Holidays work for settings and book promotions

This post is the sixty-fourth post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

The holidays can make a great setting for a novel. And the holidays can be a good time to sell your holiday-themed story.

Writing a holiday-themed book

You can write a spooky or horror filled novel for Halloween or a sweet romance for the Christmas season. I even know an author that set her story at Thanksgiving. Of course, you are not limited to these holidays. You could set your romance or satire on Valentine’s Day. However, the appeal of a Fourth of July tale will just not have the same pull as a Christmas Holiday tale.

Christmas, by far, is the most popular holiday to write about. A quick search of books on Amazon brings up over 25,000 titles, and this doesn’t include Children’s books.

Tips to writing a Christmas Novel

  • Keep it short – Consider writing a novella or even a short story.
  • Invoke the senses – Think of snowy scenes, the aroma of hot chocolate or a baking pie
  • Think happy ending – While I know there are serious stories out there that take place during Christmas, your best bet is to leave the reader at least satisfied and for a romance that would mean ending with a Happily Ever After.
  • Publish it in time – Aim to publish your holiday novel in November or at the very latest the first week of December.
  • Promote it – Promote it not just the year it comes out but every holiday season and reap the benefits of those holiday readers.

If you write a series, perhaps you can take some of your characters and write them their own holiday story. And even if they don’t celebrate “Christmas” you can still write a story that takes place at a winter holiday. (Think Gift of the Night Fury from the How to Train Your Dragon TV series.)

It may be too late this year to get out a Holiday book, but if you invest the time now, you can have a book that will sell well each holiday season.

Promoting your book (any book) during the holidays

Cold winter nights where readers want to snuggle up with a good book or perhaps the abundance of new iPads and e-readers, there are many good reasons to consider running a holiday promotion.

Pre-Holiday Sales

If you have a book in print, you can host a holiday book signing. You can promote your book as a great gift or stocking stuffer. While folks can actually gift e-books, if you offer your book only in electronic form, you probably shouldn’t expect a lot of people buying your novel for others.

If you have an e-book, you might consider offering your book at a discount during Cyber Monday.

If you have published a Christmas or other holiday novel/novella/short story, you definitely need to run a promotion starting at the end of November/beginning of December and get it in the hands of those holiday readers.

Post-Holiday Sales

Instead of trying to find readers before the holidays, sometimes it is easier to approach the new owners of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers or tablets. And there are quite a few others out there with gift cards waiting to fill up their e-readers.

Of course, the trick is to reach those new readers and let them know about your book sale. As with any promotion, you need to know how to reach the readers of your genre.

Another idea is to create a bundle or box set of books and offer them at a reduced price. Or perhaps get a few indie authors together and offer some of your books as a bundle.

No matter how you plan to do some holiday promoting, just make sure you take advantage of this book-buying season.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

#57 – Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

#58 – Offering your novels or short stories as a box set

#59 – Deciding whether to offer your book as an audio book

#60 – Taking your book on a virtual book tour

#61 – Writing your Author Bio and selecting an Author Photo

#62 – Setting up your Amazon Author Page and International Amazon pages

#63 – Choosing between an Author Website or Blog

Holidays are a great time for a book promotion

If you have been in any major store in the United States for the past few weeks, you have seen the Halloween decorations up. And you know what that means…Christmas decorations will soon be following.

Yes, it is now the time to start thinking about promoting your books for the holidays!

I scoured the Internet for ideas about holiday promotions and there weren’t many.

Pre-Holiday Sales

Several sites suggested hosting holiday book signings or to offer your book at a discount during Cyber Monday.

gifts-of-books-with-ribbons-and-bows1If you do have a physical book to sell, you can of course promote it as a great gift, but I don’t have a physical book. My novels are all offered as e-books. While I know people can gift e-books, I am not expecting my novels to be under anyone’s Christmas tree this season.

Another option that takes a little more planning is to write a Christmas novella or short story. Many authors have published shorter works that have a Christmas theme or setting, and they sell well each holiday season. If you are writing a series, perhaps you can take some of your characters and write them their own holiday story. If you are going to do a holiday story, publish it in November and then make sure you advertise it well to get it in the hands of those holiday readers. (More on this subject in two weeks.)

Post-Holiday Sales

Instead of trying to find readers before the holidays, sometimes it is easier to approach the new owners of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers or tablets. And there are quite a few others out there with gift cards waiting to fill up their e-readers.

Of course, the trick is to reach those new readers and let them know about your book sale. As with any promotion, you need to know how to reach the readers of your genre.

Another idea is to create a bundle or box set of books and offer them at a reduced price. Or perhaps get a few indie authors together and offer some of your books as a bundle. (I wrote about box sets last week. If you missed the post, check it out here.)

No matter how you plan to do some holiday promoting, just make sure you take advantage of this book-buying season.

Book promoting during the holidays

I was searching for a topic to write about today when I came across this blog about promoting your book during the holidays and thought it was a great topic.

This author’s blog from last week was about promoting your book as a gift for others to give. She does a good job of describing the pitfalls of having someone buy your book as a gift. But as I read her blog, I was thinking that my books are only in e-book format. I would not expect someone to give my book as a gift. Yes, you can email someone a gift certificate for an ebook from Amazon or Barnes and Noble but it isn’t anything you can actually put under the tree.

I typically have not done much promoting of my e-books before Christmas. I usually wait until AFTER to offer my e-books at a discounted price. Millions of people will receive an e-book reader or tablet this holiday season and will be looking for fill it with books. And don’t forget all those people with gift cards.

Last year, I offered two books for free and reduced the price of my trilogy. I don’t think I received a lot of sales due to these promotions. Some of this could be the timing. After Christmas is a hectic time and there are many other authors out there hawking their own books. Does this mean I won’t be offering a discount again this year? Nope. I certainly will. (If you are interested in checking out my books, come back on Christmas Day to see which ones I put on sale!)

Other holiday sales hints

Here are a few other holiday sales ideas…

  • From author Kristen James – write a Christmas novella. She said she has written a few and published them in November. They are among her best sellers and do well each holiday season. If you write a series, perhaps you can take some of your characters and write them their own holiday story. (This won’t work for me but I like the idea.)
  • Bundle your books in a box set and offer them for less than they would be individually. Or perhaps get a few indie authors together and offer some of your books as a bundle,

No matter what option you do, I don’t think any indie author should take the holiday season off from promoting their books.