6 ways to promote your book as a holiday gift

An organization I’ve done business with gives books to clients for holiday gifts. One year it was True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society*; another time, it was It’s Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks*.

Smart, eh? I mean, really, who doesn’t like to receive books? There’s always a book or two under the Christmas tree every year at my house.

Books are wonderful gifts! So let’s make sure that yours gets into the hands of a lucky reader this holiday season.

Ideas for publications and TV

Here are six ideas you can use to get your title included in gift round-up and other stories in the coming weeks.

Your book might be in a different category or genre from those listed here, but you can still use these suggestions as idea-starters.

These ideas can work for newspapers, blogs, media outlet websites, and TV talk shows. If using them to get television publicity, be sure to include suggestions for visuals in your pitch. In most cases, that will be the gift suggestions involved.

1. Pitch a cost-related gift round-up.

A “roundup” article usually gathers up the best, worst, most, least, newest, top, funniest, etc. products related to a specific category or theme.

Around the holidays, these tend to be things like, “X gifts for under $XX” or “X ideas for stocking stuffers under $X.” Like me, you probably see them every year.

Using sports as an example, pitch “5 great gifts for sports fans for under $25 (or another price).” Include your book and pull in four other products representing different sports so that you’ve got diversity in your gift collection.

2. Send a how-to press release.

For a romance novel, send a press release on how to create a romantic gift basket for that special someone this holiday season. Your book is one of the basket items.

How can you apply this “how-to” approach to other types of books? 

3. Create a gift guide for different reader types.

If you’ve written a memoir, for example, distribute a press release listing memoirs as gifts for different types of people on the typical gift list. Offer one for men, women, teens, and other categories. Your memoir, of course, is identified as the choice for your target audience.

You can do this for other types of books, too, from science fiction to health to mysteries. Simply select age-appropriate books for each reader type. 

4. Create a book list.

Using my opening example of books I’ve received as business gifts, send a press release listing 10 books that would make good gifts for business associates.

Offer advice about who’s an appropriate recipient for each book. Perhaps one is a good choice for an entrepreneur while another is appropriate for someone who works in finance.

Offer as much diversity in your list as possible. The more types of readers you touch on, the more likely you are to see your list published in newspaper business sections and city and state business journals. 

As with the other ideas here, you can use this concept for many different types of books.

5. Recommend gifts specific to a topic.

Books and other items that can help improve our lives make thoughtful gifts.

If your book is about health or fitness, write a press release sharing a list of six gifts that will improve the recipient’s health in the coming year. Your book as one of the options (and the only book), of course.

Let’s say you’ve written a cookbook. How about a gift guide listing five things every home chef needs to have in the new year? One of them, of course is your book.

How can you apply this approach to your book? 

6. Write a tip sheet.

One of the best approaches is to write a tip sheet offering advice on a topic related to your book or its category.

For holiday gift-giving, that might be how to select age appropriate books. Along with your advice, recommend one book for each age group – including yours, or course.

Covering different age groups gives your content wider appeal and makes it less self-serving, which is always the goal. Always remember that tip sheets, press releases, and other publicity materials offer useful editorial content. They’re not advertisements.

Start thinking about this now

Work now to get your book included in those gift idea round-up articles that will appear in daily and weekly newspapers and on blogs in the last weeks of the year.

Remember to subscribe to Help a Reporter Out — HARO — so you can respond to queries from journalists looking for gift suggestions for their guides. They’ve already started researching these topics — don’t miss out.

My new course, Get Quoted: A Journalist’s Strategies for Using HARO to Snag Book Publicity,” teaches you how to do that and gives you everything you need to succeed. Learn more here.

If you need help writing the pitch letters, press releases or tip sheets you’ll need to follow up on these six ideas, take a look at Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates. It includes templates, samples, and instructions for creating and using these and other essential media relations tools.

What are you doing to make sure your book is featured as a gift idea?

*All Amazon links are Associate (affiliate) links.

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in November 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)

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    1. Thanks, Tracey! It sounds like your book would be a great “New Year’s resolutions” gift, too. Any performer who vows to “make it happen” in 2013 will want to read it. Good luck!


  1. Thanks for this information. My short book, The Omission, is a family drama, so I’ll have to think of a gift idea that will allow me easily to include the book. But I like this promotional suggestion very much.

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