Other authors: Competition or collaborative marketing partners?
I’d like to emphasize that when a reader finishes a great novel, he will immediately begin looking for another. If someone loves your book, it increases the chance that he or she will look at mine. So there is no competition between writers. Another writer’s success helps build a larger readership for all of us.
— David Farland,
bestselling author of the Runelords series
Human nature is frail, and one of the frailties almost any entrepreneur – including authors – seems to experience at one time or another is a lack perspective. This can show up dressed in any number of different ways:
- “If you win, I’ll lose.”
- “If someone buys your book, they won’t buy mine.”
- “If you get invited speak, I won’t be asked.”
- “If you get a good review, people will hate my book.”
If you’re honest, you can probably add a few of your own to that list.
Where does this nonsense come from? Well, as noted above, it stems from our human nature and the gremlins in our heads that tell us we’re not good enough. It comes from fear that the Universe is not magnanimous and generous and a failure to realize that there’s more than enough for all of us – whether in the form of money, sales, readers, fans, or opportunities.
That is why I love David Farland’s quote so much! “There is no competition between writers. Another writer’s success helps build a larger readership for all of us.”
So if we truly believe that another author’s success contributes to my success – and that there is no such thing as competition – how can we use that to our advantage when it comes to marketing? One great way is to get together with one or several other authors who write similar books and pool your resources for a collaborative marketing campaign. Put simply, this means you share the work, the expense, and the rewards.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Co-sponsor a book signing. Rather than just one of you footing the cost for the venue, food, etc., you share the costs and, more importantly, leverage your joint connections to reach a wider list of potential attendees.
2. Share collateral material like bookmarks, flyers, and business cards. If you print double-sided, one author’s promotions can appear on the “front,” while the other author appears on the reverse. Splitting costs might allow you to create a more professional product than either of you could have made on your own.
3. Interview each other on your social media sites. Again, this about sharing the wealth. If you’ve got 1,200 Twitter followers and your partner has 1,000 fans on his Facebook page, take turns promoting each other to your respective connections.
4. Create a joint blog. No one ever said that a blog had to be written by just one person. In fact, the large news and business blogs usually have many, many contributors. A joint blog with another author will enable you to expand your reach while saving you time and effort. If you each post twice a week, that’s double the effect you could have on your own in half the time.
These are just a few ideas to get you started – I’m sure if you put on your SBM* hat, you can think of many more.
You will want to take a few precautions, however. If the author you want to partner with is not someone you know, do your research and get to know them before you jump in with your partnership offer. Then, don’t be afraid to ask for references. Ask good questions to be sure that you’re both on the same page, in terms of your goals and willingness to do the work and split the cost. And always go with your gut. If you have an uneasy feeling about someone, listen to your intuition. Don’t just sign up because they’ve got lots of connections, or go along because you’ve already begun the process. Book marketing is your goal, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to look out for your interests, too.
*Savvy Book Marketer
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