Wrapping up my 3-part series on selecting influencers for a book release…
The goal of an influencer mailing for a newly published book is to put your book into the hands of folks with trusted names, contact with a large audience, and a willingness or ability to endorse your book. Missing any of these three things will mean your book either ends up on someone’s shelf or at least doesn’t reach a wide group of potential readers.
The solution is to carefully balance the kinds of influencers you contact. It is rare to find an influencer who meets all three criteria perfectly. Nevertheless, it’s worth sending copies to well-known influencers in the media or in your field, especially if you’ve had contact with them in the past.
Let’s say you send out 5-15 of your 50 influencer copies to folks in this camp. Maybe they won’t have the time to take a look at your book, but should they endorse it, you’ll have a chance to reach a broader audience. It may be worth taking a chance on some radio personalities, especially if their shows connect with your potential readers.
The next 20-30 copies should go to those who have a solid following or niche that trusts them and will be willing to interact with your work. There are a lot of very good blogs and podcasts out there with readers and listeners who may very well give your book a shot. In fact, because these are highly interactive networks with a higher trust factor than perhaps those with a bigger name, the potential readers in these networks may be more willing to buy your book.
I think this segment is easy to overlook because their reach may be in the hundreds or low thousands. However, keep in mind that these influencers will be easier to contact, more likely to interact with you, and have a lot more to gain if you can provide content for their blogs/podcasts as opposed to a major media player with lots of options for their shows. In addition, providing these bloggers and podcasters with a free book or two to give away always helps.
Lastly, never underestimate those the power of those with small audiences who are still very trusted and willing to endorse your book. Be sure to set aside about 10-15 copies for this group. With Twitter and Facebook even the smallest blogs can easily plug a book among hundreds of people. If you can provide an influencer who is passionate about your book with some great interviews, excerpts, and a free copy to review, your book may receive a lot more attention than a brief endorsement from a well-known influencer.
At the end of the day, it’s most important that authors connect with influencers who are passionate about their work and willing to talk about it. If you can put a free copy of your book into the hands of someone willing to talk about it, you’ve done the most important part of an influencer mailing.
Nevertheless, your work is not done. Authors need to make themselves available to help each influencer talk about their work, supporting them, and driving traffic to their web sites. Book publicity is always a two-way street. There is no room for the entitled author.
2 thoughts on “Selecting Influencers for a Book Release: The Solution”
Thanks for the great info! Although I’m just beginning work on my first book, I’m already planning my PR strategy. I never realized the power that “influencers” can have on getting the word out. -SerenaK
Glad that helps and glad to hear you’re working on your book! Awesome.
For a bit more on marketing books, have a look at this: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/08/advice_for_auth.html.
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