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July 12, 2018

How Can a Good Publishing Partner Help Us? (and Blogiversary Winners!)

Soccer players in a huddle with text: Who Are Your Publishing Partners?

Yay! Today marks the official eight-year mark for my blog. *whew* I made it…even though the past few years made that milestone a bit questionable.

On my post announcing my annual Blogiversary Contest, we had enough comments to earn two winners. Woo hoo! But I always struggle with the part where random.org selects the winners because I wish I could give everyone a prize.

In fact, we ended up so close to having enough comments for three winners that I’m going ahead and awarding a bonus third winner because I just can’t help myself. Yay! *grin*

I’ve said it before, and I really mean it. You’re the reason I blog, and I appreciate you all so much. Thank you!

Before we get into announcing the winners, I want to touch on an aspect of the writing world that made me squee this past week. I was reminded of just how much a good publishing partner can help us. *smile*

What Does It Mean to Have Publishing Partners?

With all the obstacles in the way of our success, it can sometimes feel like we’re all alone in this career. But if we have a writing community, we know the good feeling that comes from the sense that others are pulling for us too.

While writing friends are obviously important, it can also feel good if we have professional partners in our corner as well.

Ideally…

  • If we traditionally publish, it will feel like our publisher is invested in our success and has our back. Our editor is a champion of our book and career, ensuring the publisher’s various teams are putting together a strong cover and marketing effort to match the strength of our story.
  • If we self-publish, we’ll find cover artists and editors who do their best work on our book and want us to succeed. They’re not in the business only to make money, but they also get a kick out of helping us bring our ideas to the world.
  • If we have an agent, we’ll have reason to believe our agent diligently supports our best interest. They fight for the best contract terms, ensure the accuracy of royalty statements and payments, and promptly pay us after taking their honest cut.
  • No matter our path, we’ll find promotion partners that want to help us and our story succeed. They’re not in business to scam writers, but charge fair fees and deliver as promised.

I don’t usually recommend products or services here on my blog because I take my responsibility to not steer people in the wrong direction seriously. I’ve seen scammers try to get close before, and as a pantser, I’m hyper-aware that just because something works for me doesn’t mean it would be a good fit for others.

But today I’m giving a shout out to an author-service company that went above and beyond for me (and other writers) over the past few weeks. *smile*

The Problem: Unique Ebook Download Codes

A month ago, I started preparing for the Indie Book Signing at the RWA conference. Handing out free print books is outside my budget, but ebooks are easy. Or they should be…

We all need publishing partners to succeed—do you have them? Click To TweetFor my last conference, I purchased DropCards, which are credit-card-like handouts with a unique download code for recipients to download my ebook. They looked great and worked as advertised. (Their process of passing on emails of those who wanted to sign up for my newsletter was a bit of a clunky black hole though.)

However, DropCards are plastic, just like credit cards, so they were expensive to print. This year, I wanted to save money with paper handouts but still keep the benefit of unique codes—one per reader—so that like last time, readers wouldn’t have to sign up for my newsletter to download (as that requirement would go against the spirit of the book signing).

I decided to print unique download codes on stickers I could attach to postcards, the same way many publishers do at the conference. Great! But where would I get those codes?

The Search: Trying to Find a Publishing Partner to Help

My first thought for a source of codes was BookFunnel, as I already have an account with them. They have fantastic customer support to help readers successfully download ebook files and get them onto ereaders just like any other book.

Similar to InstaFreebie, BookFunnel handles downloads of freebies, excerpts, reader bonuses, reader magnets for newsletter signup, etc. for authors. Unlike InstaFreebie, BookFunnel doesn’t add readers to their email list, only to ours. Even better. *grin*

Unfortunately, BookFunnel didn’t offer download codes in advance for printing on stickers. Instafreebie doesn’t have what I wanted either, as they don’t allow for unique codes. Ganxy could create unique codes and handle downloads, but they’d charge for every code created and for every download (a small amount, but still…).

Discouraged by not finding the “perfect” solution, I went back to BookFunnel and asked through their usual help channels…

“Hi,

I’m going to be participating in an in-person book-signing/giveaway for ebooks. I’d like to give out a card that I can sign with a unique download code on it. I’m not sure if it’s possible to do that with BookFunnel. …

Any ideas or thoughts? Is this possible with BookFunnel, and if so, how?”

They agreed to take a look. *smile*

The Solution: Printable Unique Download Codes with BookFunnel

Within a couple of weeks, BookFunnel had a plan and a timeline for getting the engineering complete. By this past weekend, they had a beta version available for me to test and help stomp out bugs. And on Tuesday—a month to the day of my original request—they unveiled the new feature to everyone. Wow!

I hope you’ll understand when I squee and say I love BookFunnel! *grin*

With these printable, unique, non-shareable download codes, when we interact with readers in-person, we can:

  • sell ebooks to readers directly
  • include the ebook version for free when readers buy the paperback
  • give bonus scenes to readers at signings
  • offer a “Pick 3” discount and let readers pick the three ebooks they want
  • etc., etc.

But unlike open-to-everyone download pages or shareable links, with BookFunnel’s feature:

  • Each code is good for only one download.
  • Downloaded ebooks are watermarked.
  • Readers can optionally sign up for our newsletter.
  • We can set how long codes are good for, up to 18 months.

The Result: My Ebook Download Cards

BookFunnel’s solution is exactly what I was looking for, that “perfect” answer I couldn’t find before. With those codes, I printed clear stickers to put on the back of my ebook cards.

If you’re coming to the RWA Conference, you’ll be able to see the result…

Picture of my BookFunnel cards

So, yes, I’ll be crawling out of my introvert shell and signing cards for both of these books at:

Indie Book Signing
3:00-4:00 pm
Friday, July 20th
Plaza Exhibit Space (Plaza Building, Concourse Level)

And if you run into me other times during the conference (like when I’m wandering around the free and open-to-the public “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, July 21st at the Plaza Ballroom of the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel), feel free to ask if I have any extra cards on hand. *smile*

Blogiversary Contest Winners!

And now, the part you’ve all really been waiting for… *drum roll* the winners from my 8th Annual Blogiversary Contest!

Scarlett West
Missy Noecker

And the Bonus Winner…

Marilyn Forsyth

Congratulations to you all! You should receive an email from me within the next day, so start thinking about what prize you want. Should I be worried? *smile*

Have you ever had a publishing partner turn out to be a scammer or less-than-supportive? What did they do wrong? Have you found any good publishing partners? What makes them good? Are you as excited as I am for this new BookFunnel feature? Can you think of other ways we might want to use these printable codes?

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Scarlett West

OMGosh! Thank you so much! You totally made my day, Jami!

Deborah Makarios

Congratulations for persevering, Jami! As you sow, so shall you reap 🙂

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara

Well done to the winners!
My husband makes my covers from photos I take, and other than Amazon he is my only collaborator / partner. He is also my webmaster. Luckily, we get on great.

Sieran

Wow BookFunnel is cool. 😀 Hope you have fun at the conference! (If I didn’t comment too late. XD) And referring to a question you asked in your previous post, haha, I have quite a few friends I only know through the internet. I’m usually too shy to want to meet in person, however. XD (Even though I’m an extrovert.) The only exception is at my FTM, transmasc, and nonbinary support group. It’s an in-person group, but we have a Facebook group too. There are several individuals I only know from the Facebook group, not in real life, but I would like to see them one day. I think it feels less weird if your friend is a friend of a friend you know in real life, if you know what I mean? Recently at the trans march, I met a trans guy whom I only knew from the Facebook group. I bumped into him last week as well near my house. That was pretty cool, and it was quite easy to talk to him, which was a relief. One worry I have about meeting internet friends in real life, is that I’m so sociable and fairly confident online, but offline, I’m…uh… XD Well, I’m usually very awkward around new people, unless we’re chatting about common interests. Small talk is difficult when I have to pretend to be interested in whatever generic topic people are talking about, lol. It’s probably easier for me to converse with internet friends than with…  — Read More »

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