chat with online is Jen A. Miller, a travel writer and journalist who specializes in the REAL Jersey shore. You know, the actual shore with the awesome beaches and seafood and salt water taffy and that salt air that gives you an excellent hair day, pouf optional.
Jen’s recently released a book, and I’ve been following her booksignings and promotional efforts online. She has this neat tool she uses and I begged her to write up a review and explanation of it:
I’m an author. Not of romance (well, not yet at least), but a travel
guide to the Southern part of the Jersey Shore. I can’t tell you about plot or
narrative or how to write the heck out of the mighty wang, but I can
tell you about a little tool that can help you at book signings.
It’s a little white cube that turns your smart phone or tablet (like
an iPad) into a credit card accepting machine.
It’s stupidly easy to use. Sign up for an account at Squareup.com and
download the app onto your phone or tablet. They’ll send you a free
Square device (though if you need one RIGHT NOW, you can buy one at
the Apple store, and Square will give you a credit for the cost of the
Plug it into the headphone jack of your phone and voila. You can take
credit cards. Plug in the cost, swipe the card, have your buyer sign
with their finger, and you can instantly text or email them a receipt.
Square will send the money directly into your bank account, up to
$1,000 a week (though if you’re doing more business than that, you can
negotiate with Square after you’ve been a customer for a while).
While the app and the device are free, the service is not. Square
takes 2.75% of each sale, which, if you know how much merchants pay to
accept credit cards, is nothing. Even Paypal is 2.99% plus a .$.30
But I think that’s worth it. My book sells for $20. Square takes $.55
from each sale. I’ve sold books to people who wouldn’t have bought
them otherwise because they didn’t have cash at hand. But they had
credit, and now I can accept that form of payment too.
For towns without a bookstore, or with bookstores that aren’t romance friendly, this could be a very cool and easy option for authors to organize their own booksignings and events where books can be sold. Imagine – you can set up a signing event at a bar and take credit cards from allll those impulse buyers in line for a martini! Just ask Jen – she’s done it.
Also, if you’re curious about Jen’s book, I have read it and it is adorable. It’s a great travel guide written in a supremely friendly style showing off the knowledge of someone who really does know the best locations for everything. There’s enough information to make any south Jersey vacation truly excellent.