Cross Promoting: It's What The Cool Authors Do
Have you ever noticed how some authors appear to have been born successful?
I’m not just talking about the endless interviews and signings, the global tours and talk shows. I mean those spend their time writing--and then publish to thousands of fans, everyone eager to buy and review without needing to be coerced. These writers might not be household names, but they are constantly featured on review blogs, always emailing about their upcoming releases, and always making progress on that next book without spending a dime on advertising.
How do they do it? Better yet, how can you do it?
Marketing is the Achilles’ Heel that stops many writers in their tracks. Marketing is expensive, time-consuming, tech-intensive, and comes with no guarantee that it will pay out. As a writer, you don’t want to spend your time marketing. You want to spend it with your stories--as you should.
What would happen if there was a way to expand your readership instantly, without spending a dime? What would you write in your next email if you knew it wasn’t just going to a few dozen people on your list, but to hundreds--possibly thousands--more?
That scenario sounds too good to be true, but it’s real, and more authors jump on board with it every day. They expand their reach by teaming up with similar authors and agreeing to promote and recommend each other’s work in a process called cross-promoting.
Cross promoting can happen in many different forms, on different schedules, with different authors and on different budgets. Some writers swap newsletters for a week so that they can expose their readers to other authors. This works well if you want something new to share with your readers between projects, and it can expose you to hundreds of new readers without costing a dime.
Anthologies and boxed sets offer a different approach. If you teamed up with ten different writers, and each of you agreed to submit a short piece to an anthology so you could publish it and promote it together, you’ll get ten different readerships checking you out. You will also link your name effectively with your peers, which will in turn boost everyone’s views online.
Running a giveaway, however, tops everything else. The prize could be anything--ebooks, paperbacks, or a Kindle ereader with your books loaded onto it. Giveaways are the most dynamic form of cross-promotion and can give fantastic returns. The last giveaway I joined got me over two hundred subscribers and many more sales over my next promotion--out-performing numerous advertising techniques I’ve tried in the past. You don’t need to spend much, either, though most giveaways require authors to chip in for hosting and donate at least one copy to a lucky winner.
There are more ways to cross promote your books. These are only some of the more popular tactics that have taken off in major writing groups.
Getting Started in Cross Promotions
Ideally, you should already be great personal friends with a dozen authors who all write similar books and who would love to cross promote with you.
If your circumstances are less than ideal, you’ll need to find a group to join or make one of your own. You can find a group in several ways, by searching for groups on Facebook or paying an online cross-promotion service like AuthorsXP or My Book Cave to help you automate the process.
Remember, writers love getting chances to promote their books, and a team-up is good for everyone involved. Don’t be afraid to break the barrier yourself and ask other self-published authors if they would like to join you for a cross-promotion.
Tips for Effective Cross Promotions
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you decide to put together or join an author cross-promotion.
Remember reciprocity. You’ll get out what you put in. Do your part to share and spread the news about the promotion to your own readers and mailing list. That will make the experience better for everyone and make you a favorite to partner with in future promotions.
Be intentional about who you partner with. Ideally, the authors you work with should write similar books and have a comparable reach to your own. Otherwise, you might experience difficulty finding readers who like everyone, and some authors might benefit much more than others. Don’t try to attract anyone too much more successful than you, or they might not see a huge boost in the promotion.
Keep it organized! Track what day or days your promotion will happen and which authors are responsible for what. An organized approach will give you a stronger return and a far better promotion overall.
What are your cross promotion experiences? Are you putting a group together? Please tell us in the comments below or join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction authors for further discussion.