Author Friends Make Effective Fans

All authors want to promote their books, but their readers are not always the best at building buzz for them. An excellent way authors can find people to share their vision for marketing their books is to ally with other authors, become each other’s fans, and cross-promote.

No one understands the need and desire to promote your book like another author. Rather than see other authors as competition, authors can leverage each other by cross-promoting each other’s books. Doing so creates a win-win situation for both authors as well as for readers who will discover even more books they would like to read.

The ways authors can help each other to promote their books is countless, but here are a few ideas for starters.

Book Reviews. Trade books with fellow authors and then write book reviews for each other. Post the reviews on your blog, Amazon, and anywhere else you can.

Link Websites. Provide a link on your website to other great authors, especially ones writing in your genre. Ask them to link back to you. Create cross traffic for each other.

Host Authors as Guests. Do you have a blog, an Internet radio show, or even a newspaper column? Feature other authors as guests. Help them build buzz about their books and ask them to reciprocate. No only will you get promoted to a new audience, but your own audience will think you’re a nice guy to be promoting other people’s books rather than your own (which in turn only helps to promote your own books.)

Share Book Signing Space. Book signings can be dull events if no one shows up, and nothing is worse than sitting in a bookstore by yourself waiting for someone to buy your book. The more authors at a book signing, the more people likely to attend. Ask the bookstore if you can sign with another author, especially if he or she has a new book out. Then if nothing else, you can visit with each other and share writing and marketing ideas while you wait for book buyers to come.

Split Show Costs. If you’re going to do book signings together, why not do book fairs and art and craft shows together? Split the cost of your booth, and then you’ll have someone to help set up and tear down and watch the booth when you need a break.

Cross Sell Each Other’s Books. Are there two book fairs on opposite sides of the state on the same day? You can’t go to both, or can you? You can go west and your author friend can go east;  you can bring her books with you and she can take yours east so you sell each other’s books.

Talk Each Other Up. Once you get your foot in the door at a few bookstores, tell them about your friend’s books and how great they are. Bookstores will appreciate your opinion in helping them to find other good books to stock.

Provide References for Each Other. Are you asked to give a talk at the library, but you have a conflicting engagement? Give your fellow author’s name as an alternative. Ask him to return the favor later.

Pass Out Each Other’s Promotional Materials. Get yourself a bumper sticker with your website on it. Then give one to your author friends and put their bumper stickers on your car. When you sell one of your books, stick one of their bookmarkers in it to promote their books and have them do the same for you.

Share Knowledge and Build Friendships. The best part of allying yourself with other authors is the knowledge you will share and the friendships you will build. Two heads are better than one, and selling books is not easy. You can learn from each other’s mistakes and successes, have fun, and build buzz for your books at the same time.

Share Agents, Publishers, and PR. If you build a strong alliance with another author and he gets his book picked up by a major publisher or he finds a good literary agent, it can mean a foot in the door for you as well. Success is often connected to whom you know, and no alliance is a waste of time. Networking is really just about making friends. Help your friends and they’ll help you. And always be happy for them when they succeed.

I’m sure you can think of many more ways to help your fellow authors and to get them to help you. Have regular brainstorming sessions with your author friends. Start out by writing book reviews for each other to see who follows through—those authors who do are the ones with whom you want to build strong relationships. There are lots of authors out there willing to help each other promote their books, and you can never have too many friends in the publishing world.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.