The Christmas period means something quite different now for authors and publishers
With less than four weeks to go until Christmas, what should an author’s marketing strategy be?
I’m busy with my own festive preparations right now and with completing the Christmas present shopping, but I am also aware that this is one of the busiest times of the year for sales of my books. So, how best to optimize this? As a consumer myself, I am very careful not to pay too much for books. On the High Street, prices for a new release paperback and certainly for hardbacks can be very high. I might seek inspiration from the shelves for gifts but then I tend to purchase online, where I will get a better deal. What this means, is that by the middle of December, it’s pretty much too late to order books as gifts for Christmas, unless you are prepared to pay a lot for postage and even then, it would still be a bit of a gamble whether it arrived in time. The final weeks and days are really for food, booze and local shopping for those last minute extras.
For authors like myself, who are exclusive to Amazon, this means that the Christmas shopping flurry is really over for the year by Christmas week, doesn’t it?
Well, not entirely. According to retail research over the past few years, our Christmas shopping habits have changed. The purchasing certainly doesn’t end just as soon as the carol concert from King’s College is broadcast on Christmas Eve. Indeed, Christmas Day and Boxing Day have now become important times for a surge in online retail activity. Think of all those amazon vouchers people receive in their stockings? In a quiet moment after the turkey has been eaten and the crackers pulled, folk may just be tempted to fire up their new tablet computers and start spending once again.
So Christmas now means something different for authors and publishers. We need to consider sales right across the holiday season. The weather has been fairly good in the UK recently, but even so, once the sun has gone down it is the perfect time of the year to curl up in front of a log-burner with a good book, whether it is a physical copy or an e-book version. The distinction is mattering less and less.
I keep my e book prices at under £2 and my paperback prices as low as possible to cover production costs and raise a reasonable profit. This is because consumers appreciate a bargain all year round and once all the hard work has been completed on the 25th December, perhaps someone will enjoy slumping in their favourite armchair and absorbing themselves in one of my books. I like the idea of that very much.