Author Success Series: Cross Marketing from the Obvious to the Sublime!

I call Cross Marketing the Author’s Magic because it’s so simple and so easy! As I mentioned before, Cross Marketing has been used by just about every other industry in the world since the beginning of time. P.T. Barnum used it to get as many different kinds of people as possible into the big top to see his shows, and you can use it to get as many differed readers into your book too.

Let’s start with a simple, non-book subject.

Imagine you’ve just inherited a pizza oven and rented the perfect little location on a high foot-traffic street. You’ve decided to make pizzas. Woo hoo! You’re going to be rich! Everyone loves pizza, right? Nope. Believe it or not, not everyone out there loves red sauce, pepperoni and melted mozzarella cheese. You’re barely making ends meet and need to gain more customers or you’ll be out of business. You have a competitor a few blocks down the street so you go take a look at what they’re doing. They’re serving the same kind of pizza and they’re hopping everyday. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that your competition has been established and has loyal followers. What’s a pizza marketer to do? Cross Market.

The first thing you do is examine who loves pizza.

  • Young adults
  • Young working parents who love it for the convenience
  • Pizza aficionados who tour the city for the best pizza
  • Foodies who seek the unusual
  • Health buffs and vegetarians
  • Kids

Now you look at why they go to a specific pizza shop

  • Is it for the price point?
  • Is it for the quality?
  • Is it for the uniqueness of the service or atmosphere?

It’s time to look for ways to bring in more than the few customers you have while making sure to return the loyalty to those who have started to come to your shop regularly.

Let’s take this one target at a time.

  • Young adults. Protect the price points and look for things those young adults love in other parts of their life. Perhaps you can have a Teen Hour where the music is loud and fun and there are contests for those young people to enter to win a free pizza party or tickets to rock shows.
  • Young working parents. Maybe it’s a good idea to have a special line for taking phone, text or fax orders so that the pizzas are ready for pick up or delivered at the perfect time.
  • Pizza aficionados. Perhaps you can create a competition between all the local pizza places to raise money for a charity, kind of like American Idol only with pizza.
  • Foodies. If you’ve decided this is a lucrative customer, you’ll need to add special foodie items to your menu. Toss some fresh basil or rosemary into your pizza dough, top the pizza with unique sauces and ingredients. Maybe add a dessert pizza, something with a whipped cream cheese sauce topped with fresh seasonal fruits and sprinkled with chunky crystallized sugar.
  • Health buffs and Vegetarians. This requires healthy menu choices that cater to these customers.
  • Kids. Like McDonalds, you can do a few super kid-friendly things. Offer catered kid parties, have kid-sized personal pizzas on the menu, design the little pizzas with a pepperoni smiling face.

Next you must make sure all those new targets know about your activities to serve them.

  • Walk around and give away discount coupons targeted to each of your new menu features.
  • Give away free sample bites to everyone who walks in.
  • Take kiddy pizzas to one of the local little league games for the players to enjoy.
  • Place an add in the foodie, health buff and vegetarian publications
  • Make sure your signage lists your weekly events and who those events are targeted for so that passers-by can see it and make note.

NOW you’ve taken your pizza shop and reached 6 new highly targeted customers than you originally had.

As you know, anyone can make a pizza, good bad or boring – and in this day and age, anyone can write and publish a book, good bad or boring. The competition for the book buyer’s dollar is big so making sure you reach as many audiences as possible is one of the great keys to success. You have strong, long-established competition right in your genre. You have difficulties with reaching new book buyers and you have the same challenges the pizza shop has. But, as you can see … it’s all about what’s on the pizza … or in the book … that makes the difference.

Okay, now back to Cross Marketing for authors. (Just give me a minute to lick the sauce from my fingers.)

Genre Games (THE OBVIOUS)

Let’s say you’ve written a romance. Everyone loves romance, right? Maybe. But just setting up shop, just announcing that your romance is being released, won’t be enough. Of course you will reach the avid romance readers looking for new authors but will that be enough?

Start with your subgenre. Is it paranormal romance? Is it YA romance? Is it erotic romance? Does it have a mystery in it making it a cozy or hot mystery romance of sorts? Playing the genre game is very important when planning your cross marketing strategies.

For example, there are ways to stretch the limits of a genre. Granted, for sales purposes on websites and in book stores as well as seeking an agent, you better be very clear on the genre, but think about what happens beyond that and who out there might love your book.

If your book is an urban fantasy with romance in it, why can’t you market to romance readers? If your book is about romance with a werewolf, there’s no reason you can’t cross market that paranormal romance with general romance. We’re talking about subtle approaches here, not slam-bam crashing into the door of a traditional romance readers book club and insisting they’ll love your book. There’s a careful strategy to approaching cross market targets and that’s not it. Research carefully. If a book club or reading group or even a book reviewer specifically says they want romance, dig deeper. You’ll discover that romance is romance and falls under several genres. The key here is to reach readers your primary genre isn’t reaching.


For this strategy, it really doesn’t matter what your genre or subgenre is. This strategy is completely determined by WHAT’S INSIDE YOUR BOOK. You wrote this book and even though you may not have known it at the time, you’ve already written your Cross Markets into it. Just take a look at your manuscript. Where are the new markets?

Does your main character love to cook? If so, no matter what kind of book you’ve written, cooking supply stores, cooking clubs, cooking schools, cooking tools websites etc, etc, etc are great new Cross Markets!

Does your main character live in a specific, historic or destination part of the world? Now you can Cross Market to the museums, welcome centers, gift shops and travel websites for that location.

Does your main character travel, eat donuts, love chocolate,  live on the beach or in the mountains?

Have I made my point? The sublime magic of Cross Marketing is to go places other authors don’t bother to go to reach readers. If your character loves coffee, there’s no reason you can’t ask coffee shop’s to permit you to post a daily comment on their website to promote your book. Each day you can mention the daily brew and if your werewolf private eye likes it, or which pie he prefers, or even what newspaper he’s reading while enjoying his coffee.

Good Cross Marketing is about seeing beyond the average. Dig deep into your manuscript and find those possible markets. They’re yours for the plucking simply because there is no competition with other books or the product you’re connecting with. As long as the coffee store continues to gain customers, they’re happy. And if you gain book buyers, it’s a win/win!

Next Tuesday, we’ll cover Crossing into TURBO Creative Thinking. See you then!

About Deborah Riley-Magnus

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio. She writes fiction and non-fiction. Since 2010, she had two novels released. In 2013 her nonfiction, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were released. Her newest book, Write Brain/Left Brain, focuses on bridging the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author. Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. Deborah has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years. View all posts by Deborah Riley-Magnus

4 responses to “Author Success Series: Cross Marketing from the Obvious to the Sublime!

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