Blueprint to automate your author marketing - click here:Get the Webinar
Free Webinar "Automate your Author Marketing"


13 Authors' Stories: The Ultimate Guide to Joint Promotions

How to Grow your Audience & Sales (for free) with Joint Promotions


As I’ve mentioned a ba-zillion times before, what matters most in growing your author business so you can sell more books is two key factors:

  1. Something awesome to sell (eg, your books)
  2. People who want to buy (your audience)

For authors, this means writing more (great) books and building an email list of hungry readers.

But, of course, the tempation to make this SUPER COMPLICATED often means you wind up getting nowhere.

(“I need to build a funnel that segments my audience by hair colour and which hand they use to write, then connect up 17 different systems to coordinate my Twitter feed whenever someone mentions me on Google, to trigger automated emails that go out depending on what type of socks someone’s wearing…” and so on and so on until I want to die).


An epic case over #overcomplicatingit


Far too often, I see total newbies stressing about complex Facebook ad retargeting strategies and epic email automation sequences, before they’ve even figured out the basics (eg – consistently growing an audience and making sales).

Or wondering whether it’s worthwhile to spend hours each day blogging or recording podcasts (hint = not worth it unless you’ve already got an audience or a plan to grow one elsewhere).

There is a simpler way. And simpler means faster. Which means you can start seeing results today, not next year.

So, today, I want to share 13 authors’ results, best tips, and lessons learned – as well as break down some of the most effective strategies you can use right now (eg – today, not next month) to start growing your audience and sales. Let’s dig in…

“I now have other 3,000 subscribers (as opposed to zero) due to these promotions.” – Kate Findley, Speculative Fiction Author

Here’s how it breaks down:

The basic premise is this: “What if, instead of spending 6 – 12 months building up an audience of your own, you could ‘borrow’ the audience of someone else?”

In practical terms… if you’ve got 300 people on your mailing list, Facebook page, Twitter account, whatever….

And you find 3 other people with a similar reach…

Next time you run a promotion or launch a new book, you’ll launch it to 1,200 people instead of 300.

Instant quadrupling of results. For free.

The key is reciprocity. Offering value. Learning how to network effectively.

I just looked back over the last 12 months and calculated that my business generated $400,000+ as a DIRECT result of working closely with other people.

So, of course, I’m doubling down on this very simple strategy:

Find more people like that. Do more cool stuff with the people I already know.

Simple, right?

No fancy advertising strategies, no super-wowza publicity stunts, no over-complicated psychoanalytical software and business automation…

Just good ol’ fashioned network building and overdelivering value to my partners.

“As an entirely unknown author, no mailing list, no back-catalog, nothing, I got sales and good reviews from the get-go.” – CB Matson, Historical Fiction Author

So how can you do the same?

I’ve used 4 approaches that have delivered consistent results, regardless of what stage you’re at.

They are:

  1. Joint Giveaways
  2. Joint Promotions
  3. Cross Promotions
  4. Boxed Sets & Anthologies

Notice, I’m not talking about “evergreen email funnels” or “paid advertising” or Snapchat, or [INSERT LATEST TECH CRAZE HERE]. Instead, I want to talk about strategies that are simple, cheap (or free) and get results – whatever stage you’re at.

All those other complicated things can come later, if you want. Get the basics right first. And that’s what we’re talking about today. Let’s break it down, shall we?


Joint Giveaways

The concept of a giveaway is simple:

  1. Offer a prize that your ideal reader is interested in
  2. Readers submit their email address to enter
  3. You follow up with them before and after the winner is announced and keep those people who engage with you (delete the rest).

The problem is, most people don’t think hard enough about step (1) and often completely skip step (3).

So let’s break it down…

Offer a prize your ideal reader is interested in

So, this means don’t offer cash, vouchers, or anything of that ilk. Because EVERYBODY wants those things.

What will happen is you’ll get a ton of people enter, and 80% of them will drop you straight into the “junk” folder the moment you announce the winner. That means you’ll get in trouble with your email provider.

Instead, choose a prize that resonates with your ideal reader.

  • Write fiction? Offer a bundle of hardcover books in your genre.
  • Write non-fiction? Offer a years subscription to a piece of relevant software or online service that fits with your niche.
  • You can even offer a Kindle Paperwhite (or similar) and load it up with digital copies of your books.

End result = only people interested in those things (ie, your readers) will enter in the first place.


Total Cost $130. Total subscribers 4,500. Cost per subscriber = less than 3 cents.


Readers Submit their Email Address to Enter

You can go old school and use a simple signup form and spreadsheet to keep track of those, but I’d highly recommend NOT doing that (unless you enjoy endless fiddling around).

Instead, use a service like Rafflecopter or KingSumo Giveaways to do all the heavy lifting. For supercharged results, these guys also offer “viral sharing” which awards “points” when people share the giveaway with their friends.

Net result = we’ve seen 30% increase in mailing list growth thanks to this little feature.

Not got an email list to share this with?

No problem. Submit your giveaway to sites like giveawaypromote or just Google “giveaway directory” and find hundreds of sites where you can list your prize for free.

If you like, you can spend $5 – $10 for a “featured promotion” and get more results, but you don’t need to.

Instant traffic. More signups. More readers for you.

Finally: The Follow Up (Very Important)

This is the part most people skip. And then wonder why they run into trouble…

  • When someone enters, send a confirmation email and offer a little something for people to download that’s relevant to your books (eg a short story, preview chapter, cheat sheet, even a full ebook – doesn’t have to be yours, browse the free charts on Amazon for appropriate choices).
  • Before the winner is announced, do that again.
  • When you announce the winner, do it again (eg, “The winner is Joe from Chicago! Congratulations, Joe. For everyone else, as a little gesture of my gratitude, here’s a little gift for you…)
  • After you’ve announced the winner, do it one more time (eg, “If you’d like to stay in touch, just go grab this free gift…)

Use your email provider – Mailchimp, Aweber, whoever – to keep track of who clicks that link to go download their free gift.


24,000 New Subscribers from 5 Giveaways


THESE are the people you want to keep. Then, just delete everybody else or manually unsubscribe them.

“During my first joint giveaway, I was able to get 200 subscribers in two days. Some people who subscribed have become huge fans of my work. I have gotten a few sales even though I haven’t asked my email list to purchase anything at this point.” – Alexis Cleoford, Children’s Author

End result = a list of new readers who have shown interest in your work.

And note that you don’t need to have a huge backlist of books (or even any books at all) and you don’t need to spend silly money on advertising (or anything at all if you choose).

The best part is you can use this process over and over again to attract new readers, and keep the ones who engage with you.

And guess what – there’s a simple tweak you can make to get even better results.

Running these giveaways on your own will get you great results. And, as your email list grows, you can use the “viral sharing” mentioned above to promote to your own list too (and they share with their friends).

But what happens when you team up with other authors? Here are the obvious benefits:

  • You can split the costs of the prize
  • If you want to pay a few bucks for “featured giveaways” at the giveaway directories, you can split those costs too
  • If you find just 3 other authors with a similar reach to you, you just quadrupled your exposure.

The screenshot above shows the results I had over 5 giveaways where I teamed up with others and everybody promoted to their email list, on Facebook, twitter, etc.

Close to 24,000 potential new readers and buyers.

Taking into account the costs of promotion, the costs of the prizes, and the percentage of people who stayed on my list, that puts the cost per lead at around $0.08.

Show me any paid advertising that can consistently beat that and I’ll eat my hat. Well, first I’ll go buy a hat, then I’ll eat it.

So, in short

Giveaways work. When you do them right (see above)

And your results grow exponentially when you use “viral sharing” or team up with others (or both).


Cross Promotions

The first time I tried this approach, the results blew my socks off.

Setting it up was simple: I approached one other author in my genre, who had a similar reach to me.

We each agreed to email our list about one of the other’s books, with the emails going out on the same day.

Eg, he emailed out about my latest book, I emailed out about his. We sold 352 books from one email, in the first 24 hours or so.

But the most interesting thing was what happened next:



Here’s what happened:

Because we’d coordinated the emails to go out on the same day, many of our readers ended up buying BOTH books.

Which meant Amazon started paying attention.

Those little invisible bots started whirring, thinking to themselves, Hmm, look at this. People who bought Nick’s book also bought this other book. Let’s start recommending them both together…

(That’s my impression of an Amazon bot, by the way)

The net result was, weeks after the email went out, both of us were still seeing elevated sales.

And, even more exciting, when one of us saw a spike in sales, the other did too. We were, in fact, “linked” in the Amazon algorithms.

Meaning longer-lasting chart positions, better visibility, and “stickier” exposure. All from one email set up with just one other author.

You can imagine what the results would be like if I’d hooked up with 3, 4 or even 5 other authors…

“Always excellent. My worst swap resulted in around 120 new subscribers. My best was 850. All in 1-2 days. With a good automation funnel, I’m able to retain 70%.” – Stuart Jaffe, SciFi / Fantasy Author

So, why does this approach work so well?

Top Benefits of Cross Promotion:

  • As you’ve seen, it’s ridiculously simple to set up. Just find at least one other author with similar reach and agree the details.
  • You’ve instantly doubled your exposure (or tripled, or quadrupled, depending on how many you team up with).
  • The “long tail” results can last for weeks – thanks to Amazon’s recommendation engine

Okay, so the obvious question: “How do I find other authors to team up with?”

One easy way is to visit your Amazon author page and check out which other authors feature in the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section, on the left-hand side.

Then reach out to these authors and be clear about what you’ve got to offer (hint: make it all about them).

Over time, you’ll build some great relationships you can use again and again to run promotions like the Top 4 I’m sharing with you in this article.

(Or, you can use a curated service to help you find more authors in your genre quicker, and be sure they’re ready to reciprocate – more on that in a minute).

Key point: they cost next to nothing to set up and get you measurable results fast.

And it all comes down to building those relationships, growing your network, and putting together your own Dream Team of authors, publishers, and other pros who can help you take your business to the next level.

Not got an email list yet? No problem. Use the “Joint Giveaways” strategy I shared with you yesterday to get started, even if you don’t have a book out just yet.


Joint Promotions

A little different from a cross promotion. Instead of focusing on one author at a time (you take it in turns), here you’ll feature several authors at the same time. Big benefit = exposure to a much larger audience in a shorter time (you all pitch in with the promotion).

Again, Joint Promotions are simple:

  1. You team up with 3, 4, 5, 10, 20 (however many) other authors
  2. Each of you emails, tweets, posts about everybody’s books
  3. Readers click to either buy the individual books, or download them for free in exchange for their email address

The key difference between this and a Cross Promotion (which we talked about yesterday) is that each participant will promote ALL the particpants’ books (instead of one at a time).

The obvious upshot is that you can team up with as many authors as you like, meaning a HUGE potential audience checking you out.

And you can repeat the process again and again, month after month, to keep a steady stream of new readers heading your way.

To make things easy, you can also set up a webpage where each participant’s book is listed out, with links to either buy or download in exchange for an email address.

(Bookfunnel and Instafreebie offer a nifty service that collects email addresses and deliver ebooks automatically – starting at $0).

By tapping into the audiences of all the participating authors, you can quickly and easily get access to new readers – and all it costs you is a digital copy of your book (eg, it costs you nothing).



The screenshot above is an example of what a Joint Promotion page might look like – courtesy of Dream Team Network member Chris Brookes.

If you’re hosting a Joint Giveaway and getting other authors involved, you don’t have to get fancy…

A simple WordPress (or similar) page with book images and links will do the job, or you can use the free tools over at Instafreebie or Bookfunnel to get started.

If you’re participating in a Joint Promotion, it’s even easier – all you need to do is provide the host with a link where readers can either buy your book (if it’s a sales promotion) or download it in exchange for an email address.

For the latter, you can use Mailchimp to create a signup form and deliver the ebook file automatically when someone signs up. Or you can use a free account at Instafreebie, or an account with Bookfunnel.

“I’ve grown my list from 300 to 4000 using these joint and cross promos. As my list grows, my sales increase with each launch and each discount promotion.” – Elizabeth Bailey, Romance Author

There are plenty of options, it doesn’t matter which you choose, and none of them is complicated. But the results can be impressive – and FAST.

If you can find the right authors to team up with (more on that in a moment).



Boxed Sets & Anthologies

For our Mystery / Thriller boxed set, I teamed up with 7 other authors to put together an anthology of short stories called “Eight the Hard Way”.

After more than 50,000 downloads and hundreds of great reviews, this book is still getting hundreds of downloads every week, years later.

Meaning more eyeballs on my work, more readers joining my email list, and more readers buying my other books and other products – day after day after day after day.



Setting it up was simple:

  1. Each author submitted one story – either a new piece of work or something they’d already written, with a call to action at the end of each story where readers could find out more
  2. We split the costs of the cover design and formatting
  3. We published it – and, in our case, made it permanently free everywhere
  4. Each of us pimped it out to our audience
  5. Then we pretty much left it alone

End result = minimal effort, and a whole new market of readers exposed to our work.

The best part is you can use this approach over and over again – take the same story or novel and submit it to multiple anthologies and boxed sets.

More books on your digital shelf = more exposure and more readers.

Cost to you = minimal (or in some cases, nothing).

In fact, this approach is so effective, many authors have grouped together and used their boxed sets to his the USA Today and other bestseller lists.

But the major benefit is once you’ve put the work in (and it’s not much work) you can let your stories work for you in the background 24/7.

By teaming up with other authors and creating unique collections, you’ve created something NEW – which gets attention from the Amazon algorithms immediately, on top of the “long tail” of exposure from getting inside other books’ “also bought” recommendations.

“We hit the USA Today list. With the added exposure, I’m seeing read-through on the rest of my series.” – Charlene A Wilson, Romance / Fantasy Author

And your results grow exponentially as you team up with more people and release more unique titles.

Of course, you need to make sure you can FIND the right people to team up with…

In my case, I’d met these 7 other authors by chance over the preceding 12 months and developed those relationships slowly over time.

I was lucky in that respect – I didn’t get out much, not with a young baby keeping me busy at home – and I certainly didn’t have the time to go out and meet other indie authors, if I could even find them.

The real “magic” of the situation was that we were all committed to help each other succeed – meaning we all saw success as a result.

Finding people like that isn’t always easy.

When I first got started in this racket, it took a lot of time and effort to sift through the “noise” to find the RIGHT people to work with.

What I really wanted was a community where I could be 100% sure I’d get the support and networking I needed.

Instead, all I found were “free author groups” and “forums” filled with spammy and distracting comments.

A far cry from the community and network I was looking for – and I still haven’t been able to find one, years later.

So, I decided to create my own.

Before I tell you all the details, I want to explore the key factors that will help you find success. And, for that, it’s best to hand over to a few authors who have used joint promotions in their business to give you the lowdown:



How Effective Have Joint Promotions Been for You?

“We hit the USA Today list. With the added exposure, I’m seeing read-through on the rest of my series. I’m also still enjoying the networking from other authors I worked with on the set. We all worked so hard to achieve our goal, I feel many of us bonded and remain friends who are there for each other in other endevours. Win!”  Charlene Wilson, Boxed Set Promotions

“Most did well the first time, garnering plenty of names. I’ve grown my list from 300 to 4,000 using these joint and cross promos. Using the same lists by same authors or same organisations was less successful – switching around worked better. As my list grows, my sales increase with each launch and each discount promotion.” – Elizabeth Bailey, Joint Promotions & Cross Promotions

“I’ve built my mailing list by at least 500-700 new readers each time I participate.” KL Docter, Joint Giveaways

“This strategy brings a ton of traffic to my blog. While these promotions are going on, I’ll get thousands of views per day. I get a lot of sales and new subscribers by getting in front of several different audiences. My domain authority has also gone up significantly in a short amount of time.” Lucille Moncrief, Cross Promotions

“Always excellent. My worst swap resulted in around 120 new subscribers. My best was 850. All in 1-2 days. With a good automation funnel, I’m able to retain 70%.” Stuart Jaffe, Cross Promotions & Joint Promotions

Was there Anything about doing Joint Promotions that Held you Back at First?

“I’m what I call a “forced socialite.” Meaning, I will most likely have a great time, if I force myself to overcome my inner “introvert” and “get out among the people. My readers laugh when I tell them I’m an introvert. They don’t believe me. They have no idea the struggles I go through trying to decide whether or not to say something. I was so terrified of someone being a jerk that I was missing…well, everything. I don’t like conflict, or feeling “dumb.” The feeling dumb is my own judgement, though, not anyone else’s. My fears are usually unfounded.” – Lacey Weatherford, USA Today Bestselling Author

“I’m a huge introvert. Other authors reached out to me, but I jumped at the chance to participate. I’m getting braver now. Knowing I have something valuable to share makes it easier. I’m not just asking for favors, I’m helping other authors too.” – Charlotte Abel, Paranormal Romance Author

“I was worried my books would attract the lowest number of downloads, especially when people swapped results during promotions! But you can't win it if you’re not in it, and my fears proved groundless.” – Hilary Walker, Fiction & Non-Fiction Author

“I didn’t think I had anything to bring to the table, so was hesitant to step up. Doing the promotions allowed me to find new skills and realize that I did bring something useful to the table. Being willing to work hard and be a team player can matter as much as a large platform. I can’t control my platform and how they will respond, but I can control ME and what I do.” – Pauline B Jones, USA Today Bestselling Author

What’s the #1 Piece of Advice You’d Give to Authors Wanting to use Joint Promotions?

“Go genre specific. If you write romance, choose a promo with other romance authors, instead of one with sci fi, crime books and non fiction. You’ll get much higher quality subscribers who’ll stay around longer.” Tracey Pedersen, Romance Author

“Make sure you have the best version of your product available and links/prompts inside to take people to your website and other places to find you.” W. Glenn Duncan Jr, Crime / Mystery Author

“Just go for it. Don’t get overwhelmed. Do take the time to give a solid reason to your subscribers as to why you’re doing the giveaway or weave it with a story: it can be something from your life or from your books. If you’re a beginner, it’s easier to join someone else’s promo instead of creating your own. I would also suggest for you to create several books that you can give away, perhaps in different genres to diversify your readers.” – Alexis Cleoford, Children’s Author

“Join promotions that other authors arrange when you’re first getting started. That is much easier and less stressful than organizing your own promotion, and you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t work.” – Kate Findley, Speculative Fiction

What Does This Mean For You?

The key driver behind the success people have seen is the SIZE and QUALITY of their network and relationships.

But the key question is, “How do I find the right people? Who has the time to build a big network from scratch?”

The Dream Team Network program, our unique author-marketing training, community, and service is designed to do 2 things:

  1. Show you EXACTLY how to run these Top 4 promotions to get the best results, and
  2. Personally put you in touch with the RIGHT authors in YOUR genre, so you can start working together right now (and we’ll help promote you, too).

Membership with The Dream Team Network means you get instant access to a full suite of detailed video training on the Top 4 promotions we’ve covered in this article – and access to a wide community of authors, ready to get stuck in and work with you to grow your business (we’ll help hook you up, too).

Meaning you can get set up and start running effective promotions right from the start.

So you can start running effective promotions right away (and joining existing ones) you also get access to the private members’ only Facebook group, where you will meet and network with other authors in your genres, so you can work together to grow your readership and sales fast (and we’ll help you find those people).

And don’t worry if you’re a total introvert (like some of our featured authors above) – we’ll help you get started and we’ll even feature and list your promotions for you.

Also included in your membership is unlimited access to Dream Team Network member promotions and the opportunity to host your own – which we’ll promote for you via our Featured Newsletters that go out to all Dream Team Network members (we’ll even post them and promote them for you).

Meaning if you want to run a giveaway, cross promotion, joint promotion, or set up a boxed set or anthology, we’ll personally help you find the right people to get great results – or, if you’d rather join an existing promotion, we’ll help you find the best one for your books.

In short, The Dream Team Network has everything you need to learn how to run effective promotions and find the RIGHT authors to team up with – thanks to our curated community – so you can get results fast.

The results that some members have enjoyed since we first opened the doors have been remarkable – including members adding 400, 1000, or ever 4,000+ new readers to their email list in just a couple of months.

And starting Wednesday 28th October 2020, we’re discounting the usual $197 per year membership fee down to only $97 lifetime. 

So you’ll not only save 50% off the usual yearly membership, but you’ll never have any recurring charges. Ever.



By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Click "more info" to find out more. More info.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website (eg, by scrolling down the page or navigating to a different page) without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. You can change your cookie settings in your browser at any time to restrict our use of cookies. Full information can be found on our privacy policy here: