By Novel Publicity president, Melissa Storm: This blog was originally published at Romancing the Genres.
Ask any indie out there why she loves self-publishing, and you’ll hear time and time again: “the community!” It makes the tag of self-publishing kind of ironic, doesn’t it? Because when you really stop to think about it, our careers live and die by the connections we create.
Of course, your number one community should always be the one you create with your readers, but we authors also need the bonds we forge with each other. Whether through a friendly ear, a sage bit of advice, or just a quick celebration of success, our author friends are most often the ones who keep us going when we want to lock up our word processors and throw away the key.
Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about group promos, especially those surrounding list-building. The benefits are obvious: lower costs, higher reach, and less work for you personally. But these promos can also be extremely overwhelming especially the giganto ones. (I should know, the promo I’m co-organizing for January has over 300 authors—yikes!)
So how can you get the most out of that big group promo? That’s what I’m here to tell you today.
#1. Be selective.
Don’t just sign up for everything under the sun. Stop, think, make a strategy. Not only do you want to be sure that the genre focus is appropriate for you and your books, but you also need to consider how many group promos you are inundating your readers with. If you join a new promo every week (especially those that require sharing in your newsletter or on social media), why would your readers ever pay for your books? Giveaways and other incentives should enhance your marketing efforts, not overwhelm them.
#2. Set clear expectations.
What are the goals of that newest group promo you’re participating in? What will readers be expected to do in exchange for an entry? What do authors need to do to stay in good standing with the promo organizer? Not only should you understand the basic aims of the promo going in, but you also need to adjust your expectations accordingly. If 5 authors decide to band together with lots of heart but no marketing budget, well… It may not produce the kind of results you write home about to tell your parents that “see, I really did make something of my life by pursuing writing!”
Finding a marketing company you love is practically like discovering gold in that grimy river down the road. It can be exciting—real exciting—to finally find someone you trust who also delivers great results, but… if you keep tapping the same promo well time and time again, those awesome returns you had the first time are going to taper off. Yes, even with diminished returns, the best companies can still far outstrip the others—but, keep in mind, if your promo organizer is hitting the same list of readers again and again and those readers have the opportunity to sign up for your same newsletter again and again, you’ll find fewer and fewer readers who haven’t already accepted your offer. Yup, definitely keep that in mind!
Finding a marketing company you love is practically like discovering gold in that grimy river down the road. It can be exciting—real exciting—to finally find someone you trust who also delivers great results, but… if you keep tapping the same promo well time and time again, those awesome returns you had the first time are going to taper off. Yes, even with diminished returns, the best companies can still far outstrip the others—but, keep in mind, if your promo organizer is hitting the same list of readers again and again and those readers have the opportunity to sign up for your same newsletter, again and again, you’ll find fewer and fewer readers who haven’t already accepted your offer. Yup, definitely keep that in mind!
#4. Fine-tune your machine.
Some authors don’t like doing large group promos because it means sharing their new reader lists with all the other authors in the group. This isn’t something I personally worry about. Why? Because I know my welcome sequence is dynamite! I’ve worked hard to craft, hone, test, revise, etc., etc. the first four newsletters new readers receive when joining my list. I know that my target reader loves the free books I offer, the fun anecdotes, and the special surprise. It helps me stand out from what other authors are doing and makes the competition not quite as scary
Because we authors aren’t in competition with each other—not really. One of the best things about this job is the opportunity to collaborate. Use group promos to meet other like-minded authors in your genre who have similar goals and are at similar stages in their careers. Who knows? Maybe next time YOU will be the one organizing a promo, and it will be the best one ever! YAY, you!
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Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. She used to write under a pseudonym, but finally had the confidence to come out as herself to the world. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa’s way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us. When she’s not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor, because priorities.
Connect with her as an author at www.MelStorm.com, a marketer at www.NovelPublicity.com, a web designer and webinar instructor at www.TheAuthorSite.com, an Etsy shop owner at www.TheAlliterates.Etsy.com, and a group promo dynamo at www.LitRing.com.