If you’re like me, you cringe when you see or hear a commercial for the holidays before Thanksgiving. “Christmas commercials so soon? It’s not even Halloween yet!” As a consumer, cringing is totally appropriate.
However, if you have a book to promote and sell, then you should be in high gear by now if you want to be part of the gift-buying frenzy that takes place every holiday season. To take advantage of it, you have to plan for it, and that means NOT waiting until November to begin thinking about it. (You would be amazed at how many authors contact me in late November to begin this process.)
Unless you’re considering the holidays for the following year, November is too late, with one exception: If you’re selling to your own list, then you can begin the process whenever you want to whether that’s in November or even as late as December. You don’t have the same kind of distribution issues that must be handled if you’re selling through other venues. With all of that in mind, what should you be doing right now? Let’s talk a look at several possibilities…
Write: Prepare and write articles and guest blog posts with all your holiday angles: “How to deal with Uncle Bob who always drinks too much at holiday parties.” “Holiday adventures to have with your kids.” “8 Tips for choosing the right gift,” etc., etc.
Post: It’s fine to post to your own blog, but don’t post the pieces you want to post elsewhere on your blog. In an open world where everyone can see what everyone else is doing, anything that resides on your your own blog is technically already published. Editors and other bloggers usually want new material and they will likely turn you down because your content has already been published. Bottom Line: Post to your blog, and post to other blogs, but keep the content separate.
Gift Guides. I’ve been getting announcements from various magazines, newspapers, online outlets and other media who publish gift guides or best holiday gift lists. This process actually starts while we’re still in the summer months, but there are still options available to you now.
Media with a shorter lead time, such as newspapers, many online publications, online versions of various media outlets (such as Today.com) will take pitches for gift guide coverage up to just a few weeks before the holidays. Even so, the best time to secure coverage is to begin now.
Events. It may be getting too late now for many organization, but there are still some looking to book presenters and events. Check your local library, civic organizations, places of worship, and schools to find relevant holiday events where your book could be a welcome addition. Offer to sign books and sell at very discounted prices.
Offer Specials. Here’s one idea. Sell books from your website and offer to autograph and gift wrap copies of your book. Since you won’t be losing a percentage of sales revenue as you do when selling from online sellers such as Amazon, you can offer your own special holiday prices for your book.
Be Charitable. Tis the season, as they say, so during your promotional efforts, announce that a percentage of sales will go to a charity you identify. Make it known that you’ll post a copy of the check you send after the holidays, or will post the thank you letter you receive from the charity. (This is for those who wonder if charities every really receive that percentage.) It’s also great social proof that you follow up on your word and that you’re a giver.
Timeline. Here are a few very important sales days to remember this holiday season, so begin planning for them now. They are:
- Black Friday. We all know about Black Friday, which falls on November 23 this year. It’s when most people hit the stores to find the best sales and deals. Consider sending out an email to your list encouraging people to stay out of the crazy stores! Offer your own Black Friday deal with your book and people can order from the comfort of their own homes.
- Cyber Monday. This is when everyone shops online. Amazon was the number one retailer last year taking a huge 31% of all the purchases. Best Buy was in second place with 7.4% and Target came in third with 4.4% Send out an email that sends people to Amazon to buy your book. They’re going there anyway, so it makes sense to ride on that fact.
- Small Business Saturday. American Express begin this “holiday”in 2010 and it has really taken off. It encourages people to buy from small businesses rather than the big chains because small business really is the backbone of the economy. Are you a small business? Perfect. Tie into this. It falls on the first Saturday of December, so this year that’s the first of the month. Twas the night before Christmas. This speaks to all those last-minute shoppers and procrastinators, and those really at a loss as to what to buy Aunt Carole and Uncle Fred. Consider your e-book! No shipping time. In fact, it’s instant gratification at it’s finest. They buy and they get, immediately.
- Boxing Day. Boxing day is a tradition in the UK. However, in the US it is simply the day all the returns begin. Email your readers reminding them that they can redeem gift cards for your books.
Planning is everything. That’s not to say that spontaneity doesn’t have it’s place, but if you want to take advantage of a season during which people are in a buying mood, then you need to take advantage of calendar events that will help you do so. Make a chart, figure out where you want to participate, and then begin designing your campaigns. Hopefully, this edition of Savvy Sunday News has inspired you to come up with even more great book-giving ideas.
To your success!
P.S. The International Author’s Summit 2018 is well underway now, but I think you can still snag a free ticket. You can check it out here. Would love to see you at my event during the summit!