Mystery Without Gore...Bio Historical with Love


I took out a BookBub ad for Death Line #3 in my Rafferty and Llewellyn procedural series on 9 March 2014.


I also entered it in Amazon’s Select programme and had four free days from 7 – 10 March 2014.

I chose to go with the free book option in the Mystery Category  (or, rather, my finances chose this option as the only one viable!).

Here’s the screenshot for 9 March, the day of my best ranking on

As you can see, Death Line reached a ranking of 2 Free Overall.

No 1 in Police Procedurals.

No 1 in British Detectives.


There was an all-country total download of 46,882, with the US responsible for nearly all of it.

Here’s the country by country Amazon breakdown mid-morning on 11 March, one day after my freebie offer finished and two days after the BookBub ad:

I’ve made a few edits to make allowance for my woeful maths and general brain fatigue! I had originally mistakenly listed the paid sales as just for the book that was the subject of the Bookbub ad, when in fact it was for all books. Mea Culpa.


COUNTRY                    FREE DOWNLOADS

AU                                             41

BR                                               2

CA                                            202

CO                                            495

COM                                     45,931 +1 BORROW

DE                                             152

ES                                                 5

FR                                                 6

IN                                                35

IT                                                   6

JP                                                   4

MX                                                 2






This worked out as a Total Daily Sales Rate for all books of 42.90 on 11 March compared to a Total Daily Sales Rate of 24.72 on 11 February 2014. The Predicted Monthly Sales Rates were 1,330, compared to a Predicted Monthly Sales Rate of 766.54 and an actual February Sales Rate of 630 (I’ve had to pretend in the predicted figure that February had 31 days instead of only 28 to give a proper comparison).

In addition, the sales of the first and second in the series greatly increased and at mid-morning on 11 March had sales for the US totalling 152 for the first and 94 for the second in the series. Prior to the Bookbub ad sales for these two books were 11 and 8 respectively at 23.30 GMT on 7 March. Just over one a day.

So that would make the comparative Daily Sales of these books:

Dead Before Morning 13.81 on 11 March and only 1.57 on 7 March

Down Among the Dead Men 8.54 on 11 March and only 1.14 on 7 March.

I also made my very first sales of any sort to Brazil and Mexico and had only my second ever Japanese downloads.

Admittedly, we’re not dealing in enormous numbers of sales here; no J K Rowling, me! But the BB ad shifted an awful lot more books. I’m sure you’re able to work out what the percentage increase is (if you do, can you share? Never quite got to grips with percentages).

So, is a Bookbub ad worth it? Yes!


  1. jmdavisauthor

    Congratulations, and thank you for sharing this information.

    • geraldine

      Thanks, JM. Hope you found it useful.

  2. Sherrie Petersen Books

    Thanks for sharing this! I have an ad scheduled next month with BookGorilla (similar to Book Bub, but cheaper) so I hope I have similar good results!

    • geraldine

      You’re welcome, Sherrie! Hope your BookGorilla ad does great for you. Never tried them. Must investigate. 🙂

  3. Reynold Jay

    Thank you for the assistance. I plan to pursue this and can tell you I have sold thousands of books at Amazon and 4 ( yep only 4) at Smashwords over the last two years. I’ll do a trial run with Forty Days to Armageddon and then probably launch my children’s book series with them. It makes one wonder what is the matter with Smashwords? Logically they should be about equal is sales. I see all these wonderful reports from the discussions there about how great Smashwords is doing for everyone. I did try the promotions at Smashwords the result was always zilch. I’ll check out Writer’s Café as I haven’t gone back there in a year or so ( I have books listed there) and I’ll check the above link. 30 cents stinks for a royalty, so I will remove Forty Days from Smashwords and run a countdown deal at Amazon.
    I do see all these authors at Bookbub being advertised and then see them at the top of all the sales lists…then I see they have 99 cents and then have their books listed in a half dozen other smashwords related sites and wonder how they are doing that? Your information tells me they are taking the 30 cent royalty. I bet you would have liked 30 cents each for all of those giveaways you did! You can tell I still trying to sort this out.

    • geraldine

      Certainly would, Reynold! It would make my bank manager very happy.

      Yes, you’re right, when listing their book for 99c at Amazon as well as at the other sites, they’d have to reduce to the 30% royalty. But, to compensate, when they do their bookbub advert, it makes them more attractive to potential purchasers who are able to buy it wherever they like.

      It took me a while and a few panics to get my head around all the rules. But, when you’re paying $290 for a bb ad, you’ll find your brain learns a lot quicker!

  4. Reynold Jay

    I’m wondering how to do this. This is the first I have heard of Bookbub. I have my books listed at Smashwords and Amazon and really don’t understand how I would set up the 99 cent at Amazon as they have the 2.99 minimum price. Then their rules say I can’t sell my books at other sites ( Smashword) for less than the $3.95. I have set up free and COUNTDOWN deals at Amazon so I see that .99 is available on a COUNT DOWN deal. This is a mess for me with all the AMAZON rules.
    I did visit Bookbub and looked it over. It would be nice if they would set it all up for you as a part of the fees. IF they set it up, I’d plunk down my money.

    • geraldine

      Yes, you can price your books at 99c at Amazon. It just means that you will receive 30% royalty rather than 70%.

      If you’re in Amazon’s Countdown deal or Select, they require you to remove your book from other sites. I suppose it depends on where you make most sales. If you sell well through Smashwords it wouldn’t be a good idea to remove your book from them. But most authors sell the bulk of their books at Amazon – I know I do. I sell very little at the other sites.

      Have you read the thread about Bookbub on kboards/Writers’ Cafe? You’ll find a lot of information about their requirements (and amazon’s) on there, written by authors who have used Bookbub’s services several times with excellent results. Here’s the link:,130094.0.html

  5. Kevin Singer

    Great to hear of your success. I just ran a promotion on Bookbub for my supernatural suspense novel The Last Conquistador, selling it at 99c. The ad cost $120, and I sold 160 copies. It’s not the great numbers I’ve seen on other sites, and I won’t make my money back for the ad, but hopefully I’ve expanded my readership.

    • geraldine

      Thanks, Kevin.

      Sorry you didn’t do so well with Bookbub. But if you have follow-up books in a series, you’ve potentially gained 160 more readers, who, if they liked the first book, may well go on to buy the rest in the series. And, with any luck, they’ll tell their friends about your book.

      It’s all a gamble, I know. But with so much competition out there, you’ve got to try everything to get your work better known. I’d try to use Bookbub every month if I could afford it. That’s the trouble, isn’t it? You have to speculate to acumulate, but it’s hard when there are so many other demands on your cash.

      Fingers crossed you have better luck next time if you use Bookbub again. Why not try pricing your book at free? At least you’d get a lot more eyeballs on your book.

  6. Robert "Sharky" Pruneda

    Congratulations on the successful Bookbub promotion!

    • geraldine

      Thanks, Robert. Great to find a promo site that works. If only it wasn’t so expensive. 🙁

      • Robert "Sharky" Pruneda

        Yeah, it is a bit on the expensive side, but everyone that I know who has used it has said that it was worth it. I haven’t actually tried it yet (because of slim budget), but I will eventually.

        • geraldine

          Yeah, it was my slim budget that kept me from applying for so long. Better start saving, hey?!

          • Robert "Sharky" Pruneda

            Yup! I’ll put aside that $0.96 royalty deposit I received from Amazon Canada yesterday. 🙂

          • geraldine


  7. Lyn Austin

    Thanks for sharing. So much to learn!!

    • geraldine

      Hi Lyn,

      I know. I struggle every day just trying to keep up with trends and this and that and, well, everything, basically!

      All we can do is to keep trying and keep learning. I’ve learned so much from kboards/Writers’ Cafe Forum. I would probably never have even heard of Bookbub, but for what I learned on there.

  8. kharismaceyworksnovels

    Sounds great. As soon as I can I’ll try it. Thanks Geraldine. Kharis Macey

    • geraldine

      It was my first time with Bookbub, Kharis. But it won’t be my last. Just got to get those pennies together…

  9. Pagadan

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve thought about a BookBub ad, but it was too expensive, as I recall.

    • geraldine

      Yes, it is expensive and they’ve just put their prices up. But the ad paid for itself. And the paid sales of this book (as well as others in the Rafferty & Llewellyn series) are much improved.

      I’d apply again in a heartbeat. Just got to start saving…

  10. Laura McHale Holland

    Thanks for posting this, Geraldine. I’m not ready to do this, but I may at some point, and it’s good to know it was effective for you.

    • geraldine

      Hi Laura,

      Glad you found it helpful. Good luck when/if you decide on a bookbub ad of your own.

  11. nancylynnjarvis

    Thanks for sharing and breaking down the experience so clearly.

    • geraldine

      Nancy, thanks. Glad you found my experience useful, particularly as Bookbub is such an expensive site for experimentation. If it hadn’t been for all that I learned about BB on kboards/Writers’ Cafe, I’d have said ‘thanks, but no thanks’! So glad I didn’t.

  12. eandtsmom

    Thanks so much for sharing these details, Geraldine! I haven’t tried BookBub yet, although it’s on my To Do list, and I’m always looking for additional resources for my clients.

    Would you be interested in writing a guest post for my blog about your experience?

    • geraldine

      You’re welcome! I’m following in Joe Konrath’s footsteps and have come to have a firm belief that indie authors are stronger for joining together and sharing information.

      This was my first Bookbug promotion. I was astonished to get their agreement on my first application as I know from reading the kboards/Writers’ Cafe forum, that many authors have tried to get their books accepted several times, so I feel exceptionally fortunate. Just wish I knew why they said ‘yes’, so I could do whatever it was the next time I apply!

      I’d be happy to write a blog post about my first experience with Bookbub. If you let know how many words you’d prefer and when you’d want it by, I’ll set to and get it written. Thanks for the invitation. 🙂

      • eandtsmom

        That’s great, Geraldine! I’ll send you the details using your Contact form.

      • eandtsmom

        Did you receive my proposal, Geraldine? Just checking since I didn’t hear back from you.

    • Frank O'Neill

      Thanks so much, Geraldine. This is great info to have.

      • geraldine

        Glad you found it useful, Frank.

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