customer story

Self-publishing company helps authors achieve their dreams in $1B industry

Insightly simplifies the self-publishing process

The self-publishing industry is booming. With annual revenues now in excess of $1 billion, authors of all genres are considering self-publication as a viable option. Unlike the traditional publishing model, which hinges on an author’s ability to secure a book deal, self-publication puts the author in full control.

As with anything else, self-publishing comes with its share of roadblocks. Without a publishing house to back the title, every aspect from production to publication and marketing becomes the author’s responsibility.

The team at BookFuel is determined to simplify the self-publishing process. By offering a full suite of services for self-publishers, BookFuel provides authors with a unique blend of editing, eBook creation, cover design, distribution, and marketing expertise. To date, BookFuel has helped authors publish more than 1,100 books and shows no sign of slowing down – the company is actively working on 400+ projects.

With millions of aspiring authors in need of self-publication services, BookFuel’s sales pipeline is packed full of exciting opportunities.


An existing Salesforce deployment was extremely costly to maintain, and lacked the capability to manage critical post-sale processes.


Insightly’s post-sale automation features allowed Bookfuel to manage each customer’s journey, from initial lead through the sales cycle and successful delivery of the project.


Customer satisfaction is up, project cycle times are down, and increased productivity allowed Bookfuel to optimize staffing.

Jay Johnson Co-Founder And Chairman

Managing the Customer’s Entire Journey

For Jay Johnson, co-founder and Chairman of BookFuel, the question has never been about whether to use a CRM. In fact, Jay’s past experience as a CRM consultant and owner of a CRM

It’s one of the best CRM products I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been using CRMs for a long time. Insightly is easily configurable without the need to hire pricey technicians or consultants.

consultancy company has made him uniquely qualified to select the perfect platform.

“CRM technology has always been an important part of what we do at BookFuel,” Johnson said. “Since day one, we’ve relied heavily on our CRM to understand the customer life cycle, manage leads, and track opportunities.”

The company originally used Salesforce CRM, which worked fine for tracking deals. However, as BookFuel’s needs evolved, it became clear that a change was needed.

“Salesforce offered a lot of features that we never used,” Johnson said. “When something needed to be customized, we found ourselves investing significant time and energy just to make it work for our business model.”

Although Salesforce supported the sales process, there was a significant gap in the ability to track author projects. The lack of out-of-the-box integrated project management was a major pain point for the company. BookFuel was required to use another disparate system to enter, track, and report on author projects. This meant there was wasted time re-entering data and managing author data in multiple systems.

“We needed a way to connect our CRM data to our project management system,” Johnson said. “Our customer life cycle doesn’t end when an opportunity is won – it’s actually just beginning.”

Jay’s team began evaluating a variety of solutions for achieving this goal. With no clear answer, Jay pivoted and began researching other CRM systems. As fate would have it, the BookFuel team’s research uncovered the perfect solution for BookFuel’s needs: Insightly CRM.

“As soon as I discovered Insightly, I knew it was exactly what we needed – a CRM that offered built-in project management functionality,” Johnson said. “Insightly makes it possible to manage each customer’s journey, from initial lead through the sales cycle and successful delivery of the project. Finally, we found a system that out-of-the-box tracked the complete life-cycle of our customers.”

Streamlining the Customer Experience

After completing a smooth migration from Salesforce, BookFuel set its sights on fully leveraging the project delivery functionality that’s native to Insightly.

“As opportunities are marked as ‘won’, we immediately convert those records to Insightly projects,” Johnson said. “This makes it possible for our delivery team to get to work faster and ensures the same information that was gathered during the sales process can be used, without re-entry, by our project delivery team. This has made a noticeable impact on customer satisfaction.”

To effectively manage the many moving parts of the self-publishing process, BookFuel has invested substantial time and energy in putting Insightly’s task automation to optimal use.

“We’re heavily tasked-based, so activity sets are very useful for us,” Johnson said. “We want team members to always be aware of their next tasks, and Insightly has made it much easier for us to do that.”

Finally, we found a system that out-of-the-box tracked the complete life-cycle of our customers

BookFuel’s project workflow has become so efficient, in fact, that it’s having a positive effect on the company’s staffing and project delivery decisions.

“Insightly has helped us optimize our staffing,” Johnson said. “We’ve reduced our project cycle times and improved on-time delivery. All of this translates into a smarter allocation of human resources and, most importantly, improved customer satisfaction.”

Maximized ROI from Marketing & Sales

Project management isn’t the only way Insightly helps BookFuel.

“Insightly also helps us maximize each dollar spent on marketing,” Johnson said. “With most of our leads originating from the web, Insightly is a vital tool for determining which campaigns are delivering the greatest value.”

BookFuel’s sales team relies on Insightly’s lead and pipeline management features to ensure each author is thoroughly followed up with and vetted.

“Marketing leads are automatically routed to the sales department to be qualified,” Johnson said. “If a viable opportunity exists, the record is converted from a lead to an opportunity. Some opportunities close quickly, while others may take several months. Insightly allows us to put systems in place to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.”

To create an added layer of visibility, the BookFuel management team depends on Insightly reports and business intelligence dashboards.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Insightly provides us with an overview of our entire business, letting us measure and manage with less effort.” Johnson said. “Dashboards are especially important for our management team, as they make it easier for us to identify bottlenecks and improve processes.”

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