At BayCon, I spent a fair amount of time in the Dealer Room selling copies of Revin’s Heart. And sales were brisk. I sold all of the bundles of printed copies I had and could probably have sold twice as many. I am not certain, but it may have been the most popular item at the Water Dragon Publishing table.
I’ve got my pitch down. I had a great spot to sell from: right at the entrance when people come into the room. If someone pauses coming in — or if I can see that they don’t already have a ribbon, I ask, “Would you like to be an airship pirate?” and point at the ribbons. Nine times out of ten, they’ll say, “Ooh! Yeah!” and take a ribbon. (Tho there are always a few weirdos who say, “No.”) While they’re putting on the ribbon, I say, “It’s for my steampunky fantasy adventure Revin’s Heart with pirates and airships and a trans protagonist.” After they digest that, I say, “It’s a series of 7 little novelettes that are five dollars each. But right now you can buy a bundle of all seven for twenty-five dollars. [pause] It’s like you get two free.” Then, I hold up the bundles and say, ‘And you get a choice! Do you want it tied up with a white ribbon, a red ribbon, or a GREEN ribbon?”
The hook and ribbon draw people to the table. They sell themselves on the story. And the choice of ribbon gets them invested in the decision. It’s a one-two-three punch that knocks it out of the park. I’ve been rather surprised at my own ability to sell.
Even after the physical bundles were gone, I had good luck also selling the digital bundle. There is a QR code I can have people scan. People are surprisingly willing to fight with their phone to navigate the complex interface to buy something.
To be honest, it’s not an a economic winner for me: in monetary terms, I don’t really make any money doing this. All of the royalties I’ll earn don’t equal one meal in the hotel, let alone the cost of the travel to get here. But every fan is precious because they talk. And have friends. And it contributes to building a following.
And it’s super fun and rewarding to see people enjoying your creative work, which is worth a lot more than any amount of money.