Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant

A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.

Bryant Consulting

Promoting Your Book During the Holiday Season

ABP—No, that doesn’t stand for all points bulletin. It stands for Always Be Promoting. It is important to promote your work year-round, but it is imperative to promote during the holiday season. According to Entrepreneur magazine, the holiday season starts after Halloween and ends New Year’s Day. It is most important to promote your work during this time of year, because the holiday season is the biggest gift-giving season of the year, with birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day close behind. Just prior to the holiday season, customers are thinking of gift ideas for family members, friends, and coworkers. A book is an excellent gift.

All day long we see ads on television, in the mail, and in the local newspaper promoting holiday sales. Store promotions are not one-trick ponies. They promote and advertise from the beginning of the holiday season to the end. Some of them even start in July, calling their promotions Christmas in July. If you have not already started, now is the time to promote, promote, promote.

Now more than ever, an author has several promoting options. My favorite option is FREE.

Social Media
• Facebook: Promote heavily using Facebook. Many potential customers are using Facebook as a multitasking tool for e-mail, instant messaging, and other forms of communication, advertisements, and news. In addition to your Friends page, set up a Fan page. The customer base one can build on a Fan page is unlimited. Also, for a small fee, users can set up e-commerce on their Facebook pages and do something they call “target marketing.” For information visit either Facebook or Google using the keywords advertise on Facebook.

• Twitter: Tweet your promotions to your Twitter list. If your current Twitter ID is your name or something fun and snazzy and you want to promote a certain item, create another Twitter account using a branded URL. For example if you are promoting your novel Last Chance at Love, you may want to use that as your Twitter ID for that promotional product. Brand your profile. Twitter allows users to customize their backgrounds, so if you were marketing Last Chance at Love, you can put the cover of the book along with any other information on the profile or even use it as your profile background. Follow people or friends of people whom you think might be interested. Make sure you participate on “Follow Fridays,” hash tag #FF. This is a great way to gain more followers. When tweeting your promotions, make sure you add the correct URL so that a potential customer can go straight to the source.

• A Website is a great way to advertise your book. Authors can have a Website that is either their name (www.yolandamjohnson.com) or their brand (www.hownot2live.com). (How Not to Live is the title of one of my client’s new novel.) You can promote your Website on the social media sites mentioned above. You can add them to your business cards or marketing material. If your Website is a WordPress site, potential readers and customers can interact with you via the site. Authors can also “blog tour” on their Websites and other hosting Websites.

Print Marketing
• Ads: Take out an ad in your local paper or neighborhood publication, or in a national newspaper, or even on an online venue. Or place a flyer in your local library or networking venue.

• Website ads: Contact the owner of other “like” or related Websites. Some will place your ad on their sites for a small fee, while others may not charge anything.

• Newsletters: Constant Contact and other e-mail marketing tools allow authors to promote their work with e-mail marketing campaigns. Also, do not sleep on your local networking and entrepreneurial center, because some of them put out monthly or quarterly newsletters.

Promotional Items
• Business Cards: Business cards are easy to obtain. Sites like Vista Print to Twig One Stop create custom business cards at reasonable prices. Who says a business card should have only name and contact information? Why not display a photo of either yourself or your book cover on the front and display information about your book on the back. You can include information such as the ISBN number, publisher, number of pages, genre, and pricing info.

• Bookmarks: In addition to advertising your book on bookmarks, you give the reader a tool they can use to mark their places in their books. How cool is that? A bookmark should, at the very least, include the book title, ISBN, and Website.

• Postcards: Postcards pretty much serve the same purpose as the bookmark, except it is a little more bulky. However, they are a good tool to hand out, leave on counters in stores or libraries (always ask first), or on the advertising board of local grocery stores and businesses.

• Tote bags: With the world trying to go green, totes are an excellent idea. You can custom screen your book cover title and contact information onto the canvas of the tote. I have bought many a tote bag because I saw someone else with it and thought it was cool.

Word of Mouth
• Word of mouth is by far one of the most effective ways to advertise your product. If you have the gift of gab, you can promote your book by just having a conversation. I recently sold a book at a boutique where purchased a purse. At the checkout, I simply handed the owner my card and she asked about the books that I write. I gave her a brief description of each and she bought one. It was that simple.

• Speak about your book every chance you get. Always have a small pitch about your work and always be prepared to speak. You will never know when an opportunity may present itself. Always be prepared.

Have fun promoting, and make sure you are always promoting. Always keep an ample amount of supplies on you, in your purse, in your car, or wherever. If someone asks if you have a bookmark, business card, or book on you, your answer should always be, “Why, yes!”

May you sell to your heart’s content this holiday season, and may you sell so many books, you exceed your wildest dreams. Happy Holidays!


Twitter 101 http://twitter.com/Twitter101

Facebook 101 http://slidesha.re/yHmBI

Vista Print http://www.vistaprint.com

Twig One Stop http://www.twigonestop.com

Marketing for Authors 2.0 http://marketingforauthors.wordpress.com/

Google http://www.google.com

Entrepreneur.com http://www.entrepreneur.com