For those of you who may be new to the indie publishing world, the co-op advertisement is an invaluable tool to add to your self-marketing toolbox.

But what is a co-op advertisement in the first place?  

As Dan Poynter of ParaPublishing notes, “Book promotion is expensive. The challenges are that books are a low-ticket item (they do not cost much so you have to sell a bunch to pay for the promotion), their subjects are targeted to a small group of people (an individual title is not needed by everyone), and there is no recurring consumption (customers do not buy a new copy of the same book every trip to the grocery store).”  (Emphasis mine.) What’s the answer?  As my grandmother used to say around the holidays, “Many hands make light work.”  And many authors can band together to amplify their individual advertising impact.

Simply put, co-op ads are a way for you to experience all the benefits of a large-scale print marketing campaign without the sponsorship of a major heavyweight Big Five publishing house, and without having to lay out a whole lot of cash to do so.


You may already be aware of what all is involved in getting your book’s name and/or cover out there into national magazines and newspapers.  You may also be aware that print advertisements like the ones that run in the New Yorker and Ladies Home Journal are expensive!  One full-page advertisement in the New York Times book review section requires a person or company to shell out around $40,00o–and that’s fairly typical.  Many other journals, print magazines, and newspaper inserts are just as expensive.  And while the NYT doesn’t come cheap, it does reach around forty million readers–so the cost for reaching each of those readers is less than one-tenth of one cent.  This is a good deal, sort of.  Not many of us self-publishing authors have $40,000 just lying around in a duffel bag.  (And if we did, well, we would probably be dealing with far greater problems than a marketing campaign!)

Expensive as these ads are, they’re not beyond your reach.  Not if you choose to become a part of co-op advertising, which allows you to share premium exposure in household name magazines and periodicals with other self-publishing authors.  By doing so, you have access to all of the benefits of national marketing without having to bear the full burden of expense.

How do you get involved in co-op advertising?  You can always try to wrangle up something on your own, of course–with other, perhaps local, authors–but that’s a lot of money and hassle to manage.  Certain hybrid self-publishing companies, like Outskirts Press, offer a range of co-op options and possibilities.  Every company offers different options, of course, but Outskirts specifically offers the option to sign up for co-op advertising in the Boston Review, Publisher’s Weekly, Bookmarks and ForeWord magazines, and the New York Times Sunday Book Review.  The best part?  Co-operative advertising doesn’t drum up competition between authors.  As with many other aspects of the self-publishing process, Poynter believes that “it is easy to band together with compatible, non-competing products to lower costs, save time and gain more attention in the market place.”  Now that’s a message I can get behind!

Always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s