Every element of your Cross Marketing Strategy should be documented and tested. It’s not good enough to try something and discover a few weeks later “Oh man! That really worked! Now, what was it I did, exactly?” To build momentum for your book’s visibility, interest and sales you need to know what you’re attempting, what your goals are, and you must clearly document how successful or unsuccessful each effort is.
If you think a specific Cross Market is perfect for your book – that your murder mystery has enough “gardening” elements in it to approach the garden magazines, clubs and online stores – and you try it, how do you really know if it was successful or not? In your head, it might seem like a perfect fit, but did it really work? Of course, you will be running at least two or three different Cross Market approaches at the same time, plus your standard marketing to the obvious target markets, but how can you break it down to see which effort was successful and which was not so successful? AND, how much success makes a Cross Market direction worthy of additional exploration?There are a few critical red flags involved here, and among them are the biggest three that torment most authors.
- HOPE – oh, we sooooo hope that people like our book that we sometimes display our baby and just wish for great results. We’re looking for emotional, professional, personal and maybe even spiritual validation, a reason to go on. Okay, maybe that’s a little too dramatic but you get my point. I call Hope a non-strategy. It falls under the category of inaction and must always be checked at the door when testing your marketing and especially your Cross Marketing, because there’s easily twice as much of a chance for criticism in an unsuspecting cross market as there will be in the normal genre market strategy.
- IMAGINED CREDIBILITY – okay, this one doesn’t only apply to Cross Marketing, it applies to writing your book in the first place. Words you might say to yourself under the influence of IMAGINED CREDABILITY are: Oh, people will love this idea! People need to read more books like this. (And my favorite) If I just explain my reasoning they’ll buy my book by the millions! Trust me, if you have to explain anything to anyone, it’s not working, whether we’re talking about your plot or your Cross Marketing strategy. Simplicity is what attracts people, and reality is what attracts Cross Markets. If you think that gardening clubs will love your book because your main character has a back yard garden, you may be way off base. Be credible with your Cross Marketing. It will take a LOT of focus on that character’s garden to attract the attention of gardening clubs and groups. That garden must almost be a main character. If it isn’t, this would be like approaching dentist groups because one of your main character brushes his teeth once in the book. Imagined Credibility is another non-strategy.
- FEAR – yes, fear. Ouch, this one can put a real kibosh on your plans, no matter how well thought out and possibly successful your Cross Marketing ideas are. Try to look on the bright side. What are you really afraid of? Is a Cross Market does not respond to your efforts, there’s nothing lost. It’s not like your primary genre has stepped up and insisted you stink. It’s a Cross Market … an extra step for seeking new and more readers … and the point of all this is to test uncharted waters. Face your fears, take a leap and see what happens. Fear = non-strategy #3
In all three of these cases – Hope, Imagined Credibility and Fear – you need to recognize them for what they are: non-strategies and ineffective wastes of time. I usually simply mark them “DUH” because, of course, I knew better when I implemented them in the first place.
So, how do you keep track of all this Cross Market activity? You must create a worksheet that A) Develops creative exploration for Cross Markets, B) Establishes a testing system to determine if the Cross Market is viable and C) Expands on good ideas while eliminating the bad ideas.
You must set standards. Creating a worksheet to help you navigate through the process can be a simple plan or a complex plan. It can be created on Excel forms or on a yellow lined pad. There are three primary tasks listed above and three non-strategy situations to avoid.
Because marketing and Cross Marketing your book is such a personal thing, I strongly encourage you to create your own worksheet, but to help you visualize, I’ve attached a sample Cross Marketing Worksheet PDF here.
Remember, every book and every author is different, so make sure your worksheet is specific to your book, your genre, your subgenres and your sensibilities. Make the plan aggressive enough but also not too big for you to manage effectively. Activity is the key to success and remember, you must put in the work.
Next week we’ll add the finishing touches to this Cross Marketing Series with some Time Management Strategies!
Author Success Series: Cross Marketing