The trees are growing lush with their fall foliage, the air tastes crisp and sharp with woodsmoke, the kids are back in school, and you know what that means: The holidays are just right around the corner! This is a time of year to celebrate, not only because it means the return of pumpkin spice lattes and mulled cider, but because it is a time of year devoted to partnerships — to sharing delicious food and thoughtful gifts, yes, and to spending time with those we love and cherish.
You can take the guesswork and a good chunk of the stress out of this time of year as an author by innovating your marketing strategies, as there are certain advantages to marketing this time of year that aren’t available to you on just any summer day!
Early bird shoppers are already looking ahead to Christmas, and it makes sense to work alongside local businesses and indie bookstores to put a holiday marketing plan in place now, rather than during the busy holiday rush when your book ought already to be on the shelves! Is your book a children’s book? Make sure your book is made available in local toy stores, too, and maybe put some flyers up in local day care centers, libraries, and schools. Also, think of how great your book could be as a stocking stuffer or Thanksgiving gift basket addition for family members; being generous with your book this time of year could lead to more readers not only within your family, but whoever your family ends up sharing it with as well.
This is also a great time of year for holiday giveaways online. Ramp up your blog and social media posts with relevant tags with an eye for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and host giveaways specific to each platform! Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and Amazon all have their own flavor and form for giveaways, so take a peek at what other authors have done in the past and pick an upcoming holiday to center your own event around. Post on pages and accounts relevant to your story — this could be anything from tagging a Twitter account for the state your book takes place in, reaching out to a Goodreads group of readers that your book might appeal to, or maybe even posting to a Facebook event in your area that fits the theme of your book.
Remember that some of the most common gifts among coworkers, vague acquaintances, and even family members are Amazon gift cards; do you have an ebook to offer all these new potential buyers? Going digital means that there were literally be millions of people who will have access to your book, who never would have come across it otherwise. If you already have an ebook version, ask your readers for a priceless holiday gift: a good review online!
Whether we’re talking about an e-book or an audiobook, digital formats offer some other truly exciting possibilities for incentivization. Amazon automatically offers the first ten or so pages for free (the so-called “first chapter freebie“) and you can replicate this on your blog and with other online retailers. Curating your own freebie chapter isn’t an option with Amazon, but it is when you choose the method of delivery via blog or email, and we highly recommend taking the time to edit what makes it into your freebie — this gives you an edge over the Amazon preview, which often cuts off in the middle of a paragraph. Make sure the freebie ends with some sort of natural cliffhanger or emotional hook, to keep your readers coming back!
Don’t forget to work your way through the entire checklist of must-do marketing strategies, either:
- Book Readings
- Book Fairs
- Giveaways & Merch (you don’t want to leverage these as bribes for reviews, but you can certainly use them to incentivize coming to other events where your books are sold, or to encourage the sort of general enthusiasm for your work that will naturally lead to reviews!)
- Limited Edition Offers & Bundles (comic book authors have created some really good models for bundles that you can use for inspiration, and creating short runs of specialty covers is also a specialty of theirs; don’t hesitate to mix it up to build demand)
- Insider Access (readers want to feel special for being your fans, and you should reward this impulse; maybe the purchase of a book becomes a ticket to an author interview via Google Hangouts-or maybe it gives them access to a limited-access “behind the scenes” page on your website? The options are endless.)
We know here at Outskirts Press how busy the holiday season can get! We know that you’re also out shopping for your families, preparing feasts, and more. Don’t hesitate to treat yourself to the gift of our services that can help you with these marketing tasks that are so important this time of year!
At Outskirts Press, we have a range of marketing solutions that include a custom press release, an author platform setup through social media, a book trailer with social network distribution, and time with your own personal marketing assistant. This is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on the perks of holiday marketing, while also ensuring that you don’t miss out on the holiday cheer because you’re too busy worrying about marketing your book!