Friday, January 12, 2018

Wow! #ebooks for #free or #cheap by Vonnie Davis

Okay, hands up. Who doesn't love a good sale? I certainly do. There's just something satisfying about saving ten cents on a pound of chicken or eighteen dollars on a sweater. Books are no different. Yesterday, I read an ad about Bookbuh, claiming to be THE new hot spot for readers. A book bargain bonanza.

Signing up is easy; just give then your email and chose four or five genres you love to read. You'll get a daily email with a list of free or deeply reduced ebooks for a day or a week.

One lady claims she's gotten more books for free from this site than she'll ever read. OUCH! Not what a writer likes to hear.

On the other hand, books put on sale there for a day or more make authors money due to volume sold. It also helps us build a reader base YAY!

A few of my books have been put on Bookbub by the publisher. One book with Harper Collins sold over 2500 copies on the day it was featured on sale. This was a book in a series of four. All benefited from that one book's sale day. That is to say, my rankings shot up on all of them over the next month.

When Random House places one of my books on Bookbub, that book will shoot to the top one-hundred and higher rankings on Amazon and the top twenty or higher on Barnes & Noble. My books typically sit in the 100,000 to 350,000 rankings. So this boost, even for a few days, is a boon for me.

But how hard is it for an independent author to place his/her book on Bookbub? First, you have to come up with the money. Calvin's checked into it for me and costs run between $400 to $800. per day, depending on the genre. For example, the romantic suspense I thought about trying to get listed would cost us roughly $500.

The numbers of reviews play into your chance of getting a spot, too. Not for a publisher, it seems, because my book with Harper Collins barely had 30 reviews. The last time I tried to get one of my independent books on Bookbub, I was told it didn't have enough reviews. But I was never told what the minimum was. How come, I wonder.

So, I'm slowly trying to get more reviews of Book One of my Paris Intrigue series in hopes of one day getting it on Bookbub.



 A grim-faced guard stepped in front of Alyson Moore when she raised her camera to take a picture. “Madame, in the Louvre, we do not photograph the Mona Lisa.” His lips fashioned a thin line of disapproval.
 Alyson’s eyes scanned the crowd, for even as the security guard admonished her, scores of other tourists, their arms upraised, used cell phones to snap photos. “Am I the only one trying to take a picture here?” Without waiting for a reply, she pocketed her camera, and the snippy, tight-assed guard moved on.
She shouldered her way through the early morning crowd in the Salon Carrẻ to get a closer look at the painting encased in bullet-proof glass. Seeing Da Vinci’s masterpiece was a dream come true. No one, not even an overzealous guard, would spoil her time with Mona.
Once the museum opened its doors at nine sharp, and Alyson passed through security, she hurried to see this woman of mystery. The throngs of people already crowding the gallery surprised her.
She slipped between two men and stepped closer to the leading lady of the gallery. Alyson’s nose twitched from the sweet and sour blitz of assorted perfumes and various degrees of hygiene. Murmurings of adulation echoed off the gallery walls as if the Mona Lisa were a five-hundred-year-old rock star. How had one painting achieved such stardom?
If the ever-present guard wouldn’t allow photographs, she’d sketch some of Mona’s fans standing, spellbound by her enigmatic smile. When she finally tugged her large sketchpad free from the tight confines of her yellow leather bag, other items fell and scattered.
Alyson crouched to retrieve pieces of charcoal, just as the man standing next to her bent to place a black backpack, the style European men were so fond of carrying, on the marble tile floor.
Their eyes locked.
“Excuse me, you’re standing on my things.” Alyson pointed to his shoe. The man, face damp with perspiration, scowled, raised his foot and snatched her navy scarf, hotel keycard and passport, crushing them into a ball. He stuffed the wadded scarf into her outstretched hand and stood.
Alyson reached, fingering for the last charcoal pencil that rolled beyond her reach. She straightened and realized the man in the dark green t-shirt was walking away. The tattoo of a scorpion on the back of his neck. “Sir? Sir, you’ve forgotten your bag. Monsieur?
He didn’t respond.
She called after him again.
The man disappeared into the crowd.
The museum guard approached. “Is there a problem, Madame?”
“Yes, that man left his backpack here.” Alyson indicated the black canvas bag on the floor. “He set it down at the same time I dropped some things.” She held out her navy scarf to show the guard and suddenly it hit her that her scarf was empty. She shook it out to make sure. “My hotel key and passport!” Pulling apart the sides of her shoulder bag, she rummaged through its contents, hoping against hope she’d shoved them inside without thinking. Still, with her passport the same shade as her scarf, she assumed it was wrapped in the scarf’s folds.
“I don’t believe this. He took my keycard and passport. Why would he take my things and leave his bag behind?”
The guard’s eyes widened for a second. “Madame, you are sure the man left this bag?” He pressed a button and spoke into a speaker attached to the lapel of his uniforme, a scowling gaze intent on Alyson.
“Yes. He…he was setting it on the floor at the same time I squatted to retrieve my fallen items. I asked him to move his foot since he was standing on them.” Alyson groaned as realization sunk in. She was in a foreign country with no passport. Oh, hell!
The guard cautiously unzipped the backpack. Yellow wires. The man stepped back,  depressed the communications button again, and spoke rapid-fire French. Pandemonium erupted. Armed guards rushed toward the abandoned black bag. Once the word “bomb” was uttered, visitors screamed as they stampeded from Mona Lisa’s room.
Suddenly, Alyson stood in the eerie deafening silence with only the pounding of her heart and the cocking of guns reverberating in her ears—she and the black bag containing explosives surrounded by eight armed guards.
Holy effing shit!



Leah St. James said...

I guess if one of the "big" publishers releases a book, the people that decide at BookBub have an expectation of quality. With indie authors, they can't make that assumption so have to go by reviews...I guess. Anyway, I loved this story! Here's hoping for lots of good feedback, Vonnie! Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Holy effing shit is right. Seems the big publishers still rule the day, rather book sales, for now. That being said, I would love to get one of my books on Bookbuh. Maybe someday. Best of luck getting yours on again.

remullins said...

Interesting post. Thanks, Vonnie.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

The exact formula they use to decide who gets a spot on Bookbub is a well kept secret. Needless to say, I've never figured it out, but I've been thrilled every time I saw one of your books up there.

Jannine Gallant said...

It's a minimum of 20 reviews, unless it's a new release, to even be considered. Somehow they took Every Move She Makes when it was a new release. As a result both it and Every Step She Takes wound up with more than 20 reviews so they took the second one a couple months later. I had similar sales to you. Like you, I had a big publisher behind me doing the asking. With my Born To Be Wilde series I haven't been accepted. I still don't have 20 stinking reviews on the first book. I had some pulled, and I'm sitting at 17. It's frustrating! The cost is totally worth the expense. Even with my pub getting their 60%, I easily earned back the price they paid plus a whole lot more. Bookbub is a proven promotional tool that actually works!

Vonnie Davis said...

Leah, I'm sure you're right on the quality concept. But many Indies are edited just as well as those with the big five.

Vonnie Davis said...

I'll need the luck, Margo. One big hurtle is over, getting Calvin to agree to spending a chunk like that AND be happy about it. Not that he's cheap, mind you, but I have seen him squeeze a dime out of a nickel.

Vonnie Davis said...

You're more than welcome, RE.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks, Mac, it's put me on the Amazon best seller list which I never thought would happen. I was #2 at Barnes and Noble for a week.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for the number to aim for, Jannine. Oh boy do I have a lot of promo and work to do on this one. LOL.

Betsy Ashton said...

Great post, Vonnie. I write in the suspense/thriller genre, so my one-day costs would be in the +$800 range. Out of my reach. But, I'll keep trying,

Vonnie Davis said...

That is expensive. A great tax write-off, but a punch in the gut originally. Yowza!!!

Alison Henderson said...

I tried to get on Book Bub with my first indie book. I waiting until I had over 60 reviews, but still the answer was a great, big NO. Later, I read they avoid books only available from one retailer. Since my indie books are Amazon-exclusive, I guess that rules them out forever. I know a Book Bub ad can make a huge difference for an author.

Andrea Downing said...

Not sure what to say to all this. It's way out of my league, and the anthology I'm in at the moment is doing incredibly well with just ads in places like Fussy Librarian and Robin Reads. But good luck with trying!

Christine DePetrillo said...

BookBub is THE launch pad. I've had some success with BookGorilla, BookSends, and Freebooksy too if you're looking for some other outlets. Nowhere near as effective as BookBub, but they are cheaper to advertise with and have some decent results. Great post!

Vonnie Davis said...

Nothing's ever easy, is it Alyson? We plan, we push, we keep on keeping on. Some things never happen. But it's nice to hope. Thanks.

Vonnie Davis said...

I'm taking notes, Andrea. Every bit of promo helps.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks Christine. I'm taking down your info, too. My chances of getting on Bookbub are slim. I keep hoping it'll happen, but I'm also willing to try other avenues.

Rolynn Anderson said...

I’m in the airport in Phoenix waiting to fly the last leg home from Mazatlan. I’ve been reading all your blogs...superior info... will sit down, absorb and respond sooner. I may need another margarita first!🏌️🏖🌴🥂

Vonnie Davis said...

Have a margarita for me. Safe travels, Rolynn.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Finally back from "Mom's world" and into my own. FDW is an avid Bookbub person. He reads several books a week. He'd pointed out books to me that have next to no reviews and those with hundreds. I would love to get the first book in my series on there because the last one will release this year, but it's Amazon Encore. Now I see a reason to not go with Encore that I didn't see then. So I'm still going to try to get one of the others on. Probably won't happen but I'm going to try. Hope they take credit cards if the answer is yes.

Brenda Whiteside said...

By the way, loved the excerpt.

Diane Burton said...

How are we to figure out what's required when they won't tell us? And the cost? Ai-yi-yi! Great post, Vonnie.

Vonnie Davis said...

For readers, BookBub is a bargain, isn't it Brenda? And it can be a great source of income for authors if you can get a spot. Getting it is the problem.

Vonnie Davis said...

Yes, Diane, the cost is a bit hard to swallow, but royalty checks 3 to 6 times the cost look great in the savings account.

Leah St. James said...

Vonnie - Absolutely, many, many indie books are top quality. I just wonder if BookBub "choosers" have different/stricter requirements for indies.

Alicia Dean said...

Ah, yes, Bookbub is very successful but very difficult to get into. I love this opening!! Wow! I'll check it out and give you a review ASAP.