1) Send out an e-mail (Total time: 10-15 minutes)
Do you have an e-mail list? If not you should! Best case scenario you have been building one for the whole year. Take a minute to send out a quick note and remind people that your book makes a great gift. Better yet offer something special to go along with holiday orders like a free e-book of one o your other titles, a signed copy of the book instead of the usual, or a sneak peek into something new.
Even if you don't have an e-mail list, send out a note to a few friends you think might be interested, or even put a postscript at the bottom of your holiday letter.
2) Update your social media profiles (Total time: 20-40 minutes)
If your social media profiles don't highlight where and how to buy your books you are missing a big opportunity! Want to maximize this strategy? Create a website landing page with the holiday special mentioned in idea number one and link to that in your Twitter bio or your summary on your LinkedIn profile. You can also create a special holiday app on your Facebook page.
The possibilities on social media are endless but often we miss the most passive and ongoing sources of sales with optimized social media profiles. There is so much more I could say about this, but just take a look at your profile now with a fresh set of eyes. Ask yourself "If I came here would I know this person has a book for sale and how to buy it? Would it be attractive to me?" If the answer to either of these questions is "no" then you have some work to do!
3) Make sure current distributors have copies in stock (Total time: 5-10 minutes per distributor)
Again, this is something that is built on your work over the last year, but if your book is for sale other than online have you thought to check in and make sure they have enough copies for the holiday season? It is easy to assume they will call if they run out, but likely they are too busy! Don't miss sales because of forgetting a simple phone call.
These relationships can also be a good opportunity to book events, put up a holiday display, and more. Talk, listen, and always value these relationships. Now might be a good time to send them a thank you note for everything they have done for the past year too. It really is the little things that make the biggest difference.
4) Create a video (Total time: 2-5 hours)
Of course fancy video trailers are awesome, but it doesn't always take all that to make an impact. Shoot a quick video of you (maybe include your family or pets?) saying happy holidays. Relate your book in a funny way to a current trend. Or just give a genuine thanks to your audience. Get creative and let people see your personal side. This does not have to take a bunch of time and money to make. Just about everyone has some kind of camera these days even if it is their phone or iPad - put it to use!
As a side note, all the tips for promoting a traditional book trailer apply here too.
5) Get busy on social media (Total time: unlimited)
Lots of people are checked out online during the holidays. Many more are mostly hanging out there to go shopping. That means that the people still making conversation are either in a buying mood or highly motivated about their topic. Perfect time to jump in the conversation!
If your profile is optimized (see above) then even just participating on social media will make a difference without ever having to ask for a sale actively. Ask questions about what books others are buying, target groups and communities on various profiles that connect with your target audience, beef up your posting schedule with helpful and relevant content, and make new friends. Yes, this is an ongoing endeavor, but the best time to start is always now. (Well, actually the best time to start was a few months ago, but now is the next best thing.)
6) Connect with other authors (Total time: unlimited)
Are there other authors who have the same target audience? Can you do a bundle with them that you can both/all promote to make more sales? Other opportunities? The best things always happen when people work together and marketing is no different.
Don't see these authors as your competition, see them as your best asset.
7) Do a giveaway (Total time: 2-4 hours)
Incentivize people to share with a good old fashioned sweepstakes. How you run this will vary depending on what social media platforms you are on and the power of your website, but the principle is the same. Put up a place for people to sign up for the contest and give them bonus entries for sharing.
As an extra benefit you will be building your e-mail list for next year's efforts.
8) Donate to a good cause (Total time: 30 minutes to 5 hours)
Is there a charity that you love? Does your audience love them too? Bonus points if it connects with the themes of the book in some way! Donate a couple of signed or special edition books to their silent auction, as door prizes for their holiday shin-ding, or in some other way. You get press and attention at a critical time, new readers, and build a relationship too. Sounds like a win-win-win!
9) Be covered on the media (Total time: 15 minutes to 5 hours)
Granted, it is limited what you can do this late in the game unless your book is directly holiday related (in which case get busy sending out press releases). However, you can still help fill spots for smaller media outlets that might be having trouble booking during the holidays. RadioGuestList.com is a free resource that is a great starting point.
10) Do a virtual holiday event (Total time: 3-10 hours)
This sounds way harder than it is. You can have this be as simple as a holiday hangout on Google, or record the event as a webinar for future use. Even a book reading or interview could be fun. We use MeetingBurner.com (affiliate link) for all our events and online training and it is super easy to use and starts at free!
11) Start planning for next year!
Here is a bonus tip: don't wait until the end of 2014 to start thinking about your marketing strategy!
Marketing takes time and effort, it's true. But consistent effort applied in smart ways doesn't have to be overwhelming to yield amazing results. Think you might be ready to go to the next level, but not sure how to get there? Check out the Authors Marketing Class that starts in January!