The promotional season, that is.
Every year, people are bombarded with sales, promotions, and advertisements, and every year it seems to start before the last Jack-O-Lantern even goes out. It’s the same for every industry that has something to sell, and the publishing industry is no different. Every industry is trying to make that final push to make a profit before the new fiscal year, and authors are no different. So how can we, as authors, take advantage of the holiday season? When should we start our promotions? How do we stand out in a sea of promotional pushes and survive the rogue wave that is the holiday marketing season?
As consumers, we know how loud the holiday season can be thanks to all of the commercial marketing efforts poised by every business with something to sell, whether it be a service or a good. As authors, we want to take advantage of that too, and why shouldn’t we?
Books are a unique gift because they offer an escape from reality, the ability to travel during the cold winter months or sweltering summers without leaving the comforts of your home and offer human connection (even though by this point in the year you might be done with people) that no other gift can. So how can we successfully tap into the holiday marketing efforts?
Here are a few ideas to help maximize your marketing efforts for the holiday season:
Plan ahead of time
Market, especially holiday marketing, cannot be done overnight. Plus, it seems that every year the holiday marketing push begins earlier and earlier. Usually, the holiday season kicks in at the start of November, but lately, promotions have started in mid-October. Plan your holiday marketing no later than September, though even earlier is better! This allows you to choose any promotion you want if you’re using third-party services to help maximize your exposure and plan any other events, or graphics you want to use or set things up in your e-commerce/where your books are distributed.
But let's say you procrastinated. No worries! You can still run a sale on your book for $0.99 or even run a free promotion. Using sites like The Fussy Librarian or CraveBooks to drive traffic during your sale will still give your book a holiday sales boost!
Connect with other authors and cross-market
If you know other authors in your genre and are friends with them, ask if they want to band together with you to plan a promotion and help market each other’s books. Not only will you be posting about your promotions, but your author friends will be too! This will expose your books to their audiences and their books to yours, thereby increasing your exposure (and building connections!)
Want to join our amazing Author Community and connect with fellow indie authors looking to cross-promote?
If you’ve ever felt like you need permission to shamelessly promote your book, consider this the go-ahead. Post as often as you want about your book, your writing/publishing process, and any fun tidbits that will help engage your audience, post it all. The key to marketing is consistency, and so it’s important to maintain a consistent presence, and it’s okay to post about your book often, especially when you have a promotion going on! The world of marketing, in practice, moves quickly, and so you will have to post about things more than once to make sure it doesn’t get buried under all of the other promotions being shouted about from the rooftops. Post about your book, post about your promotions, and post it again and again (but also throw in some non-book or non-promotion posts too because you’re human and your audience should know it).
Take a breath
Holiday marketing is not the end of the world, and neither is it the beginning. Book marketing is a life-long adventure that will feed itself in time. The way for your marketing to become self-sustaining is to create templates for yourself, things you can copy and paste, change a background color or two, and reuse over and over again so that you’re not constantly creating content. Create the content, make it a template that you can reuse when the promotion is over, and keep adjusting it based on your needs. Templates will save you time in the long run and allow you to enjoy more free time (or writing time)! Think of taglines, tropes, or even just three adjectives that sum up the core of your book and use them as your book’s branding.
The holiday season is the biggest and busiest time of year for any marketing department, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by consumers. With just a few quick tips and a little persistence, authors can easily take advantage of the holiday marketing season just like anyone else with something to sell. So remember: take a breath, be consistent, and plan ahead of time.