Book promotion is the least favorite activity of most authors. In fact, some authors try to avoid it by signing with a traditional publisher in the hopes they will handle the task. However, most of them learn later on that publishers see themselves more as distributors and not salesmen. That means publishers can get books into the store but after that, it’s your job to make people want to buy them. Predictably, when sales don’t meet expectations authors often get dropped by their publisher which causes many to walk away from the industry, believing they aren’t good enough.
We’ve all heard about platforms, email lists, and advertising to push book sales but there’s more to promotion than just that. Most authors aren’t aware that they can pull their resources together with others and promote jointly, it’s called cross-promotion and it’s something publishers have been doing for a long time. Years ago, it wasn’t unusual for a publisher to send authors of similar genres out on book tours, or to conventions to promote their work because it was cost-effective and could boost sales. Indie authors can do similar things and unlike their traditionally publisher counterparts, they can choose who they want to work with.
Now before I go on, let me be clear, this is a group effort and you’ll be expected to carry your own weight in this project. Also, the others who agree to the project should be expected to do the same. There’s no room for slacking here. Now that we’ve made that clear, let’s go into the various ways authors are combining their promotional efforts…
#1: Selling Books As A Group: A.K.A. Book Bundling
For years, traditional publishers have been bundling books from various authors and putting them together for a packaged deal. The prices are sometimes ridiculously low so that fans of a certain genre can sample several books by different authors. The most popular services that indie authors use to create bundle sales are:
#2: Bundle Giveaways:
On the flip side of bundling sales are group giveaways, this is usually done for a variety of reasons such as:
- Introducing new authors to the public
- Generating buzz for a series of books (also known as a loss leader)
- Building an email list
I don’t recommend doing a giveaway unless, you plan on capitalizing on the attention. Many authors have lost money being too generous with their giveaways but if you have a strategy, it could work out. Anyway, here are some popular sites that you can use to put together a group giveaway:
#3: Email Swaps:
Sometimes authors hit a plateau when it comes to expanding their email list and turn to things like advertising or social media to grow their lists. However, you can grow your list simply by doing an email swap with another author. Here’s how it works, an author will introduce your book to their email subscribers and in exchange, you introduce their book to yours. It’s free and simple, here are a few sites that can help arrange an author email swap:
Don’t forget for a successful email swap you should have books in the same genre and an email list of comparable size.
On A Final Note
As you can see this isn’t marketing 101, if you’re a newbie, please don’t start here. However, for those of you who have been quietly building your platform, cross-promotion can be an ideal arrangement because costs are low and risks are minimal. Okay, I’m handing the mic to you, have you tried cross-promotion and if so, how did it go? Let us know in the comments.
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