I read this article by Jennifer Alsever in last month’s Business 2.0 and it’s now available for all to read on their website. Jennifer talks about the need for authors to be more involved in marketing their books via blogs, virtual book tours, etc.
As we learned from Joel Comm’s efforts on The AdSense Code, authors can do more than leverage their own existing platform. Why not spend the time finding other “sponsors” to help build an irresistible bonus for your book? Each sponsor needs to bring an e-mail list and a valuable add-on to the program. For example, let’s say you’re writing a book about Excel. Maybe I’ve got a small business selling Excel add-on’s. If I offer up my mailing list and a free piece of my core product, I could be a sponsor for your book. Gather enough of these sponsors and you suddenly have a completely new value proposition for your book: “Buy my book this week on Amazon and you’ll get over $300 in third-party Excel add-on’s.”
Why would a sponsor want to participate? After all, they’re giving up part of their product and their highly valued customer mailing list. One reason: Getting their product in front of all those other customers on the other sponsors’ mailing lists. In the example above, if you’ve lined up 4 other Excel add-on sponsors, I’ve got an opportunity to put my product in front of their customers through the mailing lists they’re providing. How could I refuse?
If any agents are out there reading this, did a light just go on in your head? Isn’t this a great technique you could use to help distinguish yourselves from all the other agents out there? I’m not saying you could do this for every book you represent, but I’ll bet you could do it for at least one a month, for example. Wouldn’t it be interesting to develop a reputation as “the agent who helps market books with sponsorship programs”?
Publishers can and should tap into this approach as well. I’m already thinking about how we can do it on a short list of titles in my group.