Heart-Shaped Reminder About Holiday Book Promotion Ideas

Recently I’ve had the privilege of helping a new author-illustrator launch her first book, a kids’ storybook about her real-life pet pig.

In the books, the pig (whose name is Bacon) has a pink, heart-shaped nose and the heart motif is everywhere.

Naturally, when the book’s release date moved to mid-January, she moved into promotion with a Valentine’s Day theme.

The news release introducing the book caught on with her local media, and several news outlets in her community loved the idea.

I think it was partly because a pig with a heart-shaped nose and a message of love brought a fresh angle to an annual holiday whose traditional themes of roses, chocolates and romance can get a little old year after year.

At least for the news media. They can’t completely ignore holidays, but appreciate a fresh and fun angle, especially for annual holidays for which they need to come up with something every year.

So, what holiday angle can you use with your book?

For example, last year co-authors of a book on marriage with whom I worked explored promotion around the spring and summer wedding season. Another author whose memoir drew on his NFL career naturally used fall football season as the kickoff (see what I did there?) for promotion on his book release.

You might consider less obvious connections, such as New Year’s for anything that relates to a fresh start of any kind – devotional life, fitness, family, even personal finances – or back to school for some kids and teen topics.

And these promotional tie-ins can work for new books, or one for which you are trying to generate fresh attention.

But deciding which holiday to focus on is only part of the process.

What type of promotion will it be?

What lead time is required for planning and implementation?

Different activities will have different lead time requirements.

If you are working on news media coverage, obviously you need a holiday that’s a bit down the road, but within sight.

So, you would plan well ahead, but only pitch the media a few weeks ahead of time, unless it’s Christmas.

Because if you send something with a holiday theme too early, it won’t get noticed by much of the news media.

But other types of activities take longer lead times.

Here are a couple of thoughts.

You might decide to do a promotion in your own social media calendar. That you will want to plan a few months ahead of time, although the timing for the promotion itself might only be just the shopping season, so to speak, before the holiday.  That would go both for your own posts as well as any ads you decided to purchase.

Other types of promotion and holiday tie in might take even more time. Organizations holding events or fairs where you might participate in real life are likely working months ahead on their own planning before inviting vendors, like you, to participate. So, you might be wise to start thinking ahead and looking for a community calendar to start doing some inquiring.

You might even find some local shops or bookstores who would consider your book as part of their product selection for a holiday – but expect to be working months, not weeks, ahead of time on that as well.

But mostly the point is to get you thinking about how a holiday might fit in with your book and aid your promotional efforts.

So what holidays are up next? Easter is March 31, Mother’s Day is May 12, graduations in high school and college start mid-May and then Father’s Day is June 16. Those are kind of soon for major promotions but might work for others.

Does that spark any ideas?

You might not have a pig with a message of love and a heart-shaped nose, but this week while enjoying that Valentine-themed chocolate, be thinking about ways to  connect your book with at least one holiday.

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on February 9, 2024.
Joni Sullivan Baker
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