These days, maintaining an online presence is vital for anyone selling a product, but it is especially crucial for independent authors. While browsing the shelves at a bookstore hasn’t entirely gone out of style, newer and younger generations are turning more and more towards the internet and social media when it comes to finding their next read. Large publishers already use apps like Twitter and Instagram for marketing their books and authors, so if self-publishers want to keep up, they’ve got to utilize social media as well.
Creating an account, or two or three, across different social media apps and handling the marketing efforts yourself is one way to do it. The more you use social media, the easier it will become—and learning how to market yourself isn’t that hard. But another great way to market your book is to make use of influencers.
Influencers are “people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic.” They typically utilize social media to make a name for themselves as a trusted source with the power to affect the purchasing decisions of their followers. Using an influencer can help you reach a larger audience and stir up interest in your book when you don’t have a big publisher or agent handling the marketing for you.
Finding The Right Influencer For Your Book
If you aren’t familiar with influencers, figuring out how to connect with one to market your book may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right strategy, finding an influencer to market your book is not much different than connecting with an agent. Their job is to help others market their brand or product, so they are used to people reaching out to them and are open to new opportunities.
While anyone with a bit of clout and a following can be an influencer, you want to make sure you connect with the right ones for you and your book. It’s also important to set realistic expectations. Finding a big-name celebrity to market your book, for example, is not likely. However, the person you choose should still have some connections and a decent following.
Influencers can even be someone you know in your professional network. You don’t have to limit yourself to those who specifically call themselves social media influencers. It can be anyone from those who work in the press and media to notable experts in your field and other authors. The key is finding people you think will do a good job representing your book and connecting with your target audience. They should be well connected but attainable.
Introducing Yourself to An Influencer
Once you have a few potential influencers in mind, it’s time to start reaching out and introducing yourself to them. However, there are some things to keep in mind that can help you have more success in your attempts. Whether you are reaching out through a message on an app or via email, you should:
● Keep your introduction brief. They likely get a ton of emails and messages a day and don’t have time to read through a mini-novel.
● Use a touch of flattery. Don’t drown them in compliments, but do let them know why you chose them. Essentially, you want to let them know why they stood out to you and why you think they’d be a good influencer for your book.
● Don’t be pushy. If they don’t respond right away, give it some time. Send a follow-up email or message to check in after about two weeks, but do not constantly hound them, or you are likely to turn them off.
● Include a clear ask or bullet points of what you want. I.e., support for your book, hashtags you’d like them to use, your social media handles, key points of copy or wording you’d like them to use for your book when creating posts or blogs.
● Don’t get discouraged if they say no. It might simply not be a good fit, or they might not have the time if they already have a lot on their plate at that time. Thank them for their consideration and be grateful. They could reach back out to you some other time, so it’s always a good idea not to burn any bridges.
Pitching Ideas to An Influencer
Once you have an influencer or two (or more) who has agreed, they will likely connect with you to get a bit more information before they start posting or blogging about your book. No two influencers are the same, and the way they use digital media to show support can vary. Be open to their ideas, but be ready with some ideas of your own.
For example, you should clearly understand who your target audience is and be ready to share that with your influencer. Provide them with some talking points or things you want them to specifically highlight that your audience will connect with. You’ll also want to give them specifics like where to link to for more information, such as your social media handles or a website. If possible, gift them a few copies of your book to read and give away to some of their followers.
What to Avoid When Working With Influencers
When connecting with influencers, there are some precautions and things you should look out for as well. Though many of them have only good intentions, there are some fraudulent influencers with whom you don’t want to get entangled. For example, some influencers are just in it for their own fame and to get free products. Some aren’t even real people at all but are AI-powered artificial accounts with large followings that likely won’t connect with your target audience.
Influencer marketing is a massive industry that even big companies and marketers use to sell their products. And it’s an excellent resource for independent authors that don’t have a well-known agent or publisher backing them. If you have the budget for it, you can even look into hiring a marketing manager to handle the marketing efforts for you. Ultimately, the way you choose to market your book is up to you. Just make sure that whoever you choose is the right fit and will do a good job representing you and connecting with your target audience.
Beau Peters is professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks in the business world and enjoys sharing them with others who carry the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.