Can you build your sales with booming BookBub?

Ebook promotion site BookBub is booming and is set to double its number of subscribers in well under a year from one million to two million.

The company, which was only set up two years ago, reached one million subscribers in March and now reckons it will hit the two million mark around the turn of this year.

BookBub is widely reckoned to be the most effective promotional website for authors. It sends subscribers email alerts for discounts on selected ebooks and offers authors and publishers advertising deals on their discounted books.

The success of the service is based on being highly targeted as subscribers set up a profile of their reading interests and BookBub only alerts them to discounts on ebooks matching these interests. Josh Schanker, one of the site’s co-founders, came up with the idea of building email lists of readers in response to the problem of ebook discoverability.

BookBub gets up to 100 ebook submissions a day from authors and publishers and now has a highly selective policy, picking only around one in five of the books submitted.

The company works with most of the biggest publishers as well as smaller firms and many self-publishing authors.

Book submissions to BookBub requirements must meet a fairly strict range of criteria, including a discount ranging from free to at least 50% off normal price and not being offered at a better price for the last 90 days or in the near future.

Books must be full-length, which in BookBub’s terms is a minimum of 150 pages for novels, 100 pages for non-fiction and 32 pages for children’s book. It doesn’t accept novellas or short stories. The same book can’t be featured more than once in six months and an author can’t appear more than once every 30 days.

New books aren’t often featured on BookBub as the firm feels that books that have had time to build up a platform perform best.

If a book is accepted for promotion, it is allocated a date and mailing  list. Fees are based on the discount price and size of the mailing lists.

If you get through the selection process, advertising with BookBub isn’t cheap but it can bring a lot of downloads.

The biggest mailing category is Mysteries, with an amazing 750,000 subscribers. If you make your book free, then BookBub will charge you $250 to send out a promotion to this list.

One of the great things about BookBub is its transparency. Its pricing page includes statistics which show the average and range of downloads for each category and pricing point.

For example, a free book in the Mysteries category is reckoned to attract an average of around 17,000 downloads with the range of downloads being from 6,300 to 26,700.

The advertising costs increase sharply for books priced above free. If, for example, you priced your promoted book at $1.99, the BookBub listing charge would be a hefty $750 and you could see an average of 1,510 books sold with a likely range of 200 to 4,240.

Many authors have seen big sales boosts from BookBub promotions and the company’s blog  features an interview with Bella Andre, self-published author of The Sullivans series, who BookBub says has sold tens of thousands of books in half a dozen promotions over the past year. The site’s promotions seem to work particularly well for Andre as she is a prolific author and finds that other books in her series are lifted by the promotion of one book.