Self-Publishing Pay It Forward Time: Authors Cross Promoting


Book promotion isn’t exactly a precise science. Actually, scratch that: I don’t think anyone, including the Big 5 publishers really possess the secret elixir that makes a book take off and become a best seller.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am self-publishing my new book IMMORTAL REMAINS – A TIM REAPER NOVEL. The reasons for this decision are here, if you care to look so I won’ t get into them with this blog post. What I will say is that I’m trying to think out of the box when it comes to promoting this project. And since it is my eighth book, I am not exactly a stranger to the various methods of book promotion that authors are using these days. Here’s the big four methods that I’ve tried since my first novel was published six years ago:

Blog Tours: didn’t work for me. I didn’t see an uptick in sales. Ever. So I don’t recommend them.

Book Trailer: I made two. They didn’t work though they were fun to make.

Guest posts: Again, didn’t really work either because my posts were limited to the blog I was invited to write on. As well, there was the need to give away stuff which I dislike.

Free Giveaways: I have given away four Kindles, about one hundred copies of my books and other assorted junk over the years. Never again. Giveaways never once created an uptick in my sales and really, we authors make dirt money as it is. Scrimping together the cash to give away electronics in order to entice people to possibly read your book is dumb because the nature of social media being what it is, word travels about giveaways and they really become a chum bucket of free crap for people looking to get free crap. Huge waste of time and money. Never again.

I have also posted links to my work on social media but I’ve kind of stopped doing that because my feed is already filled with other authors (traditional, hybrid and 100% self-publishing) are doing the same thing. Add that to the traditional publishers clogging up social media feeds with links to their authors and you basically have what I like to call “book promo white noise”. Everybody is doing it. I doubt it translates into sales.

So I’m thinking outside the box this time and I had this crazy idea that every author out there has his/her own fan base. It seems to me that authors could kind of “pay it forward” by including something in a forthcoming book about another author’s existing or forthcoming book. (This assumes that authors actually want to cross promote. I think, personally, we could all be doing a better job of it, frankly.)

Anyway, I’m going to conduct an experiment. This past Monday evening I created a PHP page and added it to my website. It’s called SAMPLE MATCH. Here’s what it’s about:

What is Sample Match:

It’s a web forum where indie authors can connect with other indie authors with the overall goal of cross-promotion of each other’s novels.

How does it work?

Create a thread with the title of your book along with cover art, what the book is about, links to your website and how to contact you. When two authors connect, they can provide sample chapters of forthcoming or already published books where one or both authors can add sample chapters to a forthcoming book. Or you cold post someone’s cover art. Or whatever you both come up with.

Why Sample Match?

Because the issue of discoverability is the number one challenge facing indie authors. Amazon is the world’s bookstore. Kindle Direct Publishing allows anyone with an Internet connection to self publish a book in a matter of minutes. That means that it’s harder and harder to get noticed. Sample Match proposes that the best way to promote books is for authors to cross-promote within their fan-base. What better place to cross-promote than by adding a sample chapter of another author’s book complete with cover art as well as buying and social media links.

Does this cost anything?


Why should I try it?

Why not? Book promotion is a massive challenge at the best of times. Authors are not competing against each other – we are all on the same side. We want to write. We want to increase our readership and make some money while we’re at it.

Will it work? Who the hell knows? It’s been live since Monday night and I’ve posted on Absolute Write and on Reddit. Nobody has jumped at it yet. So I will leave it live and see what transpires. In the meantime, I’m going to pay it forward right now. I’ve got a book coming out August 1st. I’m looking for two authors of a similar genre to connect with me on SAMPLE MATCH as I’d like to include a sample chapter from their existing or forthcoming book along with cover art. Might as well lead by example, right?

Maybe this will work. Maybe not. But it’s something new and different and I’m not clogging up the arteries of social media with links to my books. I’m not going to do blog tours which are useless and I sure as heck am not going to give away another Kindle.

Check out SAMPLE MATCH and check out my offer.


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Posted June 17, 2016 by Sean Cummings in category "Blog

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