25 Book Marketing Tips for the Holidays

As our gift to self-published authors everywhere, we have wrapped up a tidy little package of holiday book marketing tips just for you — 25 ways to maximize your book sales during the greatest consumer spending period of the year!

1.  Plan ahead. A little bit of planning now can save you time and boost your sales later, so take a few moments and set realistic goals for the holiday season. Contact local gift shops to include your book in gift baskets; sell a certain number of hardcopies at a holiday event; or make a few new valuable professional networking connections.

2.  Go digital. When your book is available in the Kindle, NOOK, or Apple iBookstore, literally millions of readers will have access to it. If your book is not available in any of these formats yet, consider adding at least one this holiday season. If your book is already available in these formats, ask readers to submit reviews for your book on these sites.

3.  Advertising. There’s no better time to put limited advertising dollars to good use than just before the big holiday book-buying rush, when readers are primed for a splurge or two. Even if advertising isn’t in the budget the rest of the year, consider investing in advertising ahead of Christmas.

4.  Spruce up your Amazon listing. The run up to Christmas is a good time to refresh the Amazon listing for your book with professionally written text that’s optimized for search engines.

5.  Send out a press release. Whether you’re planning a holiday sale or releasing a new book, don’t forget to publicize it with a press release: It’s an exceptionally cost-effective way to get the word out to major players in the news business.

6.  Hire an elf. Things get hectic in the writing workshop, especially during the holidays! Farm out some of the legwork to an elf — a Personal Marketing Assistant (PMA). Your PMA will help you implement targeted holiday marketing, plus give you a great start for selling in the coming year.

7.  Stock up. Keep hardcopies of your book on hand at all times. If you’re like most of us, you come into contact with more people during the brief time between Halloween and New Year’s than you do the rest of the year, so don’t come empty-handed. If there’s not a stack of books in the car trunk next to those holiday packages, order them now!

8.  Light up your author platform. Let your neighbors know you’re in the holiday bookselling spirit by putting out your Christmas lights. If you haven’t already, establish a presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and consider an author website to showcase your work.

9.  Brand it. Make it easier for the readers who appreciate the genre you’re writing in to find you. A PMA can help you determine your particular genre or niche, develop that brand, and identify the keywords that will bring buyers to your book.

10.  Tease your readers. A book teaser is a media splash which sends an advertisement about your book into the Internet social realm. Instantly available to all those YouTube viewers and easy to share on sites like Facebook and Twitter, a book teaser is an excellent marketing tool during the holiday season.

11.  Enter contests. Contests are also a great way to promote and publicize your book! Winning an award (or even being recognized as a runner-up) will have lasting benefits. These contests are deadline-sensitive, so be sure to keep your eyes open for these opportunities in your first year after publication.

12.  Go local. For those authors who are comfortable meeting and greeting readers, the holiday season is a perfect time to reach out to libraries, bookstores, and coffee houses who are often open to inviting a local author to read a chapter of their book. Asking two or three of your friends to join you that day to sit and listen will attract other store patrons, and before you know it, people will be buying your book and asking for an autograph. Be sure to have business cards or other promotional materials available to handout.

13.  Host a party: Consider doing a pre-holiday “Coffee & Tea with the Author.” Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to your home. This intimate event could also include a time for you to read from your book and/or invite book buyers to have their photo taken with you.

14.  Cross-promote. Have you met another self-published author and/or read their book? Consider posting a review for that author’s book, mentioning it on your Facebook page or in a Tweet. Ask them to read your book and post a review for it as well. Contact other independent published authors in your area (through local associations you may belong to) and combine your resources to fully exploit the opportunities during this month.

15.  Remember it’s the giving season. Consider offering an incentive to potential readers who need that little, extra push, such as a limited, holiday-themed discount available to attendees of your book signings or speaking engagements. You can choose a buy-one-get-one gift bundle, or perhaps an attractive discount on all orders.

16.  Make a video trailer. Create a 60-second book video trailer and distribute it to video and social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook. Don’t know the first thing about how you would do that? Outskirts Press can do it for you, affordably and professionally.

17.  Get reviewed. If you haven’t yet sent out review copies for your book, now is the time. For published Outskirts Press authors, your Book Review Starter Kit has many book reviewers listed, and you also have the option of the Book Review Submission Service.

18.  Get published (again!). Write a Christmas story and have it published in your local community paper or regional magazine. Make sure to include information about your book in the author bio. Or publish a short excerpt of your book that has holiday ties to pique readers’ interest.

19.  Give a reading. Volunteer to read excerpts of your book at your local libraries, and if you’re a children’s book author, volunteer to read at story hour and at school assemblies or for smaller groups at the school library. Donate copies of your book to the library as a thank-you!

20.  Host a free children’s book drive. Contact a local reporter or blogger and organize a children’s book drive, where you invite the public to drop off new books for the library’s children’s section. Be sure to include copies of your book. Public donations can either go to the library or be given away to attending children.

21.  Get creative. Contact local salons and give patrons something to read other than the same old boring magazines while they’re sitting under the dryer. You can also create holiday spa gift baskets (include your book!) for the event.

22.  Go social. Add photos of your book’s cover to your Facebook profiles (or create a fan page specific to your book) and encourage others to ‘share’ it. Be sure to include a link with each post to where potential buyers can learn more about your book and buy a copy.

23.  Carry out interviews. Radio interviews are a great way to spread the word about your book’s publication. Many smaller radio stations love discovering local artists and authors. Radio hosts may allow you to read select passages over the air, pose questions for you to answer, or open the lines to listeners who are interested in interacting with you.

24.  Put your book on holiday gift guides. Not only do websites like Amazon and Goodreads host list-making tools which you can use yourself to create a holiday gift guide, but many bloggers, journalists, and other media content writers publish similar lists that are guaranteed to reach new readers. Create a new format for your book (ebook, paperback, hardcover) for the holidays, or in some other way make your book more accessible to new readers.

25.  Keep writing! To sustain your readers’ interest, it’s more important to generate regular, high-quality material across your chosen platforms than it is to create a sudden flurry of updates all around the holidays; still, consider boosting your usual engagement by inviting your followers to a few special events or promotions around the holiday season. No matter what you write, just remember to keep at it!

There you have it. Use some or all of these tips to promote your self-published book this holiday season. And while you’re in the marketing mood, consider upcoming holidays throughout the year for additional promotional opportunities. Remember, if you need help with your marketing, we offer a number of services that you can use. Be creative and, most importantly, have fun!

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