We get a lot of indie authors coming to us in the fall questioning whether it’s worth starting (or continuing) their book marketing push with the holidays rapidly approaching. Most worry they’ll be flushing money down the toilet because their book isn’t a “typical” holiday product.
But nothing could be further from the truth! I’ve promoted my own books quite successfully around the holidays, using the same strategies we use for our clients. And we also need to keep in mind that once the presidential election is over there will be a huge attention gap that will need to be filled, so media of all types will be anxious for new, unique content.
There are multiple reasons why it’s increasingly better to time book marketing around the holidays, and we’ll cover three big ones, as well as go over tips for making the most of your pre-holiday book marketing efforts!
Books age rapidly
There are over 4,500 books published every day, so the competition is fierce, to say the least. And one of the easiest ways for your competition to get a leg up on you is by having a newer book. Media in general is not interested in older books, so you lose their interest very quickly by holding off on promoting a title that’s already published. But consumers are also known to favor the shiny and new as well, so while you may have a superior read, a sub-par, yet newer title that bursts out of the gate with a solid book marketing plan will still leave you in the dust.
Even though you don’t want to wait to start, keep in mind that book marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. So get out there NOW, but ensure you have a solid plan to hit the ground running after the holidays as well. Most non-fiction topics can play off getting back into the swing of real life, but even fiction can appeal to those who are anxious for some “me” time after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Market interest is not an exact science.
You may think you have this whole marketing thing figured out, but to be honest, even us professionals get surprised on a regular basis! So you may be inclined to think no one will care about your gory horror novel if you release it around Thanksgiving, but you know what? Your target buyers (those that love horror) don’t change their reading preferences based on holidays.
Consider that your book may be the bit of fresh air your market is begging for. With Christmas decorations popping up with back-to-school these days, the burn out is real! Use this as an opportunity to stand out from everything else that’s trying to conform to the usual Christmas marketing standards. A little tongue-in-cheek can go a long way in making a unique product pitch to potential buyers. And don’t forget that Amazon is still the king of holiday shopping, so plan some Amazon giveaways and promote them with your unique market pitch on social media, your website, newsletter, etc.
Anything can be a gift.
This is another reason you need to ignore the idea of typical. One person’s perfect present could easily end up in another person’s recycle. So get creative. One surefire way to take “just another book” into the gift category is by combining it with other gifts that play off the theme of your book.
Some examples could include pairing a humorous parenting book with a tasty bottle of wine. Or a self-help title with a nice leather-bound journal. This works for fiction too. Think about things that resonate with your main character or the location of your story. Share these ideas everywhere possible, on social media, your website, pitch them to bloggers, see if you can get fellow authors on board and swap promoting each others’ ideas to your respective networks. Shoppers are responsive when you make their job easy for them!
What have we learned about holiday book marketing?
The major takeaway here is that no, you won’t be wasting money by starting a marketing push this close to the holidays. Read more about releasing a book during the holidays here. And if your book is already out, you’re actually wasting opportunities to drum up some exposure and make some sales during a time of year when most people are in the buying mood. I can tell you the media response for our current campaigns is still very strong with no lull in sight! Get creative with your pitch (get tips for pitching holiday gift guides here); embrace the power of giveaways (remember, winners are likely to tell their friends and word of mouth is priceless exposure); set up eBook promotions (learn how to do it the right way here); and see if you can trade features with other authors to maximize on this unique time of year for book promotions!