Boost Your Holiday Book Sales: 10 Proven Tips for Writers
Not sure where to start? This is your ultimate guide!
Whether you’re new to publishing or have an extensive backlist, holiday book promotions can be an excellent way to connect with new readers. However, we only have so much time and budget during the holiday season, so here are my top tips to make the most of everything.
Why is this important? A look at the numbers:
Almost 25% of all book sales over the year occur during the holiday season.
Almost half of that, around 12%, happens around Christmas.
In 2019, over 173 million books in the United States were sold during November and December, which means that one in four books that year was sold during the holiday season. (Source: Wordsrated)
Holiday promotions can be such a game-changer for writers looking to boost sales and visibility. It's like setting up a bountiful dinner table—except the feast is literary, and the guests are potential readers.
So, let's dig in!
1. Seasonal Bundling:
Think of it like a holiday gift basket but with books. Bundle several shorter works or different books in a series together at a discounted rate - all your own or in combo with other writers in your genre.
This can be especially effective if the bundled books have holiday themes or settings, but not required.
This is where social media is super helpful - connect with other writers in similar genres and create a great deal. Read more here:
2. Time-Limited Discounts:
The holidays are to sales what season finales are to TV shows—everyone's waiting for them. Consider setting up limited-time discounts on your books and advertise them heavily during this period.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most popular shopping discount days, so plan around that.
This doesn’t require a huge time or budget requirement on your part - Amazon KDP offers a few options for discounting your books for a few days, so plan ahead.
3. Collaborate with Other Authors:
Networking among authors is like having a well-oiled social media machine—each piece helps the other. Team up to cross-promote each other's books or even write a short story or anthology together focused on holiday themes.
You’ll see many horror anthologies released in October, and those sales often carry into the new year.
I’m currently organizing a memoir/poetry bundle with several other authors - met solely via social media!
4. Social Media Countdowns:
You could do a 12 Days of Christmas—or 8 Days of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.—style promotion where you tease something new about your book each day.
This is, again, where social media is handy in connecting with other writers to collab with.
5. Interactive Contests:
Hosting a contest is like throwing a holiday party online. Create engaging and fun contests related to your book's themes. Ask your audience to share their holiday stories, and offer your book as a prize.
Or use free Rafflecopter to create a contest where entrants enter via various activities (follow you on various socials, sign up for your newsletter, comment on a blog post, etc.) to win your choice of prizes - typically, a signed book, gift card, or holiday gift basket.
6. Limited Edition Covers:
A special holiday cover is like that limited edition holiday cup from Starbucks—people just want it! It catches the eye and becomes a keepsake.
One fun idea: create a bow version of your cover so it has that holiday look.
You can create lots of swag for your book via an online printer, with whatever holiday-themed goodies you want. More here from publishing and book expert Jane Friedman.
7. Gift Cards or Coupons:
Sometimes, choice is the best gift of all, right?
Offering gift cards or coupons for your books can allow people to choose what they want to read, kind of like a buffet of words.*
*Keep in mind: you can provide free books, gift cards, etc., but you cannot require someone to leave a review for your book.
I like gift cards as a prize for my giveaways.
8. Webinars or Live Q&A:
Think of this like a holiday open house but in a digital space.
A cozy, intimate setting where you can discuss your book, offer exclusive readings, or even have a conversation about the writing process could draw in new readers.
Zoom works well, or use an audio-only option such as X(formerly Twitter) Spaces, Clubhouse, or the Live options on FB, IG, YouTube, or TikTok.
9. Charitable Giving:
How about a pledge to donate a portion of the holiday sales to a cause you care about? It's a win-win. It adds a layer of goodwill, and gives us an opportunity to share our passions and causes with others.
Cause marketing is a real thing. And with that comes the legalese, because charity fraud is also, sadly, a thing. Read more here.
10. Newsletter Exclusives:
Exclusive content can feel like that secret, off-menu dish that only insiders know about. Offer a chapter sneak peek or a short story set in your book's universe to newsletter subscribers as a special holiday gift.
Or, if you write nonfiction, perhaps share a chapter of your current book or recent draft - just be clear that this is not a final product in your communications with subscribers.
Or offer something special for new subscribers. So many options!
Finally, always remember to market these promotions in a way that aligns with your brand and resonates with your target audience. Happy holiday promoting! 🎁✨
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