Now that everything has turned into 24/7 holiday shopping, you may wonder if it’s too late to get your book onto someone’s "must buy" holiday shopping list. While it’s too late in the season to be thinking of your holiday strategy, there are some great things you can still do to nudge sales in your favor.
- Purchase with Purchase: Shoppers love purchase-with-purchase offers; in fact, studies have shown that shoppers are 90% more inclined to buy when they get something in addition to what they are already buying. This is why sales tend to inch higher in cosmetics when they offer a free bag of lipsticks or samples when you spend a certain amount of money on their products. In the case of purchase with purchase, I will sometimes offer a lower-priced book or copies of books I have on hand when they buy the book I am promoting. In other cases, I’ve known authors to partner up and offer each other’s books as purchase with purchase which is a great way to co-promote your titles.
- Donation: We all love doing charitable works and there’s no better time to push this than during the holidays. What if you donate $1 to a charitable organization or cause for every book bought between certain dates? You’ll want to let folks know to email you their receipt (unless they bought the book from your site or directly from you at an event.
- Buy one, Get one: Getting great deals is what it’s all about around the holidays, no? So here’s a fun trick I’ve done with great success. If someone buys your book – either on Amazon or from you, gift them an eBook copy of it for themselves or to give away if they want. Or, you can send actual books but keep in mind that this can get rather pricey. If you do this, I suggest pushing folks to order from you directly so the books can be shipped at the same time and you don’t have to pay Amazon their hefty percentage for selling your book.
- Bag stuffers: If you have bookmarks for your book, see if you can drop them at local retailers who might be inclined to use them as bag stuffers for customers. You’ll be surprised how many local retailers would love to support a local author, and, with the shopping season kicking into high gear, you could really rack up the sales this way. Make sure your website URL is on there and if you’re doing any of the other holiday promotions mentioned above, make sure that the promotional information is front and center on your website to help draw buyers in!
- Freebie giveaway: If you have other books, I would highly encourage you to do a freebie promotion for a day or two with a link to your new title or whatever book you are pushing for the holiday season. For example, we have an author who has five fiction books out and he’s using his older one as a freebie tool to drive holiday sales to his more recent book. There’s a holiday offer in the back of the book (in this case, he’s doing the donation).
- Holiday Fairs and Events: Though this will take a bit of time, a lot of these fairs don’t book up. Call your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of event dates or check online, then contact the organizer and see if you can get a deal on a booth or share a table. You’ll be amazed how much traffic these events get so close to the holidays. For example, we have a pet holiday parade and craft fair here, and I’ll often see dog and cat books there. It’s a great place to zero in on your exact right market!
Post-Christmas: You can really pull in a lot of holiday sales using the “Now get the gifts you really want” mantra. I always encourage authors to do promos for their books, especially if they have a pretty low price point. Some marketing people say that many shoppers have buyer’s fatigue post-Christmas, but I have not known this to be the case. Some of my best book sales happened in January, but again, the price needs to be right. So offer your book or books at impulse buy pricing. Generally, anything $9.99 or below is considered an impulse buy, if it’s an eBook then $4.99 and lower.
Logistics: For some of the promos that require you to know if the consumer bought the book, make sure that you’re clear that you need the receipt emailed to you. You’ll want to put this on your website, and, possibly on your blog that offers this deal. Be clear and uncomplicated about what the customer needs to do. For example, if you’re donating money to a charity, make sure you have the receipt, so you can identify the source of the purchase. Lastly, add those customers to your mailing list so you can stay in touch with them.
How to get the word out: Now that you have your promotion ready, it’s time to inform your readers (and future readers) about it. Drafting a blog post or composing a quick update to your home page to reflect this promotion is a good start. If you’re on social media, I recommend sharing this information several times a week leading up to Christmas. There are some great hashtags you can use, too. Here are a few you may want to incorporate in your social media promotional strategy.
While it’s always nice if you can get a jump start on holiday sales, it’s not always reasonable given all we do as authors to market our books. These tips generally won’t take up a lot of time, if even one of them brings in new sales, it could really become a game changer for your book marketing strategy and generate new ideas for next year’s holiday season, too!