Cheerleading! Mutually Beneficial Author Support

Cheerleaders Doing Routine --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThere are a lot of us out there. Authors. With great books to share. Too often, though, we feel alone in our endeavors, trying to get readers to notice us in the roiling sea of other great books. This is a great time to be a writer! It’s more possible than it has ever been to publish a book. But that means that all sorts of other people are doing the same.

Whether you are independently publishing your work, under contract with a traditional publisher, or working with a small, online press, the business of marketing one’s work falls more and more upon the shoulders of the author. “But I just want to write,” you say. Hey, I’m with you. Me, too. But that’s  not our reality anymore.

How do we get “out there” where someone might notice?

First, write a quality book, no matter the genre. If you’re publishing independently, surround yourself with an expert team of editors, formatters, and cover artists. First impressions matter. Don’t give the reader a reason to skip past your book; give them a reason to stop and look at it, really look at it. Hopefully, they’ll be intrigued enough to click the ‘buy’ button.

Then, the meat of this post: Network. Before you ask people to spread the news about your book, make sure you’ve nurtured relationships with them, and have crowed about their successes. You can do this well before you are ready to publish your own work; in fact, that’s the best time to create these relationships. Have you gone to Catholic Writers Conference Live? Or participated in the online CWG conference? How about the Writing Retreat? Or any other writing focused activities? What about the CWG Facebook page? Have you interacted with other writers in any of those venues? I hope so, because that’s crucial for the next step, which is:

Celebrate with them! Post their new releases or awards on your Facebook page. Use your blog or Twitter to let your followers know there’s something available that’s worth their time. If you’re on Twitter, find and follow some entities that reflect your interests; they may reTweet for you and expand your reach.

Buy and read your friends’ books, and then review them on Amazon and Goodreads. *Caveat: Always say something nice, or don’t post a review. This does not mean you can’t be honest, but be honest in a kind manner. Personally, I never give a review with less than four stars, and even if I didn’t like everything about the book, I focus on what I loved about the book—or, if it’s in a genre that’s not  my favorite, focus on what readers of that specific type of book will enjoy about this particular one.

Here’s an example of how this might work. A few weeks ago, Erin McCole Cupp contacted me because I’d done a cover reveal on my upcoming release, Hijacked, on CWG’s Facebook page. Would I like to trade read and reviews with her? She’d recently published Don’t You Forget About Me, a cozy mystery. I said yes, and posted reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. She upped the ante and asked me to be an interviewee on her blog the week my book comes out. I said yes (!), and then tagged  her on a My Writing Process blog tour/relay. With any luck, some of my readers will be interested in her work and some of hers readers, in mine. That’s just with two authors! Imagine what can happen when more get in on the fun!

(And did you notice what I just did? I linked Erin’s website and the Amazon link to buy her book to this post. I purposely do this for everyone I mention on both my CWG and personal blogs. What goes around comes around…)

Join writing organizations and establish relationships with authors you respect. Be a cheerleader for them, and hope they’ll return the favor when it’s your turn. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it is well worth the effort—not just because they’re going to help you sell books, but because they are wonderful people and their friendships enrich your life.

Are you feeling a little less alone now? I hope so! If you’ve had success in the arena of networking, please share your story! What are the elements that contribute to that success?

 

About Leslie Lynch

Leslie Lynch writes women's fiction, giving voice to characters who struggle to find healing for their brokenness – and discover unconventional solutions to life’s unexpected twists. She is an occasional contributor to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’s weekly paper, The Criterion. She can be found at www.leslielynch.com and is on facebook and Twitter@Leslie_Lynch_
This entry was posted in Blogging, Book Review, Catholic Fiction, Catholic Writers Guild, Catholic Writing and Publishing, Encouragement for Writers, Fiction, Inspirational, Marketing Your Work, Networking, Novel, Pro-life, romance, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life, Writing Tips and Tricks and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cheerleading! Mutually Beneficial Author Support

  1. Well stated, Leslie! May I also emphasize the value of making personal contacts instead of posting cattle calls for marketing help? I’ve had much more success when hand-picking possible reviewers based on their genres/our interactions than when posting an impersonal “anybody want to review my book” plea on FB/forums/etc. That’s a lot easier to accomplish when one has already put into practice all the points you made in this post. On the flip side, if you *do* post a cattle call and don’t answer to those who replied, you run the risk of burning a bridge you may need later.

  2. Leslie Lynch says:

    Hi, Erin! It’s been impressed upon me countless times that publishing is a small world. No matter what, it’s of vital importance to keep all bridges intact, and the best way to do that is to be genuine and respectful of everyone you encounter. You never know where that person might be in a year or two, or who they know in the meantime! Also, as busy as each one of us is, others are just as busy. Respect their time and effort, and you will develop solid relationships that CAN be mutually beneficial in the future!

    Thanks for stopping by! Especially since I used you as an example! 😉

  3. No problem! And thanks for picking that picture of the both of us when we were on the cheerleading squad, right? 😀