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Advertising and Marketing

People DO still read during the “Summer Slump”

By: Ginger on May 24, 2024

Our Hidden Gems guest author for today.

By: Ginger on May 24, 2024


As the summer sun heats up, the temptation to take a break and relax becomes irresistible. But while it’s commonly believed that book sales tend to dip during these warmer months, there’s a golden opportunity hidden within this “summer slump”, especially for self-published authors. It’s possible to turn this seasonal slowdown to your advantage, ensuring your books become the go-to reads for vacationers everywhere.

From understanding the summer reading habits of your audience to crafting compelling marketing strategies that resonate with the season’s vibe, Ginger covers everything you need to know to boost your book sales during June, July, and August. So read on to discover new ways of making your book stand out in a less crowded market, and transform the next few months into a season of sales success!

I don’t know about you, but my ideal vacation is pretty simple. I want to sit outside by the water, sip on a frosty margarita, and lose myself in a paperback for hours at a time. I think summer reading is one of the best things about the season, and the wealth of TikToks, YouTube Videos, and Reels posted by readers sharing their “Summer Reading List” suggests I’m not alone in that thought!

This is something self-published authors should bear in mind. While surveys have generally pointed to a downtick in book sales during the summer months, those surveys also reiterate that people do still buy books during June, July, and August – just not as many of them.

So, as a writer, you should make every effort to make sure your books are among those copies that do get sold!

In that regard, being a self-published author might actually give you an advantage. Traditionally, the publishing industry has focused most of their fall releases and marketing to capitalize on back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. Therefore, summer offers a unique opportunity for self-published authors to get a lot more visibility for their books in a much less crowded marketplace – and that could potentially offer a real performance boost to any advertising or marketing you plan on doing.

Here’s why I think the lead-up to summer is the perfect time to advertise your book – and some thoughts on how to do it!

The Summer Slump Isn’t Just a Myth

In self-publishing forums, there’s a reference to something called the Summer Slump. This is when there’s a noticeable drop in book sales across the board for June, July, and August. Most people assume that this is because people are going on vacation, or they’re busy during the summer months with kids and other activities. The standard amount of time people are able to dedicate to reading during the winter often gets eaten up by new outside activities.

But while that’s true, it’s also worth observing how many readers actually crave the summer months. Those who do read love the idea of taking a book with them. It’s an escape during the wait at the airport. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the sun. For those with the desire to, summer is the perfect season to gain some extra reading time; and while the overall market might slump, these more dedicated readers could be the perfect audience to target with your advertising and marketing.

It’s also worth noting that the best time to advertise is often when there’s a downturn in sales – especially in the publishing industry. A lot of publishers and authors hold off on advertising during the summer, thinking that it’s pointless because of the “slump.”

However, readers still read – and if you take the opposite approach, and actually increase your advertising during the summer, you might find yourself reaching a larger percentage of those eager readers than you would have done during the seasons in which authors were advertising more.

Capitalize on the “Beach Read” Craving

As a self-published author, your catalog of books could be exactly what summer readers are looking for – and thanks to Amazon, they can go head-to-head with traditionally published books on the digital bookshelves.

You have an advantage in that competition is less fierce in the summer, so your advertising dollar might stretch a little further than it usually does.

It’s worth remembering, however, that summer is synonymous with relaxation and escape. Many readers specifically seek out “beach reads” – light, engaging stories that are perfect for unwinding on vacation or soaking up the sun. If your book fits this category, now is the ideal time to showcase it to potential readers.

That doesn’t mean more downbeat books don’t have their place on a summer reading list – but focusing your marketing on what the reader wants (rather than what you want to sell them) is a shortcut to making the most out of your marketing budget.

Highlight the Appeal of Physical Books

About 1 in 3 Americans read books on their iPad or Kindle.  In fact, eBooks make up 70% of book sales in some categories, like romance. However, while ebooks offer undeniable convenience, there’s a certain charm to holding a physical book in your hand – especially during the summertime. I know I still prefer reading a paperback by the poolside, rather than squinting at my phone or Kindle. You also don’t need to worry about recharging it, or dropping it into the water.

So, self-published authors should take note. If you haven’t already, consider creating a paperback version of your books. You can even plan advertising that links directly to the paperback version on Amazon, rather than the Kindle edition. 

If you need help, remember that Hidden Gems offers a cover design package and can help with the formatting and publishing of your paperback books. Reach out to us to guide you through the process.

It’s worth it, because paperbacks truly make your books feel “real.” Advertising paperback editions during the summer caters to a specific audience who might otherwise skip over your book if it’s only available in digital format.

Here are some additional tips to leverage the power of summer for your self-published book:

Craft a Summer-Themed Marketing Campaign

  • Why don’t you consider running social media ads featuring beach visuals, refreshing drinks, or scenic landscapes? At Hidden Gems, we actually offer an Ad Design service that can produce ads for Instagram and Facebook that highlight your book against a lush, summer backdrop.
  • Is your book set during the summer? Or in a warm climate? Lean into that! Post some summer-themed excerpts from your books to let readers know that they can bask in some sunshine even between the pages of your story.
  • Here’s a great one for you. Think about sending your vacationing friends a paperback version of your book, with the promise that they’ll post about it on social media. Or even reach out to travel bloggers or book reviewers who “influence” a summer-loving audience. There’s nothing like seeing your own book on somebody else’s feed!

Run Targeted Online Promotions

  • Book marketing best-practices can be even more effective during the summer. You should definitely consider maximizing these (and making your book stand out from the crowd) by offering discounts or bundles during the summer months.
  • If you’re part of Amazon’s Kindle Select program, maximize those page-reads by using the Free Promotion Days or Countdown Deals that are exclusively available to books in Kindle Unlimited. You can use these once every 90-days, so you should already be planning out seasonal campaigns. Make sure you embrace the summer one!
  • Consider “beach reads” and “summer reading” as potential keywords as you schedule your advertising. Running targeted advertising campaigns on social media platforms can be especially effective during the summer because people post a lot more selfies and videos during the summer months.

Engage with Booksellers and Local Communities

I’ve already mentioned paperbacks, but it’s worth repeating: They can offer a unique source of revenue for self-published authors during the summer months – especially if you put them in front of people eager for a new beach read. Whether you use a service like Ingram Sparks to produce paperbacks, or order Author Copies from Amazon directly, think about the following:

  • Reaching out to independent bookstores in beach destinations or areas with high summer tourism. Ask if you can provide them with paperback copies to sell.
  • Organize book signings or author talks at libraries or community centers during the summer months.
  • Participate in local summer festivals or book fairs to connect with potential readers in person. Not only can you sell a surprising number of books at events like these, but they’re also a lot of fun to attend!

Embrace the Power of Reviews and Recommendations

As I mentioned above, the impact of book marketing best-practices can be amplified during the summer months because fewer authors are advertising. Here’s some stuff you should be doing already, which might deliver more bang for your buck because of the summer season.

  • Make sure to encourage satisfied readers to sign up to your subscriber list, and leave positive reviews on retailer sites and online book communities.
  • Offer free review copies to book bloggers or reviewers who specialize in your genre.
  • Run contests or giveaways on social media platforms to generate excitement and word-of-mouth buzz.

Bonus Tip: Create a Compelling Summer Reading List of Your Own!

If you write in a specific genre, consider partnering with other self-published authors in your niche to curate a joint “Summer Reading List.” This collaborative effort can expose your book to a wider audience while providing readers with a diverse selection of summer reads.

I write MC Romance novels, for example – so I could team up with other motorcycle-club authors to create a list that showcases each of our books. Because our genre is so specific, readers are always eager to discover new authors who write books that hit their summer reading sweet-spot.

The Sun in Shining on Self-Published Authors

By implementing summer strategies like these, you could position your self-published books for even greater success this summer. 

Remember, the key lies in understanding what summer readers are looking for – escape, entertainment, and an engaging story to accompany them on their summer adventures. Make sure those are concepts forefront in your marketing.

Other than that – what are you waiting for? Get creative, embrace the warm weather spirit, and make an effort to send your self-published book sales soaring toward the summer sun!

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About the Author

Our Hidden Gems guest author for today.

Ginger is also known as Roland Hulme - a digital Don Draper with a Hemingway complex. Under a penname, he's sold 65,000+ copies of his romance novels, and reached more than 320,000 readers through Kindle Unlimited - using his background in marketing, advertising, and social media to reach an ever-expanding audience. 

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