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'Tis the season for holiday book promos

The holiday season in the USA is a great time to increase online book sales. You don’t even have to wait for Black Friday, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving.


Several book marketing professionals urge indie writers to get started now and continue promotions through December. I copied and pasted a couple of specific suggestions from the folks at Written Word Media for maximizing potential:

· Focus on Amazon. Emphasize links to your books on Amazon. Your prospective customers will already be shopping on Amazon, so make it easy for them to purchase your books by being where they are (on Amazon!)

· Feed the Amazon algorithm in November by sending target readers to purchase your book. Running a book promotion can help you boost your rankings and activity, which primes Amazon to include your book in emails and also-boughts during the Holiday season.


Marketing pro Tim Grahl suggests three specific types of holiday book promotions for indie writers: A price discount, a boxed set of Kindle backlist titles, and joint promotions with other authors. Marketing pro Penny Sansieveri even has a Kindle book about Christmas book promotions.


Two authors I follow have already begun holiday book promotions:

1. Historian Michael Hogan launched a new history book Women of the Irish Rising: A People’s History timed to the holiday gift-giving season. It examines the role of women in the Irish Rising in 1916 to protest British rule, and he is promoting it in North America and Europe. Because of the genre, the publisher is not discounting the price.

2. Thriller/action author DV Berkom has launched a promo that embodies two of Grahl’s suggestions. It’s a boxed set of Kindle titles from her Kate Jones thriller series. Because they are backlist books, she is offering a price discount of only 99-cents.


Other authors I follow may be planning holiday promos, but I’m not aware of them yet. By the way, Amazon began promoting some Black Friday book deals on November 18, and Barnes & Noble is already promoting holiday gift-giving ideas. It’s the season.

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Personal perspectives: With only a handful of books and modest success, I’m not in the same league as heavy hitters like Hogan and Berkom. But I plan to personally test holiday book promotions during December for two award-winning books. I helped people publish them years ago and I hold the publication rights:

1. The Iguana Speaks My Name, published in 2012, which Kirkus Reviews named one of the 25 best new books of fiction that year. It also won a silver award in 2013 from the Independent Book Publishers Association in the USA.

2. Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows, published in 2015, is an anthology of 22 short stories and essays about life for natives and expats in Mexico. It won a gold medal from the IBPA. It’s a sampler of sorts with hyperlinks to websites for the authors, and I’ll ask the contributing authors to jointly promote the book in their blogs and newsletters and on Facebook.


In past years, I've offered the anthology as a holiday freebie that attracted lots of downloads but did nothing to stimulate the Amazon algorithms. This year, I’ll stagger the promos and probably offer the Kindle versions at 99 cents, which Grahl recommends for backlist books. Or you could order the paperback versions at the regular price for stocking stuffers—either is fine with me.


Beyond this blog post, I plan to spread the word about my promos by posting them on Facebook and Twitter and using Bit.ly shortened links to track the click-through rates. I’ll let you know what I learn.

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