It’s no secret that the holidays are potentially one of the most lucrative times of year for self-publishers. From mid-November to mid-January, gift seekers, bargain hunters, and readers armed with gift cards are on the lookout for their next favorite book. But successful holiday sales aren’t guaranteed. It’s the authors that put time and effort into an effective book marketing strategy, who will reap the benefits of the holiday rush.
Here are 10 tips to help maximize your holiday book sales as a self-publisher:
Selling Tip #1
Don’t wait until your self-published book is already on the shelves to start promoting it. By November, you can bet that most people will already be planning their gift list—and you want to be on those lists. Use your social media channels, blog, and author website to introduce your book to your fans and followers before it’s available to buy. Give your audience a sneak preview of the front cover, or reviews if you have them. You could even secure pre-orders of your book prior to the launch. Build a buzz early to establish your book as the must-have gift of the year.
Selling Tip #2
Plan a Giveaway
There’s nothing most people like better than a free gift. A contest or sweepstakes, with a free copy of your book as the prize, is a great way to get your self-published book in front of more people and present it as a prize worth having. Giveaways and contests can also be a great way to build up your mailing list and followers on social media.
Selling Tip #3
Go on Tour
A virtual tour that is. To increase your book sales this holiday you need to reach new audiences. And the best way to do that is to take your self-published book to them. First, with a little research and imagination, identify the websites, blogs, and podcasts that fans of your book’s genre visit, read, and listen to. Next, approach the curators of those platforms and ask to do a guest blog post, an interview, or offer them the chance to review your book for their audience. Association with leading figures within your book’s genre will help you reach more potential customers, and boost your credibility as an author worth following. And that means more sales.
Selling Tip #4
Use Your Mailing List
A list of subscribers is a list of people who are actively interested in finding out more about you and your book. They are your ‘warm contacts’ and offer the best potential for conversion to paying customers. Regular emails offering teaser content, news and updates, even exclusive discounts will prompt them to pick up where they left off and place their orders.
Selling Tip #5
Optimize Your Metadata
If people can’t find your book, they can’t buy it. So, when selling your book online, the information you use to describe your self-published book, i.e. it’s metadata, should be optimized, to ensure maximum visibility. That means matching the details in your blurb, title, sub-title, and categories to the keywords your target audience are entering into search engines such as Amazon and Google. The strategic application of certain keywords throughout your book’s metadata will ensure it appears at the top of the search list, rather than languishing at the bottom.
Selling Tip #6
Venture Off the Grid
Although online sales will probably make up the majority of your book sales, don’t neglect the potential of the face-to-face market. Consider approaching local holiday fairs and libraries to seek out promotional opportunities such as book-signings and readings. Contact your local bookstore to see if they’d be interested in selling a book by a local author. Raising your profile and establishing yourself as a ‘local celebrity’ is bound to generate some interest and hopefully some additional sales.
Selling Tip #7
Invest in Advertising
Depending on your budget, a little spending on advertising can pay dividends over the holiday period. Avoid a scattergun approach though. Consider which channels your audience uses and target those. Facebook, Google, and Goodreads are good places to start, offering targeted options to ensure your ad reaches the most relevant people.
Selling Tip #8
Collect Book Reviews
Social proof can make or break a book sale. Potential customers are more likely to purchase a self-published book if it has received positive reviews from credible, relevant sources. Start collecting reviews before your book hits the shelves to give it the best launch possible.
Selling Tip #9
Make a Donation
Encourage people to choose your book over others by appealing to their social conscience. Donating a percentage of every sale of your book to a charity is not only a good thing to do, but the feel-good factor it generates gives potential customers yet another reason to gift your book over the holidays.
Selling Tip #10
Nail the Front Cover
Professional gift-wrapping is big business and for a good reason. When it comes to gifting, presentation is everything and that applies to your book too. If you have a limited budget, investing in the design and finish of your book’s front cover should be a top priority. With a stunning front cover, your self-published book will stand out on the shelf and make for a beautiful gift before it’s even opened.
We hope these tips help you reach your holiday sales targets!