It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... including in bookstores! Have you noticed Christmas books seem to be everywhere? When you think about it, it makes sense. People love holiday lattes, seasonal updates to menus, and festive decorations. Why wouldn't that carry over to books as well?
Just take a look around Amazon or Book Daily and you'll see "Christmas" popping up in a lot of titles. So it's clear readers enjoy Christmas books... Now how can you jump in on the fun?
1. Write a Christmas-themed book (duh). Many romance, chick-lit, and cozy mystery authors do this. If you write The Highland Fling series, consider writing Christmas in the Highlands as one of your novels. If you write cozy mysteries, have one take place around Christmas (what's cozier than that?). Make sure the cover clearly communicates the Christmas theme so you can immediately connect with readers looking for Christmas books. I've written a series of memoirs, the Paris Confessions series, and my most recent addition is Christmas Confessions & Cocktails. The cover matches the design of the other books, and the stories have the same feel as my other stories--just with a Christmas theme. This will hopefully attract Christmas readers and draw them in to read the rest of the series.
2. Write a Christmas-themed novella. This is less daunting than penning an entire novel, and will still give readers a taste of the holidays. Your Christmas novella could be a side story about one of your existing characters or could be about totally new characters. It could take place in the same setting as your other books or be totally new. For example, Survival of the Christmas Spirit is a Christmas novella in the the Survival Series (full disclosure: this book is pubbed by my indie pub house), and it's a fun, quick read that gets you in the holiday spirit. It's a great way to capture reader interest around the holidays and then encourage them to read the other books in the series, but gives you a little more flexibility since it can be shorter and doesn't have to strictly fit in with your series.
3. Contribute to a Christmas-themed anthology. This is great if you feel like there's no way to write a Christmas book that fits with your other books. For example, if you wrote Margaret Thatcher's biography, it might be hard to pull off Thatcher Does Christmas (although now I'm kind of wondering how the Iron Lady spent Christmas on her side of the pond). I contributed a story to Christmas, Actually, which is a collection of six Christmas-themed tales (full disclosure: this book is pubbed by my indie pub house). Most publishers post calls for submissions in January with deadlines in March so that they have time to publish, get reviews, and start marketing in time for Christmas. BeyondYourBlog.com has a great list of anthology submission opportunities (http://www.beyondyourblog.com/submission-opportunities/submission-opportunities-anthologies) so be sure to check back for opportunities!
But wait... isn't it too late to write a Christmas book for this year? Well, it's never too late to get started, and then you'll be ready for next year. In fact, you kind of HAVE to get started now in order to be ready for next summer. But now is a great time to see what else is out there, and to keep an eye on specific Christmas marketing techniques. As you can see, I've gone gangbusters on Christmas by trying all of the above. So surely you can find something that will work for you while still being fun to write!
So go ahead... get in the Christmas spirit! Write a holiday-themed story that will attract new readers to your work who will then go on to buy your other titles. Reel them in with Christmas, then get them to stay because of your stellar writing!
About the Author:
Vicki Lesage is an IT Director by day, writer by night. And a full-time nerd. She loves fondue, wine, math, and zombies. She lives in Paris with her French husband and rambunctious son. Her first book, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, is a humorous account of the ups and downs of her life in Paris. She's currently working on a baby-focused sequel, in between chasing her son and downing massive amounts of coffee.