Hello everyone, Simon here, and I have something a bit different for you today. This is not our normal weekly podcast – so you can rest assured that they’ll be a full episode of the RSP podcast on Thursday! What I have here is a shorter format audio where I have a chat via Skype with Jason, who is the founder over at BookBlast.co. I’m hoping that this will be the first in a series of extra interviews here at RSP where I talk to service providers mentioned by authors on the show!
Jason’s service was praised by Darren Wearmouth in his interview about having an effective launch strategy (well worth a listen by the way). So I thought it would be a great idea to get Jason on the phone to talk about BookBlast.co and how it can be useful to authors. The audio below is the result of the call.
This post also contains a full transcript of the interview. It has had some minor alterations to make it easier to read compared to the original audio format.
It’s worth pointing out that I’m not getting any sort of reward for this – no commission, no affiliates, I just thought it would be useful :).
Simon Whistler: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about BookBlast?
Jason: Absolutely, it’s an email service for readers, and as far as the authors go it’s an advertising venue that allows them to economically reach readers who have specifically selected to hear about book offers in the genre they are writing in, whether that’s thrillers, romance, fantasy, science fiction or literary – we have about a dozen different genres.
SW: I’d like to know about the reach and the cost – how much is it going to cost and what does that buy?
J: That’s a complicated question! Prices are dependent on the size of the list (whether there’s 10,000, 15,000 on a list etc). We are constantly building our service and subscriber base, so if I said a number right now, a listener in a month or two might be surprised by the cost, but really when I say economical, what I’m trying to do with the service is make it effective in terms of revenue for authors versus the cost of advertising. We have a significant cost for advertising BookBlast out into the universe to pull in readers, but we try and make sure that authors are getting great returns versus the advertising cost. The cost is currently, and will remain for a while yet, significantly less than you’d find at some other sites out there.
If you go to [http://www.bookblast.co/advertise.shtml] you will get all the latest information about price. We are primarily trying to promote limited sales runs with a maximum sale price of $2.99 all the way down to free. Each of these prices has different royalty rates and each one has a different cost. A 99cents promotion is much less to advertise than a $2.99 promotion. Free books can be a bit more. If you are thinking about it from the perspective of getting thousands of downloads, it takes a lot of people to get that.
People are welcome to contact me and ask about a book. We are selective and are trying to choose the best books possible. We try to give authors the best sense of how their books will do – within the limits of reality!
SW: Okay, let’s talk about what sort of results the authors typically see. Could you share an example or typical result?
J: So much depends on the appeal of the book. If authors have a book with a great cover, great description and it’s well edited with good reviews then we try to make sure authors are getting much more than the money they put in. We’re seeing books on the romance and thrillers list break through with hundreds of sales when they are selling for $0.99. We get them into the top 1000 on Amazon. We’ve had a lot of word of mouth going around from authors.
Fantasy and science fiction lists see even better results with some books breaking the top 100 in their genre! Currently we’re trying to look at the results and price our service based on that. For some of the smaller lists it’s harder to tell exactly how well the books are doing because of us.
SW: You’re certainly getting word of mouth! The reason I got in touch with you was because one of the authors we interviewed on the show said what a fantastic service you were offering. In terms of requirements and restrictions, what don’t you accept?
J: We are hesitant to feature erotica. With romance there will be some adult content, but if the book is just about sex then we’re probably going to pass on it. We also get a fair amount of submissions for weight loss and similar things, which may be great books, but I’m not sure that’s the audience we’re going for. Authors are welcome to get in touch to see if a book would work for us.
Most of the time, if your book fits into a normal/usual genre we will consider it. We’re looking for at least a handful of reviews, a great cover and a solid hook in the book description. We’re getting to the point with some of the bigger lists where we don’t have enough space to accommodate everyone and this means we unfortunately have to turn down good books – this doesn’t mean that we’re poo-pooing your book…
SW: So in terms of an author looking to maximise their chance of getting a BookBlast they would put together a great cover, wait for reviews, make sure it’s well edited etc…
J: Yes, the normal production things and then offering a great deal on that book. We do a bit of research and if your book has been on sale for a cheaper price earlier (or free) we are going to pass on it.
SW: For an author thinking of using BookBlast, when is the right time to be doing it?
J: There are a couple of different strategies an author can employ. A push right up front with the launch can help get the attention of the Amazon algorithm. If you can get together reviews quickly then it can be a help to try and move as many copies as you can in that first couple of weeks to convince Amazon that your book needs more sustained attention.
After that it depends on the authors marketing plan, if you want to put together a big push you can use us in conjunction with other sites like Ereader News Today or Bookbub to get a huge push and get into that top 100 for a particularly category – or even the entire Amazon Kindle store – either paid or free. We’ve seen some great results from authors trying to piggy back on those other great promotions.
SW: We’ve heard before how important that initial traction is and get that boost into those high rankings. What about books that are languishing, maybe great books that never go traction. How does BookBlast work for those books?
J: I love to take an undiscovered book and really expose it to readers who end up loving it! There are a lot of books like that out there and even if it doesn’t result in residual sales that go on and on forever it can still be very valuable when trying to move more copies of a book or trying to develop a fan base.
SW: Jason, thanks so much for giving us an introduction to BookBlast!