Seven Top Tips for Promoting your Novel as Holiday Read

2015-06-07 15.04.54Would your novel make a great holiday read? If so, now might be the time for a promotion.

Waterstones’ Summer Holiday Book Club list will be out in the next week or two. They pick a bunch of recently published books and through emails and blog posts, market them as great novels to take on holiday. It’s a promotion, pure and simple, but as many, many people do most of their reading on their summer holidays, the holiday season is too good an opportunity to miss.

So here are a few tips and ideas for promoting your novel as a holiday read.

  1. Start now. I know the school holidays don’t begin until late July. But don’t leave it until then, because the cruise ship will have sailed. Apart from anything else, plenty of people who don’t have children take their holidays before the resorts are overwhelmed by families. You don’t want to miss those relaxed singles and couples lazing on beaches in June and July.
  2. Plan a campaign. Run it over a few weeks. Work around a trio of pieces – a combination of blog posts and emails perhaps. Don’t just say the same thing over and over; build your picture by taking a different aspect of your novel each time. Leave a few days up to a couple of weeks between communications, and don’t do more than three pieces – you don’t want to annoy your potential readers.
  3. Think ‘Holiday’. If there’s anything about your book that relates specifically to holidays, travel, foreign lands, journeys or adventures for example, make the most of it in your promotion. It’s an extra angle.
  4. Have a price promotion. Discounting by even a little for a specified and limited time can be effective in boosting interest for practically anything. Everyone loves a bargain.
  5. Think beyond the internet. I know social media gets you a worldwide audience. But you’re a drop in an ocean of authors trying to attract readers. Think about your personal contact list, friends and neighbours, colleagues and the school-gate, clubs and organisations. Everyone belongs to multiple formal and informal networks and knows lots of people. You probably promoted your novel to them all when it first came out, but beyond your most loyal supporters, friends and family, there is still a community of potential readers; people who, with a gentle nudge, will like the idea of a holiday read, written by someone they actually know.
  6. Create a physical promotional piece. Because Singled Out is set on a summer holiday, this was a no-brainer for me. I’ve created a postcard-sized promotion using the image from the book cover. Duh, but it’s meant to look like a holiday postcard sent from a friend. I’ll be spreading it around over the next few weeks. I’m hoping it might end up hanging about on the front of a few fridges over coming months too. I used my cover designer (Alessio Varvarà) and VistaPrint to create the card. Other options – bookmarks (of course!), and for those on a very tight budget, simple home-printed leaflets. If you take that route, all you need is some best-quality paper (high gsm, sheen/gloss perhaps). It doesn’t have to cost the earth.
  7. Compile your own Summer Holiday Book Club list. It’s great to collaborate with other authors and recommended reads attract, guess what, readers. I’ll be putting an indie and small-press Summer Holiday Book Club list together for this blog in the next week or two, so, as they say, ‘watch this space’ for a fresh list of recommended reads.

14 thoughts on “Seven Top Tips for Promoting your Novel as Holiday Read

  1. Great tips, Julie. I love the postcard idea. You’re right–we often forget about marketing in the face-to-face realm (probably because it’s more uncomfortable), but the cards are a wonderful way to announce our book. Gives people something tangible too, so they can look it up later.

    1. Thank you! Bizarrely I think I’m *more*’comfortable face-to-face (I wonder if this disqualifies me from true introvert status). I really enjoy the personal connections that build on social media, but the vast noisiness of the online world is not my natural space. Give me a one-on-one connection any day!

      1. I suspect you’re an ambivert–a combination of the two. I think that’s the best of both worlds. My husband is an ambivert and he’s very grounded in all situations. I love that.

        1. Thank you! Although my story has particular resonance as a summer holiday read, I think it’s a great opportunity for any author to promote. All the big retailers and book clubs do summer holiday promotions – so why not the indies?!

    1. Hi Charlton, and thanks for visiting my blog. I’m afraid it’s a one-off recommendation list and it will only include a few indie and small-press books that I have read and enjoyed personally. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of your books, so I can’t add them to this list. I don’t set myself up as a reviewer – I’m a writer like you. I just thought it would be nice to do a ‘holiday reads’ post, given the time of year.

      However… I do occasionally invite fellow bloggers to submit 200-300 words of their own work, plus a link to their blog or book in the comments to the invitation blog post. I’ll be doing another one of those shortly, to celebrate the next blog reader/follower milestone – that’ll be when I get to 2,500 followers (I’m at 2,473 at the moment!). I include all sorts of books in this, so please do look out for it as I’d be very happy to include yours. It will be within the next few weeks – hopefully!

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