19 Ways to Create Profitable Partnerships

Partnering up with other authors can only benefit you (and them) so put these nineteen ideas to work to power up these vital relationships. Some of these tips will apply to promotional partnerships while others focus on a co-authoring situation. Regardless, all of them can help you partner up and make both of you a success.

1. Remember that “No” is not “Never”

Some people might get a “no” and never ask again. They get a rejection to a proposal and that’s it, they call it a day. If that happens to you (and it inevitably will), understand that it’s not a personal rejection. It’s also not a “never.”

Continue to build your relationship with that author and ask again the next time you’d like to partner up.

2. Never Assume

For your own sake—and your partner’s—put everything in writing. Email lists of who is doing what and when and confirm any changes via email. The last thing you want is to assume your partner is handling something and then finding out that it didn’t get done because they thought you were handling it.

If you have any questions about a detail or change, clarify it and then put it in writing.

3. Guard Your Reputation

Don’t partner with an author who has a reputation that can drags yours into the mud. Google them first just to make sure there’s no heavy drama llama hanging out in the internet ether. Also develop a reputation for reliability for getting what you promised to do on time.

Build in extra lead time so you don’t find yourself in a tight spot with a deadline whenever any kind of monkey-wrench joins the party.

4. Try a Small Project First

Working with a new author? Create a small, simple project together before moving onto something more involved. This will help you see how you work together, where any misunderstandings might arise and whether or not he/she delivers.

Plus it’s easy to get a “yes” if you make the first project simple.

5. Don’t Ask When You’ve Only Just Met

How would you feel if some rando waltzed up to you and asked you to go into biz with them? Just because you’ve been a fan for forevah and feel like you know them doesn’t mean they know YOU. Wait until you guys get to know each other before asking to join forces.

Make sure you’re not just following this other author, but interacting as well. Think about offering to help THEM before asking to work together.

6. Observe This Simple Rule

The best partner in promo and beyond is one that writes similarly to you and with whom you share an audience. Whatever you do together should amplify what you do individually.

7. Don’t Disappoint Your Partner

Before you ask to partner up, ask yourself: Will this author be excited about what I can offer them? Will they be happy to have our names associated?

Other authors have their own reputations to consider. Don’t annoy them or put them in a sticky spot by offering something boring or less than perfect.

8. Do Most of the Work

If you’re just starting out, your job will be to make any partnership easier on the expert author who is giving you their trust. Show them you’re a pro.

Your partner is a busy author who probably gets a ton of requests, but they’ve put faith in YOU. Live up to their expectations!

9. Propose a Partnership that Makes Your Partner Money

No author can afford to do something out of the goodness of their heart. Their first question will probably be “what’s in it for me?” Make sure there’s an incentive for your potential partner—one that will make them money. (And not cause them to lose it!)

How can you do this?

  • Make their part simple
  • Save them time
  • Work hard to promote your partnership and get the best results
  • Deliver on your promises
  • Follow up

10. Show There’s a Paying Market

Having a great idea isn’t enough. Be ready to share proof that there’s a market for your idea.

Document your research, share poll results, related sales figures and share responses from your list or groups.

11. Don’t Rush and Don’t Procrastinate

Don’t run to another author before you’ve prepared yourself. Rushing is a recipe for mistakes and loss of reputation.

That said, don’t spend a ton of time fiddling with your proposal, either.

12. What to Do if you Don’t Have a Big List

If your list and audience is small, it’s utterly essential that you offset this by offering to shoulder more responsibility. Whether it’s a co-author situation or running a promotion, take over a lot of the tasks so the higher profile author has less to do.

13. Keep it Short and Simple

The simpler your proposal the higher the chance the other author will actually read your email and consider the project. Just make sure your email hits the important details and shows what’s in it for them!

14. Approach More than One Joint Venture Partner

You can totally approach a handful of other authors. Especially if it’s a simple promo that lends itself to multiple author participation.

There’s an exception to this rule:

  • If you’re looking to co-author on a project, only approach one author at a time and get their response first before moving down your list.

15. Know What You Want to Get Out of the Deal

Know your goal when you approach a potential author and know what their goal will be, too. If you’re in it to build your list, help them make money on the partnership in some way.

16. Have a Powerful Pitch

Here’s a situation you never want to encounter: you’re talking to an author (possibly via Skype as you discuss co-authoring a book) and they ask you for an elevator pitch for your idea. You give them something funny and sarcastic because you’re at a loss for words and then you hear crickets from the other author.

Create an elevator pitch and have it ready when approaching a partner. Make sure it’s second nature and enjoy answering the question. Let your enthusiasm shine!

17. Expand Your Networking Circle

Be visible! Get out and talk with other authors. Network and join organizations or groups. Go to events in person and make new author friends. And follow up to maintain contact once events end. Be a presence in your favorite author hangouts year after year. Build connections.

Not only will you meet potential partners, you’ll also increase the chance that they’ll introduce you to other authors, too.

18. It’s All in the Follow-up

Don’t just drop your partner cold once the event is over. Spend time on follow-up just as you did when leading up to the promotion.

Keep up the relationship with your partner. Watch it grow and continue to help them. Build a network of authors that will soon be reaching out to you.

19. Partners are Like Subscribers

List subscribers are readers who have signed up to your list and bought a product from you in the past. Logically, they’re more valuable than someone who only follows you on social media. List subscribers are more inclined to buy your books. Those same subscribers are more inclined to buy your books again and again.

You don’t have to spend a ton of time to convince them to grab your next book. They already love you!

Partners are similar. Give them a great experience, show them that you’re a pro, that you know your market, and help them sell books.

This way, the next time you have a partnership in mind, they’re much more likely to say “yes.” Cultivate, nurture and grow the relationship just as you would your mailing list.

Keep in touch and keep sending readers their way.

Partnering with other authors is not something you should dismiss, overlook, or relegate to “someday.” A successful partnership with other authors can boost visibility faster than nearly any other strategy. Especially when you’re leveraging someone else’s “celebrity” and list.

Plus, they’re an awesome way to increase your own sales and make money for both you and your partner. The perfect win-win situation should be your goal.

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Celia Kyle

Celia Kyle is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of paranormal and science fiction romance, as well as non-fiction for authors.

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