Monday, October 1, 2007


For a lot of introverts, the absolute hardest part of marketing is trying to get the gig itself, the school visit, speaking engagement, newspaper article, whatever. It’s trying to talk people into booking you that’s the really hard part. The selling of oneself.

So here’s a suggestion: Don’t sell yourself, sell your buddies. And have your buddies sell you.

It’s called a co-op, and for introverts, it can be a wonderful way to operate in the promotional world.

Now, being introverts, you may be thinking, but I’m a solitary writer, how can I form a co-op?

The truth is, there are a number of natural groupings you fall into that might work.

Do you have a critique group?
A local chapter of SCBWI?
Perhaps you could pool together with other authors that write for your publisher?
Or other clients of your agent?

Maybe you just have three or four scattered writer friends, but hey, that’s enough to start an informal co-op.

It works especially well if the different member have different strengths and comfort zones. Perhaps one of the group is very comfortable around kids and enjoys school visits. Maybe another one is really comfortable teaching writing workshops, and a third is quite internet savvy, and the fourth was an administrative assistant in a marketing department a long time ago in a land far away.

So you pool your resources and talents. When the rest of you get school visit requests that you don’t want to act on, hand them over to the member of our group who does. Or maybe one of you is a picture book writer, who’s been asked to speak at a middle school—not natural pairing, so refer the school to the tween author in your group. There’s all sorts of natural divisions of labor promotion than can be handled by a group that are too intimidating when faced all alone. Consider:

  • Posting online reviews for each others books on Amazon and B&
  • If you have a blog, make sure and blog about your co-op members new books when they come out.
  • If you’re approached for a booksigning, suggest to the store a group signing, which is more fun for the author and the store.
  • If one of the co-op has a new book, consider writing a press release for them, or taking a copy of their new book to your local librarian.

I’m sure you guys can think of other ways to do promote books you love. (Feel free to add them in the comments!)

Another way to form a group is through a secondary interest. Maybe you know a handful of other humor writers, or fantasy writers, or historical fiction authors. Consider forming a group blog where you can all participate in building a community based on that secondary interest.

And here's one of the beauties of the co-op system. If you’re in a critique group or local writers group together, or clients of the same agent or publisher, chances are there will be genuine admiration for each others work, so everything that you do to promote your fellow member will flow from a genuine place.

And it won't be about you.


Anonymous said...

Great ideas!
Rebecca L-G

Terry P. said...

Ha! Too funny. I was going to say the exact same thing that Rebecca said. What's so funny about that? We're in the same critique group. Okay, Rebecca, let's get to work implementing their ideas :-).

Mary Hershey said...

Oh, yeah, what SHE said... all these fabulous ideas, any they "... flow from a genuine place".

I love marketing from the heart. I'm ready to pimp my pals--

Thanks Robin!