1. Know your goals.
Other groups have set goals of hitting the major best-seller lists. These require a much greater investment of time and money. They've produced boxed sets, sold them for a pittance, but generated enough sales to hit those lists. Our goal was, and still is, to expand our reach, because in this publishing climate, marketing is vital. Decide what you want to get from the group, and what you'll have to do to get it.
And, for the record, getting a kazillion Facebook followers no longer means what it used to. While it's good to have Facebook followers, Facebook has changed its policy, so having 5,000 people liking your page doesn't mean anything close to 5,000 will see your posts. It's more like 10%. That's barely half of the average open rate for a newsletter. Also, Facebook can decide to make your page go away without notice. You'll never find those followers, because there's no place you can store them. Our goal of reach-expansion means we're looking for mailing list names. Our contests do that for us. So, even though we all have more Twitter and Facebook followers, we've also seen considerable growth in our lists, which is more important.
2. Have rules. Know what's expected.
We learned, more or less the hard way, that we had to set more specific "requirements" for being a member of the group. Whereas some of our members didn't like telling others they had to check Facebook posts, tweets, etc., a given number of times a day/week, we found that there were a couple members, no longer with us, who felt that the original wording of "as you have time" meant they only contributed when they had something that put themselves on the radar. So, we've designed an agreement. It's still loose, but it's better than having members join only to drop out later.
3. Have a way to communicate with each other.
At first, we formed a Yahoo Group where we could email everyone at once. This worked, and still does, but it became difficult to track threads and know who was answering what. AT one member's suggestion, we formed a "secret" group on Facebook, which makes keeping topics straight easier. We've also done Skype meetings, although the technology became an issue with dropped calls. However, a reliable on-line meeting system can work if there are decisions that require discussion and immediate input.
4. Make sure everyone has a job.
The idea of forming the group was to share the workload. Everyone is good at something, so it's important to utilize each member's skills. One of us is a web designer, so he takes care of maintaining the site. Others collect contest information, members' good news, set up our contests, etc.
And, of course, having others helping out with marketing and promotion means each of us has more time to devote to that number one marketing tool—write the next book.
For more, visit the Booklover's Bench. There's even time to get in on our May contest.
|Terry Odell is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, mystery novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Most of her books are available in both print and digital formats. She's the author of the Blackthorne, Inc. series, steamy romantic suspense novels featuring a team of covert ops specialists, the Pine Hills Police series, set in a small Oregon town, and the Mapleton Mystery series, featuring a reluctant police chief in a small Colorado town. To see all her books, visit her website. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.|