By Megan Haskell
A couple months ago I shared the results of my BookBub Featured Deal and the initial response to taking my books “wide”. (If you missed that article, check it out now! I’ll wait!)
Going wide has been really positive for my bottom line. In fact, I’ve earned more revenue in the first four months of this year than I made all of last year!
Creative marketing is often overlooked as one of the benefits of going wide. When you’re no longer exclusive with Amazon, you have more options to try new things and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Make your books available at ALL the online retailers (Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.)
- Sell DIRECT on your own website, earning 100% of the sales price! (Which I am currently putting into place)
- Increase your inventory at LIVE in-person events with download cards (read on for more!)
- Try giving series starters away for FREE to hook readers on your series (I know books are my drug of choice 😉)
In other words, selling wide = flexibility.
One of the new marketing strategies I wanted to test this year was direct selling ebooks at WonderCon, one of the biggest pop culture conventions in California. I exhibited at the show last year, but at the time I could only sell the paperbacks because I was exclusive with Amazon. This time, I wanted to expand my inventory.
I got the idea of ebook download cards from my friend and fellow author, Russell Nohelty, who exhibits at a lot of conventions every year and makes a good portion of his income from live events. It only took a little research to find a way to make this work for my own books.
I know I’ve talked about BookFunnel in the past, but in case you missed those articles, BookFunnel is a company that facilitates the transfer and download of ebook files to any e-reading device. They started out as a process to deliver free books to readers. In the early days, authors used their service to send early drafts to Beta Readers for review, or to give away a story as a thank you for signing up to the author’s newsletter.
In recent months BookFunnel has expanded their features. They now offer integration with the most common website sales platforms (like Shopify and Woo Commerce) and download codes that you can print on cards to sell or giveaway.
I chose the sales option.
For WonderCon, I ordered business cards made with heavy cardstock with each of my covers on the front in a glossy finish. (I used Vistaprint, but there are abundant options for online or local printing.) Then I created the unique download codes from BookFunnel, printed them on address labels, and stuck them on the back of each card.
I spent an entire night watching Rom Coms and plastering stickers on the back of cards. It was both tedious, and fun.
When I was done, this was what they looked like:
These cards gave me a way to sell a physical version of a digital product. And it worked!
Although I sold way more paperbacks than ebooks at WonderCon, I still earned an extra $170 by having the ebook option:
- 7 full sets at $20
- 6 additional copies of the first in the series at $5 each
That might not seem like much, but since the ebooks are almost pure profit —the cards were only about 7cents each and the BookFunnel download codes were free at my current account level—the ebooks alone covered all of my table expenses for the weekend!
What other creative book sales ideas have you tried?
Legend has it I was born with a book in my hands. Thirty-ish years later, I’m a stay-at-home-mom who prefers a good story over doing the dishes. Only now, I’m building my own fantasy worlds! I am the award-winning author of The Sanyare Chronicles, a fast-paced dark fantasy adventure set in the nine faerie realms, and Program Director of O.C. Writers, A Network of Published and Aspiring Authors, located in Orange County, CA. To find out more about me and my books, visit my website at www.meganhaskell.com!