Promoting Holiday Sales for Your Self Published Books
It’s sounds like a good idea to promote sales of your self published books during the holidays, right? In theory, it is. But just because it's the biggest gift buying season of the year, doesn't mean it's the best sales season for your book.
Are All Books Holiday Sales-worthy?
I have some author friends whose books are prime candidates for holiday sales. One has written a series of cookbooks for kids and their parents, and she’s launching a new cookie book in the fall. That one could be a hit. Fiction, inspirational, art, cooking, craft, and children’s books could be good candidates for gift giving promotions.
But I write business nonfiction books. So it’s unlikely that my books will generate a lot of gift sales, except for my typical readers who might want to buy some books for themselves. For my holiday sales push, I could use a “buy a gift for yourself” message. As well, many businesses make additional purchases for education and other expenses during the fourth quarter of the year so that they can write them off on their tax returns.
Remember, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally the biggest retail sales period during the year for everything, not just gifts. That’s why they call the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday," because that’s when retailers can go from showing a net loss in red ink on their profit and loss statements, to a black net profit figure, meaning they’re making more money than they spend operating the business.
Using Holiday Book Discounts and Deals
If you self publish your eBooks on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and have enrolled your titles in KDP Select, you can easily launch a Kindle Countdown Deal to help increase sales.
Where it gets trickier is with print books you’ve self published through KDP. Sure, you can reduce the price of your book temporarily as a special promotion. Realize, though, that there is a minimum price Amazon will allow you to charge for print books on KDP. This is due to cost factors of printing and handling your book.
Obviously, too, if you reduce your print book price to the minimum, you could end up making no money on these reduced price sales, even if you increase your sales volume. Do a book price analysis to make sure you’re making money while making sales.
Book Advertising During the Holidays
If you’re using Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) advertising for your books, you might be tempted to throw more money into your book ads during the peak holiday buying season. Proceed with caution!
As Amazon becomes more and more of an advertising platform, bigger advertisers with more money can squeeze out small author advertisers, particularly during peak shopping seasons. If you pump up your AMS ad spend, monitor your spend and results frequently (at least weekly) so that you can make adjustments to keep it from stealing your royalties and profits.
I’ve heard reports that some authors have had success making book sales through social media ads, particularly on Facebook. I’ve personally not had much success with ads for books on Facebook, regardless of the time of the year. As with AMS ads on Amazon, if you use the likes of Facebook or Instagram for ads, monitor your ad spend closely during your holiday campaigns and make adjustments so that you don’t gain sales while losing money.
Timing of Holiday Sales Promotions for Books
When I’ve run Black Friday Kindle Countdown Deal promotions in the past, there hasn’t been a groundswell of sales. Some of that may be due to the topic of my books not being holiday oriented or appropriate for gifting. Or maybe it was due to it being a Countdown Deal which I've found to have limited sales impact. Hard to tell.
Timing of holiday book sales can be a bit of hit or miss. True, the big shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when a lot of holiday sales are made. But your book promotions might get lost in the flood of Black Friday/Cyber Monday email promotions, social media posts, and advertising. So it might not be a big win to promote during that time. Spacing promotions throughout the peak holiday buying season might be more successful.
Finding the ideal holiday promotion times for your books will require a bit of trial and error. Experiment and analyze your results regularly during your campaign so that you can make adjustments before your ad spend eats into profits from your sales.
Tell Them How to Buy Your Book
Though most people are aware of how to buy gifts, including books, on Amazon, some may not be. So it doesn’t hurt to tell your buyers how easy it is to give your books as gifts.
It’s pretty easy to purchase a Kindle eBook to give as a gift. Your buyers can even select a delivery date, just in time for holiday giving. All your buyers need is the recipient’s email address.
If you have audio book editions on Audible, your book buyers can give those as gifts, too. On Audible/Amazon, it’s about as easy to send an audio book as it is to send a Kindle eBook gift. All that’s needed is the recipient’s email address.
Print books are similarly easy to order as gifts, but a physical address is needed of course. Gift wrapping may be available for your buyers, too.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2019 Heidi Thorne