I know what you’re thinking. You’re mind is spinning with all the activity you’ve already created for your various platforms. You have a large following on twitter and make sure you interact every day. You’ve built your friend base on Facebook to the max. You blog, you email, you interact with other authors … what else could you possibly do? And … how much time will it take? You’re a writer, at some point you would like to be writing, right?
Take a deep breath and relax, this isn’t what you think. Yes, you have done as much as you can with your websites, social marketing and group affiliations … but have you? Are your efforts gaining the responses and results you want? Are you talking to the right people … the BOOK BUYING people? Relax. You are doing well, but this week, we’re going to talk about how to help you do better with Cross Marketing.
Have you ever heard the phrase “make money with somebody else’s money”? Well, it sounds a little tacky and distasteful, but sometimes you need to look into another platformer’s back yard to find a few more book buyers. No, I’m not talking about stealing friends or followers from other authors. In fact, far from it. I’m talking about strolling through an entirely different neighborhood to find more book buyers. Here’s how this works.
Here are the facts. Most authors feel safer making friends and followers with other authors. It’s a great resource for information and great support as you plot or develop characters. It’s a fantastic group of people for input on your book cover ideas and gaining insight into your agent, publisher, format or distribution choices. But the truth is … authors don’t buy other authors books, at least not enough to make a major dent in your sales. In reality, all of your author friends have already paid the price in time, advice and kindness while you showed them version after version of your book video or healed from your rejection wounds. If I bought a book from every author I’ve freinded on facebook, I’d have over 3,000 books! It simply doesn’t make sense to put too much hope into selling books to other authors.
As I’ve mentioned a number of times over the years, everything you need to be successful with your book sales in INSIDE your manuscript. I recently had a commenter here on the blog who doubted that Cross Marketing could work with her genre – erotica. THIS is how it can work with EVERY genre.
To start this thinking process, I’m going to choose a genre and story plot point that is fairly simple. Let’s say your book is a murder mystery about a woman who owns an auto repair business and loves to be under the hood, dirty and greasy. How the murder is discovered or solved isn’t relevant for this exercise, so let’s just go with what we have.
Let’s say you’ve already promoted it to all your facebook friends and followers (most of which are other writers). Now what do you do?
Expanding platforms through Cross Marketing is about taking advantage of someone else’s platforms. In the best case scenario, someone whose platform audience will find no conflict of interest and – most important – the platform owner has no competition should you sell a book to their customers.
Back to our lovely auto mechanic. Here are a few platforms the author could take advantage of.
- Not just the obvious mystery readers book clubs, but how about “How to” book clubs? How about car or machinery lovers book clubs?
- Car lovers groups
- Car maintenance groups
- How to change your oil/sparkplugs/tires groups for women
Live Local Business Connections (never discount readers just outside your own door)
- Pop by every oil change or auto services business and post a flyer or business card about your book on the bulletin board
- Do the same with every auto parts supply store
- Join the Chamber of Commerce and make “friendly” contacts for more ideas
- Give away a free book at an antique car club gathering, or sell books there along with some free lemonade
- Local and national auto service businesses (independent and chains) all have websites. Take a good look at those websites, find the contact and find out if you can post at their website, perhaps a photo of your book cover, better yet, a daily “Mechanical Murder” tip that talks about auto service and solving murders. If you can create a following on two or three of those major websites, your sales will jump!
- How about asking to do this on Auto Clubs (like AAA) websites?
Blogs and Yahoo Groups
- How many blogs exist that discuss women and auto repairs? Women who are automotively or mechanically helpless? Women who are mechanically savvy? Find them and ask to be a guest blogger to promote your book and do the guest blogs in a series so you can spread out the exposure.
- Seek out Yahoo Groups that cover all the angles in your book, women, women mechanics, murder mystery lovers. Join, make friends and make sure your email promo tag for the book is prominent with every response you make to the group.
Granted, mainstream situations may be out of the question for a M/MS&M or hard erotica book, but there are many other Cross Marketing opportunities most erotica writers haven’t actually explored.
Check into website connections, for example, can you get your book promoted on a sex toy or lingerie website? Perhaps you can become part of one of their forums and chat away about your book to a new audience you haven’t reached so far. If your book is paranormal in nature, it’s not outside the box to connect with Paranormal Romance yahoo groups, Facebook Groups or Twitter fans. Take your time, explore every avenue. Can you make yourself an expert in something the erotica community is interested in? If so, go for it. Cross Marketing isn’t something you can’t use because it approaches a broad audience, it’s something you NEED to use because in any tight genre, expanding the interest base and attracting more and new buyers for your books is all that matters. Cross Marketing for erotica needs to work within it’s own universe, just like cozy romance or children’s books. It’s all about looking for your prospective book buyers where you haven’t looked before, and connecting with them.
Once an author has EXPANDED their platforms with Cross Marketing, the whole world opens up for building a bigger fan base, stronger sales and greater demand for more books! It’s a win/win/win!
Next week we’ll discuss … Cross Marketing by playing the Genre Game like an expert. See you then!
Author Success Series: Cross Marketing