3 Ways a Holiday Can Enhance Your Story and Help Market Your Book

by | Writing | 3 comments

“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” — Marcus Samuelsson (Chef) 


Whether your story is humorous or suspenseful here are ways holidays can please readers and help in marketing your book.

Way 1: Family Traditions

Come up with a fresh, creative family tradition that readers can try. They’ll appreciate an idea to make their family’s holiday experience richer. The idea may also initiate getting the word out about your book as readers share it with others.

photoExample: In Calculated Risk, Nick’s family introduces Cisney to three Thanksgiving traditional events.

  • An active game in the basement among the cousins. This one shows Cisney a side of Nick that doesn’t fit her image of him in the office. (Cisney and Nick are extreme opposites.)
  • A mission project in which the whole family is involved. I think readers will find this one fresh and creative. Readers could start such a mission in their neighborhoods or churches. Although Nick is a little exasperated with Cisney at first, he learns much about her heart during this mission.
  • An outing on Thanksgiving evening with the cousins. Nick learns something about Cisney that drives him crazy and something that amuses him.
  • I used all three of these traditions to add something to my giveaway basket of goodies I talked about in a recent post.

Fresh holiday traditions in your story could start buzz about your book. Click to tweet.

 Way 2: Delicious Holiday Foods

Recipes, recipes, recipes. Get readers salivating for the food and then give them recipes on your website or in your newsletters. Also, use at least one food in some kind of conflict readers will remember.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Example: In Calculated Risk, Nick looks forward to his mother’s snowflake rolls.

  • Those rolls instigate some problems between Cisney and Nick that raises Grandpa’s eyebrows at the Thanksgiving table. I plan to offer a recipe for the rolls in a newsletter. My research said they’re easy to make.
  • Sweet potatoes become a retaliatory food for Cisney. Grandpa’s smile shows his approval. The events with the food are subtle but memorable.

Holiday food in your stories can generate recipes to use on your website and newsletter. Click to tweet.

 Way 3: Family & Friends

In past manuscripts, I avoided including family members of my main characters in my stories. I felt like I dropped them in, and they didn’t add much to the story. BUT when I included a holiday that’s all about family and friends, characters were easy to write. They were necessary “props.”

256px-Charles_Green01Example: In Calculated Risk, Nick adores his family, but some members exasperate him, especially when it comes to the way they admire Cisney.

  • Nick rooms with his cousin Tony. They’re almost as opposite as Cisney and Nick. Tony challenges Nick’s desire to keep his life private.
  • Nick’s younger sister and best friend fuel Cisney with handy information about Nick.

Holidays in your story lend an easy way to introduce characters’ family members. Click to tweet.

 What is your favorite holiday novel and why?

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American Christian Fiction Writers

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  1. Joyce Hart

    Zoe, your blog is really good.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thank you for your encouragement, Joyce. I’ve had many tastes of that from you.

  2. Jane Foard Thompson

    Great ideas, as usual, Zoe.

    I’ve used “holidays” and meals in my pre-Colombian WIP, Listen to the Wind, to provide historical details as well as the a richer view of the characters. Research into those areas gave me new plot points.

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