Friday, October 16, 2015

The Ultimate (Budget) Guide to Ramp up your Holiday Sales

with guest Penny C. Sansevieri.

In case you haven’t noticed, the holiday season is starting earlier and earlier every year. Unfortunately, most of us don’t start thinking about making holidays sales for our books until it’s too late. As a marketing firm, we tend to get a lot of inquiries for a holiday push from our authors around Thanksgiving, which may seem like a good time to start, but is actually too late to ramp up your holiday promotion efforts. Let’s face it, promoting around the holidays can also be expensive if you’re looking at buying pricey ads, etc.
A serious holiday sale campaign starts weeks, if not months, before the actual push, and it doesn’t have to cost a bundle to do it! 

Let’s take a look at some things you may want to consider doing during the holiday season: 

  •   eBook promotions
  •   Dress Up Your Amazon Page with More Reviews
  •   Fine Tune Your Website
  •   Book events 

All of these are fantastic promotion ideas, but each requires some advanced planning. First grab your calendar. Let’s say you want to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. How would you do that? Well, I’d suggest focusing online and doing eBook promos which will help to drive readers not only to your eBook, but also potentially to your print book, too. 

 If you can, I’d suggest doing more than one eBook promo per book and consider rotating between free and a discounted price. If you have several books, I’d put them all into a rotation from Thanksgiving through December, alternating free and lower price points. Keep in mind that free also helps to trigger the Amazon algorithm. 

Here’s where your calendar comes in handy: ideally, you may want to kick off Black Friday/Cyber Monday with a free deal, schedule two sets of discount price promotions in early December, maybe one more freebie before Christmas and then drop the price of the book for the week prior to the holiday (for all those last minute shoppers). If you have just one book, then doing a free deal may seem counter intuitive but again, you can do one for a just a single day. The idea is to boost the book via the exposure it’ll get from this promo, as well as the algorithm spike that you’ll see on Amazon. 


One final tip: eReaders are still a hot Christmas gift, so be sure to reserve some of your promotion dates for after Christmas, too. 


Here’s your holiday promotion checklist: 

   -Determine your promotion budget

   -Coordinate your calendar to schedule at least one freebie and one lower-priced promotion leading up to Christmas (ideally a week apart).

   -Research which online venues still have open spots for online promotion (a list of eBook free/discount promotion sites is below)

    -Book these dates asap. 

Here are some great places I have used and can recommend!

  •  BookGorilla - Their paid services have a far reach, and won’t break the bank
  •  BookLemur – Fair prices and an easy process
  •  GoodKindles – Great options and flexibility with their packages
  •  Ignite Your Book – They have free and paid options. Their affordable paid option will get you in front of all of their newsletter subscribers
  •  Read – Great books, no middleman
  •  StoryFinds – Tons of options to give your book the exposure it needs
  •  BookBub – Their packages are on the more expensive side, but the average downloads are very impressive
  •  Find more here!

Dress Up Your Amazon Page with More Reviews

When it comes to marketing, the old adage of “People like what other people like” is so true, and even truer when it comes to holiday sales. When we’re buying Christmas gifts, we want to know we’re getting the right thing – something the recipient will love. So what can you do to help convince a buyer that you’ve got the best possible gift for their recipient? Well, reviews are a good start. 

In the past, if you had twenty reviews on Amazon you were doing great, if you had fifty reviews you were really shaking things up. But now things have changed, and in order to tip the scales and gain more traction for your book, you need to get that number close to one hundred or above. We’ll look at how to do that in a minute.

But what if your book is older, is it still saleable? I’d say yes, as long as it’s not outdated in terms of topic. There’s something called the Netflix effect, where older shows surge again in popularity, because newer viewers are taking time to post reviews. The same can apply to your book. New reviews on an older book are fantastic! Why? It means people are still reading it. 

So what’s an author to do to capture more reviews? Well, consider these ideas: 

  • Have you asked your readers for reviews? Surprisingly, I find that many authors don’t do this and I don’t know why. If you have a mailing list and/or blog, get the word out there that a review would be so helpful. In one case, one of our authors offered a tote bag in exchange for a review (good or bad), just as a thank you for taking time to review the book. In another instance, the author gave away the book for free to her readers in exchange for an honest review.

  •  Plan some online promotion: if you haven’t done much in the way of a blog tour or review tour, then now is the time. Whether you want to plan this out on your own or hire someone to pitch you, get out there and start planning your online promotion to start either right away, or in December. If you’re starting this in December, don’t worry about the distraction factor. We find that December book tours are as successful as any other time of the year, provided they are planned right. For example, posts on December 25th won’t gain a lot of traction, but anything before then could see a lot of bounce with your last minute shoppers.

  •  Goodreads: If you haven’t done a lot on this site, you may want to reconsider. Goodreads has told us that their recommendation newsletter is all review based. So if you’re getting a lot of reviews on Goodreads, you could wind up being blasted out to their thousands of readers. How do you get reviews there? Well by doing giveaways, and I’d recommend doing a few of them. So, for example do one for 5 books and then a week or so later run another one for 5 books (or a smaller number of books works, too). 

Studies have shown that consumers are 68% more likely to buy something, or engage with you based on reviews so it’s a crucial, if not critical, part to your marketing – especially  if you’re going after holiday sales!

Fine Tune Your Website 

Next, cast a critical eye at your website, and make sure it’s holiday sale ready. Do all the buttons work? If you’re selling off of your site, is the shopping cart easy to access and find? Take those new reviews you gained, and make sure to add them on your site. Remember: people like what other people like. 

Doing Book Events 

Sometimes getting in front of your buyer may be the best way to make a sale, and it’s easier than ever to do it this time of year. 

  •  Craft & Holiday Fairs: Between Harvest Festivals and Holiday Festivals, regional calendars listing craft and gift fairs really do fill up this time of year. Many of these places don’t book up the way they used to, so if you’re just now considering this, it could be a great time to check on pricing of these events. Check your local calendar to see what’s happening in your area and what you can piggy-back on. 

  •  Airports: Last year as I had family coming into the San Diego airport, I noticed several book signings going on in baggage claim. It’s really quite smart. You land at your destination and realize you forgot to get a gift for someone, what better gift than a signed book, right? The author even had a fun sign that read: Did you forget a gift for someone special? Autographed books make great presents! And he even had inexpensive gift bags in case the person needed one, too. Not all airports do this, so contact your local airport and see what their rules are regarding this. There may be a small fee associated with it, and in some cases (if you do a book signing inside the airport i.e. by the departure gates) they may tell you that they only do events with authors carried in the airport book stores. 

  •   Events in specialty stores: When I was first in business, it was nearly impossible to get authors into Barnes & Noble, let alone get them invited to do a book signing. Sadly, not much has changed in that regard. At that time I had several authors that I was working with who needed events, so I decided to venture out and try something new. I planned events in specialty stores, coffee shops (yes, even Starbucks) and Hallmark. Hallmark in particular is a fantastic store, because folks shopping there are often looking for a gift (and often last minute). I once did a signing at a Hallmark for my own book and sold out within an hour.  You may have to work out a consignment deal with them, meaning they don’t buy books from your publisher, but simply pay you for what’s sold. If you can pull it off, it’s well worth the effort to do so. The great thing about specialty stores is that you often have no competition with other authors – unlike in a bookstore, and the only barrier to this is helping the store understand how it will benefit them. Remind them that you’ll be doing some promotion around this to your local area, too.

A holiday ramp up doesn’t have to cost you a bundle, in fact if you plan far enough out and space your promotions they can build off one another in a way that pricey ads never seem to. Also keep in mind that while holiday sales are always the goal, a campaign like this, which is essentially an ongoing rotation will really help you draw in more readers – which in the end is always the goal! 

I’d love to hear about your holiday activities – what do you plan to do to promote your book to eager holiday shoppers, or what have you done in the past that’s been successful? 


Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She is the author of fourteen books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." 

Find me on HuffPo:
Follow me on Twitter: @Bookgal
AME's Facebook Fan Page


 Seekerville is giving away an e copy of Penny's release, How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon - Power Pack!: Sell Books by the Truckload & Get Reviews by the Truckload to two commenters.

And for two of you readers? A ten dollar Amazon gift card courtesy of Seeker Audra Harders. 

Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Day 16 of our 31 days of giveaways Birthday Bash!

Seekerville is giving away a copy of Penny's book, How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon - Power Pack!: Sell Books by the Truckload & Get Reviews by the Truckload to two commenters. - See more at:


Marianne Barkman said...

Welcome, Penny. What a great post. As a former store owner I can agree with the idea of early Christmas. In fact, calendars and cards are ordered in August! I post all my reviews on Goodreads!
Audra, I'm always in favour of gift cards, so please enter my name. Thanks

Mary Preston said...

All of this information has to be very helpful for all of the authors. I would imagine there would be a snow-ball effect if everything goes well.

Elaine Stock said...

I'm red-flagging this great information. Thanks for sharing!

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for the great information Penny. I'm not ready yet to be promoting my books but I do love to promote authors books on Amazon, Goodreads and my blog to name a few.

I would love my name thrown in the giveaway for the gift card. Thank you.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Happy Birthday Seekerville!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Penny, this is wonderful stuff. It's so easy to fall into the holidays helter/skelter and not leap into them with a plan. Life is busy, deadlines must be met, and so many of us are working jobs outside of writing, that finding time is a challenge. Your ideas to plan ahead, to attack the last quarter with a to-do list is so good!

Thank you for being here today! This is a printer-off kind of list!

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Penny, I've been a huge fan, following your book recommendations in the Costco newsletter for quite some time.

These ideas are so slap me in the head, why didn't I think of that..GENIUS!@!!

Thank you so much.

Tina Radcliffe said...

God didn't ever mean the croissant to be naked, Ruthy. A shot of chocolate and there is peace on earth.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Happy Friday and Day 16 of our birthday bash, Seekerville! We're drawing for that 50 dollar gift card on Sunday. You are all in the hat!! Happy Birthday!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love birthdays.

I love cake.

We need more cake. So here is a great montage of CAKE!!!!


Jackie said...

Welcome to Seekerville Penny!

I'm not published, but I'm making a copy of your post for my marketing file.

When you say calculate the cost of your promotion, you only mean how much you spend. Right? You don't count that if your book is $9.99 and you give it away free, you've lost $9.99 plus the advertising because it helps promote your other books. Thanks for clarifying to my pre-caffeine brain.

I appreciate all the suggestions you've given us. Thanks!

Did I hear chocolate croissants, Ruthy? Yum!

Happy birthday Seekerville!

cathyann40 said...

Happy Birthday! I'd love to win a gift card.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Penny!
Boy, this is great information. I've printed it for future reference.
Since I'm still working on revisions, my book won't be published before the holidays.
Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

Rose said...

Great information!

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome to Seekerville, PENNY! Thank you for the truckload of practical promotional ideas!

Several years ago I attended one of your workshops at the "Desert Dreams Writers Conference" in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it was chockfull of great ideas, too. While there I got a copy of your "From Book to Bestseller: An Insider's Guide to Publicizing and Marketing Your Book" and I also subscribe to your meaty newsletter! Now, if I just had more time to apply your fabulous tips!!

Sally Shupe said...

Thanks for this great post! I don't have books to sell yet, but I will keep this for future reference.

Writing reviews for authors is very helpful. Sometimes if I'm checking out a book and I don't know the author, if there aren't any reviews or just a few, I hesitate. I like the reviews to see what the book's about and what others thought about it. If any of you would like to have your book reviewed, I'd love to help out!

Tina, this has been a great Seekerville birthday! I've learned so much and connected to so many people. Thank you for all the work you do putting this together, and the daily posters. I love reading all the comments from the authors and readers and seeing how we're all connected. Have a great Friday everybody!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Welcome Penny!! Never would have thought of doing a book signing at Hallmark, but I agree with your reasoning. Thanks for some marketing tips. God bless!

Caryl Kane said...

Good Morning Penny! It's NEVER too early for Christmas shopping. During the year, I am on the look out for gifts. Signed books are the best!

Please put me in the drawing for the gift card.

Wilani Wahl said...

Penny, Welcome to Seekerville. I am not to the point of being published yet, but this helped me to understand a little more how things work. As a reader it also helped me to understand what I can do to help the authors.

Have a great day!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Penny,
From a reader's point of view I can attest to the fact free giveaways are an excellent way to attract a loyal fan base. One site I didn't see listed was Amazon itself. They always have a list of the bestsellers in Christian fiction, both paid and free. I find if I check their listings regularly, I will find authors I've read and new authors I want to try. If the book's free, there's no risk and I've found some terrific authors that way I'd never have found otherwise.

Sites like Seekerville are a great way to promote new authors too, as they host guest authors regularly that I have read and some who are new to me.

I've realized this year the value of reviews to authors and am making concerted efforts to do that more. I know I check them out when making book buying decisions.

Thanks for this informative post.

Marsha Bernabe said...

Great info! I'm a reader, SD o this tells me where to find great deals!

Enter Me In The Gift card drawing please!

DebH said...

I need to get on Goodreads and start posting reviews for all my Seeker books. This is my take away from today's post. I've only been posting on Amazon (usually straight from my Kindle while still basking in the warm fuzzies of my read).

Someday, when I actually get something publishable complete, I shall revisit and utilize the wisdom found in this post. They look like great ideas/tips.

I love Seekerville. October is Seekerville on steroids, regarding the excellence of information in all the Birthday month posts. I'd still be a fan-fic hack without the guidance I find here. THANK YOU SEEKER LADIES (to the power of infinity)

Vince said...

Hi Penny:

I'm already sold on your book by the title alone! And it's so reasonably priced that if I don't win it, I'll buy it Sunday.

I've been in marketing for over 30 years and I'll tell you this: if you're serious about marketing, you'll create a detailed annual marketing plan at the start of each new year.

And when it comes to authors, oy vey, the best marketing should always be done before the first word is written! There are settings, occupations, situtations, hobbies, events, pets, etc. which far out market others. It's as easy to love a rich man as a poor man, as my mother would tell my sister (to the chagrin of her three brothers), so why not start out by making your romance as rich in marketing potential as the story allows?

My greatest problems in marketing books have always been 'book-of-their-heart' pantsers not sure what they are writing until after they've written it!

I love plotters!


Sandra Ardoin said...

Loved all this advice, Penny. My Christmas novella released last year. It did pretty well, but I'm really trying to ramp it up again in preparation of my novel's release in January. As I read your post, the wheels were turning. I am booked for two local holiday events next month--one I did last year and really enjoyed. Even if only a couple of books sell there, I think they can be worth the time in PR. I also enjoyed your post on Writers in the Storm. (Am I allowed to say that here, ladies? :))

Candee Fick said...

Good morning, Penny, and thanks for the great tips. While some factors like price pulsing are in the hands of my publisher, I love all the other ways authors can be strategic. With my debut novel launching November 2nd, I'm already focused on a lot of these areas and am looking for ways to extend that push through December. Thanks for reinforcing that I'm on the right track.

I had to chuckle when you said to pull out our calendar. My calendar has morphed into a spreadsheet because those tiny squares couldn't hold all the guest blogs, social media, promotions, and events. Not to mention those notes to myself to remember to follow up on such-and-such because I KNOW I'm going to forget something important if I don't triple check my lists.

Jackie Smith said...

Penny, I enjoyed your posts....great ideas. I am a reader so thanks to Audra for the gift card giveaway!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Penny, these are wonderful tips--THANK YOU!!!! Definitely a keeper post! You're welcome in Seekerville anytime!

Must go back and read this again!

Donna said...

Hello, Penny! Your advice is very practical and doable. I would have never thought about all of the people getting eraders for Christmas. They need ebooks!

I love October!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, you post amazing reviews. Absolutely beautiful, well-thought and I could hug you each time I see your name!

The Goodreads reviews are great, too, though. And with Amazon and Goodreads inter-connected, it's a help to authors to have reviews on both sites.

And if I don't thank you enough for all you do, let me do it publicly right now. You are such a blessing. Go you!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Penny. Thanks for being here and giving us great marketing tips! I never thought of having signings at specialty shops like Hallmark. Like much of marketing this is out of my comfort zone, but I'll put on my big girl panties and look into it. The first item on my To Do list is getting my website updated. Time's awastin'


Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, thanks for the coffee and the yummy chocolate croissants!!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Good morning Penny, What a great post and so timely for me since I have two books out this month. I've been doing some research myself and following most of the hints you've provided. Great going.

I really appreciate the list of places to advertise. I had a list but it wasn't current so am glad to have a better list.

Also, a question for you. I have been told so many times that Goodreads is a great place. But when I go on it, it seems to really focus on discussions of books and reviews. So can an author really contribute if they aren't writing a review? I know about the giveaways, but what other ways can an author use this? I'm such a dunce. lol

Thanks again for joining us today. Have fun.

Kate said...

OOOH! I'd love the Amazon certificate! Thanks for the giveaway!!!!

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Hi Penny. I enjoyed your post and saved it for future use. I'm only published in several anthologies and short stories. But, I did a book signing in Books-A-Million for one of the 15 Chicken Soup books I'm in. A good turn out for sure and I faced the front door. So I can vouch for people who turn their head and march up the aisle right past you as if you don't exist. My first writing teacher said most people asked her where the bathrooms were when she did one. So she handed them a book and said read a few pages and let me know what you think. They either took it back to her or bought it. Just some food for thought. It's lonely and scary to do a book signing alone for the first time. Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Happy Birthday Seekersville. Another day, another great post. Love this group.

S. Trietsch said...

Fascinating information that I can look forward to using!!

Thanks Penny!


Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Sandra,
On the subject of Goodreads, I started using it to track my books and ratings so I didn't have to write them down. Then I became friends with some of my favorite authors and realized if they had blogs those blogs would post on my home page. So, if you blog and send out friend request or your seeker friends see you on there, it's a great way to keep your name in the forefront of readers. Just my personal experience and 2¢ :)

Janet Kerr said...

This is all such great information that you put together. Thank you!

Meghan Carver said...

Good morning, Penny! Thank you so much for your efforts here with a wonderful post. A book signing in the airport is a fascinating idea, especially with the gift bags. We live within an hour of a major airport, so I think I'll look into it. Love innovative ideas like that!

Connie Queen said...

Penny, this is a keeper post for when I get published. I'm w/Meghan on the loving the idea of a book signing at the airport.
Now I need to get busy writing so I can put these great ideas to work.


Megan Besing said...

Keeping all this on my 'must remember list' Thanks!

Evelyn said...

This is so true. As a reader myself, these ways of promoting your book totally work. Books with a lot of reviews are actually good. Make the readers fall in love with the book and make them want to review. Thanks for the great post

Evelyn said...

This is so true. As a reader myself, these ways of promoting your book totally work. Books with a lot of reviews are actually good. Make the readers fall in love with the book and make them want to review. Thanks for the great post

Evelyn said...

This is so true. As a reader myself, these ways of promoting your book totally work. Books with a lot of reviews are actually good. Make the readers fall in love with the book and make them want to review. Thanks for the great post

Missy Tippens said...

Wow! This is some great information! Welcome, Penny, and thanks for sharing! I can see I have a lot to learn. I think this is a post to print! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, I love this quote from you and your mother! :)

Vince said: It's as easy to love a rich man as a poor man, as my mother would tell my sister (to the chagrin of her three brothers), so why not start out by making your romance as rich in marketing potential as the story allows?

Missy Tippens said...

Sally, I agree. I always look at reviews (on books and on products on Amazon). If there are no reviews or only a few, I often move on to another item. So yes, reviews are helpful! Even if they're not all positive.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Okay, I am going to admit it out loud, I am terrified of Goodreads. Am I the only one?? I'm like the puny class runt who is afraid she will get beat up.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Evelyn!! Three times is the charm. Lol

Lyndee H said...

Thanks for the post, Penny.

I don't have a book out. I guess that makes me a reader. That's sobering...

Back to the WIP.

Myra Johnson said...

Tina, I know I don't take full advantage of Goodreads. I do have an author profile there, but not sure how to make the best use of it.

Debby Giusti said...

Nodding in Tina's direction. I haven't made the Goodreads leap frightens me as well!

Thanks, Penny, for the great information. I'm on deadline and trying to unclutter my workload so I can write. But, I will return and re-look all the great tips you provided. If only there were more hours in the day!


Tracey Hagwood said...

TINA, TINA, TINA! You are on Goodreads whether you realize it or not. Anyone who looks up your name can find a listing of all your books, so all you need to do now is fill in the author profile info, so if a reader finds a book of yours they like, they can find out more about you and any upcoming books, that's a good thing!

You can make it work for you, you don't have to enter into any chats if you don't want to, but I've seen some authors who have a "ask the author a question" link and that's a great way to interact with your readers, remember #no limits, be all you can be and all that, LOL!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, you are so right.

I always works a year to 18 months ahead now that I'm published, examining what's going on in book mania world. And then I work hard to implement that plan.

And you're right. Certain prototypes sell faster than others. Cops, first responders, military heroes, lawmen, sheriffs, and construction guys are among the top sellers.

We like heroes we can trust intrinsically, before we even know them!

But I also like taking that road less traveled (like "Refuge of the Heart") and delivering a story that steps outside the expected and becomes possibly a new normal.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

But I try to fit it all within the basic framework of the plan!

Bookgal said...

Thanks everyone for these great comments wow I'm just blown away! I'm going through them now to see if there were any specific questions for me. I'll keep checking back! Happy Birthday Seekersville!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Evelyn, I love your name. I have two little friends named Evelyn, one is seven and one is three. One is called "Ev" by everyone, and the other is Evvie. Do people shorten yours?

I love old-fashioned names!

Valri said...

I'm a reader and I loved this post! It's like a sneak peek into the things authors go through! Thanks! I love giving AND getting books for the holidays! Of course, I do it all year long too! Because of that, please enter me in the gift card giveaway! Thanks!

Pam Hillman said...

I've learned some new tricks today and how to spice up some of the old. I've blogged, I've been involved in strategic price pulsing, I've participated in October Birthday bashes (now where would THAT be?), March BIAW, Goodreads giveaways, Facebook Events, boot-on-the-ground events, bookstore booksignings, etc.

I'm currently scheduled for 2 local festivals, one in 2 weeks and another in about a month. There's another one TOMORROW that I just found out about, but I just don't think I have the energy to participate.

Signings at the airport... now that's thinking outside the box. :)

I write historical romance with a western worldview. I'm hoping to sign at the local stockyard on the next special sale day when moms and kids come out for the sale.

karenk said...

I always learn something from your postings...thanks for sharing :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, PENNY, am I glad YOU are here today, girlfriend -- I am getting ready to promote several new releases and a few old ones, so this blog today is JUST the ticket -- THANK YOU!!

LOVE your suggestions, especially the ebook promos and reviews, both of which I work on most diligently and have had pretty good success. But your other tips I will definitely have to try, so THANK YOU!!


Julie Lessman said...

TINA SAID: "Okay, I am going to admit it out loud, I am terrified of Goodreads. Am I the only one??"

LOL -- NO, Tina, you are not! I'm a big chicken when it comes to Goodreads because they are definitely a tougher audience than the general public or one's reader friends. But I know I need to dive it and hope to soon. Of course, I said that about Pinterest, too, and I'm STILL clueless there as well. :)

TINA ALSO SAID: "God didn't ever mean the croissant to be naked, Ruthy. A shot of chocolate and there is peace on earth."



Julie Lessman said...

SUZANNE SAID: "I'm only published in several anthologies and short stories. But, I did a book signing in Books-A-Million for one of the 15 Chicken Soup books I'm in. A good turn out for sure and I faced the front door. So I can vouch for people who turn their head and march up the aisle right past you as if you don't exist. My first writing teacher said most people asked her where the bathrooms were ... It's lonely and scary to do a book signing alone for the first time."

First of all, SUZ ... being "published in several anthologies and short stories" is AMAZING, so I would definitely delete the word "only" from your comment above, girl! You sound like you're doing pretty darn good to me and WAY better than most writers!

Secondly, I can attest to the dismal book signings. The only good ones I ever had were when I sent out postcards to my son's wedding list (smile) and then another at the place I worked during a Book Fair where I was the only author. LOTS AND LOTS of sold books, trust me. But since then? Ha! I don't even do book signings anymore because I'm not that brave. :)


Loves To Read said...

Hi Penny - what an interesting article and I love holiday stories. Please enter me in the drawing for the book and Amazon cards.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Tracey Thank you so much for the information about Goodreads. I'm astounded that Tina is in same boat with me. She is usually way ahead of me on the knowledge curve. chuckle. But I know exactly what she means by being terrified. Yikes. It just mind boggles me but the way you say it sounds doable.

So when you say you become friends with other authors or readers is that like you do on Facebook and you friend someone? I'm so embarrassed to sound so dumb, but I'm sure this will help others besides me. LOL

And how do you get how to ask an author a question link?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Suzanne Julie is giving great advice. Ditch the "only" because that is really impressive. Its always wonderful to be published and it isn't a matter of how, but who all you reach in your readership. Go girl.

Thanks Julie, After hearing you and Tina with Goodreads, I'm definitely feeling much better. I thought I was so alone out there in that frightening place. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

DebH. You are cracking me up by calling us Seekerville on steroids this month. That is just tickling my funny bone. I guess we do get excited but do you want to know why? Its because we get so amazed and excited about all the friends we make here in Seekerville. It is totally awesome. We learn more from you all and it is always so much fun.

Thank you for helping us make this a great "hyped up" birthday celebration.

Bettie said...

Great article but I have a long way to go so please let someone else win the promotion material. can throw my name in for the gift cards.

Hey Mary C! ..I'm not an Ellen show fan but I caught the credits just before the evening news. Someone with your name is the executive producer!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Janet I'm so with you on needing to get those big girl panties on. I do some of these things, but am intimidated to do others. sigh. Maybe if we hold hands. LOL Shall we give it a try? sigh.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ah Vince You are so wise. You know you have been saying this for awhile and we have been talking about a plan of action in other posts. It just now occurred to me after reading your post, that if I really sat down and wrote out a marketing plan, week by week, I would actually do it because it would then become a matter of checking off the list. I get so intimidated, and really it is just a matter of doing a few things. Taking a few steps. Yes, yes, yes, it is finally sinking from the head down to the heart. I may just be able to do this. Goodreads and all. yippee. Now that is a great birthday gift.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Lyndee Lucky you. Dealing with the wip only. sigh. But then again, Vince says to plan ahead. But still you're doing the best part of this business now. Lucky you. sigh

Sandra Leesmith said...

Sally What a smashing offer. I will be emailing you.

If anyone else wants a copy of Love's Dream Song to review, just go to my website and go to the contact page and send me an email. Thank you. Thank you.

Bettie said...

The spelling of that Mary's last name is slightly different. ...Internet research ....

Tracey Hagwood said...

I first started using Goodreads to track books read and those I wanted to read. After looking up a few authors I saw you could click a follow button and usually a friend button too. Once you do that, the authors' or anyone you become friends with including other readers and bloggers, info will scroll across your home page updates. So yes, it's very much like FB, but with an emphasis on books.

I don't know as much about how it works from the authors side but I clicked on MYRA'S page to follow her today and saw she had answered a followers question, maybe it appears after you fill out your profile. Maybe she could advise on that part at least.

I think every author should at least fill out their profile info, after all its free advertising and I'm sure the networking works to a writer's advantage in the long run.

Hope my small amount of info is helpful. The more readers know you, the more books you can sell.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Meghan and Connie Queen Be sure and let us know how it works at the airport. I love airports. It would be fun. Places like those kiosks with Sees candy do smashing business for those exact reasons.

I've done other places before like grocery stores, library, church reception areas, and all were great. (Except library. Everyone goes there for a free book. ha ha)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Sally Can you send me your email addie? I went to your blogspot which looks great btw. What a wonderful resource of reviews. But I couldn't find where to make contact. Thanks.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Sandra, I went and looked you up on Goodreads, you do have your profile filled out!

Sandra Leesmith said...

TRACEY Bless you. I will look into that. And I will ask Myra. Oh my. I've learned so much today. yippee. And you are so right. The more names are out there, the better. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Tracey Yes, I have been into Goodreads. Amber helped me get started, but now that I'm there, I haven't a clue what to do. lol. But I'm going to get in there and learn.

Myra Johnson said...

Whoa, TRACEY, I really did that? Answered a follower's question? It must have been so long ago that I don't even remember doing it!

Chill N said...

Another good Penny post :-) Bookmarked for the future. The Author Marketing Experts blog & newsletter are super resources. Thank you!

Nancy C

Tracey Hagwood said...

Haha MYRA, I think it was a popular Goodreads question, maybe you answered it when you filled out your profile.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Yay Sandra, I see you on my update feed, you're doing girl!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I agree Nancy C. I subscribe to Penny's newsletter. Excellent.

Now where are those leftover croissants??

Trixi said...

Not really sure what to say about today's post as I'm not a writer so I have no books to!!

But I can agree on the early Christmas thing....oh boy (shakes my head in disbelief)!! At our local Costco (like a Sam's club for you who don't know) in the MIDDLE of August, they had some Christmas ribbons, bows & decorations!! I was asking myself....WHY?? I don't even think about shopping until November (black Friday anyone?), sheesh!! My other pet peeve, Thanksgiving seems to get shoved aside more and more each year. I see fall decorations, but not cute little turkeys or table cloths decorated with Cornucopias or anything like that. I'm a HUGE Thanksgiving fan & I think it's important to take the time to reflect on what we're most thankful for! Anyone else feel like this, or am I the only one in the corner cheering section here?? :-D

Ok, now that I'm off my soapbox...haha....please add my name to the pot for one of those Amazon gift cards....maybe I'll buy me some of those cute little turkeys for my table decorations this year :-D

Sarah Claucherty said...

I hope there's a chocolate croissant left for me! I'm starving; somehow I forgot food all day.

Sounds like Penny's post is full of great advice for writers :) And milady authors, Goodreads is lots of fun, so never fear!

Please add me to the gift card drawing!

Heidi Robbins said...

Great ideas! As a reader I like helping out authors by posting reviews. I don't think it's bad to ask- though it might be a little uncomfortable asking for help, I think readers like connecting with their favorite authors and feeling like they are making a difference :)
Please enter me in the reader giveaway!

Jamie Adams said...

This post if full of great information. Thanks, Penny. A keeper for sure.

Heidi H said...

As an avid and very frugal reader, I have to say that Penny's suggestions are spot-on! I live on a very tight budget, so I RARELY purchase ebooks at full price (unless it's an author that I already know and love). I always have my eye open for discounted or free ebooks, and because I know a lot of authors run these types of promos during the holidays, I find myself scouring their Facebook pages, websites, and blogs on a daily basis, seeking out current or upcoming deals. If the social medium is captivating enough, I will usually begin purusing it on a more regular basis (all year long), which puts me more in tune to the authors and their books on a more consistent basis. I especially like to use these holiday promos to try out new-to-me authors, and if I like what I read, you can bet that I will be purchasing more of their books in the near future! I also really like it when authors are able to connect a certain aspect of the book they're promoting to the current holiday season (ex. family cookie recipes) - that's just plain fun and puts everyone in the holiday spirit. I'm not an author myself, but I hope that this reader's input will help some authors somewhere to generate interest in their books and build up their fan base!

Heidi H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanya Agler said...

Dear Penny, I'm unpublished, but your marketing tips are definitely worth saving for that time after I get the call. Reviews are usually on the bottom of my writing to-do list, and there are days I am better about finishing my list than others, but you gave me renewed interest in finishing my entire list in order to help out writers whose books I loved reading.

I haven't ever given an e-book as a Christmas gift, but I wonder if that will catch on in the coming years and may be something I look into this year. I got my first catalogs in the mail today, but there's something about a new book that just screams a warm cup of hot chocolate, a blanket, and a Christmas tree.

bonton said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Penny!!

Please put my name in the giveaway for readers - thank you!!

Terri said...

Wow, wow, wow! I'm so thankful to Penny for posting these great tips. You've got fantastic ideas! Please include me in the drawing for all of today's giveaways.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Tracey. I found it.

Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Thank you for this super article! I will save these wonderful ideas and appreciate your innovative approach. Very refreshing. I'll bet I'd enjoy your events a lot!

About Goodreads, I've enjoyed reading my favorite author friends' reviews of current works and also recommendations of old ones to revisit. Sometimes you get to see it through their eyes in a new way, like sharing a favorite secret. Make the connections with your friends and it seems much more worthwhile. I think my other favorite part is when people fill out what they're reading now, and I get to see one I've admired is a kindred spirit in a new way. I've started putting in my reviews and trying to add something special from my background or perspective so it does not reiterate the same information as others over and over. Two cents!

Would love to be entered, too.

Natalie Monk said...

Wow. This post is chock full of helpful tips and links! Still looking in through the window of the "Unpubbed Waiting Room," I'll have to tuck this one away and study it for future reference. Thanks, Penny, for a great post!

Wow at the birthday giveaways flowing around here. I'd love to be entered for anything. Hmm. Especially one of those Amazon gift cards I've got my eye on a book from there. :)

Jon and Vicki Marney said...

Some good info here, as always! Thanks Seeker illegal for bringing awesome people to share 'just what we need, just when we need it'! I would love to have my name drawn for any of these gifts.

Kara Isaac said...

With two books coming out next year I'm eagerly absorbing all of this and adding it into my marketing file. Thanks so much for all the helpful tips :) I'd love to be in the draw for the Amazon gift cards.

The Artist Librarian said...

I've never heard of book signings at an airport! How cool!

As a reader, I normally go to goodreads to read reviews and I'll often put books on my TBR list from a friend's good review.

Thanks for the chance to win --amazon rocks. =)

Jeanette Hill said...

These are really good tips! I plan to use several of them. I am a playwright (in the process of becoming an author) but for several of my author friends I have dramatized/adapted short excerpts from their books for conferences and festivals! They went over really well!

Jeanette Hill said...

Would like to be entered as well! Happy birthday!!

Jeanette Hill said...

Yes, I agree, it really is, Ruth! I am working on adapting several of my plays into novellas (backwards, I know!) but this post has given me ideas for marketing in 2016!!! Great stuff! (Still using the info from your Write a Series' class for my novellas)

Deanna Stevens said...

I am a reader & would like to be entered..
Very interesting, when I was quilting some of these suggestions would have been handy..
Maybe I will market a few more quilts with these ideas! Thank you..

Sally Shupe said...

Hey, Sandra. Thanks so much! I will send you an email. It's sallyshupe1 at gmail dot com.

Bookgal said...

From Sandra: Also, a question for you. I have been told so many times that Goodreads is a great place. But when I go on it, it seems to really focus on discussions of books and reviews. So can an author really contribute if they aren't writing a review? I know about the giveaways, but what other ways can an author use this? I'm such a dunce. lol -

The answer is YES -- so the best way to "be" on Goodreads is to show up, but don't show up with a heavy promotional arm. Network via groups, contributing ideas (sort of like the comments on this post) and yes, you'll need to review. But honestly, if you only have time to review one book a month (or 2!) and just list books you've read by just starring them that's fine. Here's a quick tip: go to your bookshelf and download the Goodreads app for your phone. Then use the scanner and can the bar codes of the books, this will easily put them on your bookshelf and you can rate them from there! Hope that helps!

Deanne Patterson said...

Penny excellent post today. I always love the holiday books that come out each year. You have excellent points on how to get your books promoted. I especially liked the airport idea. With all the millions of holiday air travelers book signings are an excellent idea. I am always happy to promote books I read . I leave reviews on Goodreads of every book I read. I share for authors through Pinterest,Facebook and Twitter. I think it's important to get the word out about Christian books. Please enter me in the drawing for the Gift cards. Thank you

Deanne Patterson
Book1lovingmomma at gmail dot com