It’s safe to say we are officially in the holiday season, and that means nearly everyone is on the hunt for the perfect gift for their family, friends, co-workers, pets and loved ones. It also means that we are all about to get spammed with advertisements left and right trying to vie for our attention and ultimately our dollar.
As a self-published author, you’re probably wondering how you can get in on this action and sell more books. With everyone out there shopping, surely someone is looking for their next read, right? How can you convince them to grab your book instead of someone else’s?
While it can be challenging for authors to cut through the noise of the holidays to sell books, it’s not impossible. If you are wondering how you can sell more books this holiday season, check out these eight tips.
8 Ways to Sell More Books This Holiday Season
1. Think Local First.
It might be tempting to spend your time and energy trying to “hack” the Amazon algorithms, or take a crash course in running digital ads for your books but quite frankly, a successful digital marketing strategy takes months to perfect, and with the holiday shopping season already upon us these methods might not be the best fit for you.
Instead, think about your local audience. This time of year there are holiday bazaars and craft fairs happening nearly every weekend on every corner, and they are all looking for vendors to add to their roster. What’s more, they almost all have a loyal following of shoppers who are eager to get started on their holiday shopping and who enjoy supporting local crafters and creators. Most holiday bazaars only last a day, or at most a weekend, and can be a fabulous way to get your book in front of hundreds of shoppers within a few hours.
To take part in a holiday fair all you need is a table, a stack of books to sell, and any other marketing materials you may have lying around. Consider investing in some freebies like custom bookmarks or stickers that you could giveaway with purchase.
Find out what events are happening in your local area and see if you can get in as a vendor. If you’re not sure where to start, call your local Chamber of Commerce and ask for a list. While you’re at it, you may ask them if there are any shops in the area that accept vendor displays for the holidays. You never know, you may be able to set up a rack of books inside a few stores to keep them in front of local shoppers for longer periods of time.
2. Expand Your Distribution.
If you published your ebook and print book through Amazon KDP, consider uploading another version to IngramSpark. It can take a few days to verify your account and approve your titles, but once your book has passed inspection it will be made available online nearly everywhere books are sold. This includes places like Bookshop.org, Books a Million, Target.com and of course the Ingram catalog.
Because you want your book to be as easy to find as possible for people who are online shopping, making it available outside of Amazon is a must.
3. Update your Metadata.
The holidays are a great reminder to take a look at all your book’s metadata and see if there are any improvements you can make. This includes updating your book’s keywords, categories, your book description, and even your author bio.
If it’s been awhile since any or all of your metadata was updated now is as good a time as any to take a look at it and maybe spruce it up a bit.
4. Add Additional Formats.
If your book doesn’t have an audio version, it’s not too late to get one created before the holidays. All you need is a simple home studio in a quiet area of your house, and a few uninterrupted hours to record your book. Having as many formats of your book for sale as possible helps you reach all types of readers.
5. Run a Special.
If you’re trying to entice new readers to buy your book, you might consider running a special on one or more of your formats. It’s not uncommon for authors to discount the price of their ebook both during and after the holidays. This allows you to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, and also capture those post-holiday sales of anyone who may have received a new Kindle reader for Christmas, or a subscription to Kindle Unlimited.
6. Sell Directly to Readers.
While the majority of your book sales may come from selling books online, the holidays are a great time to try selling directly to readers. One way is to find your community’s local buy/sale/trade groups on Facebook and post listings for your books. You could also look for community groups where your target reader might be hanging out (just make sure the group rules allow for sales before you create a post for your books). Consider offering free shipping or a buy one get one free deal.
Artists and crafters use Facebook groups all the time to sell their art, and you can apply this same strategy to sell your books.
7. Tailor Your Content to the Holiday Shopping Season.
It’s no secret that pretty much everyone who is online right now is also shopping for the holidays. That means it’s not a bad idea to tailor your online content to their specific needs. Start pitching your book as the perfect holiday gift to your social media followers.
Remind your newsletter subscribers about your book and encourage them to purchase a copy as a gift for a friend. If you run a discount on one or more versions, be sure to let your followers know so they can take advantage of these deals.
And don’t be afraid to send out more newsletters than normal during the next few months. Shoppers are looking for deals, and deals that come straight to their inbox have a high conversion rate.
8. Give Your Book Away as a Donation.
While this last tip isn’t technically about selling books, it is still about getting your book out in front of new readers. With the holidays also come holiday fundraisers. Whether it’s churches, local non profits, museums, or other organizations there are bound to be plenty of fundraisers and charity events happening in your area that are all looking for donations. Consider putting together a donation package with your book, or partner with another author in your area to put together a nice donation basket