11/01/2012 06:53 GMT | Updated 11/03/2012 05:12 GMT

The Alliance of Authors

It used to be said that everyone has a novel sitting in a drawer, waiting to be published. Well not any more. These days everyone has a novel, or three or five, sitting in Amazon's Kindle Store or on Smashwords. Which is great for all those with literary pretensions. Unless they want people to notice their novel.

New independent authors can hardly contain their excitement. Suddenly they can publish what they want, when they want, without fear of rejection or criticism. They dream of hitting the best seller lists, of giving acceptance speeches at major prize givings, they are liberated by the thought of being able to spend the rest of their lives writing for a living. We live to write as my friend O.G. Tomes reminds me

Then the awful realisation sets in. Books do not sell themselves. To write for a living means having to sell one's books. To compete with everyone else who is doing the same thing. The dream starts to fade. The enthusiastic writer rapidly turns into jaded marketeer.

But writers, particularly writers of fiction, are creative. They have ideas. And soon they start to apply that creativity, which they'd hoped to confine to their writing, to their new careers as marketeers.

One of the most powerful marketing techniques is cross-selling. Alliances of different brands, all promoting each other's products to their different audiences. Cross selling is starting to take off in the independent publishing world. Authors are banding together to promote their book collectively. It's a powerful strategy for getting noticed. Authors who join alliances are no longer mere twigs in the Amazon rain forest. They're not big enough to be trees yet, but they are certainly sticks and some of them are becoming branches.

I recently joined the Alliance of Authors, a cross-marketing group set up by Colin Chadwick. As well as our own independent promotional activities, every author features on the Alliance's website. We fire tweets and posts about each others books into the social ether. We even blog about the Alliance. It's all about cross-promotion.

Jon Reisfeld has come up with a variation on the Alliance theme. He describes his Indie Author Showcase as a book marketing experiment. Sixty indie authors representing six different genres will head 'into uncharted waters' on a book tour- cross promoting each other on book blogger sites, participating in free giveaways, offering free sweepstake prizes.

2011 was the year when independent authors developed their e-book formatting and publishing skills. 2012 will be the year when they mature their marketing talents. The independent book market is still young, and developing rapidly. It's an exciting time to be an enthusiastic writer- and perhaps a not quite so jaded marketeer.