Every year around this time my phone starts ringing off the hook. Most of the authors I haven’t spoken with for a while have the same question. “Can you get me into a Barnes & Noble to do a signing before Christmas?”
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Because they are so busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas, most stores won’t do any signings between Halloween and the first of the year. Those stores that will do signings have been booked since August.
While it may be too late to get into a bookstore for the holidays this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on the holiday season. Here are some things you can do to ring up some much-deserved sales during the most wonderful time of the year.
• Capitalize on your social media connections
Remind your Facebook friends that your book would make a great holiday present for that special somebody in their life. In your posting, include a link to your website or the publisher’s website where those who are interested can place an order.
• Offer discounts and bonuses
Offer a special holiday season discount, or include a bonus gift for people who purchase your book before the end of the year. If, for example, your book is about a teddy’s bear’s adventures, include a small stuffed bear with purchases made in December.
• Give books away
There are so many wonderful charitable events held during the holiday season that you can participate in. Offer to donate a book to your favorite charity that they can in turn auction off at their holiday party. Think about how many people will see your title at the party that you never would have been able to reach otherwise. That one book you gave away could lead to dozens of sales.
• Start planning for next year
And while this may not lead to sales right away, it’s sure to make a difference if you start planning your promotional activities for next year right now. Being proactive rather than reactive is sure to pay off.
One of the first things I recommend you do is make a list of all the events you’d like to participate in during 2012, then start gathering contact information for the event organizers. Now is the time to secure a table at the big book fair in town, and any other events you think will be good places to showcase your book. Hopefully you’re not already too late as a number of the more popular events actually start booking a year in advance.
Planning to travel in 2012? If so start looking into possible signing opportunities in the cities you will be visiting. If your book is available through the major distributors, you should be able to get into a Barnes & Noble in the city you are visiting. If you are self-published and don’t have a distributor, focus instead on the small, independent book stores.
Still not not sure where to start? RMA Publicity would be happy to help. Just give us a call.