Home For The Holidays: Holiday Marketing Tips #3

Every year, as soon as Halloween is behind us, it seems like the floodgates open. Without warning, there are holiday marketing campaigns everywhere, with countless businesses rushing to cash in on a spending frenzy. There are holiday emails, social media posts, and TV ads – and it goes on.

Image result for snowman

It might seem like holiday marketing is out of control. But here are some ideas you can put in place to help sell your books over the holidays.

Host A Readers Dinner!

If you have some really loyal readers, you can say a special thank you at the holidays by taking them out to a lunch or dinner.

Hold a 12 Days of Christmas Sale

To keep people shopping throughout the holiday season, you can host a special sale where people can get your books at a special price during the twelve days leading up to Christmas. You can even throw in some fun themed days to really get people into the spirit.

Decorate Your Website

Even if you only do business online, you can still show off your holiday spirit. Add some holiday inspired decorations to your website, like snowflakes, a flying Santa, ornaments and more. If it feels good… do it!

Give Away Stocking Stuffers

For those shoppers who are trying to finish off their holiday shopping, little stocking stuffers can be a real attraction. You can give them away with each purchase or offer them at a discounted rate for people who spend a specific amount on other items.

Send Cards

If you plan on sending out holiday cards to your reader base, you can also make those stand out by sending them out early.


Home For The Holidays: Holiday Marketing Tips #2

With the holidays just around the corner I thought we might look at some ideas that may help authors get more reviews. With everyone in good cheer—the holidays may be the perfect time to approach those all-important reviewers!

Provide Reader Copies To Relevant Book Bloggers. 

Start getting reviews before the book launches. You can use online tools to find early reviewers, or reach out to relevant bloggers with a pitch on the book. While they can’t review books on retailer sites until release day, they can post the reviews to their websites, blogs, or Goodreads.

Offer Free Copies To Top Amazon Reviewers. 

Reach out to Amazon users with a “Top Reviewer” badge who’ve reviewed books similar to yours. They’ve proven themselves to be experienced reviewers — they know what makes a good review, they’re willing to take the time to write a truly helpful review, and they will likely have a quick turnaround on reading and reviewing.

Put Together A Special Holiday Giveaway

Book giveaways can take various forms, including blog tours or contests on your blog or Facebook page. Providing free copies to your most loyal fans in exchange for an honest review can help a new book get traction, plus it rewards them for their loyalty.

Mention Writing A Review In The Back Of The Book

A high number of reviews makes a book more enticing to potential readers. We found that when a book has at least 150 five-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, including the number of five-star reviews in the copy increased clicks.

Submit A Book For Relevant Editorial Reviews. 

Many genres have publications where authors can submit their books for editorial reviews. Some of these publications require submitting your book months before publication, so plan to do this early!

Home For The Holidays: Holiday Marketing Tips #1

With the holidays approaching there’s plenty of marketing to be done. I thought I’d throw together several ideas and share them with you. Try them out… you may find that these tips help increase your sales over the season!

Take advantage of holidays, special occasions, annual events, and seasonal stories. 

A good strategy for promotion is to look for special days or occasions you can connect your book to. The most obvious one for writers is the Christmas season. Hitch your book to one of them and use it to gain sales.

Think beyond book reviews. 

Don’t get me wrong. Book reviews are definitely important. But don’t stop there. Your novel deserves more widespread, long-term, and ongoing exposure than it can get through reviews alone.

More on the Media…

Most radio stations are looking for interesting interviews and the author of a newly published book has a good chance of getting on air. You need a publicity letter which says something interesting or controversial about the book and off you go. If you have the budget you can use a professional PR company to target radio and TV programs.

Free and Easy…

Offer sample chapters as free downloads. Take a couple of your best chapters and turn them into pdf files. Let people download them for free. Think of this as the equivalent of letting people browse through your book at a bookstore.

The Beauty of Email Marketing

Very few authors are using email marketing today to build their fan base. Progress that it’s easy to make headway with this valuable marketing tool.  Fact is, email marketing is many times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. How can you turn your back on that?

Promoting Your Kirkus Review

You’ve just picked up your rave review from Kirkus. You now have a credible review to share with the world… but… what do you do next? How do you effectively promote your review? Just having the review isn’t going to increase sales… but promoting it may… Let’s look at some ways to make use of a Kirkus review.


Email it to Your Followers:

If you’ve got an email list of readers, and you’re promoting sale on a republished or new work, use your review as a way to entice these people to buy your book.

On Your Book Listing:

When book buyers look at your reviews, they’re already intrigued by your premise, title, writing style or book cover. Now they’re simply looking something to tell them to click buy. Placing your review on your Amazon book listing may be that final reason to click buy.

On The Back of your Book:

Consider using at least one review blurb on your book cover, as well as several on the back cover of your book. This extra motivation may be the key to convincing your readers to press the buy button.

Social Media: 

A tweet with a blurb review, like, “One of the great stories of this year” – attributed to a credible source like Kirkus is infinitely more sellable than virtually any other. Remember to place a link to the page where your book is actually sold, not your website.

Add it to Your Website:

Readers often visit author websites to find out more about them prior to making a purchase. This is especially true for writers authoring a series, since taking on a series is potentially a major time investment. Credible book reviews on those sites can go a long way toward convincing readers to spend more time with your characters. So, put blurbs front and center, where they can’t be missed. If you’re confident in the entire review, you can add a link to a page where the entire review is posted.

Use As Needed:

It’s common to find yourself right up against a publication deadline, with little time to wait for book reviews as you race to get the book out to your readers. In this case, it’s okay to use previous reviews so long as you do it ethically and accurately. If you have prior praise for your craft in general, you can curate this list under the title “Praise For….” Just make sure you don’t misrepresent the facts, or make it seem as if reviewers of past stories are validating this particular story.

A Look At A Completed Kirkus Review

Last week I said we would take a look at what the end result of a Kirkus review looks like. The below review is for a book called “Floor Sample: A Creative Memoir” by Julia Cameron. You can see the original here.


New Age writing guru Cameron (The Dark Room, 1998, etc.) tells of her frenetic, peripatetic life as screenwriter, playwright, novelist, columnist and poet.

The author breezily describes her Catholic education, her early addiction to alcohol and her promising start as a magazine writer before a brief marriage to Martin Scorsese took her to Hollywood. There she discovered cocaine, and her life spiraled downward. On the advice of “sober alcoholics” (a term she uses to describe herself), the desperate Cameron quit drinking, gave up drugs and began writing under a new regimen, which called for a quota of just three pages a day. In time, she began teaching her writing technique to others, putting together a course on unblocking creativity and connecting it with spirituality. Spiritual guidance has evidently played a major role in Cameron’s life decisions since then. She repeatedly moved—back and forth across the United States, to and from England—often at the impetus of guiding voices. She ricocheted from New York to Los Angeles, Chicago, Taos, London, Dublin, never finding a comfortable home or compatible working environment. All the while, she sought out astrologers, psychics and other guiding spirits. In a career that combined prolific writing with running a program designed to teach others how to tap into their own creativity, she bounced back from near disasters again and again, even recovering from a nervous breakdown that landed her in the hospital with a diagnosis of manic depression. Throughout, the author never stopped exploring new genres, tackling big projects and discovering new talent in unexpected areas. She is a “floor sample of my own tool kit,” and devotees of her creativity classes may well be inspired by this enthusiastic outpouring.

An absorbing narrative revealing a woman of extraordinary energy, drive and confidence.

This is what you can expect your Kirkus review to look like once completed. How much impact does a review like this have on the market? We’ll take a look at that next week!



Looking At Professional Review Services…

It’s common for authors to look for reviews. We all want to know how our book is perceived by readers. Over the next few weeks I’d like for us to look at some of the common review services. This first article is about Kirkus—one of the most popular, and prestigious review services. Let’s take a look at how this service works.

Image result for kirkus reviews

First Request a review…

Click the “Get Started” link above, select your review option and pay for your review. When you submit your order, you’ll get an email from Kirkus confirming receipt of your request.

Then submit your manuscript…

You’ll have the option of mailing two copies of your book to Kirkus or uploading a PDF of your manuscript.

Wait for your review…

Upon receipt of your book or manuscript, Kirkus will assign the book to a reviewer who will read the complete book and write a full review. Reviewers include librarians, business executives, journalists from national publications, PhDs in religion and literature, creative executives in entertainment and publishing industries as well as other professional reviewers.

Collect your review…

Kirkus Indie will email you a link to your author dashboard when your review is ready. Simply click the link and download your review directly their site.

Choose what to do with your review…

You may choose to make your review visible by publishing it where it can be discovered by industry influencers, agents, publishers and consumers. If it is a negative review, you can request that it never see the light of day by simply not publishing it on their site.

That’s how this review process works. Next week we will take a look at how the reviews look.


Promoting Your Translated Book Effectively

So… your audiobook has been completed… now how do you advertise it? I thought I’d put together five ideas for you to use as you start to think about promoting your translated novel. Let’s take a look!


Guest post frequently and strategically.

Guest blogging is one the best ways to increase visibility, gain influence in your genre or topic and draw targeted readers to your online ‘bookstore’ or author site. Try finding sites that will put you in front of your foreign language audience.

Design or a book cover that sells in that Country.

Commission a professional to design a cover that is not only striking, but clear and readable even as a small thumbnail. Make sure your title and blurb are in the right language!

A Foreign Language Book trailer.

Show your creativity, humour and personality. Try to avoid the jacket-flap blurb over a photo montage, and consider incorporating your overall message and brand. If you don’t feel you have the skills to create a book trailer that steals the show, you can hire a company to make one for you–just do a little cost analysis first to see if the marketing benefits outweigh the price tag. Just make sure that any audio clips are in the right language too!

Old Fashioned Advertising

Set up a Google Adwords account, or try Facebook or blog ads. Other advertising options include sites like BookBub or EReader News Today.

 Identify Your Audience

This is a vital step in the promotion and marketing of your book, and–if done right–will make the rest of the process infinitely easier. Find out who your book appeals to, get to know those people well, and be where they are, both online and off. Remember to target your book to the country it was translated for.