With the unprecedented heatwave that is sweeping across the nation this week, it seems a particularly good time to start thinking about the holiday season. Oh yes, in just a few short months, you’ll be shivering in front of a yuletide log rather than sweating at the refrigerator door. Afternoon thunder storms will soon transform into beautiful blankets of snow. Isn’t that lovely to think about?
Your Book Is the Perfect Holiday Gift
Of course, with the holidays comes the frenzy of shoppers looking for that special gift, which, as we all know, is a book. What other gift holds such a world of possibilities, that enriches not only the gift giver but more importantly the recipient. From a gorgeous cookbook to an award-winning children’s book to a fast-moving political thriller, books make the perfect gift for just about everyone. And they come in the perfect package that’s a snap to gift wrap.
More than 25% of all book sales in the US happen in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas—very similar statistics to most gift-like products. So as an author and self-publisher, are you and your book ready for this opportune time for selling? It’s simply not possible to throw a book into the marketplace in the last minutes before the start of the season and expect any measure of success. Unfortunately, I’ve met some authors who wait until it’s too late to capitalize on the holidays and then curse the poor retailer and distributor because of their own failure to adequately prepare.
Christmas in July? Get Ready Now!
If you plan to have your book available for sale during this upcoming holiday season, I have a few tips to pass on to you. By the end of these sweltering days of summer, your book should be ready to be listed in the Ingram catalog (or other major book wholesalers) with a publication date of no later than early November 2016. So this means you should now be in the final stages sorting out all the details around the publication of your book. Hopefully, you’ve already finished working with a professional editor and have finalized the design of your book and created a marketing plan that has been well-honed through all the education you’ve received through BookWorks.
I hope you’re planning (or have already) ARCs (Advance Reading Copy) to offer to appropriate book reviewers. I highly recommend Joel Friedlander’s fantastic “Book Launch Toolkit” to help learn all the things you need to know and do to bring your book to market. I also really like the work of Shari Stauch and her amazing website “Where Writers Win” where she has vetted information on review media, book clubs, book festivals, bookstores and libraries for particular regions or genres. This site is like an encyclopedia of essential and hard to find information all in one place. Both Joel’s and Shari’s sites offer a wealth of information and offer very affordable services for indie authors. Again, highly recommended as you prepare for the holidays.
"It's the Holiday Season..."
Finally, getting your book listed through a wholesale book distributor like Ingram via IngramSpark that then passes your book information out to retailer sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble is critical to your book’s success, as I’ve said many times. As we get closer to the holidays, be aware that this well-oiled machine that works really well most of the year, slows down just a bit to handle the huge volume of orders that pass back and forth. To make sure you don’t get caught short, place POD orders that will last you through the holidays in October. Set you titles up early through these dog days of summer and into the Fall months, so information about your book has time to percolate out to thousands of retailer and library sites. Typically, I recommend a 3-4-week window between the setting up of your book on a site like IngramSpark and then seeing that book fully appear on other book websites. So build this time into your launch plans now.
If you think your book isn’t quite ready for prime time in time for this holiday season and is causing you anxiety as you read this, don’t despair. The second largest bookselling season is Mother’s Day. And then there’s always another holiday season looming just after that.
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