When it comes to promoting, some authors go it alone, by choice or necessity. However, as someone with a “pack mentality,” I’m here to sing the praises of group promotion. Promoting with others allows you to…
· Plan together: From “where should we go?” to “should we have giveaways?” you’ve got others to bounce ideas off of.
· Share the workload: Divvy up your contact lists so one person doesn’t have to make all the calls or send all the emails. Too, if there’s a design whiz amongst you, she can design a flyer promoting your “group tour.”
· Share the costs: Materials, mailing, and travel (gas, hotel) expenses are more manageable when shared. And let’s not forget the good “environmental karma” you’ll rack up by carpooling, using one flyer to hawk three authors, and so on.
· Offer a “two-fer,” “three-fer,” etc. to bookstores, libraries, etc.: In my experience, most brick ‘n mortar venues prefer hosting an event with multiple authors. They can advertise once, prepare once, and (fingers crossed) get more people in the doors.
· Encourage cross-fertilization: People who are interested in your fellow author might, upon meeting you, decide to give your book a try… and vice versa!
· Avoid awkward moments: During the event, if there’s a dead silence from the crowd, you can ask each other questions. Similarly, you can feed each other straight lines and set up each other’s stories.
Group benefits apply in the virtual world as well. Do you find daily blogging just too much to handle? You are not alone, trust me. Find others of a like mind and create or join a group blog. For instance, I co-administrate a group blog, The LadyKillers, which has fourteen authors. Most post once every two weeks, with a few splitting one slot and posting just once a month. The big pluses of this arrangement: the blog has new post up every day, and we look out for each other, promoting/commenting on each other’s posts and creating a conversation. Among the things we do to make The LadyKillers work smoothly are the following:
· Have weekly “themes,” scheduled out about six months in advance. Although blogging on the theme isn’t required, it prevents the last-minute “what the heck am I going to blog about?” panics.
· Have two co-administrators for the blog. Mysti Berry and I back up each other, and the blogsters know they can call on either of us for help, should the need arise.
· Have a private yahoo group. Allows us to post messages to the group. We also use the yahoo calendar function to list who blogs when and what the themes are.
· Have “emergency posts” ready to go. We try to encourage all the LadyKillers to schedule their posts to go live just after midnight. If someone forgets (it happens), or has trouble getting the post up (that happens too), we have some back-up quotes in the yahoo group files that can be slapped up by any LadyKiller when they see a posting is missing/late for the day.
If you want to give group promotion a try, here are some tips from my “partners in crime” for making your group effort run smoothly:
· Approach authors you know or have heard speak elsewhere, so that you know their styles/personalities and yours will “mesh.”
· Find a catchy title for your group, something that underlines your commonalities or plays up your differences. It can be as simple as “Mavens of Mystery,” “Historical Murder and Mayhem” etc.
· Appoint a “moderator” from amongst you, if your group is three or more, for each event. The moderator can keep a list of agreed-upon questions handy, be sure everyone gets heard, and handle the audience Q&A.
· Read the works of your partners-in-crime, or at least be able to sound like you have. Compliment each other: praise always sounds better coming from someone else. So, next time you have a book coming out the chute, maybe there are other folks you can join forces with to bring the power of numbers to promotion.
Ann Parker is a California-based science/corporate writer by day and an historical mystery writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush series, featuring saloon-owner Inez Stannert, is set in 1880s Colorado, primarily in the silver-mining boomtown of Leadville. The latest in her series, MERCURY’S RISE, will be released November 1. http://www.annparker.net
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