Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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June 23, 2023

Ways for Authors to Cross-Promote Their Books

by Ellen Buikema

One aspect of the book business that authors dislike is marketing their work. Not all of us are born salespeople. Some authors are extroverts who enjoy putting themselves out there, and easily juggle a day job, writing, and family time. Not all of us have this superpower and find that time to promote ourselves and our writing is difficult.

People cannot read your work if they don’t know it exists.

Authors need time to successfully promote their books. We can’t borrow time but we can expand our reach by cross-promoting with other authors, particularly but not exclusively with writers in the same genre.

Don’t worry about competition. Readers consume far more content than any of us can write. Teaming up makes sense.

Forms of Cross-Promotion

Newsletters

Cross-promotion works best when you’re supporting other authors who write in your specific genre. Since your target audiences overlap, you will all have a better chance of increasing your reach.

Because of privacy concerns, authors don’t “swap” e-mail lists. Instead, they agree to mention your launch, discount, or contest in their own newsletters. Since newsletters are a productive path to book sales, this type of cross-promotion is great and the only cost is a bit of time to contact other writers via social media or email.

Multi-author giveaways and contests

Get several authors together to run a contest or giveaway, with every writer promoting the event and donating an eBook, paperback, or audiobook code as a prize for readers to win.

Have a care if you decide to use something like an eReader as a prize. Some years back I joined a multi-author giveaway that had such a prize. A plethora of people entered, giving their email addresses long enough to know whether they’d won, and then opted out of the authors’ email lists. Not all, but a large enough percentage “unsubscribed” that MailChimp flagged me. After I explained what happened they gave me time to rectify my situation and remove the subscribers myself.

This same situation with unsubscribing can happen if you join a group that is in a different genre. Multi-author promotions can work wonders for attracting positive attention to your work, multi-genre—not so much.

Goodreads lists

Authors are unable to add their own books to Goodreads lists. Enlist other writers to add each other’s books to Goodreads lists that are a good fit.

Exchange ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies)

Having giveaways for ARCs during a book’s preorder period is a fantastic way to collect early reviews. Consider trading ARCs with authors in your genre and asking them to run giveaways for your books on their social media channels, offering to do the same for them. This creates greater exposure all around and a good chance gain more new readers.

Interviews

Be interviewed by another author on video.

Video is a great attention grabber. If a video includes multiple authors, each can publish the video to their social media channels, cross-promoting to several audiences, and giving exposure to each other’s fan base.

Speak on an author panel

Public speaking can be intimidating, but there is safety in numbers. Like singing, being in the choir is a lot less nerve wrecking than singling solo with a band.

During a panel, authors are usually seated in the front of the room with several other authors. A moderator will ask the questions. Most often, these questions will have been predetermined with a chance to discuss them beforehand. Some questions will be for a particular author, and others will be for the entire group.

Speaking on panels at bookstores, conferences, and festivals, is a great way to gain exposure to readers, fellow authors, and publishing professionals. Panels offer authors many cross-promotion opportunities. Participants have visibility to fans who originally came to hear a different author speak. Panels let authors connect with and learn from their fellow-panelists.

How to find authors to cross-promote with

  • Join a critique group, meet other writers at conferences, or hang out in the same Social Media groups.
  • If you don’t have writer friends yet, join some Social Media groups for your genre, follow the hashtags for that genre, and start commenting on fellow writers’ posts. It’s very important to comment.
  • If you’re traditionally published, reach out to other authors who are with the same publisher. If you are self-publishing, search for a group of indie authors in your genre.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s a good place to meet other writers.
  • Join cross-promotion platforms like BookFunnel, Prolific Works, and Story Origin that offer group promos you could join. This option is not free, but it may be worth consideration.

For more ways to find authors to cross-promote, author Donna Galati shares 11 Steps to Find and Connect with Other Authors in Your Genre on the WITS blog.

Final Thoughts

  • Be easy to contact. If you don’t have a website or you don’t have your email or a contact form on your site, fellow authors will have trouble finding you.
  • Build a relationship. People who know you are more likely to recommend your book to their readers.
  • Sharing is caring. Share some of their content, comment on their posts, and get to know them.
  • Return the favor. If a fellow author helps you promote your book, ask what you can do to help them promote theirs.
  • Be professional and reliable. Stick to deadlines.

How do you cross-promote your work? Share a cross-promotion story.

* * * * * *

About Ellen

Author, speaker, and former teacher, Ellen L. Buikema has written non-fiction for parents, and The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon chapter book series with stories encouraging the development of empathy—sprinkling humor wherever possible. Her Works In Progress are The Hobo Code, YA historical fiction and Crystal Memories, MG Magical Realism/ Sci-Fi.

Find her at https://ellenbuikema.com or on Amazon.

Top Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

14 comments on “Ways for Authors to Cross-Promote Their Books”

  1. Hi Ellen,
    These are great suggestions and timely, too. I am reviewing my promotion strategies this month and setting up my plans for the rest of the year.

    I completely forgot about my Goodreads list, for example. I'm saving this post for reference. 🙂

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    Kris

  2. Great post, Ellen. I'll be speaking to a writer's group next month. These kinds of engagements are good exposure. It' a great way to share your experience and help other writers to succeed, while promoting your own work.

    1. Thanks, Bob!
      Say hi to everyone for me. They are a great group of writers and I miss them.

      I don't need to wish you good luck. You will be awesome!

  3. When it comes to multi-author giveaways, be honest with readers. Let them know it's a newsletter builder. Let them know they are automatically added. If you don't want them unsubscribing, be honest. It's the law!!! So many of these giveaways are "baiting" them to enter with a big prize and they don't tell the reader in clear and concise language they are being added.

    Federal law is very clear and so many authors are ignoring it.

    1. I hear you, Denise. It is the law. The people entering the contest were given all that information.

      It was a huge learning experience for me, happening very early on in this career.

      I would advise writers to be careful when joining this type of venture. Choose people they know by reputation or personally, and be of the same genre as the other writers. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for a major headache.

      1. The exact same thing happened to me a few years ago with lots of people unsubscribing and Mailchimp flagging my account. I had to not only explain what happened but promise never to use that giveaway company again before they would let me access my account again!

  4. Excellent suggestions, Ellen! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to contact authors and been unable to find something as simple as a contact form!

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