12 Tips for Authors to Sell More Books as Gifts
If there is one item where there is “something for everyone”—it’s a book.
Of many of my favorite things, books top my gift-giving list … and receiving list. If you are stymied about what to give to a favorite person, a good friend, a family member, or a host/hostess thank you… something that says, “I’m thinking of you …”, a book is often the perfect gift.
My book truthiness … books are my morning, afternoon, and evening delight.
The same book isn’t for everyone … but there is a book that is. In the fall, I host my annual Autumn Author Tea. This year, it’s October 29. An afternoon where over a dozen authors “pitch” their books to a crowd of 100 plus in my home. It’s a type of marketing coop—we all invited friends. https://authoru.org/events.html
There is a book that will fit under the tree for Charlie, Sarah, Sam, Martha, Brenda, Pat, Kelly, John, Shelley and little Julie. Not the same book … but a book that a giver thought would be perfect for each person on his or her list. There is always a book that will fit a friend’s special day. Always.
Sometimes, I find a book that I know is “perfect” for several of my friends—I buy a dozen of them … knowing that it’s what I bring when Holiday hellos and drop-ins are the norms. When my book Snappy, Sassy, Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers was first published in 2017, all my writer friends got it—just wrapped with a sheer ribbon that picks up one of the colors on the cover.
One time I bought 20 copies of a cookbook after I attended the author’s signing—all my foodie friends got it with a note—“At our next gathering that John and I host, each of you is to select a recipe and will be part of our menu” … and what a delicious and salivating array it became.
When I worked on my MBA in the 80s at Pepperdine University, The Lessons of History was one of the books that was required reading in one of my classes. It turned out to be the favorite of all my classmates and was such a gem that I bought a dozen copies for host and Christmas gifts for friends. And two of my recipients so loved it, that they bought multiple copies to pass on to their friends as gifts.
If the above doesn’t start you off with a few ideas, here are 12 ways BOOKS are the best of gifts—and not necessarily yours—should be at the top of your list.
- Wrapping is the best—just get a sheer ribbon that picks up the color of the Holiday, your personal favorite, or one within the book. Rarely an odd size, they fit easily into a bag if that’s your choice and for shipping, a piece of cake.
- Books don’t break the bank account—prices can range from a few dollars and up. Last summer, a friend’s housing development had a community garage sale. One home had boxes of books going from ten cents to a dollar—books that looked like they hadn’t been opened. Being the book addict that I am, I dove in and for $10, came away with over 20 books that went into my “gift closet”—three wonderful baskets were created for birthday giving for the fall with a variety of books in each: two for kids in the family and one for a friend in a nursing home.
When my 9-year-old grandson opened his gift from me one Christmas morning six years ago, I loved watching him as he laid out the entire series of Harry Potter on the floor as he dropped down on it. Touching each cover, picking them up, stroking the series, it made this Gramma’s heart glow. As a freshman in college today, he celebrates and cherishes his growing book collection, with one entire wall in his bedroom and a series of bookshelves. Last year, he asked me to come over and help him “arrange” his shelves like I do those in my personal library. How cool is that?
- Any age or person will do—from the wee ones to the seniors, there’s a book for any age, male or female.
- Books are available from countless sources and easy to get—the grocery store; big boxes. Yes, the new homeowner’s perfect gift may just be at Home Depot; online; gift shops, and of course, bookstores—one of my all-time favorite places to just hanging out during the Holidays.
- Books delivered via a gift card—always loved in my household; whether for an online store or brick and mortar … it’s an afternoon delight!
- Shipping a book is a piece of cake—if you are ahead of the crowd, media mail works and you can save money; the priority envelope at the USPS takes most books easily. If you support Amazon as your buying spot, it takes care of the shipping and the buyer pays for it; or it may be sent “free” via Prime. If you encourage a bookstore as the “pickup” site, make sure you connect with it and inventory is there.
- Books give and give—who hasn’t recirculated something that they loved with a friend or family member? And when a book has “finished” it’s time in your home, donate to a group that can start the re-circulation.
- Books love to travel—whether print, audio, or “e,” they are the best travel companions. If you aren’t sure of which version, the gift card comes into play—if you know what book you want to give—print the cover, include it with the gift card, and encourage them to select the version desired.
- Books are the ideal way to escape—whether a tall adventure, a biography to the past, or a laugh until the reader is almost incontinent, books deliver a new world … “a time out and away.” For me, fiction is a “reward” … something I’ve earned to fall into after the completion of an assignment or just need some hours away from my regular grind.
- Books keep the brain cells happy—yep, no matter what, they are educational and that is good for the cognitive juices. My own recent reads this past month have been Anne Hillerman’s Rock with Wings, where the Navajo tribal cops Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito are called back with a much-needed vacation to solve another crime in their midst; Lorenzo Carcaterra’s Street Boys delivering WWII history where a band orphaned boys block the Nazi’s from taking Naples, Italy Based on a true incident); and James Thorn’s Follow the River, revealing the capture and kidnapping of pregnant Mary Ingles by the Shawnee in 1755 and her escape and amazing 1,000-mile trek four months later back to her original settlement in Virginia—also based on a true incident.
- Remind all your Fans and Friends—meaning sending them a personal email if you have their emails; post it on your Facebook pages NOW—your books are ideal for not only the Holidays … but for host and hostess gifts; birthdays and special days … and of course, you would be delighted to personalize them for each! Here’s to you, authors are my heroes!
Pinterest and Instagram are hot sites for buyer awareness. Make sure you are using them.
- Books are audio and visual—let everyone in your social media world know what formats yours are available in.
If your book is on audio—and it should be, remind your followers that if they hadn’t bought an audiobook yet … they can get it for FREE on Audible via Amazon—and you will still earn a royalty.
No matter what, everyone you know is interested in something … even the “someone” that when you ask, “What would you like?” and responds, “I don’t know,” can be taken care of. There’s always a book for something, as weird as that something might be.
And remember, October opens the window for the possibility of huge book sales. Be ready to participate.
OK … I confess … I’m a Book Addict. And I don’t plan on entering a 12-Step program to stop my beloved addiction and pleasure. The countless hours of pleasure that they have given me since I was a little kid can never be tallied. The goosing to my imagination gives me a Happy Dance. The words that flow from millions of authors over the world are a wonder. And the reality that working with authors on creating their books plus publishing my own is what I do for a living … jeeze … don’t wake me. I love what I do!
Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 42 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
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