9th November, 2022
6 min read
Top Five Tips for Marketing your Book at Christmas as an Indie Author
Marketing your Book at Christmas
Mince pies are in the shops, Santa is making his lists, and everywhere you look, the festive season is in full swing. You may be overwhelmed about how to go marketing your book at Christmas, but here, our marketing expert, Sophie Morgan, shares her top tips to get you started with your Christmas book promotion. Christmas is coming and, as they say, ‘tis the season to be selling! Love the festive season or hate it, you can’t deny that the months leading up to the holidays are rife with selling opportunities for authors. It’s the one time of year when customers are literally looking to spend money and, as an indie author at Christmas, your priority is to look at all of the openings available and use those to your advantage, so here are our five top tips for indie authors for marketing your book at Christmas.
1. Events and retailers
Christmas fairs and markets, special holiday signings or readings, and more are the types of gatherings as an Indie author you need to be aware of and trying to enter. If you’re happy to try your hand as a mini-retailer, you can opt for a stall and try out your best pattern on customers as they wander the Christmas markets, or perhaps you could go and speak to your local independent shop about running a seasonal event. The majority of people will be full of festive cheer, interested in supporting their local high street and their local authors. The chances of making money and spreading the word about your book and you as an author are higher than ever before.
This is the time to get out there and do it! You can’t escape Christmas. Retailers of all sizes do everything in their power to capitalise on those values we associate with Christmas – family, love, home – in order to sell, sell, sell. Everyone knows when the Coca-Cola train comes on TV that it’s that time of year, and everyone looks forward to the unveiling of the John Lewis advert. Every retailer will have some kind of theme for Christmas, usually tied into the big events of that year. This year, it will be associated with thriftiness, enjoying the small comforts, and staying in with family. Companies employ research teams to think up brilliant campaigns – so why not leapfrog off that where you can market your book at Christmas? If the John Lewis advert is using friendship or the best present from childhood, can you use that to cleverly reference your own title? If Waterstones are running a ‘books to keep you cosy’ campaign, can you bounce off that and, in a humorous tweet, add that they might have missed one? Marketing is so often thinking outside the (Christmas) box, so take some time to look around at all of the campaigns retailers are running and pick your opportunities where you can tie in.
2. Bonus content for Christmas
If you’re not lucky enough to have a book that is set at Christmas or one that even mentions Christmas in passing, do not worry. There are still plenty of opportunities to use the holidays by providing bonus content while marketing your book at Christmas. If you’ve written a romance, could you catch your readers up about where they are now, the Christmas following the happy ever after? Or maybe you’re writing a thriller and could write a short story from the killer’s perspective to whet the appetite of readers. Do you have a cookbook you’re marketing and could whip up a festive recipe for budding chefs? Promotion should always lead back to your brand and your book in some small way, so think about the themes of your book and how best to exploit them for the Christmas spirit! You could either offer this bonus content on your website/blog for free or, if you’re building a web of subscribers, it could be worth spending some time and writing up a holiday newsletter to get readers to sign up for future newsletters, where you could announce upcoming books, new content, stops on the publishing journey, event news and more! Readers love looking ‘behind the scenes’; this is your chance to let them peek behind the curtain and learn about you and your book.
3. Sale! Sale! Sale!
No matter who you talk to, everybody always says that Christmas is the most expensive time of the year. The natural progression from this is, then, that customers enjoy a bargain. Give your book a Christmas discount, which will make it that much cheaper than what the big boys like Amazon or Waterstones are offering, and sell through your website or in person. If that isn’t enough, consider going further – could you run a competition for a free book? Perhaps a free gift with purchase promotion, or would you be open to running a giveaway themed to Christmas i.e., a Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway where you’re not only offering a book on some days as the prize, but items themed to the book or season on others? The watchword of an Indie author at Christmas is VISIBILITY. Yes, you’re trying for sales, but the more people that know about you and connect with you are vital long-term to sell MORE and can’t be discounted (unlike your book!)
4. Don’t be a Social Media Scrooge!
Speaking of visibility, another tactic when marketing your book at Christmas is to spend some time on your social platforms or website. Whichever platform you are on, be willing to engage with other authors and readers and find conversations that you can join. Remember, the point of social media is not to constantly push your own book, but to be sociable (for some great tips in using social media to build your brand go here. If you connect with enough people, they will go to your profile, see your book and hopefully purchase a copy!
Of course, a certain amount of self-promotion is acceptable, but just be careful to choose your moments – for example, a tweet about a discount you’re running will be very well-received! It's also worth noting that, no matter which platform you’re active on, there will always be Christmas hashtags that you can use. Examples could include #ChristmasBook, #ChristmasGifts, or #Christmas2022, but they will change every year. This is again where research comes into play and you will need to spend some time looking at each hashtag, how popular it is, the type of content that is linked to the hashtag and what you could use it with. And if you’re unsure about social media, but still want to try and promote your self-published book, try sending out a few Christmas-themed graphics featuring your book/cover. A background of a roaring fire with a Christmas tree or even your book draped in fairy lights will help draw the eye and link the book to the festive season and those warm and cosy feelings we want readers to associate with the book and you!
5. Wrap it Up…
Christmas is a time for giving, but everything can be an opportunity for a smart indie author at Christmas! Use the book cover to promote it in every way possible. Send out Christmas cards with your book proudly displayed, get bespoke wrapping paper designed with your title strewn across it, and even secure wrapping paper with stickers featuring your cover – use your imagination and go wild this Christmas. And remember, there’s always the old staple of simply giving the amazing gift of a book this Christmas (and if it’s signed by the author, that just makes the present even more special.) These are just some of our top tips to help you with marketing your book at Christmas but there will always be more unusual and creative ways to promote. You’re only limited by your imagination (and budget), so do your research and have fun with it this holiday season. The results may just have you rockin’ around the Christmas tree!
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