Collaboration. It’s my word for this year and since the first quarter has passed, it’s a great moment to take a look back at all that has been accomplished in 2017. One of the big reasons I choose the word collaboration is because I love helping people out, especially if it helps them achieve their dreams.
I’ve always been a people pleaser. In college, I’d help my classmates out with homework, even if there wasn’t anything in it for me. I’d stay up until 3 AM in the morning, hanging out with friends, just because. Everyone knew if you called me in the middle of the night or had a life crisis and needed to talk, I was the person to turn to. In fact, as I grew up, I found people are often the absolute best and worst part of life.
Collaboration is tricky. There’s a fine line to saying “yes” to everything versus saying yes to opportunities where there will be a mutual benefit. While there’s nothing wrong with doing favors, I found, as a people pleaser, I tended to wear myself with all the things I committed to do. Eventually, I ended up making the word “no” my new best friend, and people learned that I’m not a pushover.
Now when it comes to collaboration, there are certain questions I ask myself before saying yes and going off the deep end into collaboration nightmares. This year, collaboration has been simply beautiful. My number one goal for 2017 is to sell more books, now when it comes to collaboration, particularly when it comes to book marketing, I ask myself one question.
Will this help me sell more books?
When it comes to selling books, I’m looking for instant results with one of two outcomes.
- First, I want people to go over to Amazon and buy my books.
- Secondly, if they don’t buy my books, I’d like them to join my email list, so I can build a relationship with them.
How does collaborating with others help?
If you have published a book or have a new release coming out, you’ve noticed there are several sites that promote discounted books.
Just to name a couple these include Bookbub and Freebooksy and many more.
Say you have a discounted or free book, and you want to get tons of new readers?
You can go to Freebooksy and ask them to send an email blast to their email list. They will and you’ll get thousands of downloads of your book. It will also cost you anywhere between $40 – $100.
Bookbub is more selective, and depending on the price of your book you could pay between $300-$600 for a promotion. Yes, you will get thousands of downloads, but what if you have another book coming out? Wouldn’t you rather send a message to your carefully curated email list and have them download the book?
Save yourself the hundreds of dollars and see book sales increase simply from emailing your own email list.
In order to make this happen, first of all, you have to build an email list. I was stumped on this for a while. I did viral giveaways but found myself looking for the true readers, people with genuine interest in the art I’m creating. Anyone in the world can sign up for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, but I don’t want just anyway, I want the readers.
My email list suffered and drifted at about 500 people (I lost 300 when I took a 6 month break from emailing my list), until I discovered one simple tool. Instafreebie.
Of course, you may be wondering, how does a tool help with building your email list? Well, it doesn’t, unless you collaborate with others.
In just one month I was able to grow my email list from 500 to over 1700 subscribers. Here are a few things that contributed to it.
- Having a gorgeous book cover design that makes people want to read the book.
- Offering a free sample of the book on Instafreebie. Since my book will be in the KDP Select program, I can only offer a sample, otherwise Amazon will find me in violation and kick me out of the program. I’d hate to lose those perks.
- Use the Instafreebie forums to find authors to collaborate with. Most of these authors have their own Facebook Groups or even email lists where they let authors know about upcoming promotions. Some of these promotions are free to join, others cost anywhere from $5 – $50. Again, think back to your goals and determine whether it’s worth it. As a fantasy author, one of my favorite author promotion groups is SFF Book Bonanza run by Dean Wilson.
While list building is great, if books aren’t selling, there’s no point.
Since bumping up my participation in author collaboration, I’ve noticed higher book sales on Amazon of both the paperback and ebook versions of The Five Warriors. Some of this may be the fact that I have a new release coming out. Readers want the second book, so they are catching up on the first one. The other reason for this bump in book sales is likely because I’ve been doing newsletter swaps with other authors.
Newsletter swaps tend to work best with discounted or free book. For example, I’m running a 99 cent promo on The Five Warriors through the end of April 2017. I’ve asked different authors to feature the book in their newsletters and I always seen a pickup in sales when they do.
There are many ways to get your book featured in other newsletters.
- Ask in author groups you’re apart of, particularly on collaborations or promo days.
- I currently use BookBoast (formerly NewsletterSwap) to connect with authors. I enjoy using this service because I can choose whether to accept or decline books. There’s nothing worse then agreeing to promote a book and finding the book cover is terrible, the message will not appeal to your audience and the book has terrible reviews. Yikes!
There you have it, author collaborations are a great way to reach new readers and sell more books. Here are a few final suggestions:
- Make sure your book is gorgeous and marketable – if you need help visit the Author Resources to ensure you have the right people on your team.
- Set your goals and actually have a plan so you don’t end up throwing money at marketing. Read more here.
- Sign up for Instafreebie and search the forums for authors in your genre.
- Use BookBoast to conduct newsletter swaps and find new readers.
How has collaborating benefited you and your work?