• Rachel Olsen

Ho Ho Hurry Up

I just returned home from a week in sunny Savannah where the daily temperature averaged 96, with nearly as high humidity.

I glistened like a Georgia peach covered in dew.

My second day there I took three showers.

Today, however, I’m back at my desk thinking about the winter holidays. Is this just the wishful thoughts of an overheated editor? Nope – if you want to self-publish a holiday novel, now is the time to get writing.

Why write a novel relevant to a few weeks of the year, you ask? Market demand.


The holidays drive sales of books. One in four books bought in the U.S. are bought during the holidays, according to NPD Books.

If your book is a new release at the end of the year, you'll have eyes on that title.

All those holiday decorations, holiday cookies, and holiday themed commercials during Hallmark’s 186 Christmas movies make us want to cozy up with holiday reads. Christmas novels are the beach-read of the winter months.

In the coming months readers will be actively searching out holiday themed romances, mysteries, women’s fiction and the like. And that scenario will repeat again next year, and the year after, and so forth until Jesus comes.

See what I did there with the holiday pun?

My New Year’s themed book published in December of 2012 still sells robustly every year at that time, thanks to the built-in driver of the theme and calendar.

While you probably surmised book sales are strong in December, another reason to consider penning a holiday title is the holiday novel buying season is longer than you may think.

Correct, few people are reading holiday novels by the pool in June. The average sales rank of holiday genre fiction bottoms out during the summer with a July low.

After July, however, holiday titles begin a multi-month climb before their December peak. People are buying Christmas novels in September and October, not just in November and December.

And these titles sell past December on into January as many readers are holed up with blankets and cocoa, surrounded by snow, with little on their social calendar in the dead of winter.


That was extra true of the 2020-2021 winter brought to us by the letter “C” as in Covid. Last winter, overall interest in books including holiday fiction (especially Christmas romances and mysteries) was up as much as 20% during the Covid lockdown period.

With the Delta variant currently seeking hosts like an overheated editor seeking shade in Savannah, we could see another holiday season hampered by Covid. Christmas plays, parties, and concerts may again be canceled. Book sales could boom this winter.

If you write now, by Thanksgiving you could be harvesting some of that boom.

Kindle expert Alex Newton estimates that Christmas mystery authors ranking in the top 20 of Amazon Kindle sales average over $10,000 a month in royalties. And Christmas mystery writers with novels ranking in the top 100 Kindle sales could earn up to four figures a month in royalties.

Every year as the Halloween moon sets and November dawns, a slew of writers get the notion to write a holiday story. Many start a holiday novel or novella during NaNoWriMo’s November sprint. But by then, time to conceive, write, edit and launch a holiday book is as threadbare as the index finger on my favorite gloves.

Holiday fiction sales see a sharp uptick after the first week of November. So, start your novel now to have your book in the Kindle shop by then, or to have a shot at a publishing house release for the 2022 holiday season.

Pull out your Christmas decorations and decorate your writing space. Play your favorite holiday Spotify channel. Start dreaming of a white Christmas, or a harrowing Hannukah, or a steamy Kwanza.

  • What if a member of Pentatonix was murdered the morning of their holiday concert?

  • What if a vintage Christmas ornament caused an antique shopkeeper to time travel to Victorian England at Christmas?

  • What if Santa and Mrs. Claus had their own “Pina Colada Song” moment?

  • What if an assassin shot the president during the annual White House tree lighting ceremony?

  • What if an estranged family knit their hearts back together with the help of a magical Christmas quilt?

  • What if ... {insert your holiday story idea here}?

This winter you can give readers what many missed last December during lockdown – all the holiday feels.

Need help conceiving, shaping, or polishing your holiday story?

The Book Coach Collective can help.

I’m happy to get you started with a brainstorming call, coach you through the entire writing process, or help you iron out kinks in the tinsel once the draft is done.

In addition to being a writer and editor, I'm a holiday story junkie who watches all 186 of those Hallmark Christmas movies.

I even bought a holiday novel at E. Shaver Booksellers in Savannah. In July. Some people read holiday books year-round.


Reach me at RachelOlsen.coaching@gmail.com

Rachel Olsen


An agented, published author, a trained editor, and a certified creative mindset coach, Rachel helps writers:

1) Get clarity on their book and goals,

2) Overcome hindering thoughts,

3) Plan a route to writing success,

4) Gain momentum thru accomplishment,

5) Create their best book that will resonate with their ideal reader.

www.BookCoachCollective.com - Click here for a list of our coaches and more info.