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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

Holiday Sales – Pros and Cons
Kate Gingold Host
/ Categories: Author Tips

Holiday Sales – Pros and Cons

When you’re being bombarded by ads for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and tons of similar holiday sales, you can’t help but wonder:  How can I get in on this action with my book?

Do people buy more books during the holidays? Certainly they do. Does it make sense for you to pursue these sales? That answer is much less certain. 

To be blunt, not every book has obvious gift potential. People tend to buy coffee-table type books or the latest best-seller because they are easy choices to make. You know the thinking process and have probably gone through it yourself: 

“Dad likes old cars and here’s a nice book on old cars.” 

“The latest James Patterson is out and my sister reads those.”

“The new grandchild should have this old classic that our kids used to love.”

That’s not to say shoppers don’t buy new and less-commercial books, but they have to be really motivated to do that instead of taking the easy path. Targeted advertising can help you find those shoppers.

Like any giftable item, you have to be hanging out where people are looking since they can’t choose you if you aren’t there to be chosen. That availability doesn’t just happen. You have to build toward it through marketing and distribution. Big publishers know the routine and follow a plan for the books they think will do well during the holiday season, but new and self-published authors are often reactive rather than proactive and don’t get a holiday marketing strategy in place early enough. 

You’ve no doubt heard the truism that you can have only one of these three things: Good, Fast or Cheap. This applies to your book marketing as well. Last-minute marketing isn’t cheap and the margin on book sales isn’t very generous. Authors really have to weigh the Return On Investment before deciding to run a holiday advertising blitz. Is your goal to get your book in the hands of readers or to make money? Only you know the answer to that!

If you do pursue promotion of your books during the holidays, it makes sense to remind shoppers that Kindle books can be gifted up until the very last minute as well as purchased now to be delivered later. All they need is a valid email address for the recipient. 

So what should you expect from the holiday shopping season? There’s a lot of noise already out there, so competition in general is going to be fierce. On the other hand, if you have a very niche audience that you can get in front of, you could do well. Do your ROI research before making any expensive decisions and experiment. Let us know how it goes! We’d love to hear from you.

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Full disclosure:  Writing for Sprocket Websites is my day job, so if you have questions about digital marketing, I'm happy to help!


Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



Get a Book Siging Checklist and our Sprocket Report

Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

No worries! She won't use your email address for anything else, and you can unsubscribe from the newsletter anytime, but the checklist is yours to keep.

Any questions of Kate? Leave them in the message field and she'll get back to you ASAP.

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