Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Books Butterfly Promotion



I first heard about Books Butterfly a couple months ago on Readers in the Know (an excellent site for authors; it has a handy chart showing dozens of different book promotion sites and what they offer).  I was looking for new places to promote my books, and I hadn't heard of Books Butterfly before.  I searched online and found very little about it apart from their own website and one conversation on Kboards.  But the little I heard was good, so I decided to give it a try.

Books Butterfly offers several different packages for authors.  They are unique in that they guarantee a certain number of downloads, depending on which package you buy.  I decided to try the "pure gold" package, shown at right.  It cost $50, and naturally I was worried that it wouldn't end up being worth it.  After all, that's a lot of money to pay just to get a thousand people to download a free copy of my book!  Books Butterfly promises that if you don't end up getting that many downloads, they will refund a percentage of your money based on the percentage of the promised downloads you didn't get.  So from that perspective, I was confident I would get what I was paying for.  But what I was really wondering was whether all those free downloads and the increased exposure would lead to enough actual sales to make it worth the expense.

Anyway, I decided to go for it.  I filled out the form on their site and received an email response less than an hour later.  I've been quite pleased with Books Butterfly's customer service and correspondence, so I'm going to include some of the text from our emails back and forth for you to see.  The guy who I corresponded with was Abhishek Singh.

Hi Annie

thanks for writing in.


A) Your book meets our acceptance criteria. We'll be glad to run it. It looks lovely and the reviews are among the strongest I've seen in Fantasy.


B) We've sent you an invoice. It's Pure Gold Slot. $50 for 1000+ Free Book Downloads. Downloads will be on Date of Promotion and Next Day.


We estimate free book downloads range to be: 800 to 1,500.


C) Please see terms below.


D) Slot will not be run until invoice is paid. 


E) For Free Books, please let us know if the book is permanent free or was permanent free in the past.


F) There is a prorated refund. Refund is required in less than 5% of free book promotion slots. Please see terms below. 


G) Refund does not apply if you are running promotions with other sites. We can only guarantee our own performance - we cannot and do not guarantee results for you if you are running with multiple sites.


We still guarantee 1000+ downloads. However, we cannot and do not guarantee performance of other sites.


******* Terms & Clarifications


Please read the following to get a clear understanding of what happens when we run your book.


*Terms & Details


1) We'll run your book 2 days in a row.


Dates would be: May 22nd, 23rd.

You'll get additional sales on 3 days.

Dates of Promotion: 22nd, 23rd.

Date after Promotion: 24th.

IN this case Sales will be 40-50% on Day 1, 40-50% on Day 2, 10% on Day 3.


3) There is a prorated refund for all fixed price slots.


Example: If you buy a Platinum 100 Slot ($100 for 100+ Sales) and get only 75 sales, we'll refund $25.


Example: If you buy a Pure Platinum Slot ($100 for 2,000+ Downloads) and get only 1,500 free book downloads, we'll refund $25.


4) Refund does not apply if you misrepresent your book's sales history. In addition, there is no refund if you don't disclose a free book is a permanent free book before slot is run. In addition, there is no refund if you don't disclose that a paid book has been free, or at a cheaper price, in the last 12 months before date of promotion.


5) Refund does not apply if you are running with multiple promotion sites. We can only guarantee our own performance, not that of other sites.


6) We do not track sales or downloads. Free book downloads can't be tracked. For sales we don't use Amazon Associate tag so there is no way to track sales. You'll have to check your KDP Stats. You can also ask us for expected range of downloads and purchase a book promotion slot based on that.


7) Please also read the Terms of Service included in the Invoice and on the Website. Using our service for book promotions constitutes acceptance of terms.


8) For purposes of the Prorated Refund, average sales during the last stretch when you were running no promotions is counted as the baseline. You can choose a 7 day stretch or a month stretch. However, it cannot be a stretch during which you ran a big promotion like Bookbub or ENT. It must be a normal stretch with no promotions. It is your responsibility to let us know if your book gets big sales spikes of 50-100 sales periodically because your mother's cousin tweeted it or your dog instagramm'ed it.


9) Thanks for getting so far. 98% of authors are great. Unfortunately, there are a small 2% who try to game the system, and try to get refunds illegally. Hence the terms listed above. If you're in the good 98% of authors, we'll do whatever it takes to make you have a great promotion with results backed up with a prorated refund.


As you can see, some of what they said was redundant (that was the case on their website as well), but it all made sense.  I received the invoice separately and paid it, then replied and said that I understood and agreed to their terms.  After a couple more emails back and forth clarifying some of the details, I thought of something else and sent Abhishek this note:

I thought of two more details that might be useful to know for this promotion.  My book, Prince of Malorn, is listed as Book III in the series, but the books can be read in any order, and each one can stand on its own.  If there's a way you can mention that in the promotion, it might encourage more people to buy it.  Also, another book in the series (Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews) is permafree.  It has been for a few months now, so I know it's not eligible for one of your regular promotions.  But another author mentioned on Kboards that you once listed their permafree novel along with a different one in the same series that they had paid to promote, and it led to increased sales of the other one.  I'm not sure if you would want to consider doing something like that in this case, and I understand if not, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.  The link to the permafree one (for Amazon's stores in any country) is  http://smarturl.it/AlasiaInterviews.

I was quite pleased when Abhishek wrote back and said:

1) It's still eligible for our regular promotions. Peramfrees are fine. There's no time restriction. However, let me just run it for you for free. It's a novella so it might get just 200-500 downloads.

2) Yes, I'll mention it can be read on its own.

Wow, they would run it for free along with the other one!  If that isn't great service, what is?!

Well, I had my promotion this past weekend.  Prince of Malorn was free from Friday to Sunday, with The Collected Interviews of course being permafree.  Here are my results, including the number of downloads I got on other books.  (All are in the same series except The Collar and the Cavvarach.)

# of Downloads:
Prince of Malorn (free)
P of M (paid)
The Collected Interviews (free)
TCI (paid)
In the Enemy’s Service (paid)
Prince of Alasia (paid)
The Collar & the Cavvarach (paid)
Borrows through KU/KOLL from all books
Friday 5/22
377
0
160
1
5
1
1
0
Saturday 5/23
275
0
148
1
1
0
1
2
Sunday 5/24
137
0
47
1
4
2
2
0
5/25-5/28
4
1
39
0
0
1
2
4
total:
793
1
394
3
10
4
6
3

Sadly, my usual numbers (when I'm not doing any kind of special promotion) are usually just one or two sales or borrows a day from all my books put together.  :-(  So this shows you there was definitely a difference!  

I was surprised and puzzled about a couple of things.  The first was that I actually got some paid sales on my permafree book!  How did that work?  But I realized that it's actually only free in Amazon's US, Canada, and Netherlands stores (and possibly the UK - I couldn't get pricing info there to show up for me).  So, people must have bought it from other countries, which had never happened before with that book.  The second surprising thing was that somehow there were some free downloads of Prince of Malorn even after the 24th, and I know I set it to go back up to the normal price ($3.99) on the 25th.  Probably it had something to do with the fact that I live in Taiwan, and I'm not sure what timezone my KDP report uses, or whether it depends on the timezone customers are in.

Anyway, as you can see, I did not get a thousand downloads of PofM, but I did get over a thousand on the two free books put together.  Since the Books Butterfly folks were running TCI for me for free, it would have seemed ungrateful not to include that in the total number and instead ask for some of my money back.

Deciding not to claim any money back, I emailed Abhishek to share my results and thank him.  Here's his reply:

Annie, really glad we could get you those downloads.

I was a bit aggressive with your book because the reviews were brilliant. Normally I would only have done Pure Silver ($25 for 500+ downloads). So really glad to see total downloads were 1,142. Thank you for being gracious and including the downloads of the free novella.


And also happy to hear you got sales of the other books in the series and some borrows.


My only regret is that I did not make much profit from this, but I did get lots of downloads, and hopefully they will eventually result in reviews and more paid sales of my other books, especially the ones in that series.  So far I have been seeing residual effects in terms of slightly-higher-than-usual sales and borrows numbers, so that's been nice.  And I did make about $30 on the three days of the promotion, with about another $20 since then, so I'm coming out even.

Will I use Books Butterfly again?  Honestly, I don't think so.  It was a pretty good experience, but by comparison, the last time I promoted a free book (In the Enemy's Service) with Ereader News Today, it only cost me $20 and I got 1,849 free downloads and 18 paid ones in the first two days of my promotion.  But I'm not sorry I tried Books Butterfly this time.  It was worth finding out how it would go, and honestly, fantasy never sells as well as certain other genres.  If you've written a romance or a mystery, it may do far better with them than my books did.

Have you tried Books Butterfly?  Feel free to tell us about it in the comments.  I would love to hear how your experience compares!

4 comments:

Blogging My Life Away said...

I know paying for book promotions makes sense, but it is so hard to convince myself to buy an ad for more than $20. I have always had good success on bknights from fivver, but I might try this as a step up. Thanks for sharing.

itsrebekahlyn said...

Thanks for sharing, Annie. This is great information. It was really nice to see the outstanding customer service you received. I commend them for that.

David Jolly said...

Hi,

You say in your article that with some luck more sales and reviews would come from the Book Butterfly promotion.
I was just wondering, did that every manifest?

Annie Douglass Lima said...

Hi David,

To be honest, I'm afraid I don't remember now. But that probably means that I didn't get very many more sales or reviews afterward. I'm sure I would remember if there had been a lot of them.