“All things being equal, people do business with, and refer business to people they know, like and trust.” Bob Burg – Endless Referrals
People buy books from people they “know, like and trust.” That known, liked and trusted person can be you, the author (that’s why your mom is always first in line to buy your book). Or it can be someone who knows, likes and trusts you and wants to share your book with others. When that person has a big audience who knows, likes and trusts them, we call that person an “influencer”.
Here’s how to find and enlist influencers in the digital world to share your book with their audiences.
1. Laying the groundwork
What is your book about? What is its message to readers?
Remember that readers don’t buy books, they buy the solutions, answers, and information books promise to provide
What problem does your book’s message solve for the reader, what specific question does it answer, what information does it provide?
As an author, you probably wrote this book because, at some point, you were looking for the same solution, answer or information. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What kinds of questions would the person seeking the solution, answer or information your book promises to provide ask?
If this person searched the Internet for a solution, answer or information your book promises to provide, what words or phrases would she enter into the search engine?
2. Finding your influencers
Stay in your potential reader’s shoes a bit longer. Search those same words and phrases. You can begin with a broad search and narrow it once you begin to hone in on the results most closely match what your potential reader is looking for and what your book promises to provide. For example, your book may be about providing healthy meal ideas to busy soccer moms. You may begin your Internet search with “Soccer Moms” or with “Youth Soccer.” If your results are too broad in scope you may want to narrow your search to make it more specific; “Soccer Mom, Healthy Eating” or “Youth Soccer recipes”.
Out of your top results (not including paid advertising) look for organizations, websites, bloggers, groups or individuals already providing content or weighing in on the same topic. Many of the top results may be from the same source.
Because you’ve narrowed your search to best fit your book’s message and because you’re picking from the top of the search results, you can assume that those organizations, websites, bloggers, groups or individuals already have an audience with similar interests and would be great candidates as influencers for your book.
3. Joining the conversation
Choose six to ten organizations, websites, bloggers, groups or individuals from the top results. Visit their websites, blogs, or Social Media pages. Read their content to be sure their messaging and audience fits well with your potential readers.
If you think they’re a good fit “follow” or “friend” their Social Media pages, sign up for their mailing list if they have one, read any blog posts that may be relevant to your topic and comment (positively!) if the blog allows comments. Do the same on their YouTube channel if they have one. You want to become a member of their audience and participate in the conversation going on in their digital world. You’re not trying to sell or push your book at this point; it’s all about becoming an engaged member of their fanbase or group.
Adding a positive comment to a blog post and thanking the author for sharing her content is a great way to “introduce” yourself. The same goes with liking, commenting and sharing Social Media posts. Keep this up and eventually, you will become a “recognized” member of their audience or group.
4. Making the “ask”
Once you’ve broken the ice by showing interest in the influencer’s digital world you can ask for a bit of help or advice.
If you’re still working on your manuscript you can let the influencer know that you’re working on a book and ask for a piece of specific advice in the area of the influencer’s expertise.
If you’ve chosen a publisher you can let the influencer know that your book is in the publishing process and give them an expected launch date. You can offer to send an edited manuscript (the further along in the process the better) for their review and thoughts. If their response is positive, you can ask for an endorsement!
If you’ve already published your book, ask if you can send a complimentary printed copy (not an electronic copy, cheapskate) for their review.
If they don’t respond right away, give them time; influencers stay very busy serving their own audience! If they do respond, thank them immediately! Keep your promise, send your manuscript or book, with a nice and thankful note. If you’re still working on your manuscript or in the publishing process, make a note to send them a complimentary copy when the book is finished.
5. Follow up
If you’ve asked your question, sent your manuscript or book and haven’t heard from the influencer in a few weeks (remember a decent influencer is usually a very busy person) gently and positively follow up. It’s a good idea to scan the influencer’s digital world for current content or happenings and mention those when you write. Influencers like to know that those asking for a favor are active audience or group members.
If you feel like your message resonates with the influencer and you’ve begun to establish a positive relationship, offer to contribute a guest post to their blog or provide a complimentary excerpt from your book to the influencer’s audience. This often leads to the influencer sharing and sometimes even actively promoting your book to their audience.
That’s not the end of the relationship. Now you have a potential friend and ally. Continue to be an engaged, contributing member of the influencer’s audience or group. Your path to this influencer is now paved for your next book; don’t lose ground by failing to maintain the relationship you’ve work so hard to create.
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Thanks for your comment.
These ideas apply to fiction and non-fiction. You’re communicating a story that solves (or at least eases) a problem of the reader. What problem do your books solve? You say it yourself a lot better than I can. Read it here: https://liladillerauthor.squarespace.com/aboutpage.
There are a lot of influencers out there that aren’t Christian romance reviewers. Start thinking outside the box and focus on the problem your books solve for the reader. Go find the people that are serving the genre of the problem, not the genre of the book. Influencers are everywhere. Your comment and my reply are a great example. You’ve accessed my audience and my reply even has a backlink to your “About” page. Influencers are everywhere. Think outside the box.
These are great ideas–if you’re writing nonfiction. How do we know what problems our novels are solving or promises our fiction makes? Besides reviewers for our genre (who usually have months-long waiting lists), where else can we find influencers?