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Monday, September 17, 2018

Personal INSIGHTS about Bookbub promos

(Please note: This blog refers to nonfiction books.)

Fact: None of my books has ever been accepted by Bookbub.

Which may come as a surprise considering how many awards my books won, consistently (incl. Finalist at the coveted Kindle Book Review Awards which feature only seven categories).

  • My "NAKED WORDS 2.0 The Effective 157-Word Email" was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur. Success features only one book per month on their Start-Up page; another featured author was J.K. Rowling. 

  • A few months later, I also won the 2016 Sparky Award "Best Subject Line." SparkPost who hosts the Sparky Awards is an industry leader,"trusted to send 25% of the world's non-spam email." The company's clients include the Financial Times, the Guardian, Ziprecruiter, et al. 

        • The "beginners' edition" of same book, my "NAKED TEXT Email-Writing Skills for Teenagers" has been reviewed by Kirkus and was featured in their Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2016. Not surprisingly, this book also won two awards. 
        • Lastly, my "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on Amazon" was featured on Bloomberg (Tech podcast),

        Still, no matter how much recognition my books earned, I could not get my books featured on Bookbub, no matter how often I applied, and not even if I wanted to offer my books for free, on Bookbub's platform.


        Are the books that are offered on Bookbub really better books?

        Though I could present dozens of examples, in this blog, I am sticking to facts I can prove with screen-prints. 

        In 2016, Bookbub featured one book that did not even have an author's name on the title or inside the book. The same book offers medical advice though the author has no credentials. The book's best feature is its truly good-looking cover. Today, the book has eleven percent 1* and 2** rankings. Maybe Bookbub thought it's a good book but readers didn't.

        Here is an excerpt from my own review:
        "... This is certainly a "good-looking" book and opposite to other reviewers who complained that all or most of this information can be found in blogs and magazines, personally, I prefer to buy a book instead of having to scan dozens of blogs and magazines.
        What I do NOT like about this book is that there is no bibliography, no reference to what makes the author an expert - and he is giving MEDICAL ADVICE ? ? ? Excuse me?
        While I am not saying that everybody who writes information like this has to be a doctor (quite the opposite I am always interested in alternative non-pharmaceutical treatments) but I would like to see some information as to the validity of statements.
        For instance, the author writes,
        "... A University of Oxford study has been the most comprehensive and highest-profile study, which concluded that there were..."
        I believe it would not be too much to ask to quote the name of the study.
        - Is there even a study?
        - an author or a publisher
        but instead
        - a mission statement and a legal disclaimer, "[quote] ... The information provided herein by the author is provided “as is” and you read and use this information at your own risk..."

        This book is a "best book" as determined by Bookbub?

        Much better than my multi-award winning books that have been featured in national publications and/or received a nod from Kirkus?

        During Bookbub's "elaborate selection process" they did not notice these issues?

        Hint: That disclaimer is featured in the free sample, on Amazon.


        Today (9/17/2018), Bookbub featured a promo of Gary Vaynerchuk's "CRUSH IT!"

        I purchased and read this book in 2012.  Hence, I can tell you, it was outdated  then! And, Mr. Vaynerchuk knew it too because right at the time he was writing a new book.

        "Crush It," is a book about how Gary Vaynerchuk used social media to "crush it." It was published by HarperStudio on September 25, 2009  9 years ago!

        9 years are an eternity when it comes to ways how we maneuver social media.

        Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.--Bill Gates

        Because of that fact, "CRUSH IT" has seven percent negative reviews, with almost all of them stating that the book is outdated. In short, Bookbub accepted it though they had to have seen that "CRUSH IT"

        • was published in 2009
        • that reviewers state that the book is outdated, and that
        • in fact, Gary Vaynerchuk published two books with similar, updated material in 2013 and 2018, most likely, because his first book is outdated. 


        Lesson 1

        So, if you can't get your book featured on Bookbub, console yourself with the fact that, probably, this has nothing to do with the quality of your book. After all, you saw the accolades my books received.

        Bookbub is just another business operating with the Facebook business model. First, they built their business with the help of the little (indie) guys, now they favor the "big spenders" who buy the expensive promos.

        Lesson 2

        By featuring celebrity authors' books Bookbub is making more money.

        Comparison: A promo of a business book (offered for free) costs $187, whereas the promo of Gary Vaynerchuk's business book (reduced to $2.99) costs $935.

        Lesson 3

        The biggest problem resulting from all of this is that you have to weigh your advertising options carefully. Bookbub's guidelines state that they want to offer the best deal available. They will not consider a book "... if it has been offered for a better price in the last 90 days, or if it will be offered for less in the near future..."

        So, while you are patiently waiting for Bookbub to finally accept your book and don't promote your book elsewhere, other "bigger publishers" may offer Bookbub "better looking" books or "celebrity authors' books" and your book dies the slow death of not getting seen in this flooded market.

        It appears that indie authors have to get lucky, meaning that, by chance, they offer their books on a day when no books with better looking covers or celebrity authors' books are being offered to Bookbub. 

        Final Lesson:

        Then again, maybe Bookbub is waiting for indie authors getting so frustrated that they buy ads on their site.

        Well, I'll never buy any ads from them. I don't support this kind of business model.
        It's is the same way, Facebook operates. First, they announced they'd show our postings to all of our friends and now we are supposed to buy ads so our friends see our postings about our books.

        This is just another Internet business story.


        Gisela Hausmann is a 29 yr. self-publishing industry veteran, an email evangelist and a top reviewer. 

        Her work has been featured in regional, national, and international publications 
        including Success magazine (print) and Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg, The Innovation Show  a show for Square Pegs in Round Holes, "The Brutal Truth about Sales & Selling"-podcast, and Austria's Der Standard and Das Wirtschaftsblatt. 

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        Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

        © 2018 by Gisela Hausmann