Combined Synergy

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. Many of the best shopping deals of the year can be found on this day. However, Black Friday is all about the big businesses. Target, Walmart, ToysRUs, Best Buy, and the like all offer fabulous deals to lure in shoppers the day after Thanksgiving.

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Cyber Monday is the busiest online shopping day of the year. The best online shopping deals can often be found on this day. Many online businesses offer discounts and coupons to attract online holiday shoppers on Cyber Monday.

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday. In an attempt to draw more business for small businesses, American Express named the day after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, back in 2010. Small Business Saturday brings attention to small and local businesses.

While Small Business Saturday is really about shopping at local brick-and-mortar businesses, I think that small publishers and independently published authors can use the combined synergy of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday to create sales for your books.

By-and-large small publishers and independently published authors don’t run a physical store in their community, but most run an online place to purchase their books and products. Combining the appeal of both Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, you can encourage Christian consumers to make purchases at your online small business during the Thanksgiving weekend and the Monday following.

Offer a special to encourage both your past customers and your potential customers to consider purchasing your books as Christmas gifts. Use a coupon, a discount, a buy-one get-one free special, or a bundle special for Small Business Saturday through Cyber Monday. Notify all your current and potential customers through email, blog posts, social media posts, and even via a mailed flyer.

Remember, books make great gifts. Remind your potential customers of this fact and offer them an incentive they can’t refuse. This combined synergy will bring you more sales.

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Use Bookstore Days to Promote Your Books

Bookstores want business and authors want opportunities to promote their books. Bring the two together and each can help the other.

As an author, you can piggyback on existing promotional opportunities to get more publicity for your books. Two upcoming events offer authors interesting marketing possibilities.

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Author Handselling Day

This Saturday (November 30) is Small Business Saturday. Author Sherman Alexie decided to start a new movement. This year, he invited authors to handsell books at their local independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday. On this day, which he is calling “Indies First”, Sherman wants authors to spend time at their local bookstore and make recommendations to people on what books to buy. He wants authors to not just promote their own books, but other books as well. For Indies First, authors are encouraged to pick a bookstore and talk to the owner to come to an agreement about how you will spend your time in their store that day.

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) likes the idea and has decided to support it. The ABA has a website page devoted to “Indies First” where authors can sign up to participate. Currently, over 700 authors have signed up and over 500 bookstores nationwide will be supporting them.

It is not too late to call your local Christian bookstore and see if they would like to be part of Author Handselling Day and host your time.

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Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

Saturday, December 7, is the fourth annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Over 500 bookstores around the world participate in this event. The mission of the event is to introduce children to bookstores and everything they have to offer. It’s also an opportunity for children to interact with booksellers and receive personal recommendations about books to read.

If you are a children’s author, you can use this already established day designed to help bookstores to both help your local bookstore and promote your books. Contact your local Christian bookstore, tell them about this event and volunteer to be a resident author for part of the day. What richness this will add to the experience of the children who come to the store for this special day. Not only will they be able to learn about new books, but your presence will allow them to meet and interact with an author.

Opportunities for authors to promote their books abound. You can take advantage of these events to piggyback your marketing efforts and find new readers for your books.

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Small Business Saturday

Did you know that Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday? This day was started last year by American Express in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: creating more demand for their products and services.

American Express believes that small business success is critical to the health of the US economy. Small businesses have generated 64% of the new jobs created over the past 15 years. To encourage consumers to shop at small businesses on Saturday, November 26, American Express is offering consumers who use their American Express cards at a small business on that day a $25 statement credit.

Whether you accept American Express cards or not for purchases of your books and products, you can capitalize on Small Business Saturday.  Here are some ideas.

  1. Raise consumers’ awareness of Small Business Saturday via your website, your social media interactions, and your email messages.
  2. Offer a special for Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to patronize your business on that day. Your special could be a discount for the day, or a buy one get one deal, or offer a free shipping special.
  3. Post the special on your website, in your social media interactions, and in an email blast to your customers.  Be sure to share your special deal here with me and my readers also. You can also list your special on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page (under “For Your Biz”) at http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday where there are over 1.5 million fans.

American Express is also providing graphics you can use to encourage consumers to shop at small businesses on Small Business Saturday. They have additional programs and incentives for small businesses that are American Express Merchants (those that accept American Express cards).

Take advantage of Small Business Saturday to encourage your existing and potential customers to begin their holiday shopping by supporting a small business.

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