5 Hot Tips for Self-Publishing and Indie Authors during the Holidays

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed… Now, “ads” are popping to snag all those who might have missed out … and guess what, some of the deals will be better than what were originally offered.

If you think you missed out on the holiday book-buying rush by not getting your book in all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday rush, you didn’t. Why do you ask? Because books are year round … holidays every month to play with and take advantage of.

Just in time for Christmas, here are five tips for self-publishing and indie authors during the holidays that should brighten your holidays.

1       Ribbon. Yes, ribbon. You created your fabulous cover … why would anyone want to put wrapping paper over it? Not me!

Here’s a tip to delight your buyers—find a sheer ribbon that picks up one of the accent colors in your design—just tie it in a corner to corner feature and voila! A lovely frame for your book. I do this at all book signings as well when the buyer tells me it’s a gift … and it it’s a gift for self … the ribbon is added as well with the book so that all the buyer has to do is write something if they choose and tie a bow.  Don’t forget to have a few books already signed with ribbons on.


In talking to a Book Shepherd client Danita Hughes about packaging her hot new book–The Unapologetic Woman (buyers are getting 5 copies for friends at a time)–I took a photo of John’s book Have You Ever Held a Mountain? that had copper ribbon to match the cover foil print. Her instructions were to go to a local craft store and get sheer 1/2 inch ribbon the color of the green on the cover–and pre-cut strips for buyers at her next event. Use the upper left/lower right format for a fast wrap.


2        Create options. Savvy authors publish in both electronic and print format. Consider adding audio to the mix. Create your book in at least two formats at the same time: eBook and print. Your sales will work together, not against each other. Some of your readers/buyers like to read print; others “e” – it’s like going to a restaurant … even a hamburger joint has a variety to choose from. Once you have your print format, and “e” is a cinch to put together. Your cost should exceed a few hundred dollars and can be done within a very short period of time.

You want to be listed on Amazon … make sure you are in the Matchbook program; it supports the combo print and eBook sale

3        Think like a marathoner, not a sprinter. If you are doing POD, print-on-demand, you can get print books in hand once all files are loaded and accepted within days; if you are printing a “run”, it can take from three to five weeks … know what your needs are … and now, think ahead. What events do you want to hype/support and sell into? This is a great time to lay out a “selling seasons” calendar.

Think ahead to upcoming book-buying opportunities. Christmas selling is over except for special events that you have planned …  think about birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mothers-Fathers Days, summer reading and other big book-buying occasions. Check out Chase’s calendar of holidays/events and Google “weird holidays”—heck, make up your own.

Each spring and fall, I do an Author’s Tea, a celebration of new authors/books I’ve worked with. Each author “pitches” the book to the crowd—over 100 attended this year … over 200 books were sold in one afternoon over a three hour period. How cool is that? Next year’s date will be posted on the Events calendar soon. Come!

4     Save money. Always a good idea! If you are printing, did you know that January-February is better months to get bids from book printing companies? They have stopped panting from all the rush of the August-November print madness they go through every year. If you are doing a print run, this is a good time to negotiate—they want your business and it’s a slower time.

Breathe. Enjoy the Holidays. Have Fun.

5   Create a party … it could be at your home, at a site (some, like art galleries, can be quite receptive to play host), you may have a friend with a “killer” home that would be the perfect backdrop. It can’t happen unless you ask. 

Yes, invite all your pals –but better yet … your friend opens up the invitations gates and gets her neighbors, colleagues and friends to come and shop.

Holidays are festive and fun. Tap into them and have a good time. And remember, there are lots of Holidays–pick one and run with it.


Ashography Event Photography

Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing signature-full TRNabout and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35 was published this fall grabbing #1 in Hot New Releases on Amazon for several weeks: The How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos. Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th.  Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU – Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow .

Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.

header-logo1.pngAuthor U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.

 If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code 1239874444 … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen