional tools self published authors can use today.
  • [25:02] Tips for making promotions as successful as possible.
  • [28:57] How much should new authors invest in promoting their books?
  • [32:36] How full time authors can take their business to the next level.
  • [38:43] Next things for Ricci and Written Word Media.
  • [40:00] Upcoming episodes to look forward to.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

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