Red Tuesday: Idea for Boosting * Your * 4th Quarter Book Sales

Fourth Quarter Pic

This idea came to me this morning. It has the potential to help you sell many books in the fourth quarter. It’s a simple idea; it’s free; and it will be easy. It just involves a little marketing, but, as you know, marketing is exactly the kind of work that can move books.

I’m not talking about marketing for a few sales. I see potential for a great deal of exposure.

THE PROBLEM: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge days for holiday shopping among retailers. However, booksellers probably won’t reduce the price of your book any more than usual, they probably won’t advertise your book as part of the sale, and you might even sell fewer books than normal because all of the customers are too busy buying electronics, toys, tools, and clothing.

You can discount your book significantly on these days and promote your sale to help stimulate some traffic during this time, but it probably won’t be any more effective than promoting your book this way on any other day of the year. In fact, it may be better to do this on some other day where you’re readers aren’t too busy shopping for other items.

THE IDEA: Thousands of authors participate in special one-day pricing of incredible discounts. We’ll call it Red Tuesday (a homophone with the past tense of what you do with a book). Actually, we’ll do it again just after Christmas, when everyone just got a new e-reader and still has holiday money to spend. We’ll call this one White Thursday (a play on “write,” perhaps).

It’s simple, really: Each author promotes his or her own discount while simultaneously promoting the huge event. You don’t do any more work than normal, but by being part of a huge group of authors involved in this, you can gain the enhanced publicity of the event as a whole.

For example, you would write, “Title of My Book will be 80% off as part of the Super Incredible Red Tuesday Extravaganza.” Take a moment to briefly describe what Red Tuesday is all about in addition to promoting your book. Link to the event page as well as to your book. Think of all the content you could post on your blog and social media regarding Red Tuesday, where you will also mention your own book’s participation in the event. Red Tuesday helps you with your marketing.

One author is really tiny. Together as a community, we can thrive.

All we need to do is spread the word and get super-mega-incredible participation among authors.

If we can get significant participation, it will open up many marketing opportunities that may otherwise elude us. Imagine the growth and buzz building up so large that the media takes notice. I have a list of other ideas below, and more will come. Together, we can help Red Tuesday go viral.

ELIGIBILITY: You just need to be an author who is willing to significantly discount your book on Red Tuesday and/or White Thursday. All authors are welcome, regardless of how you published, what you write, etc. (You don’t have to worry about your book being listed in an electronic catalog with an adult content book because we could always make separate catalogs for different kinds of books. At this point, there is no guarantee that there will be a catalog; that’s just one of the ideas below.)

If your book is already 99 cents, pretty much the only way to discount it is to make it free. However, many authors might want to just drop their prices, but not make them free. Why not allow for both? Any catalogs could easily come in separate editions for discounted titles and freebies. We could also feature the deepest discounts at the top to help catch interest in the program.

I have several e-books priced between $2.99 to $5.99. I’m thinking to drop all of the prices to 99 cents (except where the file size is so large that it prevents the e-book from being priced this low).

I also sell several paperbacks. These could be reduced, too. Or I could make a significant percent-off discount code for my CreateSpace eStore. Or I could sell them from my website at 50% off and take payments through PayPal.

The important thing is to make the book on sale during the promotion for a significant discount.

EXPRESS YOUR INTEREST: If you’re interested in this, please post a comment below to let us know. If there doesn’t appear to be interest, this idea will just slowly die out. The idea can only succeed through your participation. Please share the idea to help spread the news, so that we can find more authors who are willing to participate.

If there is plenty of initial interest, then we’ll move onto the next step and Red Tuesday may become a reality and a success.

We’re still in the planning stages. So if you have ideas, suggestions, comments, or concerns, this is a good time to express them. Nothing is set in stone yet.

There is no cost. You’re only commitment is to significantly lower your price for Red Tuesday and/or White Thursday. Any other work will strictly be voluntary. It would be wise for you to promote your discount and the event in order to help you get the most out of it.

MORE INFORMATION: As long as there continues to be significant interest, I’ll post information about Red Tuesday here on my blog. Please feel free to help spread the news – directly, by reblogging, or by creating your own posts about Red Tuesday.

If there is significant interest, I’ll send out a sign-up post on my blog, whereby authors can sign up. If you have a better idea for how to get authors to sign up besides just using the comments section of a sign-up post, please share your idea.

If several authors sign up, I will put up regular posts with information, ideas, suggestions, etc. here on my blog. Again, feel free to help spread this information.

DATES: In 2013, Black Friday is November 29 and Cyber Monday is December 2. Everyone is now exhausted from shopping. So my thought is to wait until Tuesday, December 10 to celebrate Red Tuesday. Then we’ll have White Thursday on January 3. (I liked White Wednesday better, but it falls on January 2, just a day after New Year’s.)

IDEAS: First we need to brand the concept of Red Tuesday. We’ll want to have a small number of images that we can all use with our blog posts and other Red Tuesday promotions. I can announce a contest to submit images for consideration. Then we’ll use the winning image to brand our image. Everyone should use this image with all of their Red Tuesday promotional materials.

We’ll also want to brand White Thursday (which will come about a month later). But we want White Thursday to be a surprise. We don’t want readers skipping Red Tuesday, knowing that White Thursday will come later. We want to generate huge exposure twice, not once. We’ll need a different image for White Thursday.

Some kind of catchy slogan, jingle, strapline, or something of this sort would be nice, too. I can solicit suggestions in a separate post.

Soon we’ll need to build a great deal of buzz and generate plenty of author participation. We can post and reblog about Red Tuesday to spread the word. Assuming this takes off, I’ll make a post in a couple of days with more ideas of how to help create buzz for this special day.

If we succeed in creating ample buzz for Red Tuesday, this may create additional marketing opportunities. Write an article about it and try to publish it in a relevant high-traffic zone. (Your article won’t go to waste because you can always post it to your bog if it doesn’t get used anywhere else.) We can try to get writers with a large following to write about Red Tuesday, and we can aim for a little media attention.

We can make a webpage specifically for the Red Tuesday event and everyone can link to it in all of their posts. If we’re able to make any electronic catalogs of books (volunteers can make this possible), we’ll post them on the event page and circulate them in others, too.

If many authors do a few small things in the way of promoting Red Tuesday, it will really add up. We all have different areas of expertise. If you’re a video whiz, for example, you can post a trailer on YouTube about Red Tuesday, and the rest of us can help get people to check it out. Remember, any marketing that you do voluntarily to promote Red Tuesday will also help you with your own book as a part of your promotion.

As we approach Red Tuesday, our marketing campaign should go nuts. Everyone should be posting and promoting in anticipation, and especially on Red Tuesday itself.

It’s very important to reduce your price in time, allowing for probable delays (which can be several hours or more – and may be longer if there is widespread participation) to get your book’s price reduced in time for the big event. Better early than late.

GREAT FOR READERS: Red Tuesday doesn’t just have the potential to benefit authors. It can greatly benefit readers, too. Red Tuesday would be a great day to stock up on books by all your favorite participating authors. It’s also a great day to buy books as gifts. There is ample reason for authors and readers alike to spread the word and make Red Tuesday a huge hit.

Sure, some readers will see Red Tuesday coming and try to hold off of buying books until Red Tuesday comes around. There will still be readers buying books before then. If your sales rank does slide somewhat going into Red Tuesday, just think what a potential avalanche of sales on Red Tuesday could do for it. The better you promote your discount and Red Tuesday and the more marketable your book, the better your chances of having a successful Red Tuesday.

NO GUARANTEES: There is no guarantee that this will improve your exposure or increase your sales. However, if participation is widespread, there is much potential for numerous authors to receive a marked boost in both exposure and sales. The more marketable your book (i.e. good content, appealing cover, effective blurb, well-formatted and -edited, attractive storyline and characterization, and good readability), the better the prospects for you to benefit from the promotion. Also, the more active participation we receive and the more effective we are, collectively, at marketing the event, the better the chances of success.

FINAL WORD: Ideas, comments, suggestions, and concerns are not only welcome, they are strongly encouraged. 🙂

We can be part of something much bigger than ourselves. The magic word is participation.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Online Marketing: Feel like a Dog Chasing its Tail?

Marketing Net Pic

Joe published a book. Sales are slow. He learns that he needs to market the book.

He develops a blog. It starts out small and grows slowly. Even the blog needs to be promoted.

Joe joins Facebook and Twitter. His experience there is much like his blog.

He makes a website for his book. That entails SEO optimization.

Joe includes links to his social media sites, author website, and book from his blog.

He links to his social media sites, book, and blog from his author website.

He adds a fan page to his book to help drive traffic to his blog, social media sites, and author website.

Wait a minute. Joe wants his online marketing to drive traffic to his book, but he’s using his readers to promote his websites. Huh?

Here’s what it looks like to Joe:

  • A drives traffic to B, C, D, and E.
  • B drives traffic to A, C, D, and E.
  • C drives traffic to A, B, D, and E.
  • D drives traffic to A, B, C, and E.
  • E drives traffic to A, B, C, and D.

That’s great except for one little detail: There wasn’t a source of traffic anywhere to begin with!

Are we just driving around in circles? Where does the traffic come from? Are all of Joe’s followers other authors trying to market their own books?

These are natural things to wonder when you first explore online marketing.

The author who is wondering such things might wish to be aware of the following points:

  • It would have been helpful for Joe to do some effective premarketing.1
  • Joe wants a simple, easy, magical source of traffic. In reality, marketing requires work, patience, and wisdom.
  • A ton of instant sales would be really nice, but this is really difficult to come by for a new author on the first book. A gradual increase in sales is more realistic and can become significant over a long period of time.
  • Marketability2 is as important as the marketing. Any problems with the content, cover, blurb, writing, editing, or formatting can render the marketing ineffective.
  • Local offline marketing can be quite effective for many new authors, and this can help stimulate the online marketing.

Think of your combined marketing efforts as an ever-expanding marketing net.

If your online content is designed well, someone in your target audience who wanders into your marketing net is likely to check out one or more other components of your online platform: your blog, your social media sites, your author website, your book website, your fan page, your book’s product page, your author page, etc.

The larger your net, the more opportunities there are for potential people in your target audience to wander into it. Having content that attracts your target audience helps greatly.

It takes time to build your marketing net. It takes time for your target audience to discover your net. It takes time for your following to grow. It takes motivation, diligence, and patience.

It’s not about money. It’s about helping your target audience find a product that they’re likely to be interested in. It’s about blogging because you have ideas to share. It’s about writing because you have a strong passion for it. It’s about marketing because you have a passion to share your work.

It’s about gaining exposure for your work.

Following are some specific things that you can do to help stimulate traffic.

For example, a temporary, infrequent reduction in price or freebie can help with exposure. For this to be most effective, you must build a modest following first (one benefit of premarketing). This greatly helps you spread the word through your marketing net. Price doesn’t generate interest. Creating the perception of value and spreading the word generates interest. You have to promote a sale for the discount to draw readers in.

An advertisement that reaches a large percentage of your target audience can help promote short-term interest and increase your exposure. Don’t focus solely on the initial return. Consider what the potential exposure, if promoted effectively, may do in the long run. It’s very important for an advertisement to reach your specific target audience3 and for your book to be highly marketable for it to pay off. Keep the investment low because there is no guarantee that it will pay quick dividends. Do a cost-benefit analysis.4

Having multiple books or a series also widens your net. This offers previous readers an opportunity to get more (provided that your previous content was good enough to warrant it).

Local offline marketing can be a valuable resource. Meeting people in person allows you to show your personality and charm them. Being able to meet an author in person is a treat. See if small, local, indie bookstores or other stores that sell books have any interest in your book. Perhaps a school or library would be interested in a reading. Find out where your target audience is likely to be and make an effort to meet and interact with them. A small, local paper may have column inches to fill with a local story about you or your book.

Effective premarketing can lend early sales to start out with a strong sales rank and may also earn early reviews. It also enables you to build your following prior to the launch of your book.

Getting a blog review, interview, and especially publishing an article relevant for your target audience in a high-traffic area can help draw in readers.

Related Posts:

1. Premarketing Ideas:

2. Marketability:

3. Target audience:

4. Cost-benefit analysis:

Want More? To find more posts about marketing and publishing, click on one of the links in the Index on the sidebar to the right. Choose Cover Design, Blurb, Formatting/Editing, Marketing, Writing, or Publishing.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)