How small publishers and independents should prepare for Christmas
As I am now a small retailer, having been up and running for over a couple of years, I know that Christmas is a crucial selling time and I need to be fully prepared for it.
First and foremost, I am a writer and an editor. Fine. That declaration is out of the way. But, I design and publish my own books so it is essential that I adopt a pretty good business head too.
The busiest season for ebook downloads tends to fall over the summer months and some independent author/publishers may have felt the sting of lower paperback and hardback sales as a result. Don’t worry. This is a perfectly natural pattern and will only become more pronounced as the ebook market continues to grow, as it inevitably will. This phenomenon is a good thing for independents. We are blissfully free of pen-pushing middle-men and can keep our ebook prices down accordingly.
All this being said, we authors do love our print books. I don’t feel as if I’ve really written a book until I’ve held the physical copy in my hands. But never fear, the run up to Christmas always marks a resurgence in print book sales and small publishers need to be ready to take it on.
If your books only appear in ebook format then I would recommend looking into producing hard copies for the festive season. Consumers are buying for gifts- so they need a solid product to wrap and put under the tree! Createspace is always a great option here and the end product – with the correct design and input on your part – is absolutely terrific. Their books are produced to an extremely high standard and have the obvious benefits of being P.O.D.
For me, I will be spending the next couple of weeks ensuring that my print books are in tip top order for the Christmas rush. I will check the formatting and the covers to make sure they are absolutely perfect. I may even consider producing a new set of covers especially to appeal to Christmas buyers. Boxed sets may be another idea, where this is possible.
Indies be aware that now you are proper retailers, the Christmas season has to be taken deadly seriously. Get your product polished up and ready and price it to sell. A new book release in the weeks before Christmas also makes commercial sense, but you need to leave long enough after going live for the word to get out and for people to order and receive your book well before the 25th December, otherwise it will defeat the point!
There will be local fayres and shopping evenings that you could get involved in too. Pop up shops in businesses and pubs/restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, so that busy workers can get a chance to purchase some unique gifts during their lunch hour. You will need a healthy supply of books in preparation for this. Signed copies make superb gifts and if you can slip a well designed and striking business card between the pages then your customers may well go on line to order more from the series in future.
There are plenty of opportunities out there to reach your readers during this quarter of the year so don’t miss out on it. Be prepared, and you will definitely see a boost in sales.