Dropcards for e-Books: Digital Downloads with a Difference

Dropcards for e-Books: Digital Downloads with a Difference explores the digital download options available through Dropcards.

This article first appeared on The Book Designer. If you’ve published an e-book and are looking for unique ways to sell and market it, I think you’ll find this article quite interesting!

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for The Book Designer about some of the options that were available to authors of e-books for distributing their e-books through bookstores and at booksignings (E-books For Real: E-book Gift Cards from Livrada and Enthrill.)

Recently I had the pleasure to speak with Steve Ceragno of Dropcards.com about what Dropcards can offer authors and small publishers when it comes to digital downloads for their e-books.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • You’ve written an e-book and you want to:
    • make it available to reviewers.
    • sell it at bookstores.
    • sell it at booksignings.
    • give away another book, perhaps a prequel in your series along with the latest book.
    • serialize it and make it available to your readers a chapter at a time.

  • You’d like add a video greeting to the readers of your e-book to introduce yourself or maybe give them a peek into your secret world where you write your books.

Guess what? It’s all possible!

Dropcard offers the following options:

  • Plastic gift cards
  • Plastic gift cards with concealed codes that can be scratched off (like scratch and win lottery tickets) for bookstore sales. (Additional cost)
  • Eco-friendly biodegradable gift cards
  • Lanyards
  • Digital codes that you can send out via email.

The gift cards usually feature the artwork for the e-book cover but Dropcards is open to exploring other ideas for graphics on their cards.

Dropcards cards

Examples of Dropcards

A website landing page is created by Dropcards for each digital download, or, if authors and publishers prefer, they can embed the digital code redemption box onto their own existing websites. (Embedding the digital code redemption box is basically the same process as embedding a YouTube video onto a website if you’ve ever done that.)

Dropcard redemption box

Example of a Digital Code Redemption Box

You can find a couple of examples of landing pages by Dropcards here:

If you prefer, a custom website can be done for an additional fee. Steve showed me an example of a custom site where the author had included cover art for two more of his books on the site with links to Amazon where they could be purchased. I thought that was a great idea!

The digital redemption codes (on gift cards or for emails) are good for two years, but Dropcards is open to extending if necessary. And, if you change or update the content, the redemption codes can be re-used to download the edited or new content.

Hosting Your Digital Files

Dropcards offers up to 500MB of hosting space for your digital files with a standard package. But, here’s the good part: You can use this space for pretty much any type of downloadable digital file!

So, that could include audio books, e-books in whatever format you’d care to offer them (epub, mobi, itunes…), video, images, you name it!

And, if you’re writing an e-book and you want to serialize it and make it available to your readers a chapter at a time. – You can change the content that is being hosted by Dropcards and your readers can re-use the redemption code to download the next chapter.

Setting Up an Account with Dropcards

  1. Go to Dropcards.com and create an account.
  2. Decide what type of card you’d like to use for your project.
  3. Order your Dropcards and upload the graphics you want to use for your cards so Dropcards can begin work on your project. (You don’t need to upload your book media at this time, you can upload ANYTIME, even after you have the cards in-hand.)
  4. Within 24 hrs of receiving your order Dropcards will send you a proof.
  5. Once you approve the proof, Dropcards will ship your cards within 4 -8 business days from our New Jersey facility.

Continue reading “Dropcards for e-Books: Digital Downloads with a Difference”

Book Promotion: Are You Clueless or Desperate?

Book Promotion: Are You Clueless or Desperate? describes how not to promote your book using email and lists ways to properly promote your book.

I manage the Inbox for a client of mine who is an indie author. Almost every day this person gets at least one email announcing the launch of a new book and most of the time my client doesn’t even know the author.

These emails usually start out with a distribution list of about a thousand email addresses, not entered in the BCC (An old world term that means blind carbon copy.) field, but staring every recipient of the email right in the face.

It looks as if the person sending the email has been collecting email addresses for years in anticipation of this huge event (their book launch) and they’ve copied in every single person in their contact list including their veterinarian, dentist and the guy who emailed a quote about fixing their roof.

Is this a case of being desperate or clueless?

The email then proceeds to excitedly announce the publication of the brand spanking new book, or e-book, or audio book or whatever.

Now keep in mind that these books are often from very unique genres with topics like exotic encounters with ghosts or how to embroider mobile phone cases, and what the sender and presumed author never quite gets is that their book, their pride and joy, might not be something that the guy who fixed the roof lies awake at night salivating about in eager anticipation of its release let alone the veterinarian and the dentist.

There are many definitions for desperate, but I like this one from Merriam-Webster online dictionary: done with all of your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding.

And clueless? Merriam-Webster defines that as not having knowledge about something : unable to understand something.

I believe many of these authors think, or perhaps hope or pray, that everyone who receives the email will either buy the book, or forward their email aimlessly out to everyone on their contact lists who will buy the book. I’m guessing. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of strategy put into sending out these emails so I’m really not sure what the thought process is.

First, let me be clear on something. I am not criticising and I really don’t know if the guy who fixes the roof is on the list though I could find out as all the email addresses are there to be seen. I’m telling you about this because I don’t want you to make the same mistake.

How Should You Do It?

  • Do market research well in advance of (months or maybe even years before) the publication of your book to determine who will read your book and then announce its release to only those people who are going to be interested and, perhaps to your family and friends who will want to congratulate you.
  • Establish an author platform (again, months or maybe even years before the release of your book) through a blog/website and sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. and create a network of potential readers and other people in the industry through your author platform who are likely to want to know about, spread the word about, read and/or buy your book.
  • Start a subscription list on your blog so that you can contact your subscribers with the exciting news of your book’s release. Sign up for an account with MailChimp or Aweber or another similar site to manage the list for you and send your announcements through your account. These people have already expressed an interest in what you’re doing so it’s acceptable to contact them with your book news. They are likely to share your enthusiasm and might be inclined to forward it to some of their contacts, unlike the guy who fixes your roof!
  • Send out book review requests but only to those reviewers who welcome and review books in your genre.
  • If you have to send an email to multiple recipients to promote your book or for any other reason it is good form to use the BCC field to protect the privacy of each individual by not making their email address available to everyone on the distribution list for the email.

It’s not rocket science but it is work, a lot of work. And, it’s your book’s best shot at success!

Photo credit: Pixabay