What is an Influencer?
As my debut launch draws closer, my mind is on marketing and promotion. In the writing world authors ask for Influencers to help promote their books, but what exactly does an Influencer do? Author Jody Hedlund shares. -Gina Conroy
What exactly is an Influencer? We hear that word tossed around in writing circles, especially from authors who put out requests for Influencers around the time of a book release. If you’re like me, you may have wondered what an Influencer does and if you’d ever qualify to be one.
What is an Influencer?
An influencer is someone who starts some buzz and spreads the word about the new book.
I like the way author Kim Vogel Sawyer recently described the difference between Influencers and Reviewers. She said this: “An INFLUENCER is meant to ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO READ the book. . . A REVIEWER shares his/her OPINION of a book.”
An Influencer is someone who wants to help in the promotion of a book. They’re a fan of the author and desire to assist them in getting the word out to others. We all know how powerful word-of-mouth can be in marketing a book. So, Influencers are strategic in getting the “talk” going and can help the beginning marketing efforts. Usually, Influencers receive a free book from the author or publishing house for the express purpose of promoting the author and book.
A reviewer, on the other hand, can also help in the promotion—if they like the book, write a stellar review, and recommend the book to others. But a reviewer also has the option of sharing what they didn’t like. Generally, if an influencer doesn’t like a book after reading it, they should opt not to say anything at all rather than hurt the author’s marketing efforts.
How does an Influencer encourage others to read the book?
I’m learning there are numerous ways to carry out the role of Influencer. For a detailed look at the various things an Influencer can do to help promote a book, check out author Deb Raney’s article: How Can You Help Promote a New Book?It has many excellent, practical ideas.
Here’s a small summary of what Influencers can do:
• Write a review for an online site: a bookstore (like Amazon), a reader hang-out (like Goodreads).
• Write a review for a print newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.
• Talk to your local bookstores or public libraries. If they don’t carry the book, give them your copy to review and encourage them to order it.
• Offer to host an interview or review on your blog; use your influencer copy as a book giveaway.
• Post tweets or facebook comments about the book.
• Donate a copy of the book to your church or school library.
• Offer to distribute bookmarks, postcards, or other promotional items.
• Start discussions about the book in groups/organizations you’re apart of (either online or in real life).
The possibilities are limitless. You could even “drop leaflets while parachuting from an airplane” (as Deb Raney jokes in her article). The key is finding ways to spread the news and get others excited about the book.
The role of Influencer is important. No one should offer to be one without first giving weight to the author, if the book is a genre they like, and whether they have the time to read and promote the book. Sure, Influencers get a free book, but there is a cost involved in making a concerted effort to do the promotional work we signed up for.
Have you ever been an Influencer before? What kinds of things did you do or have you seen done to help promote another author’s book? Do you think Influencers can really make a dent in the marketing effort?
My debut book releases in less than a month! Now that you understand Influencing a little better, if you’re interested in being an Influencer for Cherry Blossom Capers please leave your email address in the comments, and how you’d like to help promote my book. I can’t guarantee a book for everyone who is interested, but I have an abundance of guest articles and original interviews to offer for your blog!
Just like writing a book takes a whole tribe of people, so does promoting it! Whether you’re an official influencer or not, doesn’t matter. I’m just glad you’re with me on this journey! – Gina Conroy