It’s hard to believe that we’re less than two months from Christmas already. And even though you’re probably still knee-deep in Halloween candy and Fall decorations, many stores are already putting up Christmas stuff in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. If, like many of us, you woke up wondering if you’re too late to pull off some book promotion magic and drive more holiday sales, the good news is you aren’t. But if you want to target this same holiday market, now is the time to kick your planning into high gear. (In fact, I recently published a book on selling more books at the holidays, and you can get it here.)
Targeting the Christmas shopping season doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Maybe add just a few tweaks to your book promotion plan and you’re set. Whether you pick all five of these, or just one or two, you’ll still be yards ahead of many other authors. I speak to a lot of folks, post-Thanksgiving, who desperately want to pull in more holiday book sales. At that point, a lot of the momentum is lost. So spend a little bit of time now to make sure you get your share of the holiday shopping pie! Here are five ideas to get you started!
1) Pitch Holiday Gift Guides
Of all of the holiday book promotion strategies we implement for our clients, I love the gift guides so much. And these are starting to pop up everywhere. If you subscribe to HARO you’ve probably seen a few of them already. Bloggers love doing gift guides, as does national media, regional publications and regional broadcast media. These are a great book promotion tools! Think: your local morning shows!
National Magazines: Most national magazines, especially women’s magazines, publish gift guides generally by November 1 to get out there in time for the big shopping season. If it’s too late to be included in gift guides for this season, some magazines also publish gift guides outside of the big holiday rush for occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so on. In terms of a book promotion tool, gift guides aren’t a one-hit-wonder. Many national publications use these year-round.
The best way to find editorial calendars for magazines is to look on the magazine website. Or Google the name of the magazine and “editorial calendar.” We recently wrote a piece on editorial calendars, and you can find that here!
Regional Magazines: If you’re discouraged about the long lead times with national magazines, regional publications are a great alternative and a much shorter window. Most cities have at least one regional magazine, and many cities have several. As an added boost to your overall book promotion strategies, regional publications are always a great target!
Regional TV Programs: The same applies to regional TV talk shows or news broadcasts. With a heavy dose of evening news, there might be a gift guide segment. Most regional morning shows do gift guides. Morning shows won’t list their gift guide schedule online so you may have to call or email them for more information! However, many regional TV shows have robust websites with gift guide segments listed on there, too. You can get a lot of book promotion momentum from one single placement.
Bloggers: When we pitch bloggers for their gift guides and bloggers include our book, our authors get a great boost in book sales. The boost is not just because of the immediate promotion a gift guide gives an author. The gift guide is a blog post. A blog appears in searches for as long as the blogger is around, which is generally a pretty long time.
If you have a list of blogs you love, quickly search their sites for past gift guides, and see if there’s a post calling for gift guide suggestions. If you don’t see a gift guide, email the blogger and ask if they’re planning a gift guide post this year.
2) Offer Free Shipping, or a Gift with Purchase for a Limited Time
Many of us spend a good deal of our book promotion time trying to figure out how to compete with Amazon and pull in more book sales into our own website. One way, is to offer limited free shipping. According to a SquareUp article published in February of 2018, 48% of consumers make impulse busy for a limited-time discount, free shipping, or a gift with purchase.
Consider doing one or all of these if you’re trying to push sell more books this holiday season. One of the quick things I’ll do is a BOGO with a purchase on Amazon. All they have to do is send me their receipt from Amazon and let me know who they want the free book gifted to, it’s that easy.
Capturing more sales to your own website, or via BOGO strategies, makes good book promotion sense. As well, it’s a great way to bring in potential new readers by offering incentives that encourage holiday gifting!
3) Secure your eBook Promotions Early
Planning eBook promotions, especially if you have multiple books, you can push eBook promos for earlier titles to drive more interest to your latest books. Strategically places eBook promotions can be a fabulous way to enhance your overall book promotion – as well as drawing the consumers eye to all of your books. But these ads go quickly, so grab them as soon as you can!
You may even want to consider securing them around strategic sale dates, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
4) Add Some Festive Touches to your Book Covers!
They say that packaging is everything, and this is especially true when it comes to book promotion. Holiday-wrapping your book cover image is a super fun way is a super fun way to make your books stand out without a lot of work. If you’ve made it this far without an image editing program you’re comfortable using, then now is a good time to get started. I highly recommend Canva. Canva has templates and other nifty DIY (do-it-yourself) possibilities, app knows all the right sizes for different social media sites and platforms. The best part: Canva is quite easy to use. There’s no need to spend hours reading instructions. Seriously, just jump in and start playing around. Check out this fun bow an author we work with added to her book cover! It’s a great and easy book promotion tool!
5) Warm up Your Mailing List
Your mailing list can be key to pushing more book sales, especially around the holidays. It’s also a fantastic book promotion tool. If you’ve got a mailing list that you haven’t touched in a while, now is a good time to start to warm up the list as you ready yourself for the holiday season. And if you do email them regularly, it’s a good time to start planning out your book promotions and what you’ll offer specifically to your list and when. (Learn more about building a mailing list here.)
Grabbing your share of holiday book sales isn’t that hard, it just requires a bit of planning ahead and the good news is, much of what I’m recommending is “set it and forget it” – meaning that these book promotion strategies aren’t requiring your daily attention.
One final idea for some holiday book sale success is this: consider adding a quick sentence to your book description on Amazon that encourages readers to gift your book to someone on their list, or get it for themselves. Reminding readers that books make great holiday gifts, is never a bad idea!
Wishing you much book promotion success this holiday season.
Got your own holiday book sale strategy to share? Please let me know in the comments!