We’ve talked a lot here on SVP about the joys of using the buddy system for marketing and promotion, but it’s also worth a look at taking that one step further and creating a marketing co-op.
And while it’s true that co-op marketing can be as simple as a group of writing buddies linking to one anothers' sites or blogging together, you can also take the concept and really expand it into a full scale marketing co-op.
Nowadays there are so many marketing and promotional tasks that an author is expected to do, but really, just how many skill sets can one person have? That’s where the beauty of a marketing co-op comes in. If you get a group of authors together, the chances are they will each have skills that can be pooled. Perhaps one author is fairly web-savvy and can help the others with their websites. Maybe someone else has some marketing experience or media contacts and can be a huge resource for press releases and publicity packets. Then of course there’s a good chance that one or two of them are highly involved in their children's schools or parents’ group, and could be a great contact for school visits. Yet another person might be quite adept at graphic layout programs and can be the go-to person for help with designing bookmarks, postcards, and other promotional materials. There might be query letter geniuses, Facebook experts, MySpace whizzes, you get the idea.
With a marketing co-op, you don’t personally have to become an expert at a wide variety of skills, nor do you have to shell out a lot of money. By forming a co-op, each of you gets to tap into the area of expertise of another group member.
Of course, you have to work out a system that allocates fair value for all the different tasks involved. Is creating a press release the equivalent of designing a bookmark? And how many press releases equal setting up a website? Only you and your group can make those determinations, but you should definitely make them in advance, and be sure everyone agrees. It’s also a good idea to stay flexible and plan on making adjustments as you all roll up your sleeves and get to work.
So the next time you meet with your critique group or a gathering of local writers, put your heads together and see what you come up with. I'm guessing you'll be happily surprised at all the talent you'll find. . .