The craft and business of writing and self publishing

More is more – banding together to boost “discoverability”

When it comes to being an indie author, there’s strength in numbers.

That’s the paradoxical truth discovered by the twelve members of The Jewels of Historical Romance, a group of self-published writers who decided to pool their marketing ideas and resources and cross promote one another’s releases, all for the greater good of more sales for all.

What exactly is The Jewels of Historical Romance and how does it work? We put some questions to the members to find out:

When you created the collective, what did you want to accomplish?

The original idea came out of a kind of necessity. We can each write only so many books in a year, after all–certainly many fewer books than romance readers typically read in twelve months. So it made sense to find other authors with whom we could cross-promote, with the goal of increasing all of our email lists, social media followers, and reader bases.

We didn’t personally know most of the authors before we formed the group. We were looking for authors whose books we’d be comfortable recommending to our treasured fans. We ended up with a list of around fifty possible recruits and started out by contacting our top ten. To our great surprise and delight, every one of those ten were eager to join!

What does it mean to be in a collective group like this?

Because we’re working together, we can combine funds to create a more powerful impact with larger ads, bigger contest prizes, and wider promotions at a much lower cost per author than if we were each trying to do this alone. Whatever messages we send out are multiplied by twelve, casting a wider net and reaching more potential readers. This adds velocity to any promotion for a book.

The collective also works as a referral service, similar to “If you liked this author, you may like these authors as well,” while assuring our readers they can expect quality fiction from anyone in our group.

An unanticipated bonus is the emotional support the group also provides. We have all become great friends, cheering one another for every success and cheering up one another through the tougher times. There’s really nothing like working with a small group of people who truly understand what it means to be a writer, and a self-published writer at that. This collective has enriched our lives in many ways we didn’t expect.

What are some of the successful tactics you’ve used to drive sales?

Sales have increased for every one of us since the group started in summer 2012, even though there is more competition now and some other (non-Jewel) authors are seeing falling sales. A quick look at our “also bought” on the various eBook stores will demonstrate how this is working: Most of us have six or so other Jewels books in each of those “also bought” lists, proving that our readers are trying the other Jewels authors. “The Jewels” is becoming a brand, our version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!

We’ve put together a free eBook anthology of our favorite scenes, which has been downloaded many thousands of times, introducing new readers to our works.

We’ve each put links to our free anthology, our group website, and the other authors in the backs of our eBooks–this is something that costs us zero dollars and goes a long way toward growing all of our readerships.

On our website, we’re running a contest every month, which adds many readers to each of our email newsletter lists on an ongoing basis. Because we all chip in for the website and prize, this is a very minimal expense for each of us.

We’re also having great fun in the “Jewels Salon” group we started in late January on Facebook (you can see it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/JewelsSalon/). Here we interact daily with our most ardent fans, with an emphasis on socializing–to the point that we have a “no promotion” rule except for one single post each Friday. Our Jewels Salon membership is growing every day, we’re all currently planning a virtual Jewels Ball, and these readers have begun recommending our books all over Facebook without us asking them to–you really can’t get better advertising than that!

Probably the greatest perk is not having to be pushy promoters of our own books on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Rather than tooting our own horns, we now have eleven other authors to do that for each of us. Bragging about your books can be a big turnoff in a venue that’s supposed to be all about friendly interaction, but a recommendation from another author makes a very different impression.

*Download the free Jewels of Historical Romance anthology here*

jewels of romance

Meet the Jewels of Historical Romance Collective – http://jewelsofhistoricalromance.com/

Jill Barnett, author of Wonderful, Carried Away, Bewitching, Wild, Wicked, Imagine, The Heart’s Haven, Just a Kiss Away, Bridge to Happiness, The Days of Summer, Sentimental Journey, Dreaming and Surrender a Dream.

Annette Blair, author of Holy Scoundrels, Captive Scoundrel, Proper Scoundrel, Sea Scoundrel, The Rogues Club Series, Jacob’s Return, Butterfly Garden, A Veiled Deception, Larceny and Lace, Death by Diamonds, Skirting the Grace and Cloaked in Malice.

Cheryl Bolen, author of The Brides of Bath Series, A Lady By Chance, The Earl’s Bargain, The Regent Mysteries, My Lord Wicked, His Lordship’s Vow, Lady Sophia’s Rescue, Christmas Brides, Protecting Britannia, Murder At Veranda House, A Cry in the Night, Capitol Offense, It Had to be You, A Summer to Remember, A Duke Deceived and One Golden Ring.

Lucinda Brant, author of Salt Bride, Salt Redux, Deadly Engagement, Deadly Affair, Noble Satyr, Midnight Marriage and Autumn Duchess.

Glynnis Campbell, author of The Knights of de Ware Trilogy, Passion’s Exile, The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch Trilogy, The Shipwreck, California Legends Trilogy and Danger’s Kiss.

Tanya Anne Crosby, author of Speak No Evil, The Highland Bride Series, Once Upon a Kiss, Angel of Fire, Viking’s Prize, The Imposter Series, Happily Ever After, Perfect in my Sight, Kissed, Sagebrush Bride, Lady’s Man and Highland Song.

Colleen Gleason, author of Night Resurrected, The Vampire Voss, The Rest Falls Away, Beyond the Night, Lavender Vows, Sanctuary of Roses, A Whisper of Rosemary, A Lily on the Heath, Siberian Treasure, The Shop of Shades and Secrets, The Cards of Life and Death and Countdown to a Kiss.

Danelle Harmon, author of The de Montforte Brothers Series, Heroes of the Sea series, Wicked at Heart, Taken By Storm and Pirate In My Arms.

Brenda Hiatt, author of Ship of Dreams, Scandalous Virtue, The Saint of Seven Dials Series, Tessa’s Touch, The Runaway Heiress, Azalea, Gabriella, The Cygnet and Lord Dearborn’s Destiny.

Lauren Royal, author of The Jewel Trilogy, The Flower Trilogy and The Temptations Trilogy.

Laurin Wittig, author of the Guardians of the Targe Series, The Legacy of MacLeod Series and The Devil of Kilmartin.

Cynthia Wright, author of The Beauvisage Novels, The Raveneau Novels, The St. Briac Novels and The Western Novels.

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