pen-image1Here’s another interesting possible solution to the problem of how to promote self-published works: “electronic author cooperatives.” Writer Andrew Crofts blogs about them, and Alison Flood at the Guardian books blog also has some things to say.

The idea is that authors band together to help promote each others’ works, though the post really isn’t clear on exactly what they do for each other apart from blog a lot. Still, promotion is really important in self-publishing, as Mike Stackpole commonly discusses in his panels. And this looks like at least as good a method of promotion as any other.

Example collectives include “Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?”, “Awesome Indies”, and “Rock*It Reads”.


  1. Great idea but how does one implement it to reach readers like me? I buy an average of 10 books a month, so I am someone (I think) to whom authors would would to pitch their books, especially indie authors as 80% of my purchases are indies. Yert how would they reach me? I don’t subscribe to blogs; instead, I visit the blogs the that interest me on a regular basis, so who would blogging help sell me? I am already overwhelmed with spam, so how would an author unknown to me get past my spam filters?

    I know there is a cadre of ebookers who pooh-pooh the value of traditional publishers, but this is an instance of their value. I subscribe to magazines like The New York Review of Books and I look at publisher ads. Book titles and descriptions and NYRB reviews that interest me result in the purchase of the books. It would be very difficult for an indie author to catch my attention in the normal course of events.

    I find most of my indie books via Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, MobileRead, and group ads by outfits like Xlibris in the magazines to which I subscribe. Although the Internet has changed the face of publishing by making it possible for more authors to get published, it has not solved the problem of how those authors attract new readers. Traditional publishers use traditional outlets as a starting point. Those outlets are available to self-publishers but if these self-publishers cannot afford to hire professional editors and designers, how can they afford to access the traditional outlets?

    It is a problem that has to be solved but for which I see no ready solution.

  2. A possible strategy for specialist authors is to sell ebook rights to an on-line distributor and keep rights to print. The author can then produce POD locally at local printers or binderies. These smaller print production enterprises are well advanced into POD production and can provide drop shipment services.

  3. This strategy has been used for many years in the romance community. Authors who reach the same audience, Regency lovers for example, band together. They have their own website, blog, Facebook page, etc. They also do co-op ads in magazines like RTBOOKCLUB and AFFAIRE DE COEUR and on popular romance review sites. They promote each other’s books on reader listservs and where they promote their own books.

    They often fund their promotion by writing short story or novella anthologies.

    The trick to success is to have a specific audience and to know where this audience hangs out.

  4. “The trick to success is to have a specific audience and to know where this audience hangs out.”

    I agree. I spent the morning looking at several of these co-ops, including a couple I found via Google. One co-op has what looks like about 50 authors, spread across just about every genre. So what distinguishes this co-op? Nothing, as far as I can see. I’m giving some thought to the possibilities in co-ops that are more specialized, particularly for genres that aren’t hugely popular, or for authors who regularly cross genre lines.

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