Welcome to my fourth post about my adventures(misadventures?) in marketing my books. Previously, I've blogged about hawking books on social media, leveraging sites like BookBarbarian and The Fussy Librarian, and increasing newsletter subscribers.
As I have said before, I am no expert at convincing people to buy my books or anything else. But I have been in the trenches since my debut, Dragons Walk Among Us, came out in 2021. It was followed up by The Blood of Faeries, and the third book in the series will be out next year.
I first came across the idea of influencer marketing while attending a free online seminar by Sue Campbell, who runs Pages and Platforms. She offers a free workshop on various writerly and marketing topics once a month. I've attended several, finding each was worth the hour of my time. Back to influencer marketing. What is it, exactly? It's connecting with influencers, who is anyone with a ready-made audience and might be willing to give you access to their audience by posting an article you wrote to their blog, interviewing you for their podcast, reviewing your book on their bookstagram, etc. The ultimate influencers today are probably still the likes of Oprah and Reese Witherspoon. If you get one of them to recommend your book, my hat is off to you. Luckily, with social media, there are tons of influencers out there. Of course, the amount of bang you get from working with any influencer will vary greatly. Sometimes, I dare say, by orders of magnitude.
As you might imagine, landing slots with top-notch influencers isn't easy and is a road paved with rejection. But you are a writer, right? So no worries, you are used to rejection. While pursuing this form of promotion, I have faced rejections and have had numerous emails get sucked into the void of no reply. But that's okay because I've had successes too.
I've heard you should try contacting influencers at least once a week with the goal of working with one on a weekly basis. I don't know about you, but I'd have to hustle to accomplish that. Not only would I be spending tons of time researching possible outlets and querying, but I'd also need to create content! Many influencers want unique content. They don't want reused material. So yes, the process takes time.
Still, I have found influencer marketing to be an inexpensive and worthwhile way to get my name and books out there. Here are some outlets to check out if you want to dip your toes into the influencer marketing waters.
The Whatever - if you're a small or big publisher speculative fiction author with a new book coming out, query John Scalzi to be part of his ongoing series, The Big Idea. You won't regret it. Scalzi is super supportive of fellow authors and has a huge audience hungry for science fiction.
Reader Views - this site provides various author services, including well-respected editorial reviews and an annual writing competition. On top of that, they are always looking for guest posts for their blog and newsletter, which cover various writerly topics. The great thing about this one is your article will show up on their blog, in their newsletter, and be promoted on social media.
Dear Writer - if you're new to doing podcast interviews/talks, Dear Writer from Linderson Creations is a great one to cut your teeth on. The hosts are excellent interviewers, full of enthusiasm, and super friendly. As you can guess by the podcast's name, it's all about writing.
These are just three examples of the numerous opportunities out there. For example, if you write speculative fiction, check out Cat Rambo's website for guest posting opportunities, or if pontificating on general writerly topics is your jam, Writer's Fun Zone is a welcoming web address. Also, feel free to think outside the box, or at least the very edges of the box. I wrote an article about my younger son's recalcitrant attitude toward reading and the steps we took to help him get past it. The article was not about my books or writing per se. Still, it is adjacent to those topics, potentially exposing an entirely new audience to me and my books.
Writer be Wary
A couple of things to watch out for. I've had people ask to be paid to post an article on their blog or interview me on their podcast. Usually, the associated cost of the appearance is only made available or even hinted at after I've contacted the outlet. Think twice before paying to provide content for someone else, especially if the cost isn't made obvious upfront.