If you haven’t begun preparing your marketing plan for the upcoming holidays, it’s time to get started. Your plan should be a multi-pronged approach, beginning with a detailed identification of your ideal target market. Don’t make the mistake of assuming “everybody” would love your book. Not convinced? Take a few moments of your time today to surf amazon’s bestseller lists. Does every book appeal to you? Of course not. And your book will not appeal to every reader.
Start with the Ideal Reader
Begin your marketing plan by identifying your ideal reader. Male or female? What age group? Nationality? Ethnic group? Religious affiliation? Political persuasion?
What are their hobbies? Does your book touch on any of those hobbies, or on any of their likes or dislikes?
Find areas in which topics in your book—from the backdrop to the characters to the plot—intersect with your ideal reader’s persona. Now you have the basis for your hooks—the elevator speech to get them interested in buying.
Tap into Social Media
Facebook is the number 1 Social Networking Site (SNS) for reaching the consumer—your readers. 1.9 billion users log in on a consistent basis, and 75% of them will spend at least 20 minutes per day looking at their feeds. 49% of Facebook users are influenced by products they see there. Make your product one of them by participating in Facebook advertising and/or posting information that gets their attention without begging them to buy your product. If you don’t know how to do that, look for New York Times bestselling authors in your genre. Study their ads and posts. If it’s working for them, why wouldn’t it work for you?
Twitter is the #1 SNS for Business-to-Business (B2B) selling. More than 320 million users are active each month. Connect with libraries, bookstores, publishing associations, book clubs and reader sites. Show up in their feeds through the use of Twitter ads. Create compelling tweets that link to landing pages on your website—pages specific to your book with a buy link, excerpt, book trailer and other information that will get them interested.
Did you know that the average Pinterest image has a lifespan of 151,200 minutes, versus 24 minutes for a tweet or 90 minutes for a Facebook post? Are your book covers there? Have you created boards with pictures for each book that inspired scenes, characters, locations and even your genre? Are any of your characters interested in particular hobbies that could attract your ideal audience—hobbies such as quilting, manicures, travel, clothing, home décor? Or perhaps your books are historical and you could share a variety of photographs from specific eras and countries?
YouTube is the 4th largest SNS for author communities. Do you have a presence there? At the very least, your book trailers should be uploaded there with links from all your other social media platforms. Have you tried video blogging (vlogging) where you discuss the inside stories of your books, showing your passion for your subject matter?
Blogging and Vlogging
On the subject of vlogging, you should have a solid blog presence. It doesn’t matter if you blog once a day or once a week as long as what you say has substance. Tell the inside stories—inspirations to your book plots, how you developed your characters, how you keep readers turning the pages, who you’d love to see in movie versions of your books, the music you listen to while you write, where you’ve chosen your scenes. Try a mix of writing (blogging) and video (vlogging). Then be sure to link to those from all your social media platforms.
Now is the time to schedule appearances in book stores. Some retailers will be participating in Black November and will launch advertising campaigns to bring buyers in beginning November 1. Others are ramping up for Black Friday and the official start of the holiday season. While many buyers will be out in force over the Thanksgiving weekend, remember just as many will be looking for those last minute gifts in the final days. You can easily sell 30-50% of your annual volume between November 24 and December 24—a 30-day window.
Don’t overlook online retailers. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many others offer advertising. Make sure your product pages are the best they can be and your author pages are up to date. If traditionally published, ask your publisher to confirm the categories and keywords selected for online retailers and change them around if they aren’t working for you.
Consider selling from your own website. Offer personalized autographed copies and free shipping. Advertise 24-hour or 48-hour fulfillment.
Check into advertising in magazines and periodicals that are specifically designed to target your ideal reader. The window for magazine advertising is closing so don’t delay. A great one is Southern Writer’s Holiday Catalog.
Plan your email campaign. Tell your readers where they can find you on social media. Add links to your landing pages. Advertise where your books can be purchased. Make it easy for them to select your book for special gifts.
The window is closing on snail mail. If you haven’t already created a catalog, flyer or postcards, now is the time. Post them on your website so they can be downloaded. Then get the physical copies in the mail no later than mid-November. Give them a reason to purchase your books.
Look for special events during the holiday season. It might be a crafts festival, a book fair or any number of events that tie into the hobbies or interests of your ideal reader. Make a sign for your table that reminds visitors that your book makes a great gift.
How are you planning for the holiday season?
p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 21 books, and the founder of both The Novel Business and Book ‘Em North Carolina’s Writers Conference and Book Fair. If you’d like to learn more about selling books, check out our 52 Steps with detailed videos and step-by-step guides. And if you don’t have the time to market or you need business advice, check out our Services page. We’re happy to do it for you! All our services are guaranteed satisfaction.