BooksButterfly: Indie Author Review - An Out of Touch Promoter that Isn't Worth Your Time
Introduction to BooksButterfly
This was a website that I actually had decent luck with in the past, and when I started writing this blog post about their services I originally thought I would be giving them a good review. Unfortunately, I've also been in contact with a number of authors who had less than stellar things to say about the company, and at a certain point I realized that they weren't going to hold up with a good review.
They offer a service that is similar to a lot of other email marketing services, only they do a couple of things that other companies don't: for one thing, they offer a 'guarantee' for the number of sales you will receive. For another, they offer a steep discount against the cost for major publishing companies for indies.
Both of those sound great, but in reality they end up being little more than window dressing, and in most cases you'll find out that you wasted your money on a promotion that returned little in the way of finding new readers.
Requirements for Promoting
There are almost no requirements with this company, which means that if you submit a book to them to promote, they will send it out to their network. This is a red flag against them, because in general readers don't want to receive a deluge of subpar books or they will gradually stop buying them, and that's exactly what happened.
Basically, they have a lot of people they reach (though they use some fancy fast-talk to justify their numbers) that they will show your book to, but in general very few of those people will click on a book, let alone a paid book. Essentially, they oversaturated their own audience and now their results are pitiful. They might have had good results at one point (and now are just coasting on their previous successes) but running a promotion today is going to get you almost nothing.
They also have hundreds of testimonials on their site from happy authors, but many of those feel like form testimonials and don't really inspire confidence.
Cost of Running a Promotion
There is no doubt that they are a crazy expensive company, so the real question is: are they worth that cost? Here are a couple of reasons why they certainly are not.
- They are crazy expensive when you really get down to it, and even with their 'guarantee' of sales, they still cost a lot more than other companies and don't even promise you'll make your money back.
- To get 100 guaranteed sales you'll have to shell out almost two-dollars in the ad for every one sale they promise, which is a lot of money. Their free numbers are better, and if you do plan on using this site I would highly recommend not using a paid title.
- They are the only company I know of that guarantees sales, but the caveats to this are enormous and make it clear that this is just something for them to promote and not a really benefit.
- Every author knows that the key to running a strong promotion is to stack promotions and work with a number of companies simultaneously, but the moment you go this route you void the guarantee. After all, how can they verify results when you are mucking up the data? It voids the guarantee.
- If your book has ever been free before, it also voids the guarantee.
- Further, they also offer a 60% discount for indie authors against the traditional five publishers in the cost of running the ads. Great, right? Except, when you think about it, the odds of a traditional publisher using an indie company like this to promote a book are slim to none. They could say they offer a 1,000,000% discount for indie authors and it would amount to the same thing: just more marketing on their end to sell their service.
There are more reasons why this company simply isn't worth the cost, but this should be enough to create reservations in any author's mind.
My Experiences / Other Authors
I promoted Raven's Peak with this service in 2016 when it was up for a Kindle Scout campaign, which meant I didn't really run it like one of their normal promotions. I also stacked it along with other promotions because I wasn't too concerned with the sales or the guarantee. Even at the beginning, I knew it was just flowery talk.
I even managed to get a few hundred clicks out of it (which sounds good, until you consider that the promotion was $100 dollars) and since the product was free I'm sure a lot of people nominated the book.
So, I was pleased with the service. However, when I decided to try and use it for a 99 cent book sale promotion, I researched it and asked some friends about it.
All I heard were horror stories.
One friend of mine, who literally just ended her promotion through this service today, reported that they managed to get one sale for her and about five hundred pages read through Kindle Unlimited. Another author who tried to run a promotion reported that when he contacted the company about a refund, they just attacked his book and said it was low quality which was why it didn't do better.
If it was low quality, why did they promote it at all?
I didn't really have a bad experience with this company, but I cannot recommend it to other authors because of the way they treat people and their poor results. A free book might perform adequately, but again it would be a lot of money to spend to get decent results. All in all, I have to recommend that Indie Authors steer clear of this company and find somewhere else to promote their books.
This one is definitely a 2-Star company, though as I said earlier I didn't really anticipate giving it this low of a rating until I spent some time researching it. If you look over the internet you will find countless horror stories about the company and very few positives, and many of the horror stories that authors have experienced were completey unacceptbile.
I would love to give them a higher rating, and I'll certainly check back down the road to see if they've cleaned up their act any, but right now they have a lot to answer for with the way they've been treating people.
If you want to submit to an oversaturated market, then maybe give this one a try (though not with a paid title) though I recommend staying away.