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Category: Book Promotion

How to Sell eBooks at Conventions and Book Fairs

How to Sell eBooks at Conventions and Book Fairs

by Kathryn Lively, author of Rock Deadly, currently FREE at ARe and Smashwords.

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.

Using New Social Tools to Help With Book Promotion

Using New Social Tools to Help With Book Promotion

Every day when I check my current social feeds, I notice an author friend has joined the next new thing. I couldn’t tell you how often a brand new social platform with a funny name picks up interest, but I don’t doubt that with each launch there’s an author trying to figure out how to use it for book promotion. As an author, I like to think outside the box where selling books is concerned, though I recognize the importance of reading terms of service policies to make sure I don’t step on any toes. Nonetheless, if you’re still trying to wrap your head around Twitter and become overwhelmed by new gadgets and sites, don’t worry. They’re here to help with word of mouth, and some are quite simple to use.

Let’s take a look at some up and comers in the social realm. Some may prove more useful than others in terms of self-promotion, and if you can find something creative to do with these sites go for it.


Everybody I know is “pinning” things to virtual boards. I see notifications pushed through Twitter that somebody has found some kicky new boots, while other friends have set up entire sections of their account to categorize recipes and home decor ideas. I one saw a joke that Pinterest is typically used for the wedding you wish you’d planned years ago, but as I’ve come to know the social site I realize one can use it to draw attention to books.

While the site’s TOS has changed recently and may again to reflect rules of blatant promotion, you can use Pinterest in a number of ways:

  • Create a board for each book you have written, and “pin” items associated with the story or things that inspired you while writing. If you’ve written a romance set in Paris, pin images of landmarks that featured in the story. If your book is an account of history, find items relevant to the topic. You can see one I’ve started for my Lerxst Johnston mystery series.
  • Create a “dream cast” board. It’s not unusual for readers to imagine certain actors in the role of a book character. You can have a little fun with a board featuring images of people you’d cast in the movie version of your book.
  • Connect with other authors to create a group board on a specific genre. By pinning books by various authors, you can create a library of recommended reads to share with readers. This board is dedicated to books readers may wish to check out after reading Fifty Shades of Grey.


Instagram is fast turning amateur photographers into enthusiasts. It’s interesting, too, to see retro-style renderings of photos taken by friends, and with the network’s recent acquisition by Facebook one has to wonder where it will go. Also, the marketer in me wonders how one can use Instagram for promotion. Naturally, you’d use it as you would a regular camera, and post appropriate pictures to your account.

  • People holding/reading your book.
  • Booksigning events as you meet readers.
  • Visiting landmarks that feature in your stories.
  • Unique author portraits to feature on sites and other social media.

It’s important, too, that as you join new social networks that you use them socially. Don’t be content to simply post information and hope it sticks. See what others are doing with their accounts – like and comment where appropriate. The more active you more, the more likely somebody will notice you, and your books.

Kathryn Lively is a mystery novelist and freelance writer specializing in articles on social media writing and Virginia web design. Clients include Fairfax personal injury lawyers, book publishers, Virginia health care services, Norfolk real estate agents, global trade portals, and Gainesville bed and breakfast inns.

Social Media Resolutions for 2012

Social Media Resolutions for 2012

This was written for a social media blog, but much of what is written here can be applied to authors seeking to use social media to sell books. Enjoy!

With 2011 behind us, now is the time to think about marketing strategies for the new year. By now, you likely have your Twitter account and Facebook page for your business set up, connected to each other, and updating followers regularly with news of your business and products/services. Perhaps you don’t have as many followers as you would like, but a new year brings the promise for increased interest. It’s also a good time to take into consideration a number of social media resolutions.

What should you plan for 2012? This largely depends on what you have intended for your business. Your marketing strategy will differ from those of other companies, but if you are looking for ideas here are some to adapt.

1) Cut away the dead weight.
Do you have social profiles set up that you do not use anymore? Maybe in a fit to cover all the bases you set up a Flickr or MySpace page and let it fall to the wayside. You might want to consider deleting profiles that haven’t been updated in several months – it looks rather unprofessional for a social profile to lie stagnant. Either that, or find a way to revive it by feeding an active RSS into it. At the very least, remove any icons of neglected profiles from your site.

2) Re-Evaluate design. This could be a good time to change your Twitter background or your Facebook page profile photo. As social networks have changed interfaces over the last year, your current designs may no longer suit. Take the time for a few makeovers.

3) Check Facebook tabs. Are you still using FBML for custom tabs on your Facebook page? Better fix that quick, for FBML support will eventually go away. You need to make sure you are familiar with Facebook’s development site for making tabs, and that you have a server with https support to host the pages.

4) Engage more in social media with people. Once a day, commit yourself to the following:

  • Re-tweet one update on Twitter
  • Respond to another person’s Twitter status
  • Use Facebook as your page’s persona and comment on another Facebook page (without spamming your business)
  • Share one status update from another person on your Google Plus page
  • Comment on a relevant Youtube video
  • Comment on a relevant blog post

Social media entails more than shot-gunning information. Put the social back in your social campaigns.

5) Lastly, don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor. One doesn’t always plan to go viral with a tweet, video, or blog post, but when it happens it’s because the item is worth sharing. You don’t have to be the clown prince of social media, but if you let your hair down once in a while you can show people a new side to your business that they will want to know.

Good luck with your social marketing in 2012!

Kathryn Lively is a social media specialist assisting clients with social media writing and Facebook marketing. Clients include Fairfax personal injury lawyers, self-publishing services, Virginia health care services, Norfolk Realtors, global trade portals, and Gainesville bed and breakfast inns.