More to promoting fellow authors than being nice…

An author who had put out a call for reviews of her book proceeded to tell me that she didn’t review other authors’ books.

Though she didn’t explain why, I assume she’s afraid of giving a bad review to an author whose book she may not like. (I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt here). I acknowledge that could be a sticky situation. Most authors, including myself, are reluctant to “knock” a fellow writer because we know how much energy goes into a book even if we don’t feel the product quality is up to par. My personal policy is that I don’t write reviews for books I can’t honestly rate at least 4 stars.

But to have a policy of not reviewing another author’s work is a missed opportunity – for the reviewer. By promoting another author, you can promote yourself indirectly by leveraging their readership. If they have a following for their shapeshifter romance and you write shapeshifter romances, their readers could become your readers. The strategic goal is to use their name to draw attention to you. Not, it’s not altruistic; it’s business. It’s why companies use celebrity endorsements.  Co-promotion is win-win for both authors. You draw attention to them; they draw attention to you.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time promoting other authors. A few small efforts can make a difference. Here are twelve quick and easy ways to improve your co-promotion efforts:

1. Use your full names throughout a Q & A  when interviewing a fellow author (and thank author Shoshanna Evers for this tip). Repetition helps “brand” both your names.

Cara Bristol: What is your latest release about?
Jane A. Author: More to Love is about a polygamist family….

2. Use searchable key words in your headline and the very first sentence of the interview.  If you’re writing a guest blog, you need to do this also. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve run across where the host titled the post, “Author Interview” or “Guest Blog.” When was the last time YOU searched for “Author Interview” or “Guest Blog”? Use words that search engines will pick up . Also, your blog might be on a feed on someone’s site and their followers might see the start of a sentence. “Guest Blog” won’t entice anybody to your site.

No-no title: Author Interview

Better: Jane A Author: How eroticism improved a polygamist marriage

3. Everything I said about titles holds true for tags as well. Tag your guest posts with the author’s name and any key words that might be searchable. Months, even years after I’ve interviewed an author, I’ve gotten hits on MY blog by people searching for that author.

Tag example:  Jane A. Author, polygamy, plural marriage, polyamory, More to Love, erotic romance.

4. If you’re hosting a guest, for YOUR sake, promote it! Tweet it. Facebook it. Post it on your chat loops. Remember, their readers might become your readers. And if you are the guest, ditto for you. Promote your appearance.

5. Write reviews of books that are in your genre and use your author name. You want your name to be associated with the genre.

6. When you write a review, give the author a “pithy” comment she can quote and tweet. 

Example: My fave for False Pretenses from TRS was: “Cara Bristol sets the pages on fire with a delightfully sensual and naughty temptation the reader won’t be able to resist!”

7. Rate the books you read on Goodreads, even if you don’t write a review. Your 4 or 5 stars will help to counteract the 1s and 2s that every book receives.

8. When you purchase a book, or review one, remember to “like” and “tag” it on Amazon. But read the tags before you click agree. On occasion someone will give a book a negative tag – don’t compound the problem by clicking everything that’s listed.

9. Use your full name and key words when you post a comment on another author’s blog. But don’t don’t plug your own work.

Not so good (and I’ve done this too): “Congrats on your new release”

Much better: “Congrats on the release of More to Love. A polygamist, polyamory romance sounds like an erotic read.”

10. When tweeting, repeat the name of the author’s book in your tweet.

Warm and fuzzy:  @JaneAAuthor congrats.

Warm, fuzzy and strategic: @JaneAauthor Congrats on the release of MORE TO LOVE.

11. If you plug another another’s book on Twitter with an #amreading, include the book’s link to Amazon or another seller. It will only take seconds but it can make the difference between a sale or no sale for that author.

12. Lastly, if you’re buying books in your genre (you are, aren’t you?), buy your own book on Amazon. Why? Because Amazon recommends similar books. Your book will pop up as a recommendation when someone views similar book that you’ve purchased. Buying your own book is the cheapest advertising you can buy.

So yes, promoting another author is a nice thing that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but it also can have a strategic purpose that benefits both authors.

What are your quick and easy tips for co-promotion?



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17 Responses to More to promoting fellow authors than being nice…

  1. Renee Rose says:

    Thank you, Cara – these are great tips! I was contemplating a post just about the Amazon likes and tags… 🙂

  2. Great info Cara and a good reminder ways to up my game with tags etc.

    As for book reviews— I never tell someone I’m reading their book until I’ve either read enough to know that I like it or until I’ve finished. That way I don’t have the awkward situation of them asking my opinion when I’d rather not give it.

    I also think there is much to be said for professional courtesy and boosting others up, when you think they are deserving, is just the right thing to do.

  3. Sue Lyndon says:

    Great tips, Cara. Number 1 would’ve never occured to me but it makes so much sense I want to smack myself in the head LOL. I’ll have to start using full names in interviews=)

  4. Karyn Good says:

    Great post, Cara! You’ve given me lots of tips and suggestions that I can implement to help promote others and myself! And I never thought of buying my own book on Amazon. Duh.

  5. Nona Raines says:

    What great advice, Cara! I am going to take it to heart. I never thought about buying my own book on Amazon. For some reason that seemed “conceited” to me, LOL!

    I review books on Goodreads (only recently joined) but feel leery about doing so on Amazon. Their “authors behaving badly” thread is pretty scary!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I think I’ve seen that. But why is a review on Amazon any different than a book jacket? Traditional publishers send out galleys to other authors for reviews, which they then print on the book jackets.

      What I like about Goodreads is that it really is a mix of readers and authors. But Amazon is where people go to BUY. Your review on Amazon may influence someone to actually buy the book.

  6. Kelli Scott says:

    Thank you Cara. I must admit I’m not techno savvy about search engines and key words and the inner workings of the internet, but have always been fond of saying it takes a village to sell one of my books. So I try to be a good friend to other writers and hope what comes around goes around or what goes around comes around :/

    I too have a friend who will not rate books, not even my books (wonder if it is the same author), even though I rate her books.

  7. Lisa Medley says:

    Cara that was a GREAT list! Very helpful. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles on Facebook and Twitter lately bemoaning the self-promotion of books and the so-called incestuous nature of reviewing others’ works. I think it’s CRITICAL and THE RIGHT THING TO DO to lift one another up instead of tearing each other down. We writers are all on the same path but in different places and trajectories. Sure, we all have room for growth, but we certainly can and should celebrate our successes! Keep up the good work!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      There are so many readers, reviewers, and bloggers who will be HAPPY to criticize an authors’s work, so writers don’t need to do it. I don’t think authors should overrate a book (if you do that, no one will believe you when you give something 5 stars), but there’s no need to knock another author’s book. And writing is a BUSINESS. Companies co-promote all the time. It’s why Disney makes a movie, and McDonalds gives away a corresponding toy. Why should authors be different?

  8. S. J. Maylee says:

    Thank you, Cara. Love reading advice that makes so much sense. I learned several things here. I caught a negative tag just last week. It was the first one I’d ever seen and it took me by surprise. I’m so glad I caught it.

  9. Great post Cara. I hadn’t thought of buying my own book either but I will now. I also haven’t used my full name when leaving reviews. Another good one to think about. Thanks 🙂

  10. Tiffany Rose says:

    Cara, as soon as I started reading I logged into blogger and fixed a few guest posts I have pending for next week. I was doing a few things right – I used their names and the title of their post or the book they were promoting in the title, but I went back and added more tags. Great information, I appreciate it.

    On the buying your own book – I buy them as gifts and send them out to readers. This counts as a sale for me and I get some of the money back in royalties. Yes, you do have to watch your spending because even a .99 book will add up over time. But next time you guest post or offer a free copy, buy it and send it as gift instead.

    Next time I buy something for myself though, I will buy a copy of my book as well. That is a good idea to get it into the Also-Boughts.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Tiffany, that’s a good idea about buying your own book to send to readers. Authors get a limited number of “free” copies from the publisher for promotional purposes, and once you’ve used them, you’re supposed to buy more (at a discount), but buying them from a retailer to give out would help your stats.

  11. These are excellent tips, Cara. I especially like the tips about using full names in interviews and purchasing books at Amazon. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Patty says:

    I loved this Post Cara. Thank you for your insight. I will be looking back to this one a lot and making the most of it.

  13. Sadey Quinn says:

    Excellent tips, Cara! Thanks for writing this. 🙂

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