Indie Authors: How To Sell More Books At Christmas

Frontispiece of first edition of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

A book is for life, not just for Christmas (photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re coming in the busiest time of the year for booksellers. Trade publishers and bookstores have long expertise in knowing how to sell books at this time of the year. But what about indie authors? 

We want to gather and share the best ideas, hints and tips about how we can reach readers at this time when they want to buy books for themselves and as gifts for friends and family, so we put the question out on our  ALLi Member-Only Facebook group, Here are some of their responses:


M Louisa Locke I usually just focus on the post-holiday as well, but this year with Amazon Matchbook, I thought I would start publicizing my 3 print editions,  by advertising that people can get these print editions as gifts and keep the free digital copies for themselves.  I am also working on putting my first three books in my series together as a boxed ebook set, selling this bundle (a $11.97 value) for $6.99. In the states, we have something called Cyber Monday-the Monday after Thanksgiving–when people are encouraged to buy their gifts online, so I will use that day to kick off these two-holiday promotions.

Karen Inglis If you have print books stocked locally (or even if you don’t but are in print), contact your local bookshop and offer to do a signing there – it could help them with their sales as well as yours… More likely to be of interest for fiction I am guessing. Offer to put up posters for them promoting the event (A3 or A4 size posters of the book cover work.) If you don’t have photoshop create a separately printed slip with the details to post across the poster or at the top or bottom. If you have photoshop it’s possible to add the details onto the poster itself (depending on the cover design). Our local Starbucks has a community board where I sometimes post posters saying that signed copies of my book are in the local store. This could also generate online sales. Other thought is to say that signed copies are available from your home if they prepay by Paypal (or not..)


Amy Shojai: Yes I’m doing two bundles of my pet nonfiction titles. Here are the cat one and I’m doing a similar 4-book bundle for dog/cat books:://…/dp/B00GGBWAT6/ and here’s the dog one:h ttp://…/dp/B00GGCUFFQ Also many of the bloggers are now planning their “recommended for the holidays” list so I’m working with some of the pet bloggers for these.


Debbie Young: Authors who publish e-books and want to give them as Xmas presents – if doing from Amazon, you’ll need to know the special email address of the recipient’s Kindle account, and the recipient will need to authorize your address as a sender. So it takes away the element of surprise, but at least it can be done!


Kristen James: Write a Christmas novella! It’s even better if you’ve been writing a full novel, but if not, I’ve written a couple Christmas novellas before and published them in November and December. They were among my bestsellers and do well every holiday season.


Joanna Penn: Bookbub have just shared that themed covers may a big difference – seasonal covers included (as well as topless men) in 8 Cover Trends That Sell Books – BookBub Unbound.


 Diane Capri: This is such a competitive buying season that I’ve had better luck focusing on after Christmas sales. Lots of people get gift cards or return the gifts they receive and are looking for something they really want after Christmas. And then there’s all those folks who received new Kindles, iPads, Nooks and KOBO e-readers who are looking for books to fill them with. So after Christmas is where I target my energy

Matthew Wayne Selznick: I have a mailing list of folks I *know* mostly already purchased my two most popular books. So I offered paperback editions, autographed, personalized, and gift wrapped if they want, for them to buy at a very deep discount… to give as gifts!  I ran the sale for a week, to modest success. Since it cost me nothing to set up, the purely financial result was a net win.


Orna Ross: I’ve actually done the opposite to Matthew and sold my signed books at a premium. At £25 each, only a trickle of fans buy them during the year but as that is the average price of an xmas gift (picked that up somewhere), I promote them as the most thoughtful gift you can give a reader — and  sell more at this time of year. I send them out — with a nice card, personalised message from author and bookmark — to the person of the buyer’s choice. Memo to self: get organised to do it again this year.