As I write this blog post, Christmas and Hanukkah are just under six months away. And Thanksgiving? It’s on November 28 this year.
The unfortunate truth is that if you want to have your book ready for holiday sales—let’s say mid-November latest—you need to have your manuscript ready for the design and editing stages now.
When is the next best time for selling books? Believe it or not, it’s January. If you miss the holiday sales period, take advantage of people cashing in their gift cards in January and February.
When Should I Contact Book Design and Editing Services?
So when should you hire an editor, cover designer, page designer, typesetter, and a proofreader?
Again, let’s work backwards. If you want people to review your book, you can order some advanced reader copies (ARC) before the book is completed. Aim to have these done by the beginning of October, which gives people time to read it and send a thoughtful review without too much pressure. Alternatively, send them a PDF of your book, just before the final proofreading.
At 1106 Design, the process of publishing a book includes cover design, page design, editing, typesetting and proofreading. With necessary pauses along the way to review, reflect and revise, most books take approximately three months. As you can see, time is running short!
Your manuscript should be handed in by early August to have an ARC or PDF ready to send to people for endorsements and reviews by mid-October.
But don’t wait until your manuscript is ready to book time with your editors and book designers! For example, we can save time now by starting on your cover design while you are finishing your manuscript. If you have a more pressing deadline, let your book designer know so that they can work with you to meet it.
Holiday Book Sales Starts with Book Marketing
Let’s take a look at that November deadline and think about book marketing for a minute.
Even if your book is already published, you should start thinking about marketing soon, and if your book is not yet published, know that book marketing needs to start well before your book is launched. To help your holiday sales, take the following actions for book marketing:
- Create an author website that includes a way for people to order your book and allows for bulk orders (think office and client gifts!). While your website can be simple and clean, it should include a few essential components. See this blog post from our archives on what your website should include.
- Start promoting your book via the social media channels that make sense for your book’s genre. Where do your readers hang out online? For example, children’s books are geared for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, which parents use. A business book would be best promoted on LinkedIn and Twitter. Focus on just a couple of platforms (e.g., Facebook and Instagram) and do them well.
- Reviews, reviews, reviews. And endorsements. Aim to launch your book on Amazon with people ready to post reviews. You can also include endorsements in the Editorial Reviews section of the book description on Amazon. You can post reviews and endorsements on social media and your website. Ask people to do Facebook Live reviews of your book.
- Sign up for holiday fairs. Get your book into some retail stores that fit your book’s genre, such as toy stores for children’s books, gift stores for cookbooks, antique stores for history books, etc. Be sure to take your book to indie bookstores in your area!
- Speaking of indie bookstores, arrange for book signings in said stores during the holiday season. Perhaps your library will welcome a reading and book signing. Do a joint promotion with a store that has accepted your book, especially if it’s a type of store that’s unexpected for a book, such as a clothing store, a florist, or perhaps a professional business such as a law office or real estate office.
- Write some blog content for your website. The idea is to give people a sample of your writing well ahead of your book’s launch. Consider publishing a chapter on your website as a teaser.
- Create a holiday sales coupon code that you publicize on social media and which buyers can use on your website only.
- Use keywords and hashtags on social media that are geared to the holidays (e.g., #holidaygift).
- Advertise on Facebook and Google. It’s inexpensive, you can target your readers’ demographics, and ads are a great way to improve your book’s chances of getting in front of the right audience.
The above ideas are meant to show you how much time effective book marketing takes, and how much planning and advance work is required.
What 1106 Design Can Do for You
We work extensively with complicated books, such as illustrated children’s books, cookbooks, nonfiction books…anything that includes many tables, illustrations and complex formatting. If you have such a book that you need to have ready for holiday sales, plan to hire a professional firm to ensure you have your book ready on time. Have the conversation with the firm about your plans and deadlines and make sure they can meet them. FYI: Working with a full-service firm that includes all the resources you need to publish your book will save you time, as you won’t need to research and source these services from separate companies or freelancers.
1106 Design is a full-service firm that specializes in supporting indie publishers to publish their books. We obviously hope you’ll allow us the privilege of being your editing and book design team. Know that any time you spend formatting your book yourself would be better spent on marketing.
Self-publishing always starts with planning: plan with the end in mind. You want a book that people will buy during the holidays. Planning towards that goal, getting your manuscript into a professional and reputable full-service firm, and making book marketing a priority, will increase your chances of success this holiday season.
Contact us today to have your book ready for holiday book sales!