Wondering how to get more sales of your book this holiday? Now (before people start shopping) is the time to start thinking about how you can take advantage of this unique shopping season.
Like all entrepreneurs, you’re likely selling the majority of your books online. That’s a trend that is going to continue to grow. Reports from last year show that more than half of consumers are doing the majority of their shopping online.
Your book marketing strategy needs to kick into high gear for the holiday season. With an extra emphasis on your target audience and seasonal book sales, this 9-point plan will help you focus and prepare.
Understanding Seasonal Buying as an Author or Entrepreneur
The holiday retail season begins in late October, crescendos in November, and burns bright up to the end of December. But that trend is shifting, with some retailers already starting to promote holiday sales. A longer holiday season and the likely uptick in online sales mean lots of opportunities for you to sell your books to more readers!
Since you’re selling directly to your audience, you’ve likely got a very good idea about what kinds of people buy your books. This is the core of your author sales strategy—to understand how to increase book sales during holidays you have to understand your audience.
Luckily, you’ve already earned some online book sales and started to learn who these buyers are. Seasonal buying for authors like you will focus on two major efforts:
- Reaching more readers
- Offering unique products
The first is more straightforward—people will be shopping anyway, so you’ll just reiterate whatever book promotion and marketing efforts you’ve already started. The second is a little more difficult. But your existing fans and followers want something new from you; items that make great gifts are ideal. Think about how you can give your best customers more of what they love to make sure you’ve got something they want to buy this year.
Preparing For Seasonal Holiday Books Sales
This 9-point guide to holiday book marketing strategies for authors focuses on the many technical aspects of publishing and selling books.
1. Test Your Site For Increased Traffic
Before the holidays kick off, take time to review the technical aspects of your website. What that means is testing the site to be sure it runs fast with substantially more traffic. As you prompt your books to fans through social media, paid advertising, and search, you’ll be increasing your organic reach. New customers will be discovering you, leading to an increased traffic load on your website.
This might delve into more technical parts of managing a website than you’re excited about (same for me) but luckily you can use k6’s free trial to test your site’s capabilities.
The bottom line is that your site has to be working if you want readers to buy your books. Take the time to test every aspect of your site, including signing up for emails, clicking various pages, and completing a purchase.
2. Update Your Website
Your brand’s website is the most important hub for you and your holiday sales. Take some time to review your site and make sure it’s up-to-date and working well!
If you’ve got a relatively small site (less than 500 total URLs), I recommend Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider. Not only does Screaming Frog have a cool name, but their tool will also analyze your site and provide a lot of valuable information.
Use that information to clean up your pages. That includes fixing broken links, updating your page Headings with the most relevant copy, adding holiday-related Calls to Action, improving site speed, and much more.
Beyond improvements, you should plan how to promote your books during the holidays. That might mean a new homepage featuring your newest or most popular books. Place a button to make buying easy and prominent.
3. Focus On Your Best Sales Channels
Where do you think most of your book sales online come from? Yes, you can easily count how many sales you’ve made through your site, but do you know who those shoppers found you? The most common channels for entrepreneurs tend to be:
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok)
- Search (Organic SEO-focused content)
- Email (for your true fans and followers)
- Paid Advertising (Search Ads, Print, Video, etc.)
Social media offers a lot of low-cost ways to connect with readers. Search is key if you’re a blogger and create SEO-friendly content. And of course, email is going to be huge if you have even a moderately sized subscriber list.
Paid advertising is mostly a strategy to boost sales on Amazon. We won’t get into it here, but you can learn more about paid advertising from Written Word Media.
Unless you’ve got a team to help you out, you’ll likely need to focus most of your energy on just one of these channels. So pick the one you’re already seeing the best results from and amplify it!
4. Stock Up And Plan For Delays
There’s no doubt about it; there will be shipping delays. And since your book is print-on-demand, there could be production delays as well. Plan ahead.
You should absolutely get a box of books to have on hand. With a stock of books ready to be shipped by you, you can offer faster shipping for shoppers who wait until the last minute.
For authors who use Lulu’s Bookstore or our Global Distribution service, you should consider adding some information from retailers to your marketing plan. The majority of retailers are already getting ahead of likely delays by sharing information and updates regularly. Use that to help you plan and give your own readers the information they need to shop this season and get their books in a timely manner.
Holiday Production And Shipping Guide
Stay ahead of delays and production times by following our quick guide to holiday shipping readiness.
5. Special Holiday Products
Print-on-demand makes it simple to update and re-publish your work. For example, you could create a special holiday edition of your book (or books) including a unique message for readers or maybe a bonus short story. Or maybe flex some graphic design skills and offer a special cover for holiday shoppers.
You could create a holiday edition of your book, then include a custom bookmark, a card or thumb drive with audio or ebook access, or any other product that might interest your readers. Does the protagonist in your fictional series wear flamboyant scarves? Maybe you offer a bundle that includes one of that character’s scarves!
There really isn’t anything you can’t have custom-made right now, so thinking in terms of bundles or gift packages, particularly if you have dedicated fans, is a great idea.
6. Plan Around Discounts
Here’s the deal—if you sell on the Lulu Bookstore, you can offer your readers our best discount of the year during Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Subscribe to Lulu emails to stay up to date on our current discounts.
Or, if you’re selling from your own site, you can set up your own sales. The Black Friday/Cyber Monday period is still the best time to offer deep discounts, but any point in November is a good time for a sale. Just be sure to share the discount early and often so your readers know about the sale!
7. Create Holiday Assets
You need some eye-catching graphics. You’ll also need clear and direct holiday copy. These two elements make up your holiday marketing assets.
Work on consistent designs for your holiday email and social graphics. Draft blog posts and emails early so they can be revised and updated as needed. Your holiday social posts and emails should look a little different than a normal piece of content you might create, but your followers should still be able to tell it’s yours!
8. Take Advantage Of Your Resources
I spend a ton of time reading, watching, and listening to content about publishing. There is so much information out there; you need to take advantage of it. If you’re working this season to sell your book, you have to know a little about a lot of things.
But you’ve also never had access to more (mostly free) resources than at any other time in history. Right? You can learn about how to write, publish, market, and sell, all right from your computer. Check out our Free Resources for Creators and our Partners Page for pros ready to help you with all aspects of publishing.
9. Post-Holiday Retention
Not to disappoint you, but even if the sales rush dies down after Black Friday/Cyber Monday, your work continues. Okay, maybe take a few days off.
But you don’t want to let all these new customers you just earned slip away! They’ve already contributed to your holiday book sales numbers and in the process gave you their valuable contact information. Even if only a few of your holiday customers become regular customers, it all adds up.
A good strategy is to start sending emails to your new subscribers shortly after the new year begins. Plan to recycle or update your best social posts and blog content to entice these new followers to become fans.
That’s the big and final takeaway from your holiday sales efforts. Those sales today are great, but the customers you can keep coming back for more are the ones who sustain your business.
Get The Most From Your Book Sales
The fourth quarter is always a big one for every business and individual creator trying to sell a product. Seasonal sales are going to be upon us soon and you’ve got to be ready if you want to capture some of those readers looking for books.
The best advice is to start now. Stay ahead of potential delays and make sure your customers get their gifts in time for the holidays.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.