Thursday is Halloween. Like it or not, that means the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. Are you prepared? I don’t mean as a shopper! I mean as an authorpreneur. Books have always been popular gifts. Are you ready to capitalize on the season and maximize your book sales and build your brand?
If not, don’t worry…there’s still time to get your act together. You need a plan, and fast. Here are a couple of tips:
Brainstorm. As of November 1, there are about seven and a half weeks of holiday shopping for which to prepare. Spend a few hours brainstorming about holiday book promotion ideas – special pricing events, holiday blogs, giveaways and chats with a holiday theme, etc. Come up with at least 20 solid ideas and then choose the best seven to fourteen, depending on the number of holiday promotional events you feel that you can fit in your schedule.
Write project plans. For each project that you choose, write up a sheet that outlines: (1) the goal for the project (2) steps you’ll need to take to prepare (3) items you’ll need to buy (4) deadlines for each step involved in preparing for a project (5) marketing channels that will be used (6) dates when you’ll start promoting the event. By the end of this process, you should have a good idea if you’ll be able to execute on each of your project plans, or whether you’ve over committed and need to scale back. Be ambitious, but make sure you can achieve the goal that you’ve set for each project. Sometimes less done well, is more.
Create a marketing calendar. Now that you’ve selected your events, put EVERYTHING on a calendar. This means not only the date the event will take place, but all the steps and deadlines you’ve outlined to make the event happen. If the event takes place on December 1, but promotion for it starts November 15, don’t forget to put November 15 on your marketing calendar. Also, keep in mind that you’re best book promotion is your next great book. The holidays are a very busy time of year, so don’t forget to schedule time for writing.
Execute with gratitude and a selfless attitude. The holidays can be stressful. Make sure your marketing efforts are part of the magic of the season, not the noise. Design each event with the reader in mind. Are you making them smile? Are you adding value to their day? Do your marketing efforts help you engage with readers and build community? Delight, surprise and get to know your readers. Don’t push your books on them; rather, draw them toward your work. If you’re having fun, readers are probably having fun, too. That’s how you’ll create a holiday marketing plan that will resonate well into the new year.
Kathy Meis (@katmeis) is founder of the award-winning social book discovery and commerce platform, Bublish (@BublishMe). She is also a professional writer, editor and editorial manager with more than twenty years of experience in the media and publishing industries. She has worked for such prestigious editorial brands as CBS and Forbes. Kathy is a frequent blogger on the subject of book promotion, author branding and discoverability.