By Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist, RMA Publicity
The 2020 Holiday Season will be unlike any in recent history due in a large part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than gathering with friend and family at holiday parties, going to festivals, and packing the malls to do their holiday shopping, this year a lot of people are likely to stay home.
They’ll still be buying holiday gifts though. Just not in person, online; and a new trends report from Bazaarvoice indicates retailers will be ready. Of those surveyed, 85 percent of retailers said they think online sales will increase this holiday season compared to last, so they are investing more in e-commerce website upgrades this holiday season compared to last year. Meantime, 61 percent expect higher engagement and/or purchasing through social media channels due to COVID-19.
What does this mean for you as an author? If you don’t already have a strong presence online, time to develop one so you can be aggressive about promoting your book. Here are some suggested steps to take:
YOU NEED A WEBSITE
First and foremost, don’t just rely on Amazon. You need a website, which will serve as your book’s online storefront. A good author website will include a summary of the book’s content, an author biography, testimonials gathered for the book, a way for people to purchase the book, and if you are working with a publicist, that person’s contact information and media materials.
CLAIM YOUR AMAZON PROFILE
It’s also a good idea to claim your Amazon profile through Author Central if you haven’t done so already, and start populating it with content. Here is a link to a page with instructions on how to get started. Why claim your Author Central profile? It will allow you to engage with potential customers. Not only can they learn more about you when they come across your profile on Amazon, it is a place you can post content, like media placements, blogs, etc., that help readers get to know you.
SET UP A FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE
Another good tool to have for online book sales is a Facebook author page, or book page. This is separate from your personal profile on Facebook. It is considered a business page. Here is a link to instructions for setting a business page up. Once your page is set up, you can begin posting content on it, and also advertise it out to your exact target audience using Facebook advertising. Here is a link to a page with information on how to create and distribute ads on the network.
OTHER TACTICS FOR CONNECTING WITH CUSTOMERS ONLINE
Once you have taken care of setting up your website, claimed your Amazon profile and set up a Facebook business page, decide if you want to become active on any of the other social media platforms out there, such as Linked-in and Twitter, which are great for business books and nonfiction, or Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest, which are good for books of all kinds.
Another tactic that traditionally does a good job of generating online sales is sending out special promotions to people on your email list. Not only can you wish your contacts a happy holiday season, you can encourage them to purchase copies of your books to give as gifts, and/or suggest your titles to their friends, family and other contacts.
It may also be a good idea to donate a few copies of your book to one or more of the many online auctions that will be held during the holiday season to raise money for those in need in these uncertain times. All while at the same time exposing your work to a new audience.