Crafting Holiday Magic: An Author’s Guide to Writing Holiday-Themed Books

Nov 8, 2023

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  • Crafting Holiday Magic: An Author’s Guide to Writing Holiday-Themed Books
close up of a person holding a light bulb that is glowing and writing in a notebook.

The holiday season is a fantastic time for writers to tap into the holiday spirit by crafting books that capture the essence of the most wonderful time of the year. Who doesn’t love a feel-good novel? Whether you’re a seasoned author or an aspiring writer, here’s your guide to writing holiday-themed books, complete with a timeline to ensure your book is ready for release in time for the holiday season.

Why Write a Holiday-Themed Book?

Holiday-themed books hold a special place in the hearts of readers. They provide comfort, nostalgia, and a sense of belonging. People love to immerse themselves in heartwarming stories set against the backdrop of their favorite holidays, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or any other festive occasion.

When you write a holiday-themed book, you’re tapping into a readership that craves tales of love, hope, and holiday magic. These books can even become annual traditions, making them a lucrative niche for authors (think: The Polar Express, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol).

So, what’s the key to success in writing holiday-themed books? It’s all about timing!

Timeline for Writing a Holiday-Themed Book

If you’re waiting for the fall to start your holiday book, you’re too late. But fear not: Now is actually a great time to start working on a book for next holiday season! Let’s break down the planning, writing, and publishing timeline so you can have a holiday book ready for next year.

Research and Brainstorm (12-18 Months Before Release):
For nonfiction books, start researching holiday traditions, customs, and the specific elements that make your chosen holiday special. This phase is crucial, as it helps you incorporate authentic details into your story. Fiction authors should brainstorm plot, characters, and central themes. Outline your book’s structure and key scenes, making sure you incorporate the classic components of holiday stories.

Here are some popular holiday book tropes you can consider:

  • Rushing home for the holidays
  • Cease-fire: everyone agrees to get along
  • Small town vibes or big city hustle & bustle
  • Holiday activities: ice skating, cutting down a tree, caroling, mistletoe, baking…
  • Scrooge: the character who hates the holidays
  • Snowed in with nowhere to go
  • True meaning of the holiday

Write Your Manuscript (9-12 Months Before Release):
Begin writing your book at least nine to twelve months before your intended release date. This timeline ensures you have enough time for revisions and editing. Consider setting a daily or weekly writing goal to maintain a consistent pace.

Self-Editing and Beta Readers (6-9 Months Before Release):
Once your manuscript is complete, set it aside for a few weeks before diving into the editing process. Then, work with beta readers or critique partners to get feedback. Make revisions based on their suggestions and fine-tune your book.

Cover Design and Title (6-9 Months Before Release):
As your book takes shape, start working on the cover design and choose a compelling title. Your cover and title should convey the holiday spirit and entice potential readers. Make sure your cover fits the genre—for instance, if it’s a romcom, opt for a fun illustrated cover.

Professional Editing (4-6 Months Before Release):
Hire a professional editor to review your manuscript. They will focus on grammar, style, and overall story structure. Editing is a crucial step to ensure your book is polished and ready for publication.

Formatting and Layout (3-4 Months Before Release):
Begin the formatting and layout process. Ensure your book is correctly formatted for the print and eBook versions. Pay attention to font styles, chapter headings, and overall aesthetics.

Publishing (2-3 Months Before Release):
Choose a publishing path, platform or service. Plan your launch strategy, including pre-orders, marketing, and promotions. Send ARCs to reviewers and influencers to generate buzz and early reviews for your book. Positive feedback can boost your book’s visibility and sales upon release.

Promotion and Marketing (2-3 Months Before Release):
Start building anticipation for your book by creating a marketing plan. This may include a book trailer, author website, social media presence, and outreach to book bloggers and influencers in your genre.

Release and Promotion (Holiday Season):
It’s time to launch your book!. Coordinate promotions, advertisements, and social media campaigns to reach your target audience. After the release, engage with your readers through holiday-themed events, virtual book signings, and blog tours. Keep the holiday spirit alive with themed content and interactions.

Benefits of Releasing a Holiday-Themed Book

Writing and releasing a holiday-themed book around the holidays offers a multitude of benefits, not only for your readers but for you as an author as well. Some reasons why this is a strategic move include:

  • Heightened seasonal relevance. People are actively seeking holiday-related content during this time.
  • Emotional connection. By releasing a holiday book during the season, you tap into the sentimental feelings and nostalgia that people experience.
  • Gifting opportunities. Your book can be a perfect gift choice for people looking for thoughtful and meaningful presents.
  • Increased sales potential. Many readers are more inclined to make book purchases during this time, whether for themselves or as gifts.
  • Extended marketing opportunities. Leverage festive themes, holiday promotions, and events to generate buzz around your book.
  • Cross-promotion and collaborations. Themed promotions, giveaways, and joint marketing efforts can enhance your book’s visibility.
  • Reader anticipation. Announcing your book’s release well in advance of the holiday season can translate into pre-orders and early sales.

The Takeaway

Writing holiday-themed books allows authors to create stories that resonate with readers during their favorite times of the year. The key to success in this genre is a well-planned timeline that ensures your book is polished, promoted, and released during the holiday season. So, if you’re thinking of writing a holiday-themed book, start today to have it in readers’ hands next year.