Blogger: Wendy Lawton
A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog post about The Trouble with Tribes. Goodness, that one stirred up a lot of conversation! Someone privately contacted me with this follow-up question:
“I have another notion I struggle with, and can’t quite figure how to think about….and that is authors cross-promoting. I debuted last year and have a four-book contract. Many authors (without my asking) promoted my book on Facebook, which I appreciated, but their audience is different than mine and I didn’t see a lot of web hits coming from those authors’ Facebook posts. Now, I’m being asked to return the favor. As a good friend….I want to. BUT….at least one of my reader friends on FB privately mentioned she hates when there is TOO much book promoting going on and she was glad I refrained from that. Sigh….what’s an author to do? Frankly, my preference is just let each author connect with their own tribe/audience so there’s not so much noise. But, I don’t want to risk alienating peer authors.”
Good question. I wish I had a perfect answer to this but I figured we could chew on this together. How much cross-promoting should an author do? Let me start by saying:
- Never, never, never share your reader list with anyone. Can I say that again? Never, never, never share your reader list with anyone. This is your most valuable asset as a writer. You will work hard to gather each name and to keep this list fresh. You will faithfully input every reader name, email address and physical address in your database. I talked a little about the reader list in my blog post Start Collecting People a few months back. I’m going to talk more about the dangers of sharing this list next week in my blog. The important thing to remember is this is your list. You’ve made an unspoken (or maybe even written) promise to these people that you won’t share their name with anyone. Never plan a cross promotion where you give another writer– or even your publisher– these names.
- Decide how many times you can cross-promote without it costing you. In other words, if each day you feature another friend’s books, pretty soon you are going to wear people out. When your book comes out, it will look like just one of 365 other books you talk about.
- When you decide what number of other authors you can cross-promote, make sure that a) you are crazy about them and their writing, b)they share a similar audience with you and c) that the promotion you do for their books sounds genuine and heartfelt– like a friend recommending a book to friends.
- Make sure the handful of authors who will be your cross-promotional partners also present your books in a genuine, winsome way.
- When other authors ask you to promote their books, just tell them that you can only handle a limited number of cross-promotional partners but since you love their books (if you do) you’ll put them on a list. If one of your current partners go off on a new genre or stops writing, you’ve got a list of possible new partners. And, in the process, you’ve not hurt anyone’s feelings.
- Of course, if your publisher comes up with a cross-promotional event, you gladly take part. Many marketing departments are coming up with fun contests and events that pull together a number of their authors– this would be a different thing than blogging about individual author’s books.
I’m just putting this out there for discussion. I could be convinced otherwise. So what do you think? Do you ever consider what it costs you to promote other books? Is it confusing to readers to see other books on your blog? How do you do what is best for you and not alienate author/friends?
As an author, if you promote other author’s books, do you risk confusing your readers? Click to Tweet
Do I need to pay my author friends back for promoting my book? Click to Tweet
Book cross-promotion can become overwhelming. What’s an author to do? Click to Tweet