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Holiday and Seasonal Books to Educate and Entertain
-And increase your profit
I once read a biography of the Von Trapp family, whose escape from Nazi domination was made famous by the Sound of Music musical and movie. Their life was hard because they left everything behind, going from European aristocracy to American where they had to make a living. They created musical programs and Maria von Trapp wrote The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, the inspiration for Sound of Music.
One story takeaway for me was the way religion uses the calendar to teach its doctrines. Maria emphasized the religious holidays, from Christmas to Lent to Easter, and on to less well-known events in the ecumenical calendar.
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Last year, I published The Plan for the Gingerbread House, a Christmas related story. And this year, especially, I am seeing the benefits of a holiday book. Yes, today people still use the calendar to buy books for kids to teach and entertain.
Publish Holiday and Seasonal Books
So, it makes sense to publish holiday and seasonal books! In November, the gingerbread house has sold phenomenally well, enough to match the sales of all my other books combined.
One hesitation to publish a holiday book is that it’s seasonal. Yes. But what a season!
Children’s book publishing is seasonal anyway. I sell best in August-October and January-March, to coincide with the beginnings of the US school year’s semesters. My books aren’t usually the type to be Christmas presents, so December has been a slow month.
I’m working to fill in the slower months with seasonal or holiday books that will get a spike during those months. I’m trying to even out my yearly income!
This year, I published a Halloween book, Got Me a Cat. It didn’t perform particularly well, but it will do better next year after a year to gain some reviews.
And coming out on Valentine’s Day next year is this book about Love Truly.
Planning Your Holiday Books
I think Christmas books are the most likely starting place for folks. After all, it’s the biggest shopping season of all. But competition is fierce! My gingerbread book appeals to parents and grandparents who take the time to bake with kids, and to teachers/librarians who need a fun holiday book to read that still has some STEAM tie-in. In other words, this isn’t a book for everyone. In general, that’s a wise strategy for all of our books, to look for niche audiences.
What unique perspective could you bring to the Christmas holiday and traditions?
Other holidays: Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, 4th of July, First Day of School, or Thanksgiving.
Also think, though, of unique holidays. In some schools, they emphasize the 100th day of school as a way to teach K-2nd graders to count to 100. What other unique days would make for a great children’s book? Earth Day?
Be sure to mention the holiday or important keywords in your title. See more on metadata here.
Marketing Your Holiday Books
Because these are seasonal books, you may want to try some advertising or other unique ways to get the word out.
Gift lists. Look for anyone doing a gift list for the chosen holiday and suggest/nominate your book. Or make up your own gift list to promote
Recommended Reading Lists. Also look for any place to submit/nominate your book for a recommended reading list. As a member of the Children’s Book Council, they often have lists. The current list for members to nominate books is Wild Winter.
Advertising. Targeted advertising such as Amazon ads can work well for these books.
Book Giveaways/Swaps. Search Story Origin, Book Cave and Bookfunnel for targeted giveaways, sales, and swaps.
How do YOU market seasonal books? Any holiday books work particularly well for you?