Like many things Amazon does, Prime Day is another fantastic idea, but not just because it’s a great way to get deals – it’s also a great time to start pushing the Christmas market. In the end, that’s the big push behind Prime Day. Black Friday has now moved to July.
But the “Christmas in July” idea isn’t new, per se – retailers have been doing it for years. Why? Because studies show that in order to get into the Christmas market, you must start early. July may not be the exact right month, but let’s face it, Prime Day comes at a great time. If you’re going to push people to buy stuff, why not do it when all major buying seasons for the first half of the year are behind you? Valentine’s Day, Easter, Graduation, and Mother’s and Father’s day are all past. And now, with the exception of back-to-school, it’s a long, long stretch until the buying frenzy starts. The theory is that a smart retailer said: let’s use this hot, slow month to bolster sales and hence, Christmas in July, and its new iteration – Prime Day – was born. The studies that came along showed that starting early to get onto your buyer’s radar screen is key – and the more product and new “stuff” that floods the market, the more critical it is to start way ahead of traditional Black Friday in November.
The same is true, and perhaps truer, for book marketing. As an indie author, you know you need to stand out. There are 4,500 books published each day – and if we’re comparing markets, most products don’t see the same type of competition that books do, so if you’re trying to get a slice of the holiday market, it’s never a bad idea to start your book promotion early. Here are some ideas on things you can do to get started as you take advantage of the principles behind Prime Day:
Boost Your Reviews!
Even on older books – current reviews help it to look, well, current. So if your older book needs some new life, or even if your new book seems to be lagging behind, reviews can be a good way to give your book marketing plan the kick it needs. Also, reviews help your Amazon algorithm and will also help to spike your book up the list, or at least keep it from falling to the bottom where no one will see it. Here are a few ideas to get more reviews:
- Ask your Readers: Have you asked your readers for reviews? Surprisingly I find that many authors don’t do this. If you have a mailing list and/or if you have a blog, get the word out there that a review would be so helpful. In one case one of our authors offered a tote bag in exchange for a review: good or bad. Just a thank you for taking time to review the book. In another instance the author gave away the book for free to her readers in exchange for an honest review.
- Plan online promotion(s): If you haven’t done much in the way of a blog tour or review tour, then now is the time. Whether you want to plan this out on your own or hire someone to pitch you, get out there and start planning your online promotion. In fact, you may want to do a round of promotion now (a blog tour) and then plan one again in October. Surprisingly, December is not a bad time to promote a book – and, if you’re doing ad-based promotion such as eBook promos and a blog tour, it could also be a good time to get in front of people. The idea is that you don’t want to do this just once, but several times and start early. If the only thing you plan is one single book tour in December, you probably won’t see enough bounce to get you onto someone’s shopping list. If you’re ready and eager to start now, I’ll list some blog directories below!
- Goodreads: If you haven’t done a lot on this site, you may want to reconsider. Goodreads has told us that their recommendation newsletter is all review-based. So if you’re getting a lot of reviews on Goodreads, you could wind up being blasted out to their thousands of readers. How do you get reviews there? Well by doing giveaways and I’d recommend doing a few of them. So, for example do one for 5 books and then a week or so later run another one for 5 books (or a smaller number of books works, too). I wrote a great how-to for Goodreads promotion and you can find it here.
Studies have shown that consumers are 68% more likely to buy something, or engage with you based on reviews so it’s a crucial, if not critical part to your marketing and especially if you’re going after holiday sales! Also, don’t be stuck on only getting 5-star reviews. A recent article in USA Today cited that 86% of consumers look for a 4.2 star rating on Amazon – all 5-star ratings look too suspect.
You should also plan some eBook promotions – I generally tell authors if you have more than one book, you should be cycling your book promotion once a month to always stay top of mind. Whether you care about holiday sales or not, this is generally a good idea. If you need some ideas for great eBook promotion sites, I recommend these:
- BookGorilla – Their paid services have a far reach, and won’t break the bank
- BookLemur – Fair prices and an easy process
- GoodKindles – Great options and flexibility with their packages
- Ignite Your Book – They have free and paid options. Their affordable paid option will get you in front of all of their newsletter subscribers
- Read Free.ly – Great books, no middleman
- StoryFinds – Tons of options to give your book the exposure it needs
- BookBub – Their packages are on the more expensive side, but the average downloads are very impressive
- Find more here!
Amazon Page Optimization
Finally, while there are a lot of other things you could do to get in front of your reader, one of the biggest, in my view, is the book write-up on your Amazon page.
- Is the book part of a series? Be sure and mention that in the subtitle. I see a lot of books in a series that only reference this in the description. Readers love a series so tell them early and right up front!
- Do you have book quotes? This is great but make sure you cite who they are front. I see a lot of book descriptions with things like: “Best book I’ve read all year” and then the person who said this isn’t mentioned. It cheapens a book and the description when you don’t cite a review properly. If the reason you aren’t citing it is because the quote was written by a friend and you don’t think it’ll have as much impact, then ask them instead to review the book on Amazon.
- Run on sentences, bad spacing, no bullets points. A lot of book descriptions are just a glob of text added into Amazon when the book is launched and this is a bad idea. First off, people don’t read they scan so make sure that you have good spacing, headlines when warranted and bulleted text if your book is non-fiction.
- And here’s a final tip: if you want to grab some of the love on Amazon Prime Day, why not go in and edit your book description now?
Putting it all together
So now that you’ve learned how Amazon Prime Day works, and some ideas for how you can do your own “off season” marketing, are you ready to get started pitching bloggers? I’ve got a few great resources for you! First, check out these two blogger directory sites to start identifying which bloggers you want to pitch:
Next, if you’ve never pitched bloggers, or other influencers before, you may want to check out some of my past posts that talk about best practices for pitching. You can start out with How to Pitch Influencers and Get Great Blurbs for your Book, but you also may want to read 5 Steps for Crafting the Perfect Book Review Pitch to get some great ideas for how you can build a strong pitch.
What’s the ultimate take away here? Amazon’s Prime Day is a clever marketing tactic to boost mid-year sales – by creating a semi-exclusive event, Amazon has effectively created a new shopper’s holiday! And you, as an indie author can jump on the bandwagon! If you’ve taken a break in your book promotion, now is a great time to pick it back up to boost your sales now – and during the holiday shopping season.