Before you know it, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here and you don’t want to miss out on this beneficial opportunity to elevate your holiday book sales.
All too often authors seek us out in November with a desire to use the holiday shopping season as a means to increase their book sales.
The first thing I would advise is to avoid putting it off until November because a successful holiday book sales season actually takes months of planning and preparation. Any retailer will tell you the same thing.
Let’s first determine if your book is right for this type of promotion because some books are better equipped than others.
Is Your Book A Good Fit?
There are several aspects to consider, but first let’s look at essentials like your cover and topic.
You’ll also need an appropriate amount of time to brainstorm. Start with a lead-time of several months as opposed to weeks, because time moves quickly and when November arrives, it may be too late for that big holiday push.
The most vital thing to consider is the actual book itself. This is because if you’ve experienced low sales or if your book hasn’t received an abundance of attention, you should find the reasons before jumping into the holiday sales market. Consider the possible causes why your audience responses aren’t so strong, such revising the book cover, improving your book description, or obtaining a better blurb.
In preparation for the holiday shopping season, stores will review all aspects from stock to product placement to detailed product info to make sure everything is correct. And you should do the same for your book!
So let’s make sure that you’re prepared!
Get the Timing Right
At first, I was amused by the “Christmas in July” advertisements. That is, I was until I began promoting my first holiday-related book. I started promoting in July, which turned out to be the ideal timeframe.
For what reason? Most people don’t even consider or make December purchases in July, but it’s important to start early by becoming visible to shoppers since holiday buying is very competitive. Consumers, especially ones who do like to get a jump-start on the season, quickly start planning their shopping when they hear or see “Christmas in July” radio, television, and email ads.
What are the appropriate timeframes to prepare for the holiday book sales market? November is much too late. October can be uncertain. September may still be an option if you haven’t started yet. However, middle to late summer is excellent.
Examining the timelines, especially media schedules, is essential when determining when to start media pitching, initiating promotions, and strategizing. Planning for eBook promotions should also be done in advance.
Tying Your Book to the Holiday Sales Market
There’s nothing ordinary about the holiday sales market. While it’s important to highlight your book as a gift or novelty, you should also find a tie-in between your book and the holidays. For example, you might revise your Amazon book page to say something like, “A Perfect Gift for Mom this Holiday Season!” or, “A Novel Gift for a Young Reader!”
There’s a lot of competition during the holidays, and retailers don’t magically make sales appear—it takes dedication, hard work, and presenting your book as unique. The takeaway is that holiday book sales require packaging, strategizing, and knowing your audience. These tips are a great way to get started.
If you’re looking to obtain more holiday sales, my new book includes 50 proven strategies to sell more books for the holidays, and you can get it here .
And here are five of my top tips that you can use to start early and slice yourself a bigger piece of the holiday book sales pie!
1. Capture Your Reader with an Irresistible Cover
We see book covers in all forms, designs, colors, and presentations daily. Most of these bland and unappealing, while others need a few tweaks for better enhancement. Evaluate your cover and ask yourself if it assists in increasing sales and pertains to your category/genre.
You should start early because even minor changes will take time to be completed. Whether you need a brand new cover, a few revisions to spruce it up, or some other change to counter disappointing comments about your cover, it’s beneficial to leave yourself enough time.
Compare your cover to bestsellers in your category/genre to gain perspective about your target audience.
2. Ask for Reviews of Your Book
In an article by SquareUp, a staggering 96 percent of holiday shoppers researched reviews (sometimes from multiple sources) before deciding to buy a particular book. The moral here is that reviews are essential for securing holiday book sales (be sure to check out IR’s Reader Review service here!).
It can be frustrating for many authors to obtain reviews for their book, and recently, Amazon has removed contact info for top reviewers, making the process even more difficult. Receiving praise from multiple bloggers is excellent, and a great place to begin is with bloggers who already love the genres or topics about which an author is writing.
3. Prepare Your Website
The next step is to ensure your website is ready for holiday sales, from checking all the buttons work correctly to placing your shopping cart in an easy, accessible spot.
Regardless of how long you’ve been marketing your book, an informative or entertaining website will keep your visitors interested not only during the holiday season but all of the other months during the year.
What are you trying to achieve with your website? Obviously, you’ll use this medium for raising your awareness and strengthening your brand, but the ultimate goal should be about selling your book.
Concerning increasing your holiday sales, you should create images and announcements that alert readers to any sales. Maybe you’re offering BOGO (buy-one, get-one deal) or free shipping. Make any offers, sales, etc. about your book easy to find on your landing page.
4. Schedule and Write Your Blog Posts
Once the holiday shopping and sales season begin, it’s easy to neglect your blog posts. By planning your blog posts to promote eBook discounts or BOGOs (buy-one, get-one deal), it will keep you one step ahead of your readers. Establish a promotional calendar and then you can get the blogs ready for a schedule.
5. Make the Most of a Mailing List
Newsletters are especially important and scheduling them regularly, even if it’s only once a month, is key to keep your name fresh in the minds of your audience. Not only is sending out newsletters valuable to securing book holiday sales, but you must also remember to make yours unique and stand apart from the numerous other types of newsletters that people often receive.
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. If you want to raise your holiday book sales, it’s important to work hard, start several months early, and stand apart from the competition. By planning accordingly, you can be a part of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday craze.
Looking for 45 additional methods to increase your sales? Then check out my newest book, How to Sell a Sleigh-Load of Books, right now!
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.