This is still an untried promotional tool, so I can’t say if it is worth the time and effort. I am going to be using them at Archon, a large Midwestern Science Fiction Convention being held on the first weekend of October. I will be reporting back after the convention if any of the authors report a spike in Kindle sales.
However, I want to write down my notes while they are still fresh in my mind, in case it does work. We have a table in the Dealer’s room where we will be selling 40-something titles representing 15-20 different authors.
The idea was to print out a card for each title that would have the title and a QR code that links to the Amazon sales page. I wanted to be able to offer one-click Kindle purchase at POS, or as close as possible to it.
To create the cards themselves I used three programs, Open Office, Paint.net, and TEC-IT QR-Code Studio 1.0. All three are free to use.
First I downloaded the cover image from Amazon, which I then converted to grayscale and resized to 1.5 inches wide (144 pixels at 96dpi). They weren’t all the same proportions, so the height varied, but I wanted them all to be consistent width.
Next I created the QR code, which I also sized to 1.5 inches wide. I added a caption to each code with the title of the book, because I can’t read those dots. That turned out to be a very good move when I started assembling the pages.
One note, I used the full Amazon sales page URL when making the codes. (example: http://www.amazon.com/Catskinners-Book-Lost-Doors-ebook/dp/B008MPNBNS/ ). I realized partially through the process that I could have been using a shortened version with just the ASIN (example: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS/ ). It would make the QR codes marginally less complex, which might make them quicker to load. Loading the ones I used hasn’t been an issue on any device that they have been tested on so far, so this might be a non-issue.
I played with the format a lot before I came up with the final version. What I ended up with was a table in Open Office. I set the page to “Landscape” (8.5 x 11, since I wanted to print on card stock and Kinkos doesn’t offer card stock in legal size.) I then set the margins to .25″ all around. (The printing area turned out to be a little less, which was fine. The borders were fine.)
I set the table to six columns wide and five rows deep. So I had six titles on each page. Given the number of titles we’ll have, I ended up with eight pages.
The top row says “Want This Book On Kindle?” I used white on black to make it stand out.
The next row has the title and author. Some of the titles were kind of large and I had to use a smaller font to get them to fit, but mostly I used 16 point Times New Roman, bold italic for the title and bold for the author’s name.
Then I inserted the cover picture. (As an aside all of the covers came out very nicely in b&w thumbnail. I was prepared to tweak them if needed, but they all looked good using just a straight conversion. )
The fourth cell has a brief description of the book. This turned out the be the hardest part of the whole process. I had naively thought that I could just copy the book’s description from the Amazon sales page, but I didn’t have near enough room for that. So I ended up asking the authors to submit taglines of 20-50 words. 30 seems to fit the best. I adjusted font size to fill the block.
Once I got to the cutting phase I realized that I should have put extra margin space in the book descriptions. The rest of the cells were centered, so I had room, but I had left justified the descriptions which didn’t give much room for error when cutting them apart. A few got some letters sliced, in fact, but fortunately I allowed for screwups and had extras printed.
I ended up making cards for 47 titles, which left me one blank column at the end. I used it to make some “Support Astrodraconian Literature” cards which we will attach to candy and give out.
It’s all about getting people to the table.
Okay, so once I had the cards made up it was time to begin the manufacturing process.
It’s been a lot of work, but much of that was figuring out the process. If this works and I do it again the next set will be easier. As far as a promotional expense, the entire thing–including the box of envelopes–ran right about thirty bucks. I figure it’s worth gambling that much.
I look forward to learning the results.
Looks great and seems like a worthwhile experiment. I hope it does lead to a spike in sales.
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