Want to sell more books? Try collaborating with authors in your niche.
Collaboration is a powerful tool for growth. Networking with authors in your genre is an invaluable way to reach new readers and build a supportive writer network, especially important in times of self-doubt or rejection. Collaboration leverages the benefits of multiple perspectives, problem-solving approaches and combined audiences. Yet many authors fail to actively seek collaborative opportunities, seeing other writers as their competitors. It’s time to change that mindset. Instead of treating your fellow authors as your competition, change them into your allies. Build a writing community based on support and mutual information exchange. Share your knowledge and aim to learn from others. By partnering up and leveraging your strengths as a group, you’ll maximize your book marketing efforts, increasing your reach and ultimately sales.
How to find authors for collaborations
Seek out authors that appeal to a similar target market of readers. Look for authors in your niche that are strong in areas you need to improve in. Consider finding authors via:
Social media - search hashtags, Twitter chats, Facebook groups. Search amongst your followers.
Writing groups - try MeetUp, your local library, writing retreats and writing classes.
Literary events - writing conferences, workshops and book groups.
Amazon books - research in your genre.
If you are a debut author look for debut author groups. Contact authors with an offer that promises them value. Make it clear what you are trying to achieve, why you choose to reach out to them and how a collaboration can be beneficial for both parties.
Ways Authors can collaborate
Each collaboration should have a clear objective, whether this is increasing your book sales, reaching new readers, growing your email list or boosting your social media following. Be creative and strategic with the ways in which you can collaborate. The opportunities are virtually endless. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Social Media Competitions/Promotions
Social media can be an effective and simple way to reach new readers. Competitions, where the conditions of entry are to like a post and follow both parties, are straight-forward and provide an instant boost to reader numbers. Combine resources to offer a prize of value to your readers (e.g. free books or literary items). You can run a giveaway with one or more authors and base it around events (e.g. Halloween Horror Bundle giveaway, Valentine’s day romance pack). Share hashtags or create a joint hashtag to further promote your competition.
Social Media Mentions
Build up your writer network on social media by supporting other authors when they launch a book or offer a promotion. Create a network where you promote each other’s work.
Social Media Challenge
Host a social media challenge for a set number of days to boost your follower numbers and email list. This generally works best for non-fiction authors or those hoping to build a stronger writer community, as typically a social media challenge helps your readers with something they are struggling with. Create your challenge with a branded hashtag and daily tasks, check out #julylitwrit or similar monthly challenges for inspiration.
Joint author events, online and offline, are a great way to connect with your readers while reaching a new audience. Consider hosting a group twitter chat, filming a YouTube video together, running an online workshop or hosting a live Facebook question and answer session. Make sure to cross-promote the event beforehand and provide contact details for attendees to follow up with you afterward.
Guest Blog Posts/ Interviews
Content marketing is always a fantastic way to reach new readers. Contact fellow authors to offer useful guest blog posts. Interview other writers, on your blog, podcast or YouTube channel, and ask that they return the favor.
Book Blog Tours
A virtual book tour is a short-term series of promotions across various websites and blogs to reach new readers and connect with current fans. While blogs are your main target also consider podcast interviews and social media options including Twitter chats, Google Hangouts, and Facebook live.
Consider how you can make a virtual book tour enticing for author hosts. You may want to offer a guest post, an excerpt, an author interview, a giveaway or a question & answer session. Let them know that you’ll also be including their site in your book tour promotions.
Email Newsletter Promotions
As with social media, email newsletters can be a great way to run collaborative competitions and extend your reach. You can also agree to cross-promote via email, mentioning when another author launches their book or runs a limited-time discount and have them do the same for you.
Joint Book Promotions
Take collaborations one step further by merging products. Join up with other authors to provide box sets or limited-time specials. These work best when based around a theme or genre. Four authors promoting a box set means exposure to four potential groups of loyal readers.
Creating a multi-author series can work well for authors that are committed to sharing the writing and book marketing journey. A multi-author series requires a high degree of organization. Make sure that you organize the details carefully beforehand and check in with your fellow authors regularly. Have a complete plan for the writing and promotion of the series with a list of responsibilities and delegation of tasks.
The ultimate in collaboration is partnering up with another author to write and publish a book. Co-author can mean writing a book in less time, with greater support, motivation and book marketing connections. As with a multi-book series, communication and understanding are vital to avoid conflicts.
Making Collaboration Work for You
Collaboration can be a fantastic way to write and promote your work yet it can also be problematic if done poorly. Make collaboration work for you by choosing your collaborative partners wisely. Do your research on your fellow authors ahead of time and make sure they will be a good fit for your target market and what you are hoping to achieve. Be clear about your goals and expectations. Draw up a plan with the division of responsibilities and delegate tasks appropriately. Discuss how you will resolve any potential problems along the way. Communicate clearly and regularly throughout to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Collaboration has its challenges but it also offers invaluable opportunities to reach new readers and strengthen your writing network. The opportunities for working with other authors is limited only by your imagination, so don’t be afraid to dream up new possibilities. Get clear on your goals, plan collaborations carefully and ensure that everyone is on the same page throughout.