Every year around this time I begin receiving calls from present and past clients—and also new prospects—asking for my help setting up book events at Barnes & Nobles and independent bookstores “just in time for the holiday season.”

Unfortunately, I have to turn them down. Because retailers 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 early summer.

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 5 things you can do to ring up some much-deserved sales during the most wonderful time of the year.
1) 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.
2) 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, perhaps you could include a small stuffed bear with purchases made in December.
3) Give books away
This may seem counterproductive at first since your goal is sales, but 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.
4) Hand out flyers

It is a given that people are going to be out in the community throughout the holiday season shopping and socializing. Coffee shops and community centers are sure to be popular hangouts.

Create a handout touting your book as a great holiday gift, and put them up on community bulletin boards, or leave them on tables at fast-food restaurants or coffee shops.  Leaving materials in places people are congregating en masse is sure to get at least a few people’s attention.

Be sure the flyer has a holiday feel. And clearly state that your book makes a great holiday gift!

5) 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 2016, 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 the new year? 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. Contact us to get started on a campaign.