Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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December 2, 2019

Last-Minute Holiday Book Sales Strategies

Penny Sansevieri

Yes, the holidays are upon us, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed all your opportunities to sell a few more books before 2020.

Photo Credit: olegkrugllyak, Deposit Photos

I’ve collected a list of important dates and strategies that work really well with the amount of time we have left and I encourage you to work in as many as you can—you’ll be glad you did when you’re relaxing, happily sipping eggnog and sales keep coming in!

Offer Free Holiday Shipping

Amazon has spoiled most consumers for shipping charges. Customers flat-out don’t like to pay shipping charges anymore. Because shipping costs have increased, it’s become increasingly important for every other online store to follow suit.

If you do sell books from your site, I encourage you to eliminate shipping costs during December. If you temporarily eliminate shipping costs, announce the start and stop dates to your email list and on social media.

To add sparkle to this offer, let buyers know that you personally autograph books for recipients, which makes wonderfully personalized holiday gifts!

Double Check Important Sales Days

As the holidays approach, the dates for special promotions seem to pile up. Let’s review the most popular dates to keep on your radar:

Christmas Eve

When: December 24

What you can do: Here’s your opportunity to reach the procrastinator.

Remember, e-books don’t require any shipping time. Promote your e-book as a last-minute gift or virtual stocking stuffer for all those people your fans and followers might have forgotten.

An e-book also makes an excellent no-clutter fruitcake alternative to a host or hostess gift!

Boxing Day

When: December 26

What you can do: There’s a bump in e-book sales starting on December 26 that goes through the New Year, so Boxing Day is book-marketing gold.

Why? Lots of people receive brand new eReaders and tablets for the holidays, and start playing with—and buying books for—their new toys the day after Christmas.

Many people also receive gift cards for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple for Christmas and other holidays in December, and people start redeeming gift cards for merchandise and e-books.

Advertise your limited-time discounted book as a deal for new eReader owners!

Photo credit: violet_new, Pixabay

New Year’s Day

When: January 1

What you can do: Online traffic picks up in the afternoon on New Year’s Day as people start to wake up and recover from the previous night’s festivities. They also don’t want to let go of the holiday bubble yet, AND, as mentioned for Boxing Day, many have gift cards to spend.

Don’t forget New Year’s resolution season is in full force by now as well. Get creative with your book’s sales pitch!

If you write nonfiction, you can no doubt think of some sort of resolution to tie in with your topic.

If you’ve written fiction, go with the resolution to read more—reading more is so common a resolution, it’s almost always a sure thing.

Bonus Amazon Shipping Deadlines

When: The 10 days leading up to Christmas Day (depending on your location and the shipping options)

What you can do: This is a great opportunity to promote your paperback or hardcover books.

Use a “books make great last-minute gifts” message and remind fans and followers that they still have time to get a gift to people before Christmas.

And thanks to Amazon’s full-service approach, your buyers can have your book wrapped and even include a gift message.

Get creative and make a plan around each one of these major holiday shopping dates, so you’re ready to execute your different book marketing strategies with minimal effort and drama. Which means now’s the time to start planning and scheduling social media posts, pre-write emails, and secure any discount e-book promotions.

Do Your Own 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways

Everyone is familiar with the 12 Days of Christmas. The theme even has an established hashtag.

Consider whether you can organize all your giveaway and promotion ideas into a 12-day series to play into the theme.

Your 12-day series can be as simple as picking 12 ideas for bonus content, promotional materials, and giveaways and fleshing out your own details and timeline.

If your book has an “easy to shop for” reader audience, you can invest in 12 small gifts to encourage readers to engage with your brand.

For example, women’s fiction, which is broad and relatively easy to shop for, a 12-day theme could include a small box of chocolates, a beaded bracelet, or a Dead Sea mud mask. Think stocking stuffers! Offer one of the stocking stuffers for giveaway each day so your fans and followers engage with your promotions. Maybe to earn a day 1 entry, they email you a receipt for one of your books they’ve purchased. Day 2 they share a link to your book on Amazon on their Facebook account, and day 3 they submit a screenshot of their review of your book on Goodreads.

The options go on and on. Focus on 12 valuable things your readers and followers can do for you, match those with 12 inspiring rewards, and you’ve got a 12 Days of Christmas promotion nearly ready to go!

The Takeaway

Most authors fall short because they assume they’ve lost their chance at success, when in reality that’s rarely the case.

Instead of admitting defeat, think, “What can I still do?” because there’s always something, oftentimes a handful of somethings that, when added all up, actually start moving the needle and producing results that will inspire continued, consistent efforts.

Have you ever done a holiday promotion? What other ideas do you have?

About Penny

Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.

Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of eighteen books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on AmazonRevise and Re-Release Your Book5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." 

AME has had dozens of books top bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.

To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com

6 comments on “Last-Minute Holiday Book Sales Strategies”

  1. Hi Penny, what a great idea to temporarily stop shipping. That should entice buyers... it's also clever to have a boxing day sale - when people are sometimes off work and have time to read. Especially after the hubbub of the holidays, it's good to introvert reading time. I appreciate your tips for selling - thanks!

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