If you were tasked with making sure a book reached the widest audience possible, how would you go about it? Speak to publishers? Use social media? These questions have long been considered by those working within the literary industry. Many years ago, the only method was print advertising, radio and promotion in bookstores. If the book became a success or received positive reviews it may take off but there was no guarantee. Since the advent of the internet, however, you’d think this process has been entirely revolutionised; not so!
For some reason, the publishing world seems reluctant to advance its methodologies or fully embrace the technology available to them. Perhaps that’s due to the old-school nature of writing a book itself or maybe it’s just legacy industries are slower to uptake new technology. Regardless, there are some companies looking to utilise all the tools at their disposal to maximise the readership of a writer's work.
Step forward Books Butterfly who operate as a promotional company for writers looking to introduce their work to as many readers as possible.
In this Books Butterfly review, we’ll take a look at who they are, how their model operates and whether they are worth considering for any aspiring writers.
What is Books Butterfly?
Books Butterfly is a Canadian company that put simply, aims to connect authors with readers. They have done this by building out an ever-growing readership base since 2008, with a claimed 4 million plus readers as of August 2019. A look at their website and it’s clear they are passionate about the intersection of the literary and technology worlds, trying to understand and combine the two to evolve the industry and maximise results. One way in which they aim to achieve this is by using apps, in which they claim to have over 3 million readers total and 614,000 plus daily.
They also claim to be a Top 2 Book Promotion Company overall and #1 in each of – Android Apps, Apple Apps, and Windows Apps. Alongside this, they state that they are one of only two book promotion and marketing companies which guarantee results. They offer a prorated refund in store credit. In the rare case the book promotion does not go well, a writer will get store credit which never expires and which you can use to promote the same book again or promote another book. However, this offer is only extended to writers wishing to sell their books for a maximum price of $1.
Although based in Canada they have operations teams in 4 continents including North America, Europe, Asia & Africa, with a particular focus on the latter two as Books Butterfly believes this is a huge growth opportunity in the coming years with the increasing advent and uptake of technology.
Regardless of genre, they want authors to be able to connect with readers with ease, hence why they aim to market their books within 67 subgenres and counting to create the most tailored experience for their audience as possible. The main issue they wish to solve however is what they term ‘Discovery & Discoverability.’ In essence, this is how to get your work published and how to get it read. Without answers to both these questions working in tandem, you may be left at a dead end.
And unless you either manage to work with a renowned publisher or are an expert in marketing, regardless of the calibre of the writing, it may not go on to achieve what it could.
How does a writer work with Books Butterfly?
A writer looking to use Books Butterfly for their promotional services has a number of options that can be found on their website. The specifics of these are numerous and each falls under a certain category depending on price, goals, achievement etc. These range from readership numbers that can be reached, guaranteed sales, email subscribers, price points and much more.
The plethora of options will likely mean there is a package for everyone but the sheer number of options could also confuse things for writers who may be navigating the world of literary promotion for the very first time.
In essence, once the appropriate package has been selected, Books Butterly combines their app, email list, online newspaper and website readership to send out a list of books and book deals. Depending on the specifics of the package selected, a writer will reach a certain percentage of this audience for a certain cost.
What are some alternatives to Books Butterfly?
Alternative options to using Books Butterfly are plentiful. Of course, the most traditional method would be to submit your work to a publisher. If accepted, their in-house marketing team would take care of all of the above and would naturally not charge the author for doing so. Often in fact writers receive a stipend or advance from a publisher for the chance to work with them. However, the submissions process can be a lengthy one and the stiffness of competition means the percentage success rate is very very low.
Any writer who is considering the services of Books Butterly will likely be familiar with all the ins and outs of self-publishing. In doing so they retain all the creative control and autonomy that comes with going it alone. The ease with which anyone can release an ebook would have been unthinkable In years gone by. But the main challenge is not the release but the reach of the work, how does a writer get the book into as many hands as possible. Doing so in the past would have been an uphill battle and even today there’s no guarantee of success, even using the services of a company like Books Butterfly.
Books Butterfly Review – Final Verdict
Ultimately Books Butterfly has an innovative and fresh approach to what can be quite a stale industry and there is no doubt a need and scope for promotional services within this field. But the strength of their claims is not backed up with enough evidence and in fact, a quick online search for ‘Book Promotion Services’ comes back with a litany of results. There are quite literally hundreds of companies offering similar to Books Butterfly so shopping around is absolutely worth doing.
The website itself feels out of date and incredibly at odds with the tech-focused mindset they profess. A search on the App Store yields little information or results and their Twitter feed has not been updated since 2019. Their audience numbers give some hesitation too with the 4 million number seemingly derived from total downloads, which has no guarantee of people actually using Books Butterfly or if they have subsequently deleted them from their device. Not to mention the fact that their guarantees regarding refunds etc are capped at books being sold at $1.
If a writer has the patience, time, finances and fits into the sales criteria Books Butterfly are looking for then maybe their services will be beneficial. But that’s a long list to tick off before even considering working with them and put simply, there just isn’t enough evidence or proof to justify a writer spending valuable time or money on pursuing their services, particularly given the fact they will already be self-publishing in order to do so.
Utilising the myriad of tools and resources at their disposal, a writer may well find they have all they need to find new readers for their work, and won’t have to pay fees to do so.