Kindle Cards: Documenting A Process

The Dragon's Rocketship Collection.

The Dragon’s Rocketship Collection.

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.

First Page Converted to PDF

First Page Converted to PDF

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.

Because the group is called "The Dragon's Rocketship"

Because the group is called “The Dragon’s Rocketship”

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.

FedEx Kinkos. I love these guys!

FedEx Kinkos. I love these guys!

The first set, printed out at last.

The first set, printed out at last.

Fortunately they also sell boxes of envelopes.

Fortunately they also sell boxes of envelopes.

The first set, cut.

The first set, cut.

Peeking out

Peeking out

Look! A bookmark!

Look! A bookmark!

Kinko's excellent paper cutter. We grew very close this morning.

Kinko’s excellent paper cutter. We grew very close this morning.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

At long last, the entire collection.

At long last, the entire collection.

Whew!

They'll be sticking out of all the books on the rack. Eye-catching, right? I hope.

They’ll be sticking out of all the books on the rack. Eye-catching, right? I hope.

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.

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About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Promotion, On Publishing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Kindle Cards: Documenting A Process

  1. tannerakane says:

    I look forward to learning the results.

  2. djmatticus says:

    Looks great and seems like a worthwhile experiment. I hope it does lead to a spike in sales.

  3. Pingback: A Quick Update | mishaburnett

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