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You Tell Me: Authors, Do You Plan to Have a Sale on Black Friday?

It’s 2018, and it is universally agreed that authors need to be business people if they want to be successful. (This includes traditionally published authors, who are expected to bring their own audience and do their own marketing). Yes, everyone says that, but have you thought it through?

The reason I ask is that I just realized I had overlooked one obvious implication of the idea that  authors are business people, and I was wondering if I was the only one late to the party.

The thing about businesses is that they need to schedule their sales to take advantage of retail cycles. This includes the biggest retail event of the year, Black Friday. Readers will have their credit cards out on Black Friday, so authors should be planning how they will take advantage of the opportunity.

Will you be running a sale for Black Friday?

image by mikecohen18 via Flickr

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Will Entrekin November 12, 2018 um 1:54 pm

For years, Exciting Press has started a sale around mid-November and continued through mid-January. Usually with some dollar titles, as well as a price reduction on select novels. This year we’ll be doing the same, but we’ll be aiming at Apple Books, as well as serializing a new title with 99c weekly installments.

One interesting note is that Black Friday has been big for brick-and-mortar, but Cyber Monday sales continue to beat Black Friday online sales, and I’d argue that the online sales are the more important for authors to target, especially indie authors.

I keep sales active for a while because I figure that besides the two traditional shopping days, people really want to fill up their new tablets and e-readers on Christmas, and many are on vacation through New Year’s Day.

Becki November 13, 2018 um 8:43 am

For the last several years I’ve organized Small Business Saturday events at my public library that invite local authors to sell their works (along with crafters and artists). We figure, authors are about as small business as you can get. It’s one of two mass author events we do each year. The library also participates in the downtown’s Elf on the Shelf Hunt to help bring in foot traffic. Some years sales are great for the authors, others not so much, but we always give them the option.

S. J. Pajonas November 13, 2018 um 1:09 pm

Nope. For my first three years, I tried having Black Friday sales and it was impossible. Amazon’s site gets locked up with people buying TVs and Xboxs, not small ticket items like books. Not only that but CPC goes up during this season with bigger companies funneling their budgets into ads, so it becomes hard to advertise items like books with low profit margins. I sat it out last year and I’ll do it again this year. The best time to have a sale is in January when readers have gift cards to spend.

Nate Hoffelder November 13, 2018 um 3:48 pm

You’re the second author to tell me this, so I guess I really was behind the curve.

Not for nothing, but I would have scheduled a sale, and then told my mailing list (and used other low-cost methods to promote it).

Robert Nagle November 13, 2018 um 5:26 pm

This is not exactly the same thing, but on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I’ll publishing a roundup of ebook deals from Smashwords on my literaryblog. It will contain some exclusive coupons and even ebook giveaways. I plan to do this roundup of Smashwords titles on the third week of every month (more or less). If you are a Smashwords author and want to list your promotion, here are details about how to do so .

Starting in November, my litblog will feature book reviews and information about ebook sales on a regular basis — (on Amazon, Smashwords, GPB), etc.

To answer your question: I’m sure Amazon is ready to promote ebooks to death on Black Friday and other days, but you’re probably right that most people don’t have the bandwidth that week. Also, selling ebooks is probably less profitable to Amazon than other Amazon products and services. I guess the spending spree really begins after Christmas when people are redeeming their Amazon cards and trying to put content on their new tablet or ereader.

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