If you’ve self-published your book, it’s highly unlikely that you have an elite team of marketers to promote it for you. Instead,, you’ll need to engage with Internet Influencers.
Each sale and review are products of your effort and your hard work. And it can be lonely.
It’s said that writing is a solitary business. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree. But that’s ok. Writing in private is what we expect and often want.
But when we try to promote our work when it’s there for the world to read, it can be truly disappointing when no-one takes notice.
In the words of General Zod, “You are not alone.”
Who are Influencers?
Thanks to the digital age, there’s an army of people out there who are willing and able to help in most niches.
These people are called ‘Influencers’ because they can influence their audience, and help them get a better understanding of things in their area of interest.
Although there are many types of influencer and varying levels of fame, here, I will focus on the four types listed below.
- YouTube hosts
- Book Bloggers
- Podcast presenters
- Amazon/Goodreads reviewers
I will also target those who fall under the nano (less than 1k followers) and micro (1k – 40k followers) categories.
These are people who build a site or channel around their hobby.
Be it, motorbike riding, cooking, dog grooming, or anything else you can imagine; they become experts in their niche. In doing so, they build a trusted reputation in that field.
A by-product of this is that they cultivate a following of people who subscribe to, like, and share their content.
Influencers at the nano and micro level (up to 40k followers), are people who still need to hold down a day job. They create helpful content for others in their spare time.
This means they don’t get paid life-changing money, and are often working just as hard as you to promote their site or channel.
They do it for the love of doing it. And I cannot praise that enough.
How to engage with influencers and promote a book
If you have a social media account, I recommend finding and following/subscribing to their sites.
Read, listen to or watch their content to get to know them. This will give you a good understanding about what they like and dislike, and how they present their thoughts to their audience.
Personally, I subscribe to dozens of YouTube channels of influencers who give really helpful advice.
The same can be said for book bloggers and reviewers. I love to read reviews before I buy a book. And when I’ve finished the review, I share their content on my account.
“Pay it forward,” as they say.
When you’ve been engaging with their content and you like and share what they produce, eventually, you become a familiar face to them. Especially if they are small.
This makes the relationship a bit more personal.
As the relationship develops through mutual respect and interests, it will become acceptable to ask for a review of your book.
Build a connection with them.
However, I caution against “cold-calling,” random influencers. It can seem self-serving and, in my opinion, it’s rude.
Ultimately, you are not just trying to promote a novel. You are trying to promote yourself as an author.
Get to know the influencers in your genre. Share their content because someone out there might benefit from it.
In return, they might spend some time on your book and tell their fans all about it.
Who to follow
Following a wide range of people such as writers, bloggers, editors and publishers, will give you a broad appreciation of how they use their platforms.
Also, you could come across information that helps you on your journey.
But if you’re looking to market your book through a social media platform, it’s worth narrowing down your target.
Look to include #indiebookreviews and #selfpub.
Any blogger or reviewer using these hashtags are champions for self-published authors.
There are thousands of reviewers out there who write some great pieces. But a large portion focus on popular commercial books by traditionally published writers.
For every one reviewer who writes about self-published books, there are probably ten-thousand reviewers for traditionally published authors.
It makes no sense to send your book to someone who doesn’t read indie books. Instead, follow and engage with influencers who have the same interests as you and your target audience.
When these influencers post about their newest article, read it and share it with a comment of why you liked it.
By doing this, you will help that influencer reach more people who could benefit from the article. And in turn, you could gain another follower/subscriber.
It’s an eco-system where we all help each other.
What to avoid
Do not send out mass messages to book bloggers or reviewers in the hope of getting a bite.
It’s akin to making unsolicited phone calls from an unknown number on a massive scale. “Have you been involved in an accident?” or “Would you like a quote on a new conservatory?”
Annoying, right? Influencers make content about the things they enjoy with the intention of helping others.
They deserve the respect of a personal message.
After all, what have you done for them? Have you shared their work? Have you liked and commented on their content? Or, are you cold-calling them for some free publicity?
This kind of interaction is often met with silence. And rightly so.
My brother likened marketing to crabs climbing out of a bucket.
He said that they all climb on each other and push each other out of the way to reach the top. But because they are only trying to help themselves, they’ll all fall down.
Marketing a book on social media is very much the same. If all we do is push our own agenda without helping each other, we’ll all fail.
So, help each other out. Share content. Repost good content and give the creator credit.
If we do this, eventually, we’ll be able to climb out of the bucket.
Take time to get to know the active influencers in your genre. Build an online relationship with them and reward their good work by engaging with them.
In time, they will get to know you. And when that happens, they will read your book and tell all their fans about it.
Not a bad deal in my opinion.