About a month ago I released an article that got loads of views about how to merchandise your novel. In this take to I’m going to go a little more in depth regarding the process, using my own experience in developing Jewellery based on the world of Etheros.
To kick things off there are a few things consider when merchandising a book, especially and indie title that doesn’t have a huge following.
- The merchandise has to stand on its own two feet – The items need to be appealing to the general public and not just people who have read your content. Doing this will generate more potential buyers for your book.
- Your stuff needs to be cheap, but not too cheap – Pricing is a complex beast, and there’s no easy rule of thumb. You need to remember that your goods are not Chanel or Louis Viton, but at the same time, they’re not cheap Chinese knock offs… I am aware that Chanel and LV are made in China (before anyone mentions it).
- It should get people excited about your book – Aside from creating an alternative stream of income, the product should have just enough of your world in it to get people pumped about your story.
I’m going to cover briefly the process I used to develop the runestone amulets:
The amulets came to me while writing my debut novel “Sword of Unity” [Out in December], and are magical to some extent. In the current draft of the novel, some characters wear them for good luck while others use them as a channel to the 5 gods [the source of all magic]. In Etheros, they are actual stones, with the runes chiselled into their face.
Bringing them into the real world
When it comes to merchandising as a small time writer, you really need to consider price, and price was something I took into account in a big way. If there was no way to make the runestones for under $25 then they simply would not sell. I researched materials; stone, metal, wood, then finally came across clay.
Clay that air dries, and can be painted, then glazed. The materials are dirt cheap, and the raw cost of each amulet is only about $8 – Awesome… But hold up; what about Time.
This was where it got tricky. These guys take a long time to make, and as a freelance graphic designer I command around $60AU an hour for my work. Making ten of them took me two days (including drying time). I probably invested about one and a half hours in each… It is now a $98 amulet. Wowza, that’s no good.
Then I realised that the problem was not in production, but in what I’m paying myself. Merchandising your novel is a means to a different end. The time it takes you develop and make a product is part of the fun of bringing your world into ours.
This is where it gets tricky, but there are a great many places to do it [ebay, amazon] but Etsy is a great, safe and reliable platform to launch your wares. You have store front, and place to tell your story, as well as exposure to a broader market that you normally would not have reached.
What do you think? Have you considered merchadising your writing [whether you have a novel, or even just a world you’ve been working on?] Have you come up with any ideas for cool items you could bring to the real world.
As I said in the first article; we’re living in a world where you don’t have to fit the mould of a trade-published author. There are loads of different ways you can bring your world into the public eye, and eventually achieve the dream of one day living off of the strength of your writing.
Thanks for reading,