Monday, November 5, 2012

ASK PZM: Nov 2012 Holiday Promos

Q: Could you talk about opportunities to tie book promotions to holidays? 

I am a big fan of holiday-themed book promotions for both fiction and nonfiction books.

Here’s a fiction example of my own:

I have formed a triad with two other former military spouses; the three of us have each written a novel about the military.  We reason that, if a reader likes one of our books, the reader would probably like to know about and read the other two books.
And our holiday promotion idea is for U.S. Veterans Day, November 11.  We are all offering the Kindle format of our novel for FREE that day via Amazon’s KDP Select program to honor our veterans. 

(See more info at )

Now let’s brainstorm:

Valentine’s Day is a good place to start.  What kinds of books – fiction or nonfiction – could take advantage of a promotion based around this day?

Obviously a romance novel could utilize Valentine’s Day for a contest, a drawing, or a free KDP Select day.  
What about nonfiction, though?  Do you have a nonfiction book about heart health?  That could definitely fit into a Valentine’s Day theme promotion.

Perhaps you have written a mystery novel featuring fly fishing or a nonfiction book about fly fishing.  Does your state have a fishing season with an official starting date?  Perhaps you could do local or state-wide promotions around that starting date.


Remember that this utilization of holiday promotions does NOT have to be the publication year for your book.  You can continue to do holiday promotions year after year either for the same holiday or different ones. 

Q: What do you think about subtitles for fiction and nonfiction books?

I am particularly in favor of subtitles for nonfiction books in order to provide more information for prospective readers.  Recently, though, I have been considering how a subtitle can be important for a fiction book.

In 2008 I gave my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT the subtitle of A SHARON GOLD NOVEL only because I wanted to differentiate the novel from the Mrs. Lieutenant instructional pamphlet sold on Amazon.  (I have my original copy of this pamphlet bought when my husband entered active army duty in the spring of 1970.)

I did not give subtitles to my Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS and my spy story CIA FALL GUY.  And now I think this was an omission on my part for two reasons:

 1.      Amazon’s search engines appear to work similarly to other search engines such as Google.  Therefore the use of keywords in a subtitle could help prospective readers find the book on Amazon.
 2.     Keywords in a subtitle could clue prospective readers into what kind of story these novels are.  If prospective readers are looking for a specific type of story, they will know they have found it.

I am now working on the first mystery in a proposed series.  (Full disclaimer: I wrote mystery novels many years ago, and two different agents could not sell these to a traditional publisher.  I have decided to update these novels and publish them as Kindle ebooks.)

I am using a subtitle for this mystery novel.  The book is CAST THE FIRST STONE: A REBECCA STONE MYSTERY.  In this way I will both promote the protagonist of the novel and the keyword “mystery.”

For nonfiction, I definitely believe in subtitles.  My newest nonfiction ebook is TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON: 3 TOP TIPS BOOKS IN 1 (see on Amazon at

While Amazon allows long titles and long subtitles, it is important to consider the value of each word you include.  Be careful NOT to “keyword stuff” your titles and subtitles.

Note:  Although Blogger in the past few months has not allowed me to respond to comments on this blog, do leave below in the comments section your opinion on subtitles.  I will read all these comments.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Her newest nonfiction is the book marketing ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OFAMAZON and a new fiction ebook of hers is the spy story CIA FALLGUY.

Click here to visit her Amazon author page at

She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company


  1. Most non-fiction books do seem to have subtitles.
    Good luck, Phyllis!

  2. Always love to hear from those published and try to glean a little. Thanks for the interview and sharing Phyllis and Joylene.

  3. You've given your readers so many great ideas about themed books. Thanks for that and the beautiful pictures to please the eye!

  4. Great points, Phyllis! :) And thanks for sharing, Joylene!

    1. You're so welcome, Carrie! Have a nice week.

  5. Love the holiday theme idea - so much potential with this. Appreciate the info on subtitles too. Good post, thanks so much to both of you!

  6. I had to laugh about using lengthy sub-titles. I am in the midst of a book tour for my non-fiction e-book for girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. Not only is that title a mouthful, but it takes forever to type it out for all my blog stops! But I agree, the sub-titles do give the reader more info about the book and more possibilities for keywords search. I just wanted to add there are other not-s-traditional holidays too, like celebrating left-handers and ice cream day, etc. Don't forget them.

    1. There's an ice-cream day! Why didn't anyone tell me! Gads, I love ice-cream!

      Hi Janet. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Great ideas here, Phyllis. As JQ says above, I've been researching some fun non-traditional days to promote my dystopian, possibly with other dystopian book writers. :) Thanks for the info on subtitles, too!

    1. That's a good one, Adriana. I'm racking my brain but I can't think of any holidays that work. Course, I had no idea there was an ice-cream day!

  8. Some wonderful ideas. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great post. I love these promotion and theme ideas. Keep the marketing tips coming.


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