Julie’s Lifeboat Team
Speaker: Julie Ortolon
BY DANA MARTON
Julie Ortolon very kindly shared the secrets of her much talked about Lifeboat Team, an authors’ promotional
co-op, in this workshop. Her team formed partially spontaneously (they’ve been emailing each other
with questions for a while) and intentionally (once they got together at last year’s conference and decided to
move ahead with an official group).
Below is her advice, organized into a checklist, about how to build a team like hers.
Choose people who have a variety of specific skills you need, not just people you like, but people with a
good head for business.
Be careful with size. Six to ten people would work best, twelve tops. Too many people will sink the lifeboat.
You want maximum impact with minimum effort, people who seriously want a big career.
Make sure you choose people you trust as you’ll be sharing financial and other confidential information.
You need a team you feel comfortable with. You have to feel free to speak up when you need to tell the
group it’s getting overwhelming. Remember that you’re a writer first. Be protective of your writing time.
Only writing is writing. Tweeting is not writing. Your next book is your best promotion.
Teams like this work best when the authors write in various sub-genres. It helps your audience grow even
Choose enough genres so there’ll be crosspollination, but they shouldn’t be so close that you cannibalize
each other’s readers.
You should choose teammates whose work you’re comfortable promoting. When you’re praising someone
else’s work, it needs to be authentic for readers to believe it.