Selling Ebooks at Events

Over the summer I was wondering how I might sell ebooks at events. I've run into quite a few potential readers who have decided to go with ebooks over print books, even signed books. All I had was a handout with links, and the hope that they might buy one of my titles later.

As it happened, I found a link to an article from 2012 with details on how to do this. Here's my particular procedure for doing that. I start by using Calibre to create files for Kindles and other ereaders. I use Calibre because it's free. There's other software out there to do the same thing, so explore and see what's good for you.

Next, I use Dropbox, creating folders for series and titles, and then uploading the files to them. Dropbox is both a file-storage and a file-sharing service. It's the latter part of the service that's important to this method. As you'll see below, you won't want to use the same service for this that you'd be using to back up your private files to.

As far as my payments go, I've been using Square for a few years now.

Here's how the system works:

I use Square to register the sale, either cash or credit card, on my iPhone. I then open the Dropbox app. I tap on the the file, .mobi for Kindles, and .epub for all other readers. I tap the "Share" icon, then tap the "Email" icon. I have them enter in their email address. I send them an email, which has a link to the file on Dropbox. They click the link, and that downloads the file to their device.

It does mean that buying multiple files means multiple emails. But it's a good way to get ebooks into a reader's hands right away.

All the parts came together at the Air Capitol Comic Con. My first ebook sale was the first three Lisa Herbert books. I didn't sell any ebooks at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo the following weekend, but that's okay. I expect it will take time to get readers used to the idea of buying ebooks from an author, especially one they don't know.

If you're reading this, and you're a writer, I hope you'll take advantage of this system, or that you'll create your own variant of it with your choice of ebook creation software and file storage and sharing service. If you know a writer, feel free to tell them about this post. I'd like to see more writers take advantage of this opportunity.

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