I am in San Antonio, Texas this week at the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. I’m giving a workshop on cooperative marketing and we thought we’d give y’all a little taste. – Robin
Cooperative Marketing: Getting More Bang for Your Buck with Less Work
Finding Your Partners in Crime
Successful group marketing means finding the right partners in crime, a task easier said than done. While it’s impossible to  consider every variable, there are a few biggies that are important to factor in.
Reader Base: Is your reader base similar with that of the author/s you’re looking to partner with? Please note that the question isn’t whether or not you write the exact same subgenre, nor is it whether you’ve got the same reader base as your proposed partner/s. In fact, you’ll want to vary that reader base a little bit in order to hook new readers from your partners’ fandom to yours (and vice versa). However, it’s important to ask yourself if your readers will cross over easily from one of you to the other/s. If one of you writes gritty paranormal romance while another writes sweet contemporaries, that’s got the potential to be a hurdle.
How Many Partners?
While not enough members in a group make it tough to split responsibilities, too many chefs spoil the soup. So what’s the magic number? Well, your answer will depend. How much work load are you able to take on? What areas of marketing are comfort zones for you (or hot buttons)? How much financial responsibility can you take on? These are all factors you’ll need to consider when forming your group. Everyone in the group should have an area of expertise (Twitter guru? Graphics goddess? You get the idea) as well as be willing to share the knowledge.
- How often will it go out. – We decided on monthly.
- What will be in each issue. – We went with a 100 to 150 word blurb from each of us about our latest news and a contest.
- What will it look like. – The one color each of us uses in our branding is red, so we have a red background. Also, we found a funny picture of a Chihuahua with hearts on his eyes. We made him our motto and had a contest where our readers got to name him. He is now Cupid McLovin.
- How does the work get distributed. – We use Mail Chimp. It makes creating a unique newsletter template easy and quick. We have a newsletter template and then rotate who is responsible for gathering each month’s newsletter information, putting it in the template and e-mailing it out
- Will you combine mailing lists or create a new one from scratch. – We decided to combine our mailing lists. We started off with around 1,000 newsletter subscribers and now have more than 2,700.
Setting Up a Standard Operating Procedures
Dividing up the work means that everyone has to do their part and to ensure success, you need to know what’s expected. We set the ground rules early but we also keep it fluid – we let it evolve and change as out careers grow. Here are some of the things that we discussed:
- How much time will it take? We candidly discussed our priorities and our short and long term goals. Once we had those figured out, we designed a strategy that we could fit into out busy lives.
- How will you divide up the work? We trade off newsletter duties and the mailing of prize packs to winners. We also take on tasks based upon our expertise – for example, Avery is better with graphics and we let her be awesome.
- How will you break up? We didn’t draw up a pre-nuptial agreement but we had to think about the day when we might outgrow the benefits of cooperative marketing. The basics of making sure that everyone got access to mailing list and ensuring that we could exit gracefully.
Have you considered doing cooperative marketing? What did and didn’t work for you?
On Wednesday, Damon Suede talks about the happily ever after . . . .
Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her bestselling books. When she’s not writing sexy, sizzling romance she’s collecting tasty man candy pics, indulging in a little comic book geek love, and obsessing over Dean Winchester. Don’t send chocolate . . . send eye candy! Her latest novel and her first Indie release, Temptation, will be out August 5, 2014 and her next Indulgence with Entangled Publishing, Playing with the Drummer, will be out in October 2014. www.robincovingtontromance.com 
Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. She was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs. Her latest novel, Enemies on Tap, is one of Amazon’s top new releases in Kindle series romance. Her latest romantic suspense, This Year’s Black, was named a Top Pick by RT Book Reviews in July www.averyflynn.com 
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance novels that split the difference between sexy and sweet, taking the traditional idea of boy-meets-girl and infusing it with a sassy magic all her own. She believes in fiery yet flawed characters destined for a crash-course in falling in love– usually the hard way– and injects her trademark humor as well as poignant touches into her writing to create her stories. www.kimberlykincaid.com 
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