Monday, November 16, 2020

Holiday Marketing for Authors

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Tis’ the season for promoting books as gifts! Ideas of what to do abound, so consider the options and start planning and implementing holiday promotions.

Special Christmas Sale

Author Paula K. Parker starts planning her holiday sale early. This year she created an Old-Fashioned Christmas Sale to honor a cherished grandmother. She said, “Grandma always had her Christmas gifts purchased by July. She shopped early in order to take advantage of sales. This allowed her to ship early, so her gifts would arrive in time. This allowed he to spend all of December decorating, baking, and enjoying her family.”

Her sale consists of two parts: 1. People can use the coupon code Xmas on her website during checkout to receive 15% off their entire purchase. 2. If they purchase a copy of “Sisters of Lazarus; Beauty Unveiled” – either by itself or in the Sisters of Lazarus bundle – they can use the coupon code Ship Free to receive free shipping. This can be eblasted and ramped up on social media on cyber Monday.

Newsletter Cross Promotion

I’m starting a little late with a group of friends. We can get more mileage to combine our sales and other promotional activities. To gain the most long-term results from our efforts we will each offer a free downloadable pdf, plus share freebies and deals anyone gets if they subscribe to that person’s newsletter. We’ll each include the information in our own newsletter to get it to everyone’s mailing list and hope that helps us each grow our lists. 

We’ll also make a landing page for the specials and create a meme to spread the word on our social media outlets. We can place the meme on our websites too and make postcards to hand out at live events.

Live Christmas Book Events

Though many have been cancelled, I have a few church bazaars and places to sell in person this year. Search online and check with local writers to see what’s happening in your area. Ask how they advertise the event. Is it mostly their own congregation or do the attract the community? That will help you choose which ones will be a good match. Once you sign up, be sure to check on whether you need to bring a table or table covering or if one will be supplied.

If you have an inexpensive supply of gift bags, offer those free to customers with a purchase. Be sure to include a bookmark or other handout with your contact information to encourage future purchases. With my children’s books, I like to give out free art kits in a zip lock bag. They make great stocking stuffers and the directions include the matching book cover and title. Freebies, even tip sheets, can engage customers and give them a way to remember you. Add sample notes that can be packaged with the book to make it a more personal present, such as Add joy to your life throughout the coming year with this joy filled devotional.

Social Media Promotion

Snap photos of recent releases or a Christmas special with decorations in the background. Post those on social media and use one for a Christmas blog post. Write about a Christmas memory, fun and easy tradition, or tips to lesson stress, or other topic that will interest your audience.

Consider creating some FB live posts to spread holiday cheer and share a bit about the book. It’s the time of year when I’ll share some Christmas bread recipes and other easy to make treats and crafts. 

Create a Christmas Pinterest board with some recipes, tips, and your books that include notes of how they will add hope or joy to the life of recipients. Add links to your videos bout the product.

Create a countdown or twelve days of Christmas line up of posts. I’ve done 12 days of crafting tips and 12 days of Christmas articles from ones I wrote over the years. I might do one on simple decorations and package toppers this year. Think of ideas easy to do as live videos or PPT presentations.

Personalize the Gifting!

Consider an ornament to make or inexpensive item to add to the package for those who order a certain amount. One of my specials this year will be a free teddy bear necklace kit with the purchase of one of my Weekly Devotions books. If you are not crafty checkout bargains and see if you can find something to give. If the quantities are limited, then state that the first XX number of orders that receive the gift. Or, offer a sneak peek into the first chapter of an upcoming book, signed by the author.

Gift Author Friends with Needed Reviews

Remember author friends who often need more book reviews and try to do a few before the holidays! If you have a group of friends or a critique group, consider a book swap where each person reviews the book they get at the swap. You’ll celebrate your books and gain a little more form it. You might include special friend prices to buy at your gathering, for gifts for their loved ones.

Add to the cheer and marketing opportunities by posting your tips for holiday marketing. We all gain from many ideas and make the season merrier!


Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting


  1. Great Ideas for marketing, Karen. Thank you for sharing. Your post is very helpful. I like every thing you suggest.

  2. Thanks for these ideas, Karen. I love the idea of gifting reviews of books of fellow authors. That's the kind of gift I would like to receive, so it's one I will surely give.