Have you started planning your holiday book sales yet? If you haven’t, you should be. Because Cyber Monday and Black Friday are right around the corner.
While I know we all like to put off thinking about book marketing while the kids are out of school or we’re on vacation, the truth is if you don’t start soon, you could miss out on a lion’s share of book sales.
There’s a reason that Amazon does their big Amazon Prime day in July (It’s today! In case you weren’t aware). And this year, other online retailers are getting into the Christmas in July sales push, many of them are also offering big deals on July 16 because all of the retailers know: if you want to grab big holiday sales, you’d better start early.
Is Your Book a Good Candidate?
Is your book right for this kind of promotion?
I’m going to walk you through some things to consider, starting with your book cover and topic. Because it all matters.
And it also matters whether you’re willing to make the time coming up with the ideas, because brainstorming ideas will take some time.
Hopefully you’re starting early enough that you can spread some of this work over months instead of weeks. If it’s already November by the time you are reading this, you might be too late for a big holiday push this year.
Still, there are some smaller pushes you can do for the holiday market. Be realistic about what you have time to do, and be realistic about the appropriate strategy for your book.
The number one consideration is the book itself. If your book suffers from a sales slump or a visibility issue, you should look into the reason before you jump headlong into the holiday sales funnel.
If reader response isn’t great, figure out why. Maybe your cover needs tweaking, or your blurb on Amazon isn’t strong enough, or your description is too wordy.
When did you last review your book description?
When department stores get ready for the holiday shopping season they check stock, product placement, pricing, and product descriptions on fliers and online. They consider every single element to make sure everything is right.
We’ll go through many of these types of considerations in this book to help you make sure you’re ready!
It’s All About Timing, Starting With Christmas in July
I used to laugh at the “Christmas in July” ads until I promoted my first holiday-related book. We actually started the promotion in July, and July turned out to be the perfect time. So Christmas in July works.
Why? Maybe no one buys or thinks about December in July, but the holiday buying season is tough. To make any kind of headway, you must start early. Capture the December sales, and get in front of the early shoppers. When those “Christmas in July” ads start to hit radio and TV, and social media and your inbox, consumers—those who like to shop early—start gathering ideas for their shopping lists.
When is it too late to start thinking about storming the holiday book sales market? November is definitely much too late. October is iffy. If you’re staring September in the face and haven’t done a lick of marketing towards holiday sales, now might be your last chance.
Better to start early—mid to late summer is ideal.
You’ll want to devote considerable attention to exploring timelines, particularly regarding media. How early should you start pitching? When should you do promos? Plus, we look at key dates to be aware of and plan around.
Remember that if you want to do this, you need to plan ahead for many of these strategies, even down to booking eBook promotion dates. eBook promotions, especially, need to be reserved pretty far in advance.
Presenting Your Book for the Holiday Book Sales Market
The holiday sales market isn’t a typical sales funnel. You need to present your book as a gift or novelty, and you need to create a connection between your book and the holiday. For example, you might update your Amazon book page to say something like, “A Perfect Gift for Mom this Holiday Season!” or, “A Perfect Gift for a Young Reader!”
The thing is, for all of the retailers out there, holiday sales don’t just happen. You have to work for holiday book sales by making it that much more special.
The point is, holiday book sales require packaging, planning, and knowing your readers. When you finish reading my these tips, you’ll have a great starting point.
I have a book out today, that cover a full list of 50 things you can do to grab more holiday sales. You can get it here. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on the top five things that you can start early…like now! To grab a bigger chunk of the holiday book sales market!
1. Make Sure Your Cover Belongs in the Top 10
Book covers using all sorts of colors and designs come our way almost every day. Of those covers, not all of them make the cut. By that I mean some are just flat-out bad, while others could use a boost or better focus. Which category describes your book cover? Is your book cover really helping drive book sales?
If you’re not sure whether your cover is ready or if book cover feedback isn’t great, now is the time to revamp that cover. Or, maybe it’s time for a new cover altogether. That’s why you should start early for your holiday push, because sometimes important changes or tweaks need to be made and these can take time.
If you’re still confused about your cover, look at the top sellers in your category. You can easily view them on Amazon, and you’ll gain insight about your target market.
2. Increase Your Book Reviews
According to an article by SquareUp, a whooping 96 percent of holiday shoppers read reviews (sometimes from multiple sources) before deciding whether to buy. Reviews are crucial to grabbing holiday book sales.
For many authors, getting reviews for your book often feels like an uphill climb. Now Amazon is removing contact information from their list of top reviewers, and climb gets even steeper. We know that when it comes to book sales, there’s nothing better than a bunch of book bloggers saying great things about your book. And book bloggers who review books just for the love of the books or topics are a fantastic resource.
3. Get Your Website Ready
Next, cast a critical eye over your website and make sure it’s holiday sale-ready. Do all the buttons work? If you’re selling books via your site, is the shopping cart easy to find, access, and use?
Whether you’ve been mastering your book marketing for a while or you’re just beginning your journey, many authors struggle to have a good website. A good website gains more footing within the holiday book sales market, and keeps readers entertained the other eleven months of the year.
The goal for many authors is to sell books. I mean, other than branding, selling is the real goal of your website, right? Yes, you want to entice readers to get to know you. At some point you just want to say, “Buy my book.”
When it comes increasing holiday book sales, create images and announcements that let readers know you’re eready to make the sale. Maybe you’re offering BOGO (buy-one, get-one deal) or free shipping. All offer details should be clearly laid out for your potential customers to see as soon as they land on your site.
4. Schedule (and Write!) Your Blog Posts
It’s very easy to forget about your blog while doing a whole host of other things in preparation of your holiday book sales push. Use your blog to get in front of your readers. Plan the blog posts that push specials like your eBook discounts or BOGOs (buy-one, get-one deal). Get these ready and scheduled as soon as you figure out your promotion calendar, because it’s one less thing you need to stay on top of when the holiday shopping and sales season is in full swing.
5. Warm Up Your Mailing List
I often talk about the importance of having your own newsletter list and planning out your newsletters is a really important thing to do to capture holiday book sales. But that’s assuming you send regular newsletters already. If you don’t, begin mailings soon so your list becomes familiar with your mailing schedule and, of course, remembers who you are. With the huge number of email newsletters your reader likely receives, make sure yours pops. Set a schedule and stick to it, even if it’s only once a month.
Increasing your holiday book sales isn’t hard, but it will require some work. If you start early, the work can be spread out over the next several months so you’re not scrambling in October, to get those holiday book sales. The holiday market is wildly competitive and this year, more than ever, Cyber Monday is going to be a big cash cow for many retailers. Make sure your book is part of this buying frenzy. Not only will this help you sell books, but it’ll also help your book get into the hands of readers, everywhere!
If you want 45 more great tips, grab How to Sell a Sleigh-Load of Books today! And let me know in the comments if you’ve promoted your book for the holidays, and what worked, or didn’t work, for you!