by Tamela Hancock Murray
One of the services a traditional publisher provides is working with authors in regard to getting publicity about books through word of mouth. This piece of the publicity puzzle is more important for trade books than for mass market books because they fit into an established line and are less author-focused than trade books. Trade books rely more on author identity and brand recognition to be successful. This is why traditional publishers ask writers to provide lists of influencers for their books.
Who Might Be Influencers?
Often after you are contracted, the publisher will ask the author for a list of influencers. In return for spreading the word about your book, many publishers will provide a copy to the influencer free of charge. Already your agent has insisted that you include a list of potential endorsers in your proposal. Chances are good that not all of your potential endorsers were asked for formal endorsements, so begin with the remaining friends who already know you, like your writing, and support you in your career. When asked for a larger list, choose wisely. Most likely you’re a member of a writers’ organization such as The American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, Romance Writers of Amerca, or other organizations that offer you a network of potential readers. Choose people who will be willing to post reviews on Amazon, ChristianBook.com, Barnes and Noble, and other sites to get visitors excited about your book. Also consider popular bloggers and book reviewers who have demonstrated an interest in and love for the type of book you write and include them as well.
What If I Am Asked to Be An Influencer?
If an author asks you to be an influencer, don’t accept unless you have a proclivity to like the type of story the author writes and you can really get behind the author’s work. One author I know asked people not to post a review of her work unless they could give it five stars. Sometimes this is not an option and you are asked to review the book regardless. If you must review a book you thought you would love, but turned out to be disappointing, be sure not to trash the book, the editor, the publisher, or the author. Even if you never intend to write books yourself or ask a return of favor, trashing anyone’s work is simply bad form. Every book is published because a group of people found the work meritorious. Do your best to find something positive to say about the book. But don’t lie!
In our publishing industry, we are all striving to serve the Lord with our best. By agreeing to be inflluencers for the work of others, and by taking the responsibility seriously and with kindness, God’s kingdom will be glorified. Happy reading!
Did a negative review ever keep you from buying a book? Have you ever been an influencer?