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USA Today Bestseller – 6 Years After Publication

26 February 2013

From agent Kristin Nelson on Pub Rants:

Last week my author Jana DeLeon, who has been digitally self-publishing her backlist titles, hit the USA Today Bestseller list at #98 for the very first time and for the very first novel she ever published: Rumble on the Bayou (originally published in 2007).

. . . .

Over two years ago, Jana and 9 other digitally self-publishing authors formed a marketing co-op where they pool ideas, platforms, and resources. Together this group creates aggressive strategies and they’ve seen remarkable results for every member of the co-op.

It gives a whole new meaning to “it takes a village.” I imagine most authors who are digitally publishing tend to go it alone. I’m seeing the real efficacy of marketing in numbers. And I also don’t think grabbing any old person will do. Each member of the group needs to be equally invested and savvy about what it takes to market digital titles.

On a side note, RUMBLE was originally published by the now defunct Dorchester back in the day. I had quite the battle to arm wrestle the rights back when they stopped paying royalties three years  ago.

Link to the rest at Pub Rants and thanks to Eric for the tip.

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Agents, Self-Publishing

61 Comments to “USA Today Bestseller – 6 Years After Publication”

  1. Writers gathering and jointly marketing? Excellent idea!

    • Agreed. I love the idea of writing co-ops. They could be the next incarnation of the old-school publishing houses: a way to aggregate resources and data to help writers get books to market without collecting a massive slice of royalties.

  2. If anyone wants to seriously consider a co-op, I’ll seriously consider it with you.

  3. I mentioned something along these lines a few weeks ago to DWS in the comments section of his blog.

    He didn’t say it was a stupid idea. 🙂 I got the impression that it had never really been done before (that he knew of).

    I was thinking that if a writer did not have an extensive list of books to offer then he/she could team up with others in his/her genre and publish a flyer for all the indie bookstores out there. Basically going around the traditional pubs. Strength in numbers.

    If you write political or medical thrillers I’d be interested in forming a co-op as well.

  4. I will admit that the writing co-op idea is attractive.

  5. Does anyone follow the blog “The Kill Zone”? This is a group of thriller writers who blog together on one site. That’s what initially got me wondering about this. I don’t know if they publish or market anything together, but that’s where the idea came from.

    • I occasionally visit that blog. There’s some good stuff there.

      • It’s in my favorites file.

        The group there are mostly trade published I think. I personally am not aware of a similar indie group.

        I can however think of at least a dozen indie thriller writers I would be willing to partner up with. (I would think you would want to read their stuff before you partnered with someone though, and then theres a few business things to work out.) But it could be done with a little work.

        I can see I’m going to get little writing done today now. Damn you again TPV!! 🙂

  6. The Book View Café has been around for a while now (archives go back to November 2008): http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/ The blog has a rotating authorship, which makes it broadly interesting. They have about twenty authors now; if I recall correctly, Vonda McIntyre, Pati Nagle, and Judith Tarr were some of the original members. I’ve found a number of good books there.
    And Closed Circle: http://www.closed-circle.net counts as a co-op, albeit much smaller.
    Co-op publishing isn’t such a new idea, really.

  7. There’s a group of mystery writers in the Boston area–Hallie Ephron, Hank Philippi Ryan and others who blog at Jungle Red I think it is. I don’t think it’s about marketing, tho.

  8. Book View Cafe (http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/) is a cooperative publisher but they require that their members be traditionally published first. There’s also a romance writers co-op (same rules) but I’m having trouble finding its link.

  9. I’ve seen a few indies band together to form small companies, where they essentially swap services and do cross-promotion (i.e. inserting sample chapters at the back of each other’s books, etc.)

    They are in various stages of being in bed with one another.

    Be careful folks, lots of pitfalls. Taxes, legal stuff, dealing with crazy authors and out of control editors. 🙂

  10. Why is professional writing organized differently from the other professions (medicine, law, consulting, etc.)?

    Publishers (as they currently exist) are merely vestigial remnants of a past economic reality.

    The future of professional writing is the “private practice model”. Some writers may go solo, but far more will be in small to medium size groups that share paraprofessional expenses (editing, proofing, etc.) and engage in joint marketing. These groups will look more like boutique consulting firms than either law or medicine practices (both of which have educational and legal barriers to entry).

    Branding will be important. Branding may be genre, but it doesn’t have to be. Locality, attitude, platform (Kindle or iBookstore, maybe Kobo, but I wouldn’t recommend Nook), form (Best Short Stories, LLC?), just about anything that can create trust and community with your readers.

    The key to this will be creating groups that help readers find books they want. That is what will amplify the joint marketing and promotion to benefit writers.

    • Great analogies from William. Particularly the last statement.

      This may just offer the best of all worlds. The writer would have a marketing strength of the pooled names, they could share the cost of editing, cover art, etc. I could even see a twice yearly collection of short stories published together. (Perhaps the anthologies could be used to fund the enterprise?)

      As Josh mentioned, there are some legal and other headaches to deal with, but the upside, in my opinion, would cancel that out.

      • A number of the romance co-ops I know also pool together to buy advertising in some magazines such RT or other reader-oriented publications.

  11. Romance writers do this and have been forever. Some of the bigger groups are Romance Bandits, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. The co-blog, they shout out one another’s new releases, pass out each other’s bookmarks, join together for contests, etc. Another group of 20 authors from multiple genres just recently joined together for a major blowout giveaway contest that also accrued “likes” on Facebook pages. I knew one of the authors, and thanks to her, I now know 20 more potential good reads.

    • Yeah, well, romance writers are ahead of everybody else on everything. I mean that very sincerely. I think there are two reasons for that. One is simple economics. Romance readers are the most valuable customers in the book business. There are more of them, they buy more, are more brand loyal, and more connected than other readers. That gives a lot of space for experimentation for romance writers.

      The second reason is that nearly all romance writers are women. That tends to tone down the “go it alone” rugged individualism that pervades U.S. culture.

      • William, I think it’s also that romance writers have a long-standing professional organization that is 10,000 strong and that is inclusive not only of tradtionally published authors but welcomes self-pubbed authors, and more importantly, unpublished writers working toward publication. Networking, mentoring, and mutual support are core values, which naturally leads to the formation of collaborative groups to cross promote, share services, and share information.

        Sort of like what we’re seeing here today on the PV.

        • Well, they sort of welcome the small press and self pubbed. However, my experience with them was that the welcome was much warmer if you’d sold to, say, Harlequin. By the time I cut ties with that organization, they’d almost gotten to the point of thinking a small or e-press sake was still a sale.

  12. I suspect this type of venture [however structured] will strengthen indie writers’ successes – in the context at least, of marketing.

    Certainly interests me.

  13. If anyone’s interested in seeing some of what the Killer Fiction Writers (Jana’s co-op) do in addition to their individual websites:

    http://killerfictionwriters.blogspot.com/ (Their recently shut down blog.)

    The original website is gone. It shows how the ladies are changing with the times.

  14. As it turns out, I recently bought and read ‘Rumble in the Bayou’. I believe it was featured in either BookBub’s daily email or was B&N ‘book of the day’ at 99 cents.

  15. Weird to see this discussion on here today. I just got finished writing a short essay for an online business class I am taking in which I started talking about my idea to develop an e-book publishing group where self-published authors would work together to create and promote themed anthologies. It’s a brand-new idea, but I can totally see it as a coop. Unfortunately, I haven’t published anything yet, but I do feel that I have two things that will be ready by this summer. It then occurred to me today (before I read this post) that the same system could be used for other collaborative works–shared worlds, serials, house names, and more.

  16. Way cool! I’m on the Passive Voice – one of my favorite sites!

    To clarify a couple of things: Killer Fiction was a blog group and that is not the marketing group I am part of now. That group is newer and we’re gearing up to launch a big Internet presence. In fact, I just got home tonight from our writer’s summit in Cancun. 🙂

    We are approaching everything according to rules of big business, so we are forming an LLC, will have tax ID numbers, separate tax filings, equity stakes, etc. It’s not just a matter of doing a Facebook post for each other. But as we have an attorney (and my background is accounting), we’re covered on the business end of things, which really helps.

    We are cross-genre and I think that’s a great thing. Most people read across genres, so this way, we hope to introduce readers to new authors. I think the most important aspect of designing a group, regardless of whether you want to simply tweet each other or go the corporation route like we are, is that you all share the same vision for the group and that your personalities are in sync. Synergy is a VERY valuable thing.

    Be looking for our launch soon. We’re getting ready. 🙂

    • My apologies for the screw-up, Jana!

      • No apologies necessary, Suzan!

        There’s no way you could have known as this group is much newer and we have not launched our presence yet. The Killer Fiction group was a great thing when blogging was king, but times change and groups have to move forward or get left behind. 🙂

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