by Tamela Hancock Murray
Recently one of my author friends needed a couple of people to act as influencers. She asked me to give her the names of people who aren’t writers, which I think is a fine idea because readers in other professions will reach new audiences. I asked several people. None of them knew what an influencer is until I explained it. So when you are tasked to find influencers, feel free to direct them to this post.
Is an influencer the same as an endorser?
Not in the formal sense. An endorser is a recognized name, usually a popular author writing in the same topic or genre or a known authority in the field such as a doctor or pastor. That person writes praise for the book that will appear on the front or back cover or inside the book.
An influencer is a person who agrees to read a book with the hope that he or she will spread positive news about it. This person is viewed as a fan or friendly reader and doesn’t need to be a particular expert other than having read the book. Any reader can be an influencer, but librarians, book club members, and people with special interest in the era or topic are great choices.
How will being an influencer benefit me?
You will receive a hot-off-the-press book free of charge. You will be among the first in the reading public to see it!
Since there is no free lunch, what do I have to do in return?
The author and publisher ask that you talk about the book to your friends. They really appreciate when influencers post reviews on sites such as Amazon, CBD, and Goodreads. Note that some authors will say, “I will send you a book in return for an Amazon review.” If so, be sure you are willing to comply.
What if I hate the book?
You have a couple of options:
1.) With Christian charity and tact, admit your feelings to the party who sent you the book, and ask if it is okay for you to remain silent. But if you received a book out of nowhere from an author who apparently put you on a list with 1000 other people, you should be able to remain silent with no questions asked.
2.) If receiving the book was conditional and you must post a review, you can still ask to be let off the hook, again with Christian charity and tact. But if you can’t be excused, try to find a reason to give it four stars by discerning good points about it. After all, the author wrote the book, and a group of editors, publishers, and sales people thought the project worthy enough to invest a significant amount of money to bring it to the public. There must be an appealing character, a memorable quote, or something worthy to point out in a review.
3.) How about I just give up and lie about the book? Don’t do that. While influencers want to be positive, a meaningful review, even if a bit sunny, is better than doing others a disservice by giving a book the site’s highest rating. I believe most people realize a four-star review means the book could have been improved, so the star rating is a way for you to be honest without being hurtful.
4.) How about I just be brutally honest and give it one star as long as I say why? Don’t do that. If the book really deserves one star, plenty of others will be happy to point that out. Let them vent about a book, while you save your anger for a righteous cause.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to love the book and will be thrilled to post 5-star reviews everywhere and talk about it to my friends. Anything else I need to know?
Yes. You are part of the author’s marketing efforts so timeliness is helpful. You are helping with buzz!
1.) Don’t accept the responsibility of being an influencer if you can’t read the book within a couple of weeks or no longer than a month after receiving it. Don’t worry about declining because a busy author should understand you have other commitments.
2.) Be prompt with your feedback.
Most of all, enjoy the process. By getting out the word about great Christian books, you are working for God’s kingdom.
Have you ever been asked to be an influencer? What was your experience?
What was the hardest book review you ever had to post?
Do you put stock in book reviews before making a purchase?
Have negative reviews kept you from buying a book?
Have you ever posted a scathing review of a book? Why?