Every holiday season is a busy one for authors, with most book sales happening in December. To not only survive but thrive during this period, writers of every genre, from short fiction to children's books, will need to sharpen their digital marketing strategies.
Among other things, make time for yourself and prepare good food and drinks and get super cozy together with your dear ones.
But also, if you wish to launch your book during the busiest season of the year, you need to get ready to boost your online activities. Here are my tips for launching a book around Christmas:
- Set your release date for December
- Launch your pre-order campaign as early as possible
- Know how stores operate in December
- Automate your marketing tactics
- Run price promotions
- Measure results
Set Your Expectations for Christmas Book Publishing
Before going through all the tips and tactics, take a minute to think about your expectations. If you're in the middle of writing your book, you will probably need more time. This includes preparing your manuscript for the right digital format, having a marketing plan, and more (even for short story writers). You don't want to rush the prepping and packaging of your book just to launch it in December.
But hey, if you were to publish by early 2023, that's still fine. Since the pandemic, online has taken over the scene. In 2020, indies made 69% more digital book sales via PublishDrive.
Also, authors and publishers have become much more involved in environmental actions, so they prefer to go for ebooks or print-on-demand that are still bringing them profitable growth.
(When ready, try distributing to thousands of stores worldwide with PublishDrive free for 14 days. ↓)
1. Set Your Release Date for December
If your book is ready to launch, you may wonder what’s the best time of the year to publish it. Traditional publishers release a tsunami of new books in autumn to reach the Christmas market. September and October are kinda unreachable months for indie book publishers as traditional publishers take up all the spots at retailers.
I always liked November and December because those months give indie publishers more room to shine after all the activity from larger publishing houses. Setting your release date for December can help you run a more visible marketing campaign too. By December, events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over. Your marketing dollars are spent more wisely in a less crowded market. And, you still make it in time to reach the holiday shopping season.
There isn't a fixed rule or a best time of the year to self-publish a book, but you should know from the get-go that if you wish to self-publish during the winter holiday season, you need to get ready way ahead of December with a top-notch marketing campaign.
And this is because, while there are months with topical holidays which you can correlate with your book (for example, March focuses on women, so a book with a topic related to them would thrive if you launch it in March), December is one of the best months for book sales in general.
If you launch your book in December, you’ll also have the novelty advantage, which will work even better if you manage to create a book marketing campaign and a few teasers before launching your book to increase your audience’s curiosity.
So, if you think about a good book marketing strategy, Christmas book publishing can bring you great exposure.
2. Launch Your Pre-Order Campaign as Early as Possible
I strongly suggest setting up your book for pre-order ASAP. This is a smart strategy to test the market and start building on your discoverability.
And here’s the best part: pre-order sales officially happen in the same month as your book release. This can help boost your ranking and possibly get you on a bestseller list.
With PublishDrive, you can set up a pre-order strategy for up to one year. You don’t even need to have your final book cover or content ready to launch a pre-order. All you need are placeholder files for both, which you can change up until two weeks before the official release.
Pre-orders for ebooks work seamlessly in the following stores:
- Apple Books
- Google Play Books
- Barnes & Noble
But you can also set pre-orders for print-on-demand books. Currently, Ingram and Amazon Print accept pre-orders for print-on-demand books. So, if you wish to sell your book in these stores before the release date, you can definitely do it.
Here you can find more information about how pre-orders work in PublishDrive.
3. Know How Stores Operate in December
With publishing in December, expect longer publishing times as most stores run into limited resources. For instance, Apple does not guarantee your book being published on Christmas Eve after 7 December.
Make sure you understand the holiday operations for the stores you want to distribute in.
4. Automate Your Marketing Tactics
To get the most out of the best month for book sales, you need to automate your marketing activities. This will help you optimize your publishing gig and frees up your schedule so that you can enjoy the holiday season. :-)
Pre-schedule email newsletters for your email list and advertise your new book with snippets from your story or reviews. You can also share personal achievements because readers love to know more about their author.
Another option is to run a contest that gives away a free copy of your book. Or do a promotion swap with another author.
Schedule your social media posts ahead of time with tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. Here, too, you can create posts with snippets from your book, share your book description, or tease your audience with your book cover. See more organic promotional tactics in our article on social media for self-published authors.
Keep in mind that with social media, it's challenging to be completely offline, as readers may send you direct messages or comment on your posts. You can hire a virtual assistant to handle those for you during the holidays if you'd like. Or schedule 20 minutes every day to take care of social media requests.
You should also take care of ads around this period. But to not get way too busy focusing on all the ad types out there, we would recommend focusing on scheduling Amazon ads. After all, if you launch your book on Amazon, this would be a great way to help it get noticed.
The platform allows you to set your budget, timeframe, creatives, and targeting beforehand.
Set up your Amazon ads with PublishDrive for any book selling on Amazon. My team built this tool for easy handling, supported by AI, to improve your ad performance.
With ads, it’s a good idea to check the performance of different campaigns. You can reallocate your budget among better-performing ads or simply turn off the ads that aren’t delivering.
5. Run Price Promotions
Also, you can schedule multiple price promotions on PublishDrive across stores.
So, go ahead and submit for editorial features from PublishDrive’s dashboard. There are plenty of stores running campaigns for Christmas and New Year’s that want to showcase great short stories and books (including discounted and free) on the front pages of their websites or in newsletters.
6. Measure Your Results after the Holidays
Don't be like me: I have a habit of checking results every minute. This can lead to taking unnecessary actions based on limited information.
Instead, wait for at least one to two weeks before analyzing your campaign results. Believe me; it will help you make better decisions. Also, this timeframe will help you leave your laptop out of dinners during the winter break. I hope you have a safe one with family members and special people.
By the way, the PublishDrive team is feeling excited about Christmas releases via PublishDrive, like these:
It's free to get started with PublishDrive, the all-in-one platform for easily distributing and promoting your book to thousands of stores of globally. ↓