A while back, the paperback version of my urban fantasy novella “Merchant Magician” went on sale for cheaper than what it cost me to buy author copies. I grabbed 30 copies for $3.79 per copy.
I didn’t know what I’d do with them when I ordered them, but I figured there’d be something I could use 30 paperback copies for. I mostly wanted to use them for some sort of marketing.
Years ago, a friend told me about BookCrossing.com. The basic idea of this is you register an 11 digit number, which they call a BCID, on their website. You associate this with a particular copy of book. You then write a message inside the book, or attach a bookplate to it, with this BCID, information about BookCrossing, and a URL. You then leave the book somewhere in public. When someone finds the book, they then register that they’ve found it, read it, then release it again for someone else.
I ended up making my own labels, with a bit of extra information asking the people who find them to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I printed this out on sheets with peel and stick label areas, adjusting the document until it fit in the detachable sticker areas.
I then took books with me when I went out around Toronto and left them for people to find. I left them on benches, the subway, inside building entryways, in little free libraries, gave them to friends, a neighbor, and anything else I could think of.
I was excited when I got someone registering one of the first batch of 6 books I released. This turned to disappointment as no one ever registered any of the other books, that person never released it, and, as far as I can tell, they never rated the book anywhere other than on BookCrossing’s website.
It was an interesting experiment to spend $100 on marketing with hardcopies. I don’t think I received much value for this money, but I’m glad I gave it a try. People may read the books I released and maybe they’ll look for other things I write in the future.
Have you ever used BookCrossing? What was your experience? Any fun book marketing experiments you’ve tried?