This paper presents a scheme for excitation of an electron-plasma wave (EPW) by beating two q-Gaussian laser beams in an underdense plasma where ponderomotive nonlinearity is operative. Starting from nonlinear Schrödinger-type wave equation in Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin (WKB) approximation, the coupled differential equations governing the evolution of spot size of laser beams with distance of propagation have been derived. The ponderomotive nonlinearity depends not only on the intensity of first laser beam, but also on that of second laser beam. Therefore, the dynamics of one laser beam affects that of other and hence, cross-focusing of the two laser beams takes place. Due to nonuniform intensity distribution along the wavefronts of the laser beams, the background electron concentration is modified. The amplitude of EPW, which depends on the background electron concentration, is thus nonlinearly coupled with the laser beams. The effects of ponderomotive nonlinearity and cross-focusing of the laser beams on excitation of EPW have been incorporated. Numerical simulations have been carried out to investigate the effect of laser and plasma parameters on cross-focusing of the two laser beams and further its effect on EPW excitation.