The holidays present so many opportunities for love, appreciation… and book marketing for self-published authors!
Now more than ever, consumers plan to shop early and online for holiday gifts – in fact, a recent report showed that 40% of consumers plan to start shopping just before Thanksgiving and, in particular, on the holiday itself.
A lot of the impetus is the result of the shipping delays and snafus that so many of us have experienced this year. And while that was no one’s favorite trend, solutions like no contact drop off, click to collect, and curbside delivery can work to your advantage.
Here are some book marketing tips for self-published authors that will boost your exposure and help you convert views into sales.
Local media is a great starting point, especially since more consumers are also planning to shop at small businesses and local stores this year. Some of this has to do with supply chain issues, but consumers also know how important it is to support locally-owned businesses.
You can start by getting the word out about your ability to take orders and deliver goods. But before you do that, you’ll need to make sure your website is shopper ready.
If you don’t have a shopping cart, you can easily create one via PayPal – just be clear on shipping charges. I recommended offering free shipping during a limited window; consumers love it!
Content to Sell More Books
Creating special seasonal content is almost a book marketing must for self-published authors. Not only is it festive, but it also gets people in the mood to see you and your books as special, too.
Seasonal blog and/or social media posts can boost your visibility with your audience. If you haven’t started this already, it’s not too late.
Even though shoppers are starting early, don’t assume that you’ve missed your window. Especially if you’re pushing a local media message (and you have enough books in stock for shipping), you can easily push your holiday sales message through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond.
Dig into Local Promotion
Local media loves local authors. Now is a great time to pitch yourself with a seasonal topic; for example, you might talk about how you released your book during a pandemic and have really adapted everything you do (promotion wise) to serve this new no-contact market.
Another potential topic to pitch is how much folks have been reading this year (make sure you come armed with stats) and how so many readers have discovered new and exciting authors during these unprecedented times. Give them good reasons to see you as new and exciting in your pitch!
Local media can get you on the radar screens of local shoppers and help you to gain more traction to sell more books.
With so many holiday events canceled – including book signings and book fairs – pitching local media is a great book marketing strategy for self-published authors, especially as they are sure to remind folks that signed books make great holiday gifts.
Get Strategic with Ads
Sometimes the easiest fallback strategy is to run ads on Facebook or Amazon – and if you’re wanting to gain local visibility as well as national exposure, you might do both.
Be aware that the least expensive ads tend to be on the first Tuesday in December, the Monday before Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day itself. This may not seem like a huge window, but as a marketing professional, I like to push book sales beyond Christmas.
Why? Because devices are great holiday gifts, too, and people and will start downloading eBooks to their new digital toys. There’s a lot of downtime between Christmas and New Year’s, especially with so many of us not traveling this year.
Downtime is great reading time!
Work Your Email List
You may think you’re preaching to the choir when it comes to selling books to your email list, but if everyone on it has already bought all of your books (and that’s a high-quality problem to have!), it doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.
A great book marketing promotion for self-published authors is a BOGO, or Buy One Give One. In this case, if a follower buys a copy for one friend and sends you the receipt, you’ll give a free Kindle copy to a second friend as a bonus!
What does this get you? One more sale AND your book in front of two more people.
You can also do a refer-a-friend promo where you send an email asking followers to share your book on their social and tag you or a friend in the comments. For everyone who shares your book link or tags a friend, plan out a cool prize.
If you have multiple titles, perhaps it’s a Kindle title of their choosing from your virtual bookshelf. If you do any consulting or coaching for your business, you might offer a free mini session.
Again, get creative about what they win and you’ll have higher engagement.
There’s nothing wrong with the classic email forward as well. Ask followers to forward your Christmas Newsletter to a friend with a personal recommendation and to cc you when they do it.
You can then follow up with a personal email introducing yourself and offering the new contact a free copy of your book.
I know these particular strategies place a lot of emphasis on “free” and not as much on dollar signs, but keep in mind that for self-published authors, book marketing isn’t about making ONE sale – it’s about making many sales.
Along the way, you’re also building your follower list and getting introduced to new readers. These developments will help you drive sales for future releases down the road and also garner more positive word of mouth.
The Bottom Line
Your email marketing or social posting strategy shouldn’t be just a one-shot deal with a single message that goes out before Thanksgiving. Use the next eight weeks to really bring people into the fold.
The holiday season can last through the second week of January if you market smart. Thanksgiving is just the start of a span that also includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Hanukkah, Green Monday, Free Shipping Day, Super Saturday, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Book buying doesn’t stop at Christmas – it often continues straight through to Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and beyond. So book marketing for self-published authors should begin with thinking holistically about what your strategy should look like.
Once you’ve developed your ideas, plan and schedule your content and posts far in advance, and then methodically – and merrily! – execute.
Happy Holiday Marketing!
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