Marketing a book today is a major undertaking and almost every ounce of that work falls on the author’s shoulders. With a good Book Business Plan, a powerful set of Platforms, elegant marketing, publicity and promotion you can go far, but only so far. Cross Marketing is the key to breaking into big sales because it only works in tandem with YOUR manuscript and only approaches markets other typical genre authors don’t think to approach. Sales success is all in the author’s hands and only you can determine to take that extra step into the unknown to garner numbers that set you and your book apart.
No one said this would be easy, but I’ve told you often that it is simple.
So now you’ve found new Cross Markets and approached them. Let’s say you’ve been successful with some of these Cross Markets and you don’t want the success to stop. There are techniques to maintain and grow awareness within cross markets. Let’s break this down and follow the same categories we used to help with the discovery of and approach to new Cross Markets for YOUR book.
Here you may be a little limited, especially if your genre is extremely specific – like children’s books or hard erotica – but in most cases you can milk the new sub-genre for as long as the readers will have you. If you’ve written a mystery with heavy romantic undertones and at least one paranormal element, you could be golden. You can be selling your book to mystery lovers, romance readers and paranormal book junkies. That’s three audiences instead of one. The question is … how do you keep the love growing? This takes some careful strategies.
- Gain reviews from reputable reviewers in those genres – Of course you want good, strong reviews from mystery reviewers because it’s your primary genre, but one thing you need to do is get good strong reviews from romance and paranormal reviewers too. Those reviewers have large audiences within the genre and can, with the post of one review, gain substantial sales for you. Seek out as many reviewers as possible within all your Cross Market genres and be sure to clearly state that your book has strong storylines within the genres the reviewers are working with. Never just assume the reviewer will understand that your book entitled Murder in the Tropics has paranormal or romantic elements … tell them. Stop being so afraid to give away parts of your story. Spoilers are one thing, but imagining that a reviewer will search for the element that interests them is foolish and a sure way to end up in the trash/recycle bin.
- Promote those reviews to a larger audience of that subgenre – When you get a great review in one of your Cross Market subgenres, don’t just automatically promote it to your regular twitter, facebook or group followers and expect a huge sales jump … take it outside the normal venues. Talking to the same people over and over will not gain new sales. Find or get involved with, in this case, paranormal and romance groups. Those are the places to promote the great review for your book.
- Seek out new venues to reach more variables within that subgenre – Don’t stop with the obvious. Romance groups love romance, but who else loves romance? Nurses? Dentists? School teachers? Housewives? Mothers? How can you approach them? The odds are smaller but they are still sales! If one nurse loved the book and mentions it to another and another … well, it can grow! If it ends there, it’s three more sales than you originally had and a tested Cross Market. Who likes paranormal? Would they like the paranormal elements in your book? One way to seek those people out is by searching “paranormal” on twitter or facebook and seeing what comes up. 10 people? 10,000 people? Are they worth approaching? Your choice. Me? I’ll shoot for those 10 or 10,000 more book sales. How do you find these groups in the live world? Just look around. All organizations, no matter what they specialize in, are always looking for speakers for interesting, social and creative subjects for their meetings. Talk to the library, how many different kinds of groups meet there? Look into social halls and organizations, women’s clubs, ski clubs. You will find groups looking for something stimulating to feature at an upcoming meeting. Why can’t it be your fantastic book?
Remember the “Smile and Make Nice” category last week? Well now I’m going to ask you to make even nicer. Be an online and live social butterfly! I want to see your name everywhere! When was the last time you Googled yourself? Try it now and be amazed. Is there one page of you? Ten? Twenty? Are they all related to the book(s) you want to sell? The reviews you want people to notice? The news about your book? If not, you may be too scattered.
Try this … every time you use your name, make sure you use the name of your book and the 10 word soundbite/tag for your book. Making these connections in interviews, blogs, tweets and facebook entries can create a substantial synergy between you, your book and your various audiences.
Take a moment to introduce yourself to Cross Market groups and segments by immediately connecting you with your book. It can be as subtle as making sure the tag is on every single email you send out … or it can be as elaborate as offering a free book to the person who responds to your introduction with the most interesting Mystery (or Romance or Paranormal) comment. Making friends is nice, making strong friends in a big way is power.
You may have approached reading groups and book clubs, you may have approached other groups specific to the elements in your book – coffee lovers, gardeners, flying fanatics, etc. But after you give your first approach and see a little sales growth, you can’t just sit and hope it continues. These groups are collections of PEOPLE and people only like, trust and purchase from other likeable, trustworthy people. When I told you to “make friends” in these groups and keep the sales pitch to a minimum, I mean to SERIOUSLY make friends with these groups. That means getting involved. If the group is doing a fundraiser, offer help either in time, contacts or a free book or two for the silent auction. If the group is planning a live get-together in New Orleans, try to get there if you can. Trust me, face-to-face has far more impact than online connections. You may make friends for life in the Crescent City who will wholeheartedly and tirelessly promote your book just because they like you so much IN PERSON. (Talk about Big Easy!)
If the group needs ideas for a project, chime in. If they need an answer you can help with, offer it. Remember, these are your friends now and they want to help you too. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to use them for research for your next book! They’ll be thrilled to help because you’ve been so much help to them. They’ll tell their friends in other groups about you and your book.
Going the distance with interest groups is a real win/win … if you do it with the future in mind. If you approach the group and think only of what sales you can gain quickly then disappear, there’s little chance of your popping back in for your next book and getting a favorable response. Play nice and they’ll play nice right back!
All right, serious Cross Marketing is about digging deep, deeper than you think. Yes, you’ve done some wonderful things with connecting your book with Coffee Shop websites because your main character loves coffee, but have you gone far enough? Here are a few suggestions that might spur new ideas:
- Coffee recipe websites
- Coffee Mug websites
- Contests on various websites where you give away a copy of your book and the coffee company also gives away something – a coupon for a free cup of joe or a discount on a pound of coffee. Or maybe have people create a coffee drink (alcoholic or not) and win a free book
- Coffee Tasting/Book Signing parties, or how about creating a Coffee and Book PAIRING group of your own?
- Coffee/Tea lovers groups, websites and groups
- Develop “TeaTeasers” or “CoffeeBeans”, small hints about your story that can entice tea or coffee lovers at a website or tea store into reading your book.
- Write a weekly blog or column for a coffee blog or publication – the by-line will be your coffee loving character, of course.
And all of this is just for one concept – coffee. Let your imagination fly. What is one of your specific Cross Markets and how many different ways can you think of to grow it deeper and wider?
There are a few strong theories on working with charities. Some say you can spread yourself around and support several charities, others feel the loyalty focus is more effective for you and your charity of choice. Honestly, it is your decision to make.
Personally, I’ve always felt that choosing a charity is an important part of defining who you are as an author. If you wish to support a charity, it should have a personal connection or a strong social affiliation you really want to be connected to on a variety of levels. Choosing a charity just because it might gain visibility is foolish and basically, unproductive. It’s like you ooze some kind of stink that tells everyone you’re just doing it for yourself. We all know what it means to support a charity and mean it. I strongly suggest you do that.
Assuming you chose the charity because it somehow fits with your story, or at least the point of your story, you can do more than just announce that you support that group. There are several ways to support your charity and to explain it, I’ll take my charity of choice. In October, my book The Author Success Coach will be released. These are some of the activities I plan to do in support of my chosen charity, The American Literacy Council.
- Donate a portion of book sales profits to The American Literacy Council
- Speak at various colleges, universities and high schools about the techniques in the book, and the challenges of The American Literacy Council
- Set a goal and make it known on the website that I wish to raise X amount of dollars for The American Literacy Council, thus making myself accountable
- Offer assistance when The American Literacy Council is doing a fund raising event in my area
- Ask to be part of The American Literacy Council’s newsletter or blog, possibly with a monthly blog or brief column on literacy and fiction in America
- Purchase ads for my book in church bulletins, school newsletters, online websites for colleges and universities, all with a tag that a portion of the profits for book sales go to the American Literacy Council
As you can see, there’s more to it than just noting on the last page or back cover of your book that you are supporting a charity with the sales of the book. You must get involved, become known and connected with the charity.
Charities can be the most powerful tool in your Cross Marketing arsenal. Use it wisely and with gusto!
Next week I’ll show you how to create a Cross Marketing Worksheet!
Author Success Series: Cross Marketing