Kristina McMorris is the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents’ wartime courtship. Her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, was named a 2013 nominee for the prestigious RITA® Award and is frequently an official reading selection among book clubs, universities, and libraries throughout the country. Most recently, her novella, The Christmas Collector, appeared in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling anthology A Winter Wonderland.
Kristina’s latest work is a beautiful novel called The Pieces We Keep. What’s the book about?
Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying–but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.
As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound–and perhaps, at last, to heal.
Today Kristina shares the benefits—professional and personal—that can come from authors working as a team. Follow Kristina on Twitter @KrisMcmorris and on Facebook. See a book trailer for The Pieces We Keep here.
Power in Numbers: Authors promoting as a team
Writing, they often say, is a lonely business. But does it have to be?
Not at all, I’ve discovered. In fact, it seems to me—thanks largely to accessibility through social media—authors have never been more open or creative when it comes to boosting each other’s spirits, as well as careers. Perhaps the most evident forms of these are found in blog posts, tweets, and Facebook shout-outs about a fellow author’s new release. Between Yahoo Groups and Facebook, it isn’t difficult to find an online writers’ group that offers support in various ways. And for those who don’t mind traveling, writers’ retreats can be as rejuvenating and inspirational as they are productive.
Many writers also combine forces by speaking on panels together at literary conferences, museums, libraries, and readers’ festivals—but keep in mind, you can always take those opportunities a step further. Last year, for example, Diana Gabaldon, Jenna Blum, Sarah McCoy, Ruta Sepetys, and I were scheduled to speak at the Tucson Festival of Books. Since we had all penned novels that are frequently read by book clubs and share a WWII setting, we decided to organize a group giveaway. The winning book club won a box full of our novels, loads of 1940s goodies, and a Skype party with us while we were together in Tucson.
For silent auctions, you can create a themed basket featuring a mix of novels that share the same target audience as yours. You can also participate in online giveaways that raffle off a collection of books by eight or more authors. Sometimes these are even for a charitable cause, such as the one recently led by Erika Robuck to raise funds for cancer awareness.
Live streaming events are yet another great means of teaming up, as are in-store book signings. In just a few weeks, for example, my friend Sarah Jio and I will be co-hosting a book release party since we share the same launch date. What better way to draw a larger crowd while also having more fun!
Continuities and anthologies can also be used to widen an author’s audience. It was for this reason—aside from the exciting appeal of us simply working together—that last winter I happily joined forces with nine fellow bestselling authors of historical women’s fiction for a themed anthology titled Grand Central (Penguin, July 2014). To make it unique, we opted to share a common thread. Set in the famed station on the same fall day just after WWII, each story collides with another in a manner similar to the film Love Actually.
Truly, the possibilities of cross-promotion among authors are endless. I hope this sample has sparked new ideas for you, whether promoting your own titles or those of friends.
Have you seen or experienced other cross-promotions that worked well? On the flipside, are there any you would not recommend?