12 holiday book marketing ideas for THIS season – and 6 for NEXT year
OK – it is admittedly late to BEGIN thinking about holiday book marketing for the current season, but there’s still time to do some. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Please use them as a jumping-off point only; use your own SBM* creativity to do things that will work for your book in your market.
1. Offer a 12 Days of Christmas special. Surely you can come up with 12 freebies or specials to help promote your book. Offering one a day – via a drip e-mail campaign and/or your social media platforms – can help drum up interest in even a dated title, perhaps breathing new life into your book marketing. Free chapters are obvious. Character back stories, a map of your fictional location, a link to a song that captures the time/feel/message of your book, a video message, a recipe, and a quiz are just a few of the types of things you might offer.
2. Host a Holiday Giveaway of your book. Make it easy by using Rafflecopter so that you can embed the offer almost anywhere and easily track your participants and results.
3. Give away someone else’s book! Build rapport with other authors by giving away a book or two that you know your readers will enjoy. Or offer a holiday-themed book. Let the authors know what you’re doing so they can help you advertise the giveaway. Promote the giveaway, the winner, and the authors of the giveaway books with news releases to all parties’ local media outlets.
4. Partner with another author or two to offer a holiday package. Book buyers love deals, so help them out by offering 3 or 4 books in a package deal. The great thing about this is that you will all promote the special on your websites/blogs. Just make sure you partner with people you trust. Then set a price you can all agree on and figure out how you’ll do the money split.
5. Host a holiday contest related to your book, inviting your readers to incorporate their favorite holiday image, song, or concept into an essay, graphic, or video. Offer a bookstore gift card as the prize.
6. Create a holiday recipe book. Don’t do the work yourself, though. Ask your readers to share their favorite holiday recipes, and then compile them into an eBook. Do a week-long promotion and give away the eBook to anyone who buys your book. Remember to thank your contributors by giving them a free copy of the recipe eBook.
7. Donate a portion of your proceeds to charity. If you don’t already do this on a regular basis, the holidays are a great time for giving back. Offer a percentage of your proceeds for the holiday season to your favorite local charity. Be sure to issue a media release and alert the charity, as they’ll likely want to help you spread the word!
8. Write or share a holiday story. This will be easier if your book is fiction, but even if it’s nonfiction, craft a short holiday story around your characters or the theme of your book. Use it as your holiday greeting to your fans and readers.
9. Create a holiday tip sheet. This one will work best for nonfiction authors. Create a tip sheet tailoring it to your book’s theme and the holidays.
- 9 holiday lawn decorating ideas.
- 10 ways to keep your kids safe for the holidays.
- 3 tips to alleviate stress when the in-laws are visiting.
Use it as a blog post, social media blast, or news release.
10. Offer to gift wrap books for people who buy from your site. Choose (or create, if you’re really crafty) holiday wrapping paper that that corresponds to the theme of your book, along with an appropriate gift tag.
11. Make a “Christmas tree” from your book cover and use the image for your holiday cards.
12. Get festive with your email signature. Put a holiday greeting at the bottom of each email. Maybe plop a Santa hat atop your logo or include a line from your favorite Christmas carol. Remember to include a mention of the holiday special you’re offering.
IDEAS FOR NEXT YEAR
1. Partner with local retailers. While I see the value and purpose of Amazon, I am a HUGE proponent of shopping local. Local bookstores, bakeries, hardware stores, restaurants – where I can, I keep my business at home. Small local shops love to partner with local product providers. So get off the couch and get creative to find non-book stores in your area that would be a good fit for your book. Hit them up in the summer, when they’re starting to think about holiday displays, but haven’t committed to anyone else yet. Better still, suggest a signing or reading that will bring in more people to their venue – and then make sure you promote the event!
2. Be a front-of-store vendor. Many local bookstores allow vendors in front of their stores, particularly at the holiday season. Approach your favorite well in advance of the holiday season and secure your spot. Do a signing and other promotional giveaways to attract people to your display.
3. Host a holiday book signing at a local restaurant. Choose your favorite ethnic restaurant and ask them to serve your favorite holiday dish. Or serve eggnog or other holiday treats while you do a signing and reading for your local fans.
4. Remember that holiday story from above? Repurpose it by sending it to your (on- or offline) local community paper, your alumni magazine, and/or special interest publication about the topic or theme of your book.
5. Host a children’s book drive at your local library. You don’t have to be a children’s/YA author to give back to the kids in your community. Challenge your friends, neighbors, colleagues, readers, clients, and customers to donate new books for your holiday book drive. Then rent a room at your favorite library or bookstore and invite the kids from a local shelter or nonprofit group to come choose a book for the holidays. If you can get someone to don a Santa outfit for you, all the better! This is the type of event that’s worthy of a media coverage – so remember to write and send your news releases!
6. Offer your book to local bakeries or coffeehouses for inclusion in their holiday gift baskets. Put on your thinking cap around this one – it doesn’t need to be a food establishment. If there’s a business better suited to give away your book, why not approach them with the gift basket idea? It may be something they’d never considered – so you’ll generate even more goodwill by helping them market their business for the holidays.
While pre-planning is definitely your friend when it comes to book marketing, once you learn to think like a marketer, you’ll realize there are ALWAYS things you can do to keep your book in front of your audience. Wishing you a festive, happy, productive December and holiday season!
*Savvy Book Marketer
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
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