We launched into a new series three weeks ago, the moment when we agreed to stop thinking about the many ways we can mess up the marketing process (Marketing Missteps) and pivoted instead to thinking about the many ways we can succeed instead (hence, this series: Marketing Master Strokes).  Our first master stroke required us to  be all ears (listening to the stories of others, and keeping an open mind to actually changing your own approach), and our second required us to  be willing to reach our readers where they live (setting aside the ego in order to adapt our outreach methods to best suit our readers), and our third master stroke was all about the incentives!  Or rather, why making your work look appealing as a product using special deals, discounts, and giveaways is a good idea.

But that’s all boilerplate.  What you’re really here for–what you’re really interested in this week–is figuring out what our fourth master stroke will be. And no beating around the bush, here it is:

Playing Well With Others

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,” wrote Jane Austen in the opening lines of Pride and Prejudice. But an even more pertinent truth, one that is in fact played out over the course of Austen’s novel and every other masterpiece of the global literary canon is this: Success, no matter how a person defines it, relies upon building human connections. Smart men and women, business leaders, and CEOs of major corporations know that this means playing well with others–even though this doesn’t mean pandering or compromising your vision and work ethic.


So what does this look like for the self-publishing author?  Building personal connections with fans and fellow authors and industry experts over social media is one thing, but that isn’t all a person can do, right?  Partnership is more than just tweeting at each other occasionally and tagging each other on Facebook posts.

Partnership Means Collaboration–Real Collaboration

And most self-publishing authors, no matter where they’re at in their publishing journey, could benefit from strong, dynamic, and useful collaboration.  It’s important not to neglect social media–it’s a vital and important step in reaching out to other authors and figuring out what your common interests are–and there’s a lot to be said for other surface-level inquiries to local bookstores, libraries, and event venues.  (And don’t neglect nonprofits, PEO groups, and other passion/interest groups–they may not have a permanent physical address, but if they choose to back you as an author, there’s no one better to have in your corner than a set of really capable, really driven people–like those who run these groups!)

Collaboration can look like:

  • pairing up with another author or multiple authors to host a book discussion or workshop together;
  • gathering several other authors together and applying to run a booth at a local book fair, or a panel at a “con” (convention);
  • conducting interviews with other authors and sharing them on each other’s websites, providing insight into the authorial process; and
  • co-writing short stories or novellas together, to be distributed as giveaways or free to the public online.

I’m sure you can think of many other good ideas!  The point is to think outside of the box, and to predict what your readers will want before they want it–and of course, to have a lot of fun while at it.  There’s nothing more refreshing than discovering like-minded authors and building a community that supports and champions each others’ work.  Trust me: even the most introverted and anti-social author needs people, and on terms that benefit everyone.  Playing well with others isn’t just some buzzword or catchphrase to get your attention.  Successful authors all point to collaboration and partnership as one of the hallmarks of their process, and that’s why it ranks as one of our master strokes.

Go play!

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line atselfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com. 10:00 AM

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