Therese & Morgan say: In part one of this post, Maggie defined the different types of author cooperatives. Today, she offers options to research, questions to ask, and skills to discuss if an author co-op appeals to you for your career as a writer.
Maggie Lynch says:
How Can I Join a Cooperative?
Publishing cooperatives are often open to new members. You need to visit their press sites, read the about pages, and determine if you fit the criteria. Each one has a different approach to what they are trying to do—the genres they cover, the level of previous publishing credits desired, the required member commitment. It never hurts to send an email, describe your career goals and what you have to offer. Most of them will take the time to write back with more information than you can find on the website. Here are some things to consider when creating your own cooperative or evaluating joining one.
- Are the authors people you know and trust? People who have a reputation of helping others, not just themselves.
- Read the books that are part of the cooperative and be sure you like them. It’s hard to sell a book you don’t like, and readers will no longer trust your judgment if the other author’s books aren’t of a quality equal to yours.
- Decide if genre is important to you. Are you looking to be part of a cooperative that is a single genre (e.g., historical romance writers) or are you open to multiple genres. Would you feel comfortable reading and selling in a genre outside of what you write?
- Be sure every member of the group is willing to do his/her share of the work. If you don’t know the members, ask a lot of questions about how the work gets done and see if that matches the way you like to work.
- Does the cooperative do live events or are they focused purely on ebook marketing/promotion/publishing? How are the events coordinated? Are the group events or individual events? How does that fit your needs?
- Are the skillsets in the group complementary? For example, if you enjoy social media but hate public speaking, you want someone in the group who is good at public speaking. If you are a technophobe, you need someone in the group who takes on the role of getting things on the Internet. The cooperative needs a variety of people to cover the gamut of skills required to be successful.
Join us, next week (Part 3), to learn about the realities of being part of an author co-op.
Now able to spend full time journeying into her imagination, Maggie writes romance and science fiction under the name Maggie Jaimeson, and young adult fantasy under the name Maggie Faire. Her non-fiction is written under Maggie McVay Lynch.
Let the store know when you get to town. As a bookseller, it frustrates me when an author is coming in from another state, and five minutes before the signing starts, I have no idea whether they’re a block away or caught in traffic in another town. If you’re running late, call and tell them. As my wife says, “If you’re not five minutes early, you’re late!” When you arrive, drop by the store and tell them you made it. Then (if you have time) go out and grab some dinner or whatever else you have to do.