When I signed a contract for a small premium publisher to release my mystery novel, Pithed, I knew that the imprint focused more on digital sales than print. Pithed was released in eBook and paperback years before the Kindle revolution, therefore I found it challenging to market the digital version of the book, which was also the more affordable format. These days, however, more readers ask about the eBook availability of my books instead of print, and while I spend time promoting everything I write at book fair and cons, selling eBooks always proved challenging. These days, I now have access to many helpful tools, and so do you.
Whether you are a first-time author or have recently transferred your backlist to digital formats, you can sell eBooks offline. Set up your author table as you normally would and let readers know with the proper signage that they can purchase digital books on the spot, and even start reading them right there on their phones.
Selling eBooks at an Event
You’ll need the following components to make your eBook sales venture a success:
1) Laptop, Tablet/Mobile Device and Working Internet/WiFi Connection. If you don’t have a mobile subscription be sure to check in advance about the WiFi connection in your venue. If you have a MiFi device that you use for Internet on the go, make sure it’s fully charged on the day of the event and that you have access to an electrical outlet for emergency re-charging.
2) Cloud Application for Storing Files (Mobile). If you have a laptop, you can store all digital files in a folder and e-mail them as you sell. Mobile users should have a cloud app that allows for e-mailing of files instantly. I use Dropbox for my eBooks because it has private folders where I can keep my books, and it is easy to use.
3) Online Payment System. In the past I accepted only cash for books, but thanks to applications like SquareUp and Paypal’s new mobile system I can accept credit cards via my tablet. Using a card swiper device, customers can buy instantly, or I can input their information in the corresponding app. You can even email receipts on request.
Of course, while the sale of eBooks at a live event are easier now, one might ask, “How do you autograph an eBook?” I’ve found that authors have been creative in solving this problem. Autographed bookplates for a reader’s Kindle or Nook, PDF files of the title page or cover with signature, and autographed cover postcards are a few ideas you can consider. I know authors who have been asked to sign Kindle covers – there is no impossible here.
With more readers interested in eBooks, you increase the opportunity to sell at fairs, conventions, and other events. Don’t by shy in plugging your eBooks alongside your print titles. You may find the sales eclipse the paperbacks.
Kathryn Lively is a social media specialist assisting clients with social media writing and Facebook marketing. Clients include Virginia Beach rug stores, Fairfax personal injury lawyers, Virginia health care services, Norfolk real estate agents, global trade portals, and Gainesville bed and breakfast inns.