One of the major ways I prepare for every book’s release is by forming a Launch Team made up of Influencers. In the publishing world, Influencer is often used to refer to a reader who signs up to help in the promotion of a book in exchange for a free copy of that book.
An Influencer doesn’t just agree to write a review of the book. Although reviews are a big part of influencing, Influencers do SO much more than review. They share their enthusiasm about the book in countless ways (by recommending the book to their libraries, pinning the cover on Pinterest, taking pictures of themselves with the book, passing out bookmarks, etc., etc., etc.)
We all know how powerful word-of-mouth can be in marketing a book. Influencers are strategic in getting the “talk” going and can help the marketing efforts at the time of a book’s release.
As I form my Influencer teams for each book release, I always ask those who are interested to commit to completing at least 5 influential actions from a long list of suggestions that I give them. Then once they complete their actions, I ask them let me know what they’ve done (usually within a month of the book’s release).
I’ve found that this kind of accountability helps keep everyone on my launch team on the same page and working in a timely manner. I have a Facebook group where I can communicate with my team and where they can also share ideas with one another.
However, inevitably there are always those who join my group of Influencers who end up not liking my book. Obviously, readers can’t predict whether they’ll like a book when they sign up and agree to be an Influencer.
So for those who end up not liking my book, I ask that they do two things: 1. Give their copy of the book to someone they think might enjoy it. 2. Share at least one of the other positive reviews or blog posts regarding the book.
I don’t expect those Influencers to gush over my book when they really wish they could barf over it. Rather than lying, most Influencers who don’t like a book usually opt not to say anything at all rather than hurt the author’s marketing efforts. I ask them to follow the old adage taught to them by their mother: “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
Many Book Reviewers also get a free copy of the book (either through Net Galley or the publisher’s book review program). Unlike my Influencer list which I control, I have no say in who gets a review copy of my book.
A Book Reviewer may or may not be a fan of the author. Most often their intention is to provide a helpful review for other readers. They are NOT agreeing to promote the book or author, although indirectly that can happen, particularly if they really liked the book and get excited about it. They may write a stellar review and recommend the book to others.
But a Book Reviewer can also rip the book to shreds if they don’t like it. Their job is to provide a helpful and honest review. They’re often asked to share that review in a number of different places (online bookstores, a blog, Goodreads, etc.).
In other words, a Book Reviewer’s goal is to help the READER make wise reading choices. An Influencer’s goal is to help the AUTHOR with promotion.
As another of my books, Undaunted Hope, draws closer to release time (Jan. 5, 2016), I’m once again in the process of putting together an Influencer Team. I already have some really awesome Influencers on my team, but occasionally I have room to add more. And this is one of those times!
If you’re interested in joining my team, I’d ask that you make sure you understand the difference between Reviewers and Influencers, and that you be willing to commit to doing 5 influential actions. (To find out more about the story, visit my website.)
If that describes you, then email me at jodyhedlundbooks (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll send you more information. Even though I wish I could include everyone, only limited spots are available!
Are YOU a Book Reviewer, Influencer, or both? What has your experience been like? Do you have any tips for those who might be interested in becoming an Influencer?
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