The 7 Must-Dos for Your Holiday Book Marketing
Authors, get ready! The holiday gift-giving season is approaching fast. Do you have your book marketing plan in place? While you may be enjoying the final days of warm weather, don’t forget the importance of planning now for the holiday season.
Whether you are launching your book this Fall—and September and October are popular months for book launches—or you want to stimulate interest in your latest release, or maybe you have an entire series or collection to promote, you’re going to need to have a book marketing and PR strategy in place.
Here are the top seven tips for getting ready for the holiday season when marketing your book:
1. Get More Book Reviews
Book reviews are one of your most powerful advertising tools. Readers often make purchases based on recommendations from reviews. Reading them, especially if they are honest, are like getting the inside scoop from a trusted friend.
For authors, receiving positive, fresh reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, websites, and social media, is a crucial part of your book marketing strategy right before the holidays. You may already have reviews, but it’s a good idea to do a push for new ones this time of the year. Since it takes a while for the average person to read a book and review it, plan ahead so you give your reviewers enough time.
Additionally, reviews from respected book influencers can help elevate your personal brand as an author. This also ties into your public relations strategy, which can go a long way in establishing you as an authority, and potentially sets you up for an array of future opportunities.
2. Public Relations and Media Interviews for Authors
As an author, you are a brand. Media interviews and articles about you and your books stimulate attention, and can open a world of opportunity. Often, the story behind the story—or the story of why you wrote your book, your personal journey, the research you put into your book, and the expertise you offer on the subject, is what can really catapult you.
Authors of non-fiction need to be especially focused on author PR. Your book is a portal to many other offerings. For example, you could receive paid speaking engagements or get clients for your company as a result of promoting your book. Your book may give you the ability to sell services like coaching or consulting, or you may even be able to sell additional products related to your brand.
You should be pitching now, as editorial calendars fill up fast prior to the holidays. Going to press in the 11th hour to pitch a story or interview could actually be perceived as unprofessional, and leave a bad taste in professional journalists’ mouths. Be respectful of editorial calendars and the time needed by producers and hosts to arrange interviews and stories.
3. Marketing Your Book as a Gift — Gift Guides and Online Advertising
Take advantage of the holiday spirit by putting your book in the mind of people who are gift shopping. A combination of branding and advertising is a great way to raise awareness. You can do this by submitting your book for gift guides which are published prior to the holidays by magazines and websites.
You could also develop an online advertising plan, such as social media campaigns on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Paid search on Google or Bing is another option which allows you to target people searching for books using keywords and search terms. You may even want to consider setting up PPC and/or display ads on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites that are known for books.
Wherever you decide to advertise, remember to give yourself enough time to build your audience profile, create ad copy and art, and submit your ads for approval. If you are driving traffic to your website you may need a landing page created. Pixels from your advertising platforms will need to be embedded on your website. All these things need a bit of planning and strategy, which means your book advertising should not be a last-minute decision if you want it to be successful.
4. Social Media Buzz for Your Book
In addition to using social media as a paid platform, you should also take advantage of the buzz it can give you organically. Use it to engage with your audience and rally your fans and followers.
At Black Chateau, we always recommend an integrated approach which includes a combination of boosted and paid social media posts, alongside a creative and engaging content strategy.
If you are advertising on Facebook, share that link with those who will share your message. Facebook makes this easy now by providing you with a share link in a message right after your ad is approved.
Another tip, when you are interviewed, or when your book is featured in an article, share it on social media. And don’t forget those book reviews you’ve worked so hard to get! Share them to help create a social media buzz about your book.
5. Price Strategy for Your Book
To encourage sales of your book during the holiday season, employ a calculated price strategy. If you are an author with a publisher, hopefully they are working on special offers and discounts for you. If not, ask them if you can run a deal. Or, if you are able to, offer your book on your own website (maybe signed copies?) at a discount.
Indie and self-published authors have more flexibility with their pricing. Adjust your price during key shopping times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Your price strategy, along with your other promotional strategies, can help elevate sales of your book during the holiday season.
6. Create Your Book Marketing Calendar
Speaking of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, take a moment to mark your book marketing calendar and highlight important days. From September first until the beginning of January, you should be planning your strategy.
A few ideas for your book marketing calendar for the holidays:
- Pitch media interviews and book reviews in September and October to get them done in time for the holidays.
- Also, keep pitching in November and December to get reviews and interviews set up for the New Year.
- Do the research, and mark the deadlines for the gift guides you want to submit your book to on your calendar, so you don’t miss the dates. These vary, but for some national publications, they are already putting their gift guides together now.
- Start the ad ideation for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns at least two months in advance, especially if you are developing a landing page and need APIs installed.
- Plan on doing an ebook promotion as a last-minute gift idea in early November so you can easily run it a week before Christmas.
- Plan your after-holiday promotion no later than the end of November for a December 26th campaign launch.
- New Year promotions, such as ones that suggest your book be added to readers’ 2018 book list, should be planned no later than mid-December.
7. Your Book Launch Strategy for the Holidays
Most of these tips are for authors who have a book that is already released. If you are among the savvy authors who are launching a book in the Fall so it is ready for the holidays, then you should know it’s even more important to make sure you begin your book marketing in advance to maximize your effectiveness.
Prior to the launch, it’s a good idea to post the book on Amazon and other retail sites for pre-orders. To maximize the launch, get advanced reviews in place ahead of time. You can do this through services like Netgalley, or approach Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, Midwest Book Reviews, Kirkus, and other notable places for book reviews. Be aware of their deadlines and submit for your reviews enough in advance to meet them.
Additionally, if you want to do a book launch party or signing, you probably want to make arrangements three to six months in advance. Venues book up early, and there may be a lot of planning involved depending on how big your event will be.
Book bloggers and reviewers generally like to get ARCs, and are most excited when asked to do reviews for books that haven’t been released yet. You are more likely to get interest from reviewers if you request their review before the book’s release than after.
Press interviews and articles usually need a long lead time. Getting advance media buzz through author interviews and articles means preparing your pitch list several months in advance, then pitching, following up, and pitching again. It can seem exhausting, but ultimately this process is more like a marathon than a sprint. The trick is to be patient and persistent.
Do You Need Expert Help with Your Holiday Book Marketing Strategy?
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to implementing a book marketing strategy. At Black Château, we have a special FALL INTO THE HOLIDAYS version of the Author Network which includes nearly every tip on this list.
In addition to all the great services under the author network, you’ll get a special holiday advertising campaign, and the month of January will be added for free. Just mention this article to receive the special offer.
Ready to take the next step? Talk to us today.
Don’t forget, the clock is counting down to launch your book marketing plan for the holidays.