I admit that I’ve sold a few hundred copies of my novels here and there. Amazon is nice enough to carry my book, as are most other online bookstores like BN.com and Powells. But never have I been so excited for sales as I have with my new partner: PayPal.
PayPal, you say? That $5 billion company that lets people buy creepy dolls and sell car parts off of eBay?
PayPal is my payfriend
Well, yes, but let me explain. While PayPal is best known for being bought by eBay so that eBay could make the world safe for people to buy souvenirs to places they’ve never been and to move along that heirloom piece for $30 that’s been in the family since the Magna Carta, it is so much more with this now that they have this thing called PayPal Here.
My more tech-savvy friends — the ones who “surf the Web pages” or “talk on the Skype” or “have a telephone” — probably are already very familiar with this, but PayPal Here is a setup where you load their software (called an “app”) onto your smartphone (I have an iPhone) or smartpad (I have an iPad) and then use their little free doodad thingy that plugs right into the headphone jack–
But it isn’t headphones. It’s a got-dang credit card swipey reader thing like they have down at the Stop ‘N’ Go. That means that wherever you are with your iPhone or iPad (or, if God doesn’t love you, some sort of Android thing) you can take credit cards.
That sinking feeling of ‘sale fail’
Like … for books. I can now accept credit and debit cards for my books! A truly sad feeling is when you’ve just published, say, a book on them Roswell aliens that in the right light look like dollar signs from gullible people, and you have one of them people right there in front of you, and you done got the books, but they don’t have any cash because frankly cash is so over, and they don’t have a check because this isn’t inside a Gimbal’s from 1947.
In the olden days (which I call BPPH and had its day zero yesterday, so we are now in the first day of the common PPH era), you just had to watch that person leave without your book, even though they wanted it! I AM SLAIN!!!
But now, that person would end up with a shiny new copy of ET’s Done Been In My Butt or whatever, because the author can take credits cards!
This may not be exciting to you, Gentle Reader, but as an indie author, believe me, it is frickin’ exciting. Now when I have a reading like the one coming up in Las Vegas on July 27, I can bring my books and sell them to the audience’s desire, no matter if they have cash, “cheques,” or credit/debit cards!
The heat is on to produce good stuff
Of course, this puts the pressure on me to write and publish (and read from at readings, of course) something that people will want to buy, but that’s what’s so great about the current technological age of publishing! Indie authors are like microbreweries, turning out product in small batches for those who will appreciate it. And in the same way that a microbrewery can become very popular and be able to scale up to a larger operation, so can an author move from indie to small press to midlist to best-seller. It is an exciting time to be a writer, indie publisher — heck, to be alive!
Where to hawk your stock
All right, let me reel it back in here: So I now can take my little bookcart and peddle my wares like a wandering old Jew who sharpens knives and fixes pots and pans. (See the year 1905 for more information.) But here are some great places to sell books for the indie author hand-selling his or her work:
- Farmer’s markets
- Libraries, maybe even to them while you’re there
- Festivals of all kinds, because everybody loves books. And almost every town or county, from New York to Hooterville, has some kind of festival every year, and of course larger towns and cities may have more than one. Here in Las Vegas we just had the Electric Daisy Carnival, which brings music lovers and lovers of illicit hallucinogens together for three days of incoherence and fun — which I know goes well with certain kinds of indie novels out there. Here’s some more examples where you can sell your books (there could be a nominal or larger-than-nominal fee for the table, of course):
- Literary festivals, natch
- Art festivals, craft festivals, arts & craft festivals
- Flea markets
- Historical festivals like Renaissance Faires
- Town festivals honoring founders or battles or local industries
- The Mustard Festival in Middleton, Wisconsin (home of the National Mustard Museum)
- The Popcorn Festival in Clay County, Indiana (hometown of Orville Redenbacher)
- The Ethnic Festival in South Bend, Indiana (home of, um, ethnic people? And Catholic Jesus, of course)
- Open mic nights or karaoke nights at bars and other meeteries
There are, of course, literally a lot of other venues you might be able to hawk your literary wonderments. What all these places have in common is that they (1) host communities of people who are either artists themselves or aficionados of some kind of art; and/or (b) are civic-minded and would thus to be open to a local author being a part of things; and/or thirdly, are places people are likely to have spending money earmarked for that event; and (iv) are places where it is legal to transact business (as opposed, say, to putting out a blanket with your books on it in front of other businesses). You can probably think of some right off the top of your head, and that’s kinda what I’ve been trying to get you to do the whole time, ya bum. (Please put your ideas in a comment here, won’t you?)
At any of these, you don’t have to worry about power outlets, because you’ve got your portable cash register right with you — it’s the PayPal Here thingy from the beginning of the post, remember? EHRMAGERD WE’VE COME FULL CIRCLE!
Wanna play nice with me?
I’m going to be hitting it hard on The Act when it comes out this August, and I would be delighted to share my space with any local authors in the Vegas area who want to get their book out there as well. I’ll be blogging about the ups and downs as they happen, so stay tuned. Or logged in. Or whatever this is.
P.S. — I know there is a thing similar to PPH called Square, but PayPal rocks my world and I don’t have to set anything else up in order to use it. But OBVI all of this applies to the Square thingabob as well.