Blog Series – Lesson 2: Engaging the Influencers
Now that you have your list of Influencers, whether they are Book Reviewers, Publishers, or Agents, the key is not to have a tremendously long list – top 10 max to start. You want to spend time on the most influential entities rather than spread yourself thin on too many influencers.
That being said, it’s not a bad idea to have tiered Influencers, because chances are, once you get to know your key influencers well, and a relationship is formed, you can move on to Tier 2 Influencers to create even more brand awareness. Just something to keep in mind.
Keep my example of influential book reviewers in mind, answer the following question.
TRUE or FALSE or MAYBE – Moving down your list of Key Influencers, as an author, I should immediately introduce myself and request them to review one of my books.
I know you probably hate pop quizzes, even as an adult, but it’s important to stop and think before you act with regards to Influencers.
Answer = MAYBE
If you already have a “relationship” with the Influencer, where you communicate regularly via Twitter, Facebook or another social network, then by all means, go ahead (if you haven’t already) ask them to review your book.
If you already know, i.e. have a social relationship with, all the influencers on your list, then you are more than ½ way to your Big Brand Marketing Goal of Brand Awareness.
But more than likely you know of them, but you aren’t exactly best buds.
ENGAGING THE INFLUENCERS
OBJECTIVE: The goal isn’t to get the one pop book review (at least not in my opinion). What you’re trying to do is create a brand relationship. You as the author are the brand. You want them just as excited about your next book as your most avid fan. You also want these Influencers to become your brand street team and to advocate you to their followers.
Step 1: Research and create your list of influencers. – COMPLETE
Step 2: Check the patterns. Find out if the Book Reviewer that’s on your list actually reviews your kind of book. Visit their website to see how they accept submissions. See how often they come out with new reviews, once a week, once a month? If it’s not the right fit, doesn’t matter how influential they are, they won’t be reviewing your book. As an example, I think that once-a-month book reviews is a bit slow and might not be the best nor the most influential group for your Author Brand. Might want to reconsider who’s on your key influencers list.
Step 3: Get on their radar. You want to start a conversation with them. Comment on something they tweeted about or a book they reviewed. This can be via Twitter, Facebook, or commenting on their website. Participate in any contests they might run. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but let them know you admire their work.
You could also post suggestions to them; but you might want to consider emailing those rather than posting them because you never know how people will react to advice. Keep in mind that the information offered should be complimentary, such as: I really like the book contest you ran on the XYZ Paranormal that you just reviewed. I was thinking that it might be fun to do it again as best vampire photo contest. Thanks again for offering such fun and interactive contests.
NOTE: Step 3 is especially important for unpublished writers, because you want to have a relationship with the key influencers so that once you become published; you have sites waiting in line to review your book.
Step 4: Ask for the review & maintain the relationship. Once you have gained rapport with the key influencer, go ahead and ask for the review. What can they do but say no, right? But what you have to make sure is that once they agree to do the review, and it posts, don’t make it a love-em-and-leave-em type of thing. They gave you a review, and most likely a glowing one, so return the favor. And I don’t mean by retweeting their review of your book over again. I mean #FF their site, share their links, etc. so that it’s a two-way street.
Another option is to offer them prizes for any contest they might run on their site. Can run from a bunch of your books, a Starbucks Gift Card, a nice writers page, whatever. Remember, you’re trying to create a relationship, not a one-time book review.
For an example of HOW to ask for a review, check this out: http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/content/wlc-author-pr-101-how-request-book-review
6 thoughts on “BLOG SERIES: Lesson 2 – Engaging Key Influencers”
Great blog Suzy!!!
And you’re right, you should start this BEFORE you sell your first book…
Definitely before you get published, but it’s never too late to start the process, especially for newbies. Thanks for visiting and commenting!
Great information – especially step three! I also like your point in step four about maintaining the relationship. I’m not sure everyone understands that it’s a two-way street. Thanks so much for posting this.
Thanks, Janet. Branding yourself is about maintaining great relationships. If its advantageous to both parties, it also makes for a long partnership. Thanks for visiting and commenting!
First, remember that your publisher will likely send out copies of the book to the larger review sites (e.g., Romantic Times). Ask your editor before you act! Also, keep in mind that many houses are no longer producing paper Advance Reader Copies (ARC) because of the expense. These days reviewers/bloggers are increasingly requesting digital ARCs from Net Galley.
About blog tours: My publisher sets up my blog tour where bloggers can sign up. I became familiar with them on the tour, but formed relationships on Twitter. It worked a little too well with my second book that came out 6 months later. The publicist emailed with the *good* news: 50 bloggers had signed up, and of course, I was on deadline for book 3. My advice: Put a limit on it. 🙂
FYI: There are firms on the web that put together blog tours for authors. This is something to keep in your back pocket if your publisher doesn’t do the tour. The closer you get to publication date, the crazier things get. Trust me, you’ll be on deadline. 😉
Great points – I think that this information is helpful to those at smaller publishing houses or that have self-pubbed.