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.

Offering your novels as a boxed set or bundle

One way to increase sales of your books and increase your fan base is to offer your books as a bundle, or if you wrote a series to offer them in a boxed set. This applies no matter if you published a print or e-book version of your novel.

An e-book bundle or box set is simply multiple books offered together. It is one download and payment for a reader followed by hours of enjoyment. This ensures readers of a series can read each story in order (and immediately). And usually because the books are offered at a lower price than buying them individually, book lovers are getting a bargain. And who doesn’t love a bargain?

It cost you, the author, next to nothing to offer a box set. You simply create a file with all the books and then create a picture of a virtual box, and add it to your usual distributor websites with an appropriate blurb and price. (For more on this, check out my post about offering my trilogy as a boxed set.)

Box Set – One Author

You don’t have to have written a trilogy or series to have a box set. You can make a bundle out of any of your novels. This especially works well if they have a similar theme (small-town romances) or are the same genre (mysteries).

Box Set – Multiple Authors

It just doesn’t have to be your novels in a box set. You can get authors which write in the same genre together to offer a box set. Or you can have all women authors but different genres. Or perhaps there is something else that ties you novels together such as they are all second-chance romances or all have a dog as a character.

These multi-author sets bring readers entire new worlds in one convenient package. It is just a matter of getting some other authors to go in with you on a set. You will then have to work out how you will promote it and how profit will be distributed, but these are small issues compared to the amount of exposure it can bring you s an author.

Pricing

box setReaders typically expect some sort of price discount if they buy a box set or bundle. Basically plan to knock off several dollars off what it would cost if they bought the books individually. On my box set for my trilogy, I reduced the price by $1 per book. So Summoned costs $2.99 (as do Quietus and Destiny), but you can get the box set for $5.99.

When deciding on the price of your box set, you need to consider why you are doing one. If it is for the convenience of readers, so they can get the whole series at once, then you will probably only be looking at offering a small price discount.

But if you want to boost rankings and want a massive number of downloads, then you might put in as many books as possible and price the set as low as possible. A quick search on Amazon will show that there are box sets for 99 cents that offer up to a dozen books.

If you already offered the first book in a series at a reduced price or for free, it could help your sales of the remainder of the series if you offered the first book in a multi-author collection.

No matter how you do it – your books, your series, a collection of books from various authors – a box set or bundle is an excellent sales tool that every author with more than one book to their name should consider.

Exploring other marketing avenues – Etsy, Pinterest and YouTube

Self-published are always looking for effective ways to market their books. There are a multitude of sites that cater to readers or authors or both. But there are other options that authors may have not considered.

Here are a few of the more off-the-beaten path options for marketing or selling your book.

Etsy

Etsy is a world-wide, Internet marketplace for people to sell and buy unique goods. It is a place where people can sell vintage items or crafts or jewelry that they made. (I sell customized birthday invitation on my Etsy store – Another World Cards.) But it also can be a place to promote and sell your book – even if you only sell e-books.

Not a lot has been written about Etsy as a community and platform for authors. I ran across the suggestion of using Etsy on another blog, so I thought I would check it out.

A quick search brought up some books for sale – some were vintage or used books, but some were new. Quite of a few of new books were craft or how-to books. But there were some fiction novels – some that are print-on-demand and others that are instant download of e-books. (Limited to 20MB and it must be a PDF file.) And at 20 cents for a 4-month-long listing, Etsy is an inexpensive way to reach another market.

etsyEtsy is not just about selling merchandise. It is also a place to connect with others. Etsy has its own community There are teams to join that are full of people with common interests. A quick search brought up a handful of teams for author promoting authors. You don’t have to be a seller on Etsy to take part in the teams or forums.

In the forum section, you can ask questions about selling on Etsy, including how best to sell your novel. And best of all, if you can’t find your answer there, help is only an email away.

YouTube

I am sure all of you have seen a video on YouTube. Everything from crazy cat antics to scenes from your favorite movie or TV show to music videos appears on this site.

Anyone can set up a free account to upload video files for either public or private viewing. (I have often uploaded my kids’ yearly birthday videos on the site and then just shared the link with family and friends. No one but those with the actual link can see the videos.)

Once a video for public distribution has been posted on YouTube, others can share the link, which makes it a great platform for viral campaigns.

I posted a book trailer on YouTube for my first book, Summoned. Now I know some authors love book trailers, and others don’t see their benefit. A well-done book trailer can tantalize readers with details about your book and entice them to buy it. But it all depends on how many people view the trailer. YouTube’s algorithms allow users to stumble across your book when they search for similar books or authors of the same genre.

youtubeYou can also post your own videos as a video blog (also known as vlogging). Here you can post like you do on a regular blog, but instead it is a video of you answering questions or giving fans updates. If you keep your videos interesting and engaging, you will gain subscribers to your YouTube channel.

Though this may be a good marketing strategy, I have enough trouble keeping up with this blog that I am not considering vlogging any time soon.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media platform designed as a digital bulletin board where users can collect posts and website pages in one centralized place. Pinterest users create profiles, find and follow their friends and have the ability to tag these friends when “pinning” something that interests them. They can also “re-pin” their friends’ “pins.”

You can create multiple Pinterest “boards” or just have one. And you can make your boards private or public. Items that you or others have “pinned” appear in a visual feed. And no the site doesn’t just have recipes and craft projects. It boasts so much more. Basically, any website or blog can be “pinned” on the site. Once on the site, it will show up in other user’s searches.

pininterestSince Pinterest is a visual page, it makes sense to pin your book cover. You can also fill up a board with quotes from your book or even your book trailer. You can even pin contests and giveaways or offer Advance Reading Copies.

Beyond promoting your book, you can put together an “inspiration board” letting others know what inspired you to write. You might even consider creating a board of books that resonate with yours. Pin books of the same genre or feature a character similar to yours. The more links you create build connections that can result in more people finding you and your books.

So if you are a self-published author and haven’t taken the time to check out Etsy, YouTube or Pinterest as a method of promoting or selling your book, I encourage you to do so and find out if any of these venues will work for you.