Cross-promotions

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Cross-promotions

1LeonStevens
Nov. 4, 2020, 4:42pm

I have been participation in cross-promotion the last few months. I have been using the site StoryOrigin to distribute sample copies and ARC's of my work. I am not affiliated with them-they just have a good infrastructure in place. It is currently free, and that may change.

StoryOrigin is basically a way to connect with other authors to cross promote books to each other's readership. You upload your ARCs, review copies, or reader magnets for readers to download, and you can also integrate your mail host to collect new subscribers (if they opt in).

I have gained more subscribers to my weekly newsletter and received a few reviews. I have also given out several free copies and received no reviews-that's going to happen anywhere.

My goal is to have a network of authors working together to cross-promote our works through various avenues. We could do it through here, or on GRs.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/21744499-welcome-authors

Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions

Leon

2LShelby
Apr. 3, 2:07pm

I actually would really like to get a group of authors together to cross-promote. It has always seemed to me to be an intelligent way to lessen the difficulties of getting the word out when one is published independently.

For such a group to have much of a point, I would need authors whose audience would likely cross-over with mine. I would also need to feel comfortable with the quality of those other authors' products, or I would feel dishonest promoting them. (They would also have to feel comfortable with the quality of my own books, I assume.)

I actually have read several books by people I have met here, and my experience makes me feel that accomplishing those two goals would be fairly easy if my own dislike of making people feel excluded didn't get in my way. I know I can find independent authors out there whose books I like -- they aren't even all that rare. But if I start trying to form (and publicize) a group with them, how then do I deal with interested writers whose books seem to me to be not quite there yet? I think not wanting to be in a position where I have to tell someone, "I'm sorry, but you are not not welcome" is one of the reasons I haven't already tried to form such a group. ::rueful::

I also used to think it would be best if we were at least somewhat local to each other so we could do live events together. In the middle of an epidemic this seems less important than it did previously, but that used to be the another reason I never tried do this. And my last reason is that I always worry that my phobia of doing reviews and my frequent health crashes would prevent me from pulling my own weight in such a group.

But if someone could come up with a clever way to deal with problems one and three, I am totally interested. :)

I went over to the StoryOrigin page, BYW, and to be honest I found it a bit off-putting. It had a whole lot to say about what it can do, but hardly anything about HOW it does things. At any rate, signing up seemed to be something that really ought to wait until I'm a little more recovered, so I am keeping it in mind for later.

3LeonStevens
Apr. 3, 2:47pm

There are several platforms for cross promotion, StoryOrigin, BookFunnel, ProlificWorks, etc. Generally, they are self-service. You find other authors in your genre that want to promote your books in their newsletters, or you can join or create promos to reach reviewers, giveaway reader magnets, advertise sales or KU titles. The onus is on the contributors to share an as many platforms as they can.

I have had limited success in getting reviewers. Oh, I've given out plenty of review copies, but have yet to get more than 10% ROI.

I have increased my mailing list, and had more reads on my KU title by using it, so overall, I would say it is worth it.

I did set up a Goodreads group to address the many different genres : https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1128785-goodreads-authors-cross-promotion-n...

4slarken
Apr. 4, 8:51pm

>2 LShelby:

I can confirm the usefulness of StoryOrigin ;) Grew my newsletter from 0 to 200 subscribers in about a month. Though the swaps have been very effective, I'm still skeptical about the promo groups.

Haven't tried getting reviews through them.

Kindle swaps have been less successful, but I suspect that has more to do with my blurb. Should have a new one up by tomorrow, so we'll see if that improves things.

5LShelby
Apr. 5, 11:10am

>3 LeonStevens: "I have had limited success in getting reviewers."

As someone who abhors doing reviews, I guess I shouldn't find that strange, but I actually thought that most other people didn't have that particular hang-up.

I wonder if people are downloading the books but not actually reading them, and that's why there are no reviews?

>4 slarken: "I'm still skeptical about the promo groups."
From what was said by >3 LeonStevens: , it seems that people are responsible for getting their own groups together, and the site just provides tools for collaboration.

Under that circumstance, I would assume the effectiveness is all a matter of how good a group one ends up with.

What is a Kindle swap?

...

I am currently envisioning an "author partnering system" where authors sign up and make one of their books available as a free download to verified author members. They read other people's books and then check a little widget to say "yes this is an author I would be interested in cross-promoting with". And whenever two authors check each other, the system notifies them that it has found them a new partner. Then the system would encourage people to read books their partners are partnered with, in order to attempt to form larger and larger groups of associated authors.

For readers, they could look at a favorite author's profile to see which other authors they are partners with.

It could be fun and useful for authors and readers alike.

But I'm really, really good at coming up with cool but impractical to implement plans, so this is probably yet another pipe-dream.

Also, I think there needs to be a system in place where people have to read and respond to each free book before they get another free book.

Maybe I could combine this system with another of my pie-in-the-sky projects, a site that instead of reviewing books, it "describes" them. (Is the plot fast, slow, moderate, or disjointed, Is the mood dark, optimistic, somewhere in the middle, etc.) In order to download the next free book, you must fill out the survey on the one you already downloaded.

6slarken
Apr. 5, 12:03pm

>5 LShelby: "Under that circumstance, I would assume the effectiveness is all a matter of how good a group one ends up with."

Not really. Because all end users see in the newsletter is a banner. So regardless of anything else, the graphics and text on that banner are what will make people click or not.

But the real issue I feel has more to do with the number of books in those groups. There are always too many, so it kind of dilutes the clicks.

So for instance, if I do a swap and get 12 clicks, all of those are seeing MY book and nothing else.

With a group, those 12 clicks end up on a page with 10, 20 or however many covers. Obviously, they're not gonna click on everything. So you might end up with only 1 or 2 clicks on your own book.

Thus, less effective than swaps.

Well, that's my impression so far anyway.

> "What is a Kindle swap?"

Oh, I just meant a regular newsletter swap but for a book that's available in KU (as opposed to a reader magnet, for instance).

Re: your "author partnering system"... that made me chuckle cause my first thought was "Tinder for Authors" LMAO. Swipe right if you like that cover, left if you don't haha.

I do like though your idea of requiring some form of feedback from readers before letting them get another free book. Having them "describe" it as you say is pretty cool, especially if it doesn't involve writing. Since people seem more comfortable rating than reviewing, I think something in between might work well. Something like a multiple choice questionnaire.

Fun!

7LeonStevens
Apr. 5, 8:26pm

>4 slarken: "Grew my newsletter from 0 to 200 subscribers in about a month." That's pretty good but is is quantity over quality? I routinely purge my subscriber list if they don't open 5 weekly emails in a row (I do send them an entertaining and polite final email). I want my subscribers to be interested in my writing journey in between my projects.

>5 LShelby: "I wonder if people are downloading the books but not actually reading them, and that's why there are no reviews?"
I asked about the % stats for reviews from one of the sites I am trying (for the 2nd time) and was told about 5-15% of downloaders will leave reviews. I know that they don't guarantee reviews, but from a site that promotes itself as a site connecting reviewers with authors, it is disappointing.

I think that the reality is is that people take advantage of it and are in it for the free books.

"I am currently envisioning an "author partnering system"..."
This is what the newsletter swaps are for. I have declined to work with some authors because I don't think they are a good fit with my subscribers. I also read at least the samples of an authors work so I can give my honest opinion.

I know that there is room for more author/reader platforms. There are new ones coming out all the time.

>6 slarken: "But the real issue I feel has more to do with the number of books in those groups. There are always too many, so it kind of dilutes the clicks."

I know that some authors create promo after promo, many running concurrently. I did have thought that the may be doing it for the affiliate clicks because if an author doesn't provide one, the creator gets 100% of the royalty.

"I do like though your idea of requiring some form of feedback from readers before..."
Hard to vet readers though, right?

Tinder for Authors. Ha! Binder? Typer?

8slarken
Apr. 5, 8:54pm

>7 LeonStevens: "That's pretty good but is is quantity over quality?"

Well 200 is my total number (225 now). But not all of them make it into my main list (that one just went to 101).

I only keep in my main list those that open at least one of the mails in my welcome sequence (3 sent over a week). This technique has allowed me to maintain a ~73% open rate and ~32% click rate, which is better than a lot of the other ratios I'm seeing on Story Origin.

Since my list is only a month old, this is enough for now. But in a month or two, I'll likely do some additional pruning as there'd be no sense in keeping someone who's opened only 1 email out of 10 or however many I decide to go with, ha. Haven't really given this much thought yet, but will eventually.

"I know that some authors create promo after promo, many running concurrently. I did have thought that the may be doing it for the affiliate clicks because if an author doesn't provide one, the creator gets 100% of the royalty."

Aaaahhh... I hadn't thought about that. Good point. Hmm. I really need to look into this affiliate thing. I used to have one, not sure if it's still valid or compatible with books (I'd created it for something else entirely).

9LeonStevens
Bearbeitet: Apr. 8, 4:41pm

>8 slarken: " ~73% open rate and ~32% click rate" - This is excellent!

When I was creating my latest promo, I finally used mine(my affiliate tag), and then realized that may be why some authors are doing so many.

10MHThaung
Apr. 7, 10:04am

>5 LShelby:
Maybe I could combine this system with another of my pie-in-the-sky projects, a site that instead of reviewing books, it "describes" them. (Is the plot fast, slow, moderate, or disjointed, Is the mood dark, optimistic, somewhere in the middle, etc.)

Have you come across Storygraph? I only poked around briefly, but books are tagged with characteristics and somehow you get recommendations based on those tags. Though (afaik) it's not for freebie/review arrangements.

11LShelby
Apr. 11, 5:18pm

>10 MHThaung:
I hadn't, but naturally when I you mentioned it I went and looked it up.
I checked out the browse, and found myself wishing they had a section for "doesn't include the following moods." But it does seem to be sort of based on the sort of thing I was thinking about. (Only, alas, it doesn't do me as an author any good, because I don't know how to get added to the system.)

Besides I LIKE the idea of crowd-sourcing the data.

>7 LeonStevens: says that it's hard to vet readers, and with the StoryGraph system which is built around tags, there would be some point to mendaciously tagging a book with every single tag, so that it would show up in every single recommendation list. So it really does seem to be best as an "authoritative source only" system.

I had been envisioning a sliding scale Dark to Light, Fast to Slow, etc. Part of the reason to do it that way was so that there is no motive to lie, since no answer is "good" or "bad".

I also had an idea for another way to use the system. If you have the book survey/description set up, and the free downloads for authors set up, then you could use all that same code to run a Reader's Choice award. Participating authors would make their books available to everyone for a certain length of time, and would have to commit to acting as readers also, just not, obviously, of their own books, which is okay because the award would use an average score system rather than a "most votes" system. (Although possibly with a few elimination rounds. Then each book that makes the cut ought to accumulate more and more reader responses over time, as the eliminated books become unavailable, and so the "grading" would become more accurate over time.)

The basic idea is the readers read as many books as they want, as long as they fill out the survey for the previous one, and then sort the books that they read in a most-liked to least-liked order. Points would be awarded based on how many books are in the list, and where a book lands in the order. Part of the author commitment is to read books that are getting fewer downloads, so that all the books submitted to the contest are getting read by someone.

It seemed like a positive use for those people who just want free books, and don't actually review. :)

But I'm painfully good at coming up with these sorts of ideas. ::rueful::

The worst thing is that I know I could code it all. It's just a matter of how much time/energy it would cost me. Right now I can't even seem to keep up with discussions here on LibraryThing. :(

12LeonStevens
Apr. 12, 2:57pm

>11 LShelby: "Right now I can't even seem to keep up with discussions here on LibraryThing. :("

I've always been impressed with what you do keep up to on here.

13WendyGamble
Mai 23, 7:09am

>1 LeonStevens:
I've been wondering about this concept. Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.
>2 LShelby: re how then do I deal with interested writers whose books seem to me to be not quite there yet?
I was considering doing link exchanges with other space fiction SF (when my site is ready) by private invitation. Slow going I'm sure, but would avoid the rejection thing. Though I suppose one might start getting queries if your site was popular...I think an honest polite statement that their book isn't similar enough if style that the same readers would enjoy it kind of thing.

14LeonStevens
Mai 23, 8:50am

>13 WendyGamble: Doing exchanges with other authors makes sense because most readers don't just read one author, but as LShelby said, you want to make sure that the styles are compatible with your readership, but you don't want to be to narrow in your scope.

I've made a few connections through some of my poetry and Sci-fi promotions, and started to organize a more permanent arrangement for authors to post each others links on their websites, especially links to purchase directly from authors.

15LShelby
Jun. 29, 2:07pm

For some reason I am reminded that once upon a time there used to be this thing where websites would join up in "circles", and put little badges on their sites that would navigate to the next/previous site in the circle as well as linking to a circle homepage with a list of all the sites.

It was actually a fun way to explore what sites were out there on a similar theme, but the concept appears to have mostly died out. I think maybe because the circles started getting too big?

(I once contemplated this issue in regards to writer critique groups, and the concept I came up with was to have "interlocking" crit circles. Each participant is assigned to two small sub-groups. That way the entire group can grow and develop to any size, without any one crit circle growing too large, or the entire group becoming too fragmented, because each sub-group was always in contact with the others via shared members.)

Ordinary link exchanges have a similar issue. If there are too few of them, the readers check out all five links or whatever and then never come back again, because they've seen it all. If there are too many, there's no reason to have them listed at all -- if we want to look at an unmanageably long list of links, we can use a search engine.

But with a list of links its probably easier to just decide on a good number and stick to it. :)

Would twenty be about right as a goal?

...
It has just occurred to me that setting up a web-circle system for independent authors would be way more manageable a task than some of my other promotion schemes. Authors wanting to apply send a copy of one or more books to the moderator(s)) who look over the submission text and assign the author to a sub-group, and email back the html for the connection button.

Maybe send a list of possible sub-groups and let the author decide which one(s) they want to join?

Anyway, the coding would be minimal -- the biggest chore would be reading the submissions and assigning the matches. And if I fall behind on that task, everything that I've already set up can just keep running on its own regardless.

(I don't know if this makes sense to anyone, but I would feel more comfortable "matching" books than I would rating or recommending them.)

16paradoxosalpha
Jun. 29, 5:22pm

>15 LShelby: For some reason I am reminded that once upon a time there used to be this thing where websites would join up in "circles"

Oh, we're old. That's 1990s interwebs for sure.

17MHThaung
Jun. 30, 10:43am

>15 LShelby: For some reason I am reminded that once upon a time there used to be this thing where websites would join up in "circles"

>16 paradoxosalpha: Oh, we're old. That's 1990s interwebs for sure.

I remember those! I think they were called webrings - used to spend ages going round them, probably looking for gaming stuff. Those were the days indeed :)

Possibly they died out because of the rise of search engines (Yahoo, Google etc), so finding new sites via links wasn't so useful?

18LeonStevens
Jun. 30, 7:37pm

>15 LShelby: "...and put little badges on their sites...It was actually a fun way to explore what sites were out there on a similar theme, but the concept appears to have mostly died out."

Did they? #hashtags?