Indie Corner – I Love BookBub, I Hate BookBub

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 16 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards and 3 Selah Awards. Three of his books were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year (RT Book Reviews). Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take walks and spend time with their grandkids. Click here to connect with Dan or check out his books

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This past week was perhaps the most amazing week I’ve had as an indie author thus far (I made the switch from being traditionally published to indie about 18 months ago). On May 1st, I released my 2nd suspense novel in my Jack Turner Suspense Series, Remembering Dresden (I wrote about this last month – CLICK HERE if you’re curious). Book 1 did quite well (When Night Comes). The challenge was…how to promote Book 2 in a series.
Not everyone will have read Book 1 (over 15,000 have so far). But even for those who did…how will I reach them all to let them know? How can I attract new readers to the series? One of the most effective ways to reach a large block of Christian readers in one fell swoop is to use BookBub. BookBub is a large marketing firm that has a massive reach; it has over 930,000 subscribers in the Christian fiction category alone. 
Every day, they send out an email to the subscribers highlighting 5 novels that are marked down somewhere between $2.99 and Free, with a button to push right beside the cover. Their website said, if they picked my book for one of their promotions (and I was offering my book for free), I could expect 16,000 downloads in a single day.
That is, if they picked my book….
But here’s the problem…I had been submitting proposals to them for the last 5 months and had been rejected every time. Even though I met all their requirements, and then some. They simply had too many authors now vying for those few slots available. Another problem is, while some other marketing companies offer the same service to readers (ENT, Book Gorilla, etc.), they only reach a sliver of people compared to BookBub. We’re talking hundreds versus tens of thousands. 
This is why I hate BookBub. They are so good, they are too good. They have no decent competition. And the worst part, they could solve my marketing problem if they would only say YES. Just this one time. Please.
So, about a month ago as I got Remembering Dresden ready to launch, I made one last ditch effort and submitted a request to BookBub. 
Shock of shocks…a few days later they emailed me back saying YES. They would do a promotion for Book 1 in the series, When Night Comes, on May 25th. That’s exactly what I had asked for. I would make the book available for FREE for 5 days. I had put the first 2 chapters of Remembering Dresden in the back of Book 1, along with a link where readers could order it right away (and if they did, they would pay $3.99 for it).
 
If 16,000 people downloaded the free book, the hope was, maybe at least 10-15% of them would like it enough to read the sneak preview of Book 2 and order it on Amazon. That happened, and I would be a very happy man.
Well, WAY MORE THAN THAT HAPPENED. Last week, during that 5-day period over 44,000 people downloaded the book (over 25,000 on a single day). My book made it to #2 in the entire Kindle Store. And both books have been flying off the shelves ever since (neither are free any longer). My sales have QUADRUPLED every day since the sale ended. Here’s a pic from yesterday showing both books on the Top 10 bestseller list for Christian Suspense. All of that for a promo that cost $205.
I LOVE BookBub!
But I know, this love affair cannot last. Why do I know this? Because BookBub will not let me do this promo again. Not for a very long time. Not for at least 3 months on any of my other books and 6 months for the book I’ve just promoted. But how can I go back to all the pathetic marketing alternatives now? I’ve been to the mountaintop. I’ve seen what’s on the other side. 
I hate BookBub.
 
Why must they tease me and taunt me this way? Why doesn’t someone do something about this? 
Please.