Last week I asked people to share their holiday eBook sales plans and Lily’s was so detailed and filled with helpful information that I decided to share her full response. Based in the UK and both self- and traditionally published, Lily Harlem is a romance writer skilled in the art of marketing and promotion. Even if you are not a romance author you'll get plenty of actionable insights like these:
- Start early! (Lily began planning her holiday strategy in August.)
- Take advantage of the free space at the end of your eBook to market your other books.
- If you use KDP Select—and Lily uses it for some books—plan well in advance and schedule all 5 days at once.
- Be generous with older books by giving them away as a marketing tool to attract new readers.
- Schedule blog posts in advance so you can enjoy your holiday.
- Promote fellow authors in your genre—it benefits your readers and your guest contributor.
- Check out Triberr for marketing.
Take it away Lily Harlem:
I'm a multi-published, award-winning author represented on both sides of the Atlantic by HarperCollins, Ellora' Cave and Totally Bound, I also self-publish my own work (ebooks) enjoying the freedom of not just of the writing but also the marketing.
I've been preparing for my 2013 Christmas promotions since August, planning which books I have on Amazon KDP to offer for free, on discount and organising blog tours, blog hops, meme's and guest posts.
Amazon's KDP publishing platform allow for books to be made for free for up to five days out of every three months. What's always worked for me is doing this five days in one big chunk between Christmas and New Year and if possible making sure I cover a weekend within my dates. This means the sales can gather momentum, add up to a decent amount and, and if you're lucky, get into the Amazon Free Chart – I've hit the #1 spot in the Erotic and Romance Charts a total of 4 times in 2013 with this tactic.
I plan my free books well in advance and use a variety of free sites which can be found on Author Marketing Club to list my book. [AuthorImprints: see our list of 24 free or low cost KDP Select promo sites] I write erotic romance and not all sites will accept this genre but there are still enough to make it worth my while. Last year I had thousands of downloads between Christmas and New Year of my novel Scored, a sexy soccer romance, which I was thrilled about, not least because I had added teasers, excerpts and links from my other novels at the end to tempt people into buying my other books—self-published and titles out with my publishers. I found an increase in sales over the first four months of 2013 from all the books I'd promoted and this included gaining more reviews which of course are very valuable on Amazon.
A new option on Amazon is to offer books at a discounted price, this is new for this year so I have no information on how it will effect sales but I'm certainly willing to give it a go.
[AuthorImprints: Amazon’s Expands KDP Select to Include Kindle Countdown Deals Benefit]
I have a novel and a short story that are Christmas themed. Both are several years old now but still I dust off their virtual covers and shout about them over the festive season, usually offering them for free in any contests I get involved in, these might be blog hops or contests on sites such as Goodreads. I figure if people read them and like my voice and style, again they'll go and hunt out more of my titles.
On the subject of blogging, I set my blog up with scheduled posts so that I don't have to try and cook a turkey, wrap presents and figure out my promotion all at the same time. Right now, in November, it wouldn't matter if I didn't touch my blog again until new Year, it's all scheduled ahead of time to promote my free and discounted books as well as host guests. Hosting guests over Christmas on your blog is a great idea, and far from readers choosing their books over yours, what it does is bring a new crowd to your ‘shop window'. If your guests are writing in the same genre as you then these new blog visitors will have the same literary interests – it's a win-win situation for you both.
[AuthorImprints: read our interview with Heather Hummel about how she partners with fellow authors to cross-promote each other.]
I will also be using Triberr and Facebook to promote making sure I speak in Twitter language with hashtags etc and using my author page and groups to shout about my freebies, discounts and guests. Some of this can also be scheduled but I'm happy to sit with a glass of mulled wine and dip into the world of writing that I adore so much.
I hope that helps and wishing you a very happy Christmas,
Winner of the 2009 LoveHoney Award for Erotic Fiction
Visit Lily’s website at Lilyharlem.com.