Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cross-Promotion Marketing

When it comes to marketing our writing, we can all use new ideas. So I asked Kathy Harris:

"You know promotion well. What is one tip for marketing a book we may not have thought of?" - Sandy

Kathy: Although I’ve worked in marketing for more than twenty-five years, I’ll be the first to tell you that I have a lot to learn. The marketing bulls eye is a moving target, especially with the many challenges—and opportunities—of new media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social networking tools have changed the face of contemporary marketing. Still, many of the time-tested strategies can apply to a successful campaign. One of those is cross-promotion.

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to meet and work briefly with Kathryn Falk, the founder and CEO of Romantic Times magazine. That was 1994, and I had a keen interest in cross-marketing music and books, a conversation shared with Kathryn, who seemed to be as intrigued by the idea. 

At that time, brick and mortar record stores were thriving. As were the major bookstore chains. However, neither routinely shelved the other’s products. Amazon went online the following year, in 1995, taking that very concept ( to the nth degree. Even with that, almost two decades later there are still very few books and CDs marketed together.

Cross-promotion is utilized by Hollywood, fast food chains, and sports teams—who work together on a regular basis. But music and literature are rarely paired, one reason I wanted to utilize the concept when Abingdon Press released my debut novel, The Road to Mercy, last fall.

Because of limited advance time—we’re talking only a few weeks—we weren’t able to create a multi-layered campaign, which might have included joint in-store placement and signage, cooperative ad buys, and mutual on-product mentions. But we did pair story and music via a book trailer (, a project conceived and produced only about three weeks prior to the release of both the book and the CD.

Several weeks later, when Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter, Karyn Williams, and I were able to match up our schedules, we held a joint signing event at a Nashville area Family Christian bookstore. Karyn signed copies of her debut CD, Only You (Inpop Records), and I signed copies of The Road to Mercy. It proved to be a successful event, with a unique appeal to consumers—and it was a lot of fun!

As you begin to put together the marketing plan for your next book, try to utilize cross-promotion. Music may not be the perfect match for your book, as it was for mine (my lead male protagonist is a Contemporary Christian Music artist). But there’s a natural connection within your story. Find that . . . and you may very well create a cross-promotion made in heaven.


Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. Her debut Christian novel, The Road to Mercy, was released in September 2012 by Abingdon Press. Find her online at or Follow her on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Have you tried cross-promotion with someone who has a different project? What was your experience? Has this given you ideas for ways in which you can cross-promote your work?


  1. Love this idea of cross-promoting books with music, Kathy, and what a fabulous trailer!

    Other than joint book signings and library presentations with some awesome writer friends, I haven't utilized this concept. I'll have to give it some thought before my next release. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great ideas, Kathy! Thanks so much for all the great info.

    Definitely bookmarking this so I can (hopefully) use it one day. So glad you posted this!

  3. Helpful post, Kathy! My mind is already working, and like Angie, I'm tucking this idea away for the future.

  4. Thanks for the opportunity to share, ladies! Your site is great. I'm honored to be a guest!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy. I know I'm always looking for marketing possibilities for the future.

  5. I love the idea of cross-promo but don't know if I could pull it off. Promo of any kind intimidates me. I hate book signings, sheesh. So appreciated you sharing your experiences and advice, Kathy. I will try, I promise!

  6. I hear ya, Tanya. We each have different "comfort zones." Maybe it would help if you think of cross-promotion as helping someone else with their "product." Conversely, they can help you.


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