Thursday, March 5, 2009

You Don’t Have To Go It Alone--Marketing Co-ops

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. . .


Anonymous said...

Speaking of marketing---Book One of my YA series comes out in Oct and I'd like to plan both an
offline and an online book release. How far in advance should I plan these? Should I give something away every day during release week? What about at
the physical party? Any ideas/suggestions/advice would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks.

Yat-Yee said...

Oh, the poor penguin on its own. So sad. Great visual to go with your post. You're right, we need to band together!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

great advice - thx Robin!

R.L. LaFevers said...

Celise, how about we do a SVP brainstorming session for you next Thursday and we can put the SVP collective consciousness to work on the idea. It might be a fun way to get some hands on experience creating a marketing plan. Are you game? I'll email you privately and we can talk.

Anonymous said...

For an example of how this idea can work, stop by the Class of 2K9, a group of 22 debut MG and YA authors who have a group site and a number of group projects under way.

You can find us at

Rosanne Parry
co-president Class of 2K9

Anonymous said...

Hi Robin,

Yes, I'm game! That would be great, thanks so much!

Unknown said...

Love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.
Great article and discussion!
online marketing