It’s Not Too Early for Christmas

You are probably thinking, “Halloween has not yet arrived. It’s too early to be shopping for Christmas.

Except, it’s not. Many people are already beginning to think about Christmas and gift buying. On survey by eMarketers found that more than 10 percent of Internet shoppers said they start their holiday shopping before September. Another 40 percent start purchasing holiday gifts before November.

Did you catch that? Just about half of the people who buy gifts for Christmas start shopping before November. And that is not just one study. Research from the National Retail Federation shows that about 40 percent of people start holiday shopping before Halloween each year. That number has stayed consistent for more than 10 years.

It’s not too early to start promoting your book as a great Christmas gift. Start now. Promote and advertise your book as a Christmas gift. Offer a holiday special or bundle to entice early shoppers. This month is a great time to include your specials in your email campaigns, on your website, and through advertisements.

In today’s entertainment saturated world, you might want to remind shoppers why books make great gifts. Feel free to use the reasons listed on the infographic below in your marketing efforts.

Related Posts:
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Promote Your Books as Christmas Gifts

Christmas gift shopping is big business. The average American spends around $700 on holiday gifts and goodies. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. holiday sales account for about 20% of all retail sales each year.

As a small publisher or independent author, you can cash in on this gift buying trend to sell more books. By promoting your books as a great Christmas gift idea, you can sell more books.

Many people start Christmas shopping early in the fall, so now is a great time to begin promoting your books as gifts. Here are six ways to capitalize on Christmas gift shopping to sell more books.

1. Position Your Book as a Great Gift

Let your fans know that your book makes a great gift. Feature it as a gift idea on your website, in your newsletter or email updates to your fans, and on your social media posts. Your readers may not automatically think of your book as a gift. You can plant and water this idea for your followers.

Let your readers and fans know that they can give your book as either a print book or a digital book as a gift. Amazon Kindle now allows anyone gift a Kindle book through their new “Buy for Others” feature.

When promoting your book as a gift on social media, be sure to use hashtags related to Christmas and gifts to make sure your posts have wide visibility. A few of these hashtags include:

#Christmas
#ChristmasGift
#ChristmasGiftIdeas
#StockingStuffer
#Gifts
#GiftIdeas
#GiftsForHer
#GiftsForHim

2. Offer a Special Christmas Discount

One way to make your book more appealing as a gift is to offer shoppers a special Christmas discount. You can offer a two-for-one deal, free shipping, or even just a special holiday price. Be sure to make your Christmas special or discount time limited to give shoppers a sense of urgency so that they will act on your prompting to purchase your book as a gift with your holiday discount.

3. Create a Bundle for Gift Giving

Many people don’t like to spend a lot of time Christmas shopping. For these individuals, the easier you make shopping for them, the more likely they will buy. One way to make shopping easy for people is to offer a gift bundle. Then instead of having to buy a book from you and then heading over to another store to purchase another gift, you can make it easy by offering a bundle that provides one-stop shopping for your customer.

You can pair your book with another product as a bundle. For example, if your book is about Godliness for young ladies, offer a bundle consisting of your book and a piece of Christian jewelry. If you have a devotional that focuses on men, offer a gift card to Home Depot along with your book. Your gift bundle can be as creative as you allow it to be.

4. Create a Gift Guide for Your Fans

Some people find gift buying tedious and overwhelming. They feel that they lack good ideas about what to buy their loved ones. You can help these individuals by offering a Gift Guide on your website or blog. Feature a number of products that make good gifts for your target audience. Of course, include your book in your guide. Remember, the goal is to provide information that your followers will find helpful.

5. Display Your Books at Local Christmas Craft Bazaars or Holiday Festivals

Every community has Christmas craft bazaars and holiday-themed festivals where local residents can rent a table or booth and showcase their goods a gifts. You can sign up and display your book at these events to promote your book as a gift and garner some sales.

6. Advertise in Holiday Shopping Guides

Numerous magazines, journals, websites, and blogs feature holiday shopping guides. Some require you to pay to advertise your book as a great gift. Others are put on by bloggers where the blog will feature your product as a gift in exchange for a free copy of your book to the blogger. You can pitch bloggers that feature gift guides to ask if they would be willing to include your book or bundle in their guide.

When promoting your book as a gift, remember that you are not just promoting your book, you are also informing people why your book makes a great gift. Remind people that books make great gifts. If you need some reasons, check out my infographic on Six Reasons Books Make Great Gifts.

Related Posts:
Four Creative Ways to Sell your Books This Season
Market Your Book as a Gift
Four Gift Ideas for Authors

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Photo courtesy of George Dolgikh.

Are You Shouldering This Responsibility?

Are you an author or a publisher of books? Ask yourself:
Which do I spend more time doing: reading books or watching videos or TV?

While you might not think this is an important question, it is. Since you are in the business of making books, you should also be involved in the consumption of books.

I am in the process of updating my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. While working on the Fourth Edition, I was surprised to discover that it’s not just bookstores that are on the decline. I already knew that reading rates were holding steady while the number of books published each year grows, but I was saddened by another trend I discovered.

Everyone knows that readers have begun buying more books online than they do in physical stores. As a result, bookstores are declining. After all, the largest Christian bookstore chain, Family Christian, shuttered the doors to its 240 stores in February of this year. The fourth largest general market bookstore chain, Book World, which operates 45 stores in the Midwest, will close all their stores in January 2018.

But it’s not just bookstores that are struggling. What surprised me is that church libraries are becoming nonexistent. This year, two of the largest church library associations shuttered their doors. Both associations cite declining membership and lack of interest in church libraries.

My first thought was maybe most churches were simply shuttering their libraries in exchange for church bookstores. However, research shows that this is not the case. While church bookstores thrived in the early part of the century, the number has actually shrunk over the past five years.

Here is the point. If we are publishing books and we want people to read these books, we must also be putting effort into helping people see the benefit of reading and encouraging them to read more.

How do we do this? We start by first modeling—being an example. That means that as an author or publisher you spend time reading books and talking about them with people. Then we move on to encouraging others to read. There are many ways that we can do this. Here are six ideas to get you started:

1. Regularly recommend books to people.
Don’t just recommend the books you write or publish, but talk about any good Christian title that will enrich people’s lives. Give these recommendations in person, on your blog, and on your social media sites.

2. Give books as gifts.
Books have the power to change people’s lives. Give them as gifts to encourage reading.

3. Start a lending library at your church.
If your church does not have a lending library, start one. It does not have to be large, simply a shelf or bookcase will do. Start with your own titles and books by other local Christian authors.

4. Make sure your church’s children’s ministry is stocked with good books.
Check out the children’s ministry rooms in your church. Are they stocked with good Christian books for the kids to engage with? If not, donate some or get others in the church to donate books to the Children’s ministry.

5. Start a book group.
Start a book group in your church or community. Gather interested people to read and discuss a good book once a month.

6. Put up a Little Free Library in your neighborhood.
Little Free Libraries encourage reading. You can find information on how to build or purchase a Little Free Library box on the organization’s website.

I believe that if we write and publish books, we also need to be about the business of promoting reading. Unless we encourage reading on a regular basis, we may wake up one day to find nobody reads books anymore.

Related Posts:
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Are You Making Use of Fiction Apps?

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Four Creative Ways to Sell Your Books this Season

Books make great gifts. They are affordable, easy to wrap, and cover subjects to suit everyone’s interest. Books are the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Historically, about 25% of books sales are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This means that people do buy books as gifts. So, don’t miss out on this great opportunity to promote your books as gifts this holiday season and increase your sales.

Here are four creative ways to market your books as gifts this year.

1. Offer a Coupon or Holiday Special.

Send a special holiday coupon for dollars off the purchase of your books to your email list. Post the coupon on all your social media sites and your website to entice people to buy your books this season. Or offer a holiday special pricing such as Buy One Get One or even Buy Two Get One free for your books. Simply offering a limited time special encourages people to buy.

2. Offer a Gift Bundle.

Offer a prepackaged gift bundle to make shopping easy for your readers. Bundle a gift card or a box of chocolates with the purchase of your book. For example, you could offer a $10 Starbucks gift card with your book as a great gift bundle.If you have a devotional or bible study, offer a journal and special pen with the book as a bundle. The ideas are endless; just use your imagination.

Another great gift bundle can be a boxed set. Either create a boxed set of some of your own books, or better yet, partner with two or three other authors to offer a multiple book boxed set with a similar theme. For example, if you have a Christian romance book, then find a few other Christian romance authors and offer your books together as a boxed set for the season. Not only will you sell more books, you will enlarge your audience as each author will promote the set to their fans.

3. Offer a Subscription.

Do you have a book series? If so, instead of selling the entire series to be given at once, offer a subscription. Readers can buy the first book with a subscription to have an additional book in the series shipped each month. Just mail the first book with a subscription certificate. That way, the gift-giver can give a gift that really keeps on giving. This idea works especially well for children’s book series.

4. Exhibit at a Christmas Bazaar or Holiday Event in Your Community.

Many local community centers, libraries, and churches host holiday bazaars and other holiday events. Often you can rent a table for a reasonable fee at these events. Then set up shop and offer your book and book gift bundles to shoppers. If the event is already booked, find out if you can hand out flyers to attendees with information on how to purchase your books. The more exposure your books have, the more sales will follow.

Get creative this year with your holiday book promotions. If you have another idea for creatively selling books during the holidays, I would love to hear about it. Just leave a comment.

Related Posts:
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Photo courtesy of Visual Hunt.

Market Your Book as a Gift

It may feel early, but it’s not. Christmas items are already beginning to pop up in stores. Christmas is the biggest gift-giving holiday in the United States.

Experts report that 25% of books are purchased as gifts. Children receive many of these books as gifts. Studies show that 43% of the books purchased as gifts are for children ages 12 and under.

 

Christmas will be here in no time. It’s not too early to begin promoting your book as a great gift. Consider running a Christmas special on your book to encourage people to buy it as a gift this year, especially if you have a children’s book.

You can remind your fans and followers that books make great gifts. Following are six reasons books are great to give as a gift.

1. Books Don’t Go Out of Style.
When you buy someone a book, you don’t have to worry about whether it is in fashion or not, whether it is the right size or color, and whether the recipient will actually wear it or not. Because, they won’t be wearing it, they will be reading it.

2. Books are Affordable.
Books usually cost anywhere from $6 to $20. There is a book for every budget, so you don’t need to break the bank to give someone a great gift.

3. Books are Life-Giving.
Books are life-changing. Additionally, studies show that reading a book reduces stress and that those who read regularly live longer than those who don’t read much. If you give a Christian book that encourages the reader into a relationship with God, then you help someone have eternal life.

4. Books are for Everyone.
There is a book for every age, gender, and interest under the sun. As long as a person can read, a book exists that will be of interest to them.

5. Books Last.
Books last and last. You don’t use them up and they don’t wear out. They can be read again and again.

6. A Book is a Gift You Can Open Again and Again.
Every time someone opens that book you give them, they are re-opening your gift.

Sadly, the average amount of time Americans spent reading for personal interest on weekend days and holidays fell by six minutes to just 21 minutes per day over the past decade. So, one additional reason to give books as gifts is to encourage reading.

Promoting books as great gifts and your book as a gift to your friends and fans not only benefits you and your book sales,it also benefits the larger book community. Promoting books as gifts benefits every author and encourages people to read more.

Related Posts:
Create Book Bundles for Gifting
6 Reasons Books Make Great Gifts
Gift Giving of Books in Decline

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