I’ve read that holiday sales for some retailers account for as much as 40% of their annual revenue. Even if that number is inflated, us eBook publishers should be able to sell a few more books than our usual monthly average, right? Like any marketing effort it requires advance planning, and a budget. After all, sales during this period are no different than any other sale—it’s the theme that’s different.
Let’s brainstorm a few ideas…
As with any sale some of these work together, some are standalone ideas. Also, it is critical that you research opportunities now to understand any deadlines. This is especially important when it comes to taking advantage of the new Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals program or planning an advertising buy. Some of the eBook-deal-specific websites are actually quite effective for the money but they may need advance notice because their slots fill up quickly.
- Announce a temporary drop in price. The age-old tactic of a sale price is certainly easy to implement, assuming you manage your own eBook retailing accounts. If you sell direct on Amazon, BN, Apple and Kobo your change will take place within a few hours, or a couple days depending on the store. If you are distributing through a third party like Smashwords or Bookbaby you need to check their policies because it they need to notify the retailers on your behalf. At one point Bookbaby was charging for changes to your sales page and it took several weeks for those to be reflected in the store.
- KDP Select—Countdown Deals program. This is Amazon’s new wrinkle to the original 5 free promo day program. You can read my post about it here but the key point to note is that to participate your book price must have been unchanged for 30 days. So, if you drop your price today (November 22), you can’t implement your Countdown Deals until December 22. (Requires joining KDP Select.)
- KDP Select—Promo day program. Logic says you should run your free days after Christmas because everyone is looking for free books to add to their new tablet or eReader. The trouble is every other publisher is doing the same thing and the device market isn’t growing as fast as in past years. Based on my experience last year I believe that books with the best chance of getting lots of downloads are those that are already popular. Unless you fit this category I suggest holding off until after the 1st of the year when your marketing message has a better chance of getting heard.
- Advertising—eBook deals websites. As I mentioned earlier some of the best advertising opportunities are on sites targeting avid readers and people looking for good deals. One of the best known is Kindle Nation Daily and its newer offshoot Book Gorilla. You can find a list of sites I researched in January here and an updated list of 24 sites with new mid-2013 traffic numbers here. Not all of them charge but keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
- Advertising—Facebook. Facebook is a great way to reach a highly targeted audience. The key is finding an image that gets people’s attention which usually means romance books work best! In the top right navigation, click on the gear icon and select Advertise. You’ll need to apply for a Facebook Ads Account so plan ahead.
- Advertising—Goodreads. Like Facebook, Goodreads also has a self-service advertising program. Visit the site and click on advertise in the footer. You should see Self-serve advertise in the top right part of the screen.
- Selling Direct. There are a number of tool that enable anyone to sell direct to readers and you can set these up pretty fast without much, if any, investment. One of the easiest to use is Gumroad, but you’ll find others list in my run down of selling direct tools. You can also see Gumroad in action with my free version of the FTC’s dot com Disclosures eBook.
- Blogging themes. If you have readers visiting your website, or an opportunity to write a guest post for another website, choose a holiday theme for your writings. Danny Murphy, a member of my Marketing on Amazon Linkedin Group shared his holiday strategy in a recent comment:
I plan to hit holiday themes on my blog as often as possible through the end of the year. Also, I have Humor 101: How to Tell Jokes, on a Kindle Countdown through this weekend. ($.99 today and tomorrow!!!) The pitchline for that is “Be hilarious for the holidays!”
Interested in an eBook Marketing Makeover? I work with authors and businesses to help you leverage online tools to promote and market you eBook. Contact me for a free consultation.
What are you planning to do? What has worked in the past? If you are reading this post-2013 holidays, please share your experience.