Writing your book can be a solitary process, but you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to marketing and promotion. Sharing the burden of getting your book in front of readers is one of the best reasons to search for other authors with whom you can collaborate.
Don’t fall into that mindset trap that any author who writes in your niche is your direct competition. This is a common misconception among indie authors, who fail to see that other authors can be their most significant assets.
However, the key to successful book marketing collaborations lies in picking the right authors to collaborate with. After all, you want an effective partnership for all involved.
Book marketing can be challenging. It doesn’t matter whether you’re self-published or have chosen the traditional route; the effort to market and promote your book rests on your shoulders. If you don’t have the budget to employ a marketing specialist, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and start mastering the nuances of book marketing and promotion specific to your book’s niche.
So, how do you choose collaboration partners? You can use a simple five-question process.
Five Questions to Help You Find Author Collaborators
When establishing collaboration relationships, consider five things before you reach out and connect with other authors.
1. Do you and the other author write in a similar niche?
No two books are exactly the same, so it’s doubtful that you’ll find an author with precisely the same viewpoint and content focus. But that shouldn’t concern you anyway. What you’re looking for is some audience overlap between your books. The other author’s books don’t have to be a mirror image of yours. Still, there have to be enough similarities to appeal to the same audience.
For example, I’ve collaborated with other authors and bloggers within my niche in the following circumstances:
When I started travel blogging about our adopted home in Turkey, two other writers blogged about the same area. One was a gay couple who wrote about moving to a Muslim country. The other was an immigrant who had returned to the area after 20 years away.
We all had our own perspectives and specialized in writing about different aspects of life in Turkey. Still, we soon discovered that cross-promoting each other positively impacted our site visitors and book sales.
I’ve blogged and written books aimed at travel writers who want to become authors. So, I partnered with a travel writing coach who blogs and writes books about how to become a prolific travel writer for the magazine industry.
Our target audiences overlap. By cross-pollinating content—sharing mine with her audience and hers with mine—we create the opportunity to expand our audience’s goals and our reach.
I also wrote a poetic memoir about my mum’s Alzheimer’s journey. For that project, I collaborated with an author collective that writes books about all the other forms of dementia besides Alzheimer’s.
Before I reached out to these authors, I assessed whether our audiences had enough in common to make the collaboration worth the effort. What each author writes about may not be a 100% fit with my audience, but there’s enough in common to make including them in my online and newsletter content feel organic.
2. Is the author’s book worth recommending?
One of the primary collaboration activities is to offer recommendations for another author’s book. You might even offer a promo for that book at the back of your book or send a recommendation to your mailing list. But you don’t want to put your name on a recommendation unless you’ve taken the time to read the book.
If the book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, you can borrow it from your Amazon Prime membership. Otherwise, purchase the ebook version to review.
Pay attention to the quality of the writing, formatting, and the content itself. Will you be comfortable recommending and promoting this book to your readers? If you have any doubts, this isn’t the collaboration opportunity to pursue.
3. Is the author active on social media?
Before you collaborate with another author, check that you’re not the only one with something to offer.
An author collaboration only works if you both maintain a presence and interact with your audiences on social media. You can search for authors who are active on the same social platforms as you so you can cross-pollinate your newsfeeds with each other’s content. Alternatively, you can look for authors who use a social platform you don’t have a presence on to widen your reach.
Look at their number of followers and their audience’s level of interaction or engagement to assess whether the author you’re planning to reach out to will be an effective partner. Also, this type of review helps discern if the author will work as hard as you to promote your online content and books.
You might also analyze the other author’s content to determine if your book fits into that well. Additionally, notice if they are already promoting their book or other author’s books.
4. Does the author have a mailing list?
Readers who share their emails in return for joining an author’s mailing list have shown greater interest in that author than a casual social media follower. So, when you find an author you think maybe a good collaboration partner, sign up to their mailing list to see the frequency and type of content they share in their newsletters.
If you have an extensive mailing list, you may decide that you only want to partner with authors with an equally robust list. As part of the assessment period, you can ask the other author for details of their list.
But don’t look at the mailing list in a vacuum. The author may have a smaller list but a very active group on Facebook or a large audience on a social network where you have none. Therefore, look at all the promotional opportunities—not just an email list—before ruling an author out.
4. Does the author have similar values?
A substantial online presence or extensive mailing list is enticing. Still, it’s also important that the tone of an author’s online communication is aligned with yours.
Check that you’re comfortable with how the other author behaves online. For example, are they sharing content you think is inappropriate for your audience? Or do they voice strong views fiercely opposed to your core beliefs?
If you’re uncomfortable with their values, this definitely isn’t the collaboration opportunity to pursue.
5. Will the partnership be balanced?
You’re looking for a collaboration partner to lessen your marketing load. So, the last thing you want to do is work with an author who isn’t willing to commit to a comparable level of effort. Nor do you want to do more work than they do on any partnership aspect.
Once you’ve found a potential author to collaborate with, take the time to write your marketing goals and what you’re willing to offer as part of the partnership. This should include the type of activities you provide and how frequently they are offered.
For example, you could offer quarterly mentions of their book in your newsletter, a specific number of social media mentions of their books or blog posts over six months, support during book launches, or having them as a featured guest blogger on your website.
This summary is your starting position, but you’ll need to be flexible to ensure your collaboration goals are aligned. You want the collaboration to be a win-win, and it might take a little negotiation to arrive at that.
Find Several Authors with whom to Collaborate
Keep in mind that you may not find all your marketing solutions in one author.
I’ve worked with authors and established a reciprocal guest blogging arrangement and the level of promotion for those articles we are committed to on social media. Our blog posts all include bios with a mention of our books, but we don’t actually promote the books directly.
I collaborate with another author, and we periodically promote our travel-related books in our respective newsletters. Yet, we don’t actively promote them in our social media newsfeeds.
Some authors you reach out to may commit to a whole gamut of marketing activities, whereas others want to limit the collaboration. Of course, it doesn’t matter which type of collaboration you settle for, but you and the other authors must have similar expectations.
An author collaboration isn’t something to enter into lightly. When you team up with another author from your niche, you’re vouching for each other. To retain and maintain your reputation, make sure the authors you collaborate with are the right fit.
Have you collaborated with other authors to lessen the marketing load? Leave a comment below and tell me about your experience. And please share this post with a friend.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
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