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