Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marketing -- Power In Numbers?

Okay, so I think we all know that marketing is a strange and scary beast. It's hard to keep yelling from your rooftop about your own book. It's hard to know how to reach out past your own circle of blog followers or twitter people.

That's why being a member of a group can be beneficial for your marketing strategies. I have long been active in the blogging community, and that right there can be the foundation where you find the people that you might want to bring in a little tighter. Maybe join forces, you know?

I have belonged to several groups, and they've each performed different roles. No matter what the group, there is definite power in numbers. There are pros and cons to groups, of course, but I'm just going to focus on the pros here.

1. Extended reach. In a group, take the League of Extraordinary Writers for example, there's going to be people that have more reach than you, or a different reach than you. When you're associated with the group, you can access that reach.

2. Help in spreading the word. The more people who tweet for you about any number of things can help get the word out to their followers, and theirs, and theirs... Hmm, this sounds like #1.

3. Moral support. This is extremely valuable. In an industry that is highly solitary, having a group of people with which you can express your true feelings is important. Also, these people can help brainstorm additional marketing ideas, and teaming up with another person can be an advantageous marketing strategy.

4. Exposure. Oh, wait. This sounds like #1 and #2. Ha! I do think group activities (like the YA Scavenger Hunt) can allow authors great exposure to audiences they might not have otherwise "met".

However, group activities can be hard. Remember those science projects and stuff in junior high and high school? Not everyone pulling their weight? The overly anxious person? Yeah, that can happen in groups, even online.

Things to Keep in Mind:
1. You get out of a group what you put in. (This is code for: Don't always take from your group. Give too.)

2. Not all personalities work well in groups. (This is code for: Choose wisely.)

3. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. (This is code for: Don't stay in a group if it's making you A) crazy, B) mad, C) crazy-mad. Constantly evaluate your position in the group and how much time it's taking away from writing.)

The bottom line: I think groups are an effective way to advance your marketing. You can draw from a wider audience, have an opportunity to reach a wider audience, and have the added bonus of an attentive ear from people who get what you're going through.

Do you belong to any group blogs? Unofficial groups? Have you thought about them from a marketing standpoint?

Or are you overwhelmed by group blogs? Group projects? Group promotions?
I'd love to hear both sides!

20 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great suggestions Elana. I don't belong to any group blogs now. But I love partnering with Casey on my blog. I do plan to join a group or two of debut authors when I debut for all the reasons you've listed. I'd be so much more terrified going through the debut year without a group even after watching so many of you debut.

Laura Pauling said...

I've only belonged to the Indelibles group of self published and indie published authors for a few months but so far the pros have far outweighed the cons. The moral support, the wealth of knowledge and the extended reach. I guess it depends on what point each person is at in their publishing journey and if time put in is equal to what you get out of it.

Kelly Hashway said...

I recently joined the group at YA Bound. I love it because I get along really well with the girls there. Two are my agency sisters, too.

Christine Fonseca said...

I recently changed my blog related to giftedness into a group blog - and the people I am blogging with are the BEST EVER!!! This was such a good thing.
In the meantime, I have sort of lost contact with some of my closest YA friends, something I hate - no real reason, just busy...but I miss them...
so off to email...

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I LOVE this idea. Planted something here. Going to investigate. Not currently part of a marketing group.

Hey, do you meet in person or is your group online?
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

I try not get overwhelmed with anything but I am trying to be wise and give back. These are great tips, Elana. Marketing is a scary beast. lol

Angela Brown said...

I'm currently not part of a group blog. I have a bit of a ways to go for some things. However, I've seen many authors joining forces with groups like Lucky 13's and they've expressed the benefit of being part of the group.

Patti said...

I think being part of a group when you reach that stage is invaluable. For marketing and moral support, mostly the latter.

Catherine Stine said...

Elana, this is so very helpful! I was in a group blog that worked for a while, but lost its way for three reasons:
1. No one was willing to manage it
2. The authors were not writing in similar enough genres so the focus was vague.
3. The person who had the original idea had triplets!
I am in the process of cautiously and slowly putting together a group blog of like-minded authors. So, this was the perfect time to read your post!

Carolyn V said...

I think this is all very well said! I'm in a group blog and it's been interesting to see what kind of different people we pull in!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Great suggestions!!

I'm part of a couple of group blogs-- The Crowe's Nest (my agent's), and The Lucky 13s (2013 Debut authors). Both are huge, though (40 in one, 75+ in the other). Sometime I think it might be fun to be in a group blog with 5-15 people. But with the Luckies group, it's been invaluable in the Moral Support category! And I'm sure it will in the marketing category when we all get closer to our release dates.

And we did a revision support group with some people who read my blog. There was about 20 of us, and even though it officially ended at the end of November, we still email the group! Unofficial groups can be completely amazing, too.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm hoping I do belong to some groups that will be supportive when I finally need it. They've certainly been awesome with everything else.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I belong to a Yahoo group that is very supportive. I'm a member of the A to Z Challenge blog, so that's another source. I'd even say the Insecure Writer's Support Group qualifies.
And after almost three hundred people posted something about my book release a few weeks ago (and thank you for the guest spot again!) I'd have to say involvement in the blogging world is a big plus.

Jessie Humphries said...

Honestly, the thought of being active in another whole blog makes me want to drink (and I don't mean Diet Coke)! But...if they were the right fit, maybe :) you got me thinking though...

Amber Argyle, author said...

Totally agree. But the group has to fit your needs. It can get tricky if there's a problem.

Jemi Fraser said...

Being part of a group definitely helps in many ways. I agree with your advice to choose wisely! I'm part of the gang over at From the Write Angle and it's been a very positive experience :)

Julie Daines said...

Good tip, thanks. I'll have to look around. I'm part of Utah Children's Writers, but we don't do a lot of promotion there.

RaShelle Workman said...

Great post! I love my group. It can be overwhelming, but it's worth it! The Indelibles are AWESOME!!!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Elana! Great post.

tahlianewland.com said...

I agree, it makes sense for authors to work together.I think it needs to be in groups that have some link though. For me I need to know the author's work is good, that's why I set up the Awesome Indies site. http://awesomeindies.wordpress.com

I know that those authors all produce good books, so I feel comfortable promoting them. What connects them is their 'Indieness' and their quality. I haven't had a lot of actual hands-on help, so far, but I just do it anyway because I like to support others.

Other than that, I think genre would be a good link and as soon as I have something more than short stories out there, I'll be looking for a YA fantasy/magical realism group I can work with. I'm naturally one of those people who get engaged with whatever I do, and I don't worry about those who dpn't pull their weight so much these days, some people are just like that. In the Awesome Indies though, those who give more do get more, because the front spots go to those who help out the most.

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