This post originally appeared on Publetariat on 10/23/11 and has received 1163 unique pageviews since then, making it one of the most popular posts on Publetariat in 2011.
Publetariat welcomes author Cheri Lasota. In this guest post, Cheri introduces the idea of using physical gift cards as a means of ebook distribution through brick-and-mortar and other offline outlets.
Have you heard of e-book cards? If you haven’t already, I think you will soon. They are a new book marketing technique making headway and headlines around the country now.
I heard about them from author Dean Wesley Smith. The idea stems from this simple question: how do authors and publishers sell a digital product in a physical store?
So many of us are releasing e-book only versions of our fiction. In such cases, how do we sign our books at events? How can we hand-sell our books at conferences, speaking tours, or to the neighbor next door? How do we start to educate the paperback public that e-books are both the wave of the future and the here and now? E-book cards can accomplish all this.
These plastic cards are the same size as your credit card or the gift cards you might buy at the store. Why that size and shape?
· You can fit them into your wallet or purse.
· You can slip them into larger sleeves or envelopes that can display even more content about the book.
· You can put them in a display holder that has a slot for business cards.
· You can sign them at events because the plastic makes them durable.
· You can mail them in a standard envelope for promotional packages because they are so small and compact.
And just think about how little space they would take up on the bookstore shelf, as opposed to a 600- to 800-page paperback?
SpireHouse Books released my novel on Sept. 13, 2011 and we have wholeheartedly embraced e-book cards in our marketing campaigns since then.
Thus far, we sold many of the cards at my book launch, I’ve sold some by hand, several stores are displaying and selling them, many have bought them as gifts for their friends, and I have used them as giveaways at events and elsewhere.
In the future, we plan to mail them out to book reviewers,continue to use them for giveaways and to sell at events, give them as gifts for holidays and birthdays…the possibilities are endless.
You can tailor your e-book cards for your own needs. For my cards, my publisher put the book cover on side 1 and included two important notes on it: “E-book Card Edition” and “Read On Any Device.” On the accompanying display, we mention that the e-book card edition is cheaper than anywhere else the book is sold, which gives bookstore owners a clear incentive to stock them and gives readers a great reason to buy in-store as opposed to buying online. Our e-book card edition also contains exclusive content.
On side 2, we included a “tagline” as well as a short synopsis of the storyline; clear, concise instructions on how and where to download the book; an ISBN/barcode; and a unique scratch off promotional code,which the buyer plugs into my publisher’s website.
We see this as an incredible opportunity for bookstores as well as authors and small publishers. Spread the word to other authors. Talk about this with your local bookstore managers. Think outside the box and you may find that these cards give you access to readers you never thought you could reach.
Have questions? Just comment on this post.
[Publetariat Editor’s note: more of the how-to nuts and bolts, and costs, of getting ebook cards produced are covered in this linked post from Dean Wesley Smith, which was referenced by Cheri near the beginning of this post.]
SpireHouse Books just launched Cheri Lasota’s first novel, Artemis Rising, this fall. The book is a YA historical fantasy based on mythology and set in the exotic Azores Islands. Currently, Cheri is writing and researching her second novel, a YA set on the Oregon Coast. Over the course of her sixteen-year career, she has edited fiction, nonfiction,screenplays, and short stories for publication. Cheri also has twenty-four years of experience writing poetry and fiction. Learn more about Artemis Rising at http://www.cherilasota.com or buy it at http://bit.ly/ArtemisRisingNovel.