Holiday Gift Roundup

Holiday shopping is in full swing, and so is holiday buying. As authors, we want to make sure we can continue to provide our books to our current readers, as well as welcome some new ones. Here’s an idea I’m sure you can use this holiday season.

You see this gift-buying tactic everywhere during the holidays – in magazines, in newspapers, in evening news and on talks shows. It’s a brief list that offers a quick and easy shopping solution, especially for late decision makers. Sometimes it’s presented as Crunch Time Gift Solutions or 10 Under $10 or try Last Minute Gift Ideas.

Generally, these segments are planned well in advance of the holidays. However, you may find a list to join, or you can easily draft and promote your own. It should include your books, of course, and others in your genre. Give these steps a try.

·     Build a list around health and fitness if this is your topic

·     Another list could promote gift ideas based on people’s life stage such as children, pre-teens, teen, young adult, college and career, or seniors

·     Other categories could be hobbies (cooking, knitting, painting) or health and fitness (weight loss, exercise, diets)

·     Anything labeled self-improvement scores big for the New Year

·     Consider a list of authors in your geographic area, regardless of titles

·     Fit your book into the correct category and promote using social media

·     Hashtag your topic to give it extra life on Twitter

·     If time permits, create several lists to run for a week and only include your book on one or two of them – you can always add your link to your author resource box at the end of the list

When you provide a list of useful information to your readers, they may see other opportunities to make purchases of your books. And don’t forget that a partnership could be the most strategic alliance you can make for this buying season.

Happy holidays and happy selling!

Jingle Sales: 5 Ways to Boost Your Holiday Book Sales

Holiday book marketing is in full swing. With only six weeks remaining before the big day, authors are as busy as beavers. Between blogs, special promotions, and ad campaigns, you’re bound to get a bit burned out. Yet market you must.

You don’t want to be left out of the buying loop when people are making their buying decisions. If you haven’t started, stop reading and run over to my site to get your holiday marketing resource (http://bit.ly/HMMagic — you can finish reading this article while it downloads).

jingle bells

Think about your book offer and how you can make it special for the holidays. It’s possible that your book may not fit into the general holiday theme (think sci fi or history titles). Even if you dress it up (gift wrapping), the title could still be a turn off. Don’t despair. You can still present your books in such a way that they leverage the holiday season and capture the sales you desire.

Here are five out-of-the-box marketing ideas to make sure you get your share of the holiday “jingle.”

  1. Instead of just offering a book to purchase, offer to donate the book to the receiver’s local library in their name – have a customized name plate ready to add to the inside cover (or ask the library if they have one for such an occasion). Note: Be sure you have pre-arranged this tactic with the local library in your area.
  2. Highlight a particular chapter of your book and print it out on a decorative page for your readers to enjoy. Leave off a bit of information to create a cliffhanger. Place this chapter on display or set it as a download on a special web page. You can expect sales to increase just because you have spotlighted a chapter of the book, even though it may not be discounted.
  3. If your book is food related, partner with local restaurants to offer your book as a special gift from them, or as a last-minute gift for someone on their list. Your book can be paired with a gift card from the restaurant or a movie card plus your book. Lots of combinations are available – just explore!
  4. Share short blurbs of your book via YouTube – use your chapter titles but DO NOT offer a sales pitch in the video, only the link in your signature line.
  5. Create a Crunch Time Sale beginning 5-8 days before Christmas. Start with reduced prices and raise them each day until the last shipping day available. Stress the next-day price change to provoke buying now rather than later.

Whew! I’m done! This should be more than enough to get started. If you need more ideas, be sure to use the link below to get the full benefit of holiday marketing. And keep those smiles (and sales) coming. HOLIDAY MARKETING MAGIC http://bit.ly/HMMagic

NaNoWriMo Link Correction

November will be here tomorrow and it will be greeted by NaNoWriMo, the annual writing challenge that pushes you to write a book (50K words) in a month. I will not be participating in this challenge as I am preparing my books for a mega expo the first weekend in December (get details here – http://bit.ly/ffbookfest).

However, this doesn’t limit my ability to cheer on my fellow writers. In addition to finding activities in your local communities, here are a few resources you can reach out and make use of. I hope this proves to be a worthy challenge for you and that you write your best book ever.

What is NaNoWriMo and How to Do It

Novel writers

Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) 

woman with writing rhythm

Four Reasons to Participate in NaNoWriMo

How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

NaNoPlanno

How to Rock NaNoWriMo This November

Camp NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Word Count Calendar

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit for Beginners

My Camp NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

Writer’s Survival Kit

NaNoWriMo Preptober

NaNoWriMo Top 10 Survival Items

47 Insider Tips for Winning NaNoWriMo

Participating in NaNoWriMo 2017? Caution!

Bonus: For Educators: NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Anatomy of a Book Event: 8 Things to Do or Not Do

It was with great delight that I participated in Indie Author Day at one of our local libraries. It was to be a wonderful day of readers, authors and librarians merging together. The day was well planned and the participants showed up with lots of resources for visitors.

The array of authors ranged from recently published by a few weeks, to long-standing authors of more than 20 years. There were children’s authors, historians, novelists, poets and everything in between. There were workshops, panels and lots of conversations. And it was an opportunity to see what other authors in the area had created.

It was surprised to see how many authors did not know how to prepare for this event. Most of them had tables filled with books and were ramped for sales. One person stacked up five boxes of books on a handcart to bring into the venue. Most authors left disappointed about the sales. Many of then left ahead of schedule once they realized that selling books among so  many authors wasn’t going to happen.

With a little planning on the authors’ part, this could have been a very rewarding day. Author events are most often about visibility and connectivity, with sales being the icing on the cake. If you have an event planned in the near future, try to avoid these disasters:

  1. DO NOT expect your host to have set -up resources for you. You should create an event kit to include tablecloths, display racks, etc. Be sure to get clarity on these details prior to committing to the event.
  2. DO have some literature for visitors to take away. This could be a business card, a bookmark, a button or a chapter reprint. If you don’t have any of these, at least have a sign up sheet so you can capture their information. It doesn’t take long to send a “Thank You For Stopping By” e-mail and jumpstart a writer-reader relationship.
  3. DO NOT invest in swag that does not support your book topic or genre. When a western book author offers lip gloss, I miss the point. If they can tie the book’s title or main characters to the use of the gloss, well done. Otherwise, it could be money down the drain.
  4. DO have a giveaway to capture email addresses of visitors. You could offer a signed book, a small gift bag with book and other goodies, a consultation (especially if you are in the health genre) or other great prizes. One author in attendance at my last event offered a bundle of all three of her books as a prize.
  5. DO NOT overstuff your table. Your display should be inviting without people knocking over books every time they pick up a bookmark. Don’t use large printed displays that block other people’s displays. Stand back from your table and observe it objectively. If you still aren’t sure of your display, ask a fellow author to assist you.
  6. DO have an “elevator speech” ready to describe your book. Visitors don’t expect a dissertation when they stop by your table. They want a quick story with lots of excitement. Also, try to include a compelling call-to-action to get your book into their hands during that visit, but don’t be pushy.
  7. DO NOT glue yourself to your table and fail to mingle with the other participants. As authors we share in the same highs and lows somewhere in our careers. Get to know your fellow author. Besides, you never know where a connection might lead you.
  8. DO pack a snack for quick energy. Most venues that offer food are carb-loaded. Pack some fruit or fruit juice and some nuts to give you a quick lift, especially if it’s a long day.

Reframing your mind for these events can go a long way towards the success of your day. Every person who approaches you is a potential reader (book buyer) who is worthy of your time. You need just the right combination of visual and verbal to get them on board.

Remember, even if a visitor walks away without a book in hand, it doesn’t mean you didn’t make a sale. It might just mean you didn’t make one at that time. Send them away with something in their hands and a warm smile and hope they follow up to make a purchase later.

Anatomy of a Book Event: 8 Do’s and Don’ts of Success

It was with great delight that I participated in Indie Author Day at one of our local libraries. It was to be a wonderful day of readers, authors and librarians merging together. The day was well planned and the participants showed up with lots of resources for visitors.

The array of authors ranged from recently published by a few weeks, to long-standing authors of more than 20 years. There were children’s authors, historians, novelists, poets and everything in between. There were workshops, panels and lots of conversations. And it was an opportunity to see what other authors in the area had created.

It was surprised to see how many authors did not know how to prepare for this event. Most of them had tables filled with books and were ramped for sales. One person stacked up five boxes of books on a handcart to bring into the venue. Most authors left disappointed about the sales. Many of then left ahead of schedule once they realized that selling books among so  many authors wasn’t going to happen.

With a little planning on the authors’ part, this could have been a very rewarding day. Author events are most often about visibility and connectivity, with sales being the icing on the cake. If you have an event planned in the near future, try to avoid these disasters:

  1. DO NOT expect your host to have set -up resources for you. You should create an event kit to include tablecloths, display racks, etc. Be sure to get clarity on these details prior to committing to the event.
  2. DO have some literature for visitors to take away. This could be a business card, a bookmark, a button or a chapter reprint. If you don’t have any of these, at least have a sign up sheet so you can capture their information. It doesn’t take long to send a “Thank You For Stopping By” e-mail and jumpstart a writer-reader relationship.
  3. DO NOT invest in swag that does not support your book topic or genre. When a western book author offers lip gloss, I miss the point. If they can tie the book’s title or main characters to the use of the gloss, well done. Otherwise, it could be money down the drain.
  4. DO have a giveaway to capture email addresses of visitors. You could offer a signed book, a small gift bag with book and other goodies, a consultation (especially if you are in the health genre) or other great prizes. One author in attendance at my last event offered a bundle of all three of her books as a prize.
  5. DO NOT overstuff your table. Your display should be inviting without people knocking over books every time they pick up a bookmark. Don’t use large printed displays that block other people’s displays. Stand back from your table and observe it objectively. If you still aren’t sure of your display, ask a fellow author to assist you.
  6. DO have an “elevator speech” ready to describe your book. Visitors don’t expect a dissertation when they stop by your table. They want a quick story with lots of excitement. Also, try to include a compelling call-to-action to get your book into their hands during that visit, but don’t be pushy.
  7. DO NOT glue yourself to your table and fail to mingle with the other participants. As authors we share in the same highs and lows somewhere in our careers. Get to know your fellow author. Besides, you never know where a connection might lead you.
  8. DO pack a snack for quick energy. Most venues that offer food are carb-loaded. Pack some fruit or fruit juice and some nuts to give you a quick lift, especially if it’s a long day.

Reframing your mind for these events can go a long way towards the success of your day. Every person who approaches you is a potential reader (book buyer) who is worthy of your time. You need just the right combination of visual and verbal to get them on board.

Remember, even if a visitor walks away without a book in hand, it doesn’t mean you didn’t make a sale. It might just mean you didn’t make one at that time. Send them away with something in their hands and a warm smile and hope they follow up to make a purchase later.