Legal Property

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Friday, November 29, 2013

What's an influencer, anyway?

A few years back, two of my writer friends said they wanted me to be an influencer for them when their books came out. I said, "I don't know. I don't even know what an influencer is, let alone how to be one."

Since then I've been an influencer over and over. It's a way to help your favorite authors out. You'd be amazed at how much we love folks who even review the book, and those who will also be willing to be an influencer we absolutely adore! At least once a week, and now usually more often than that, I perform the job of influencing for authors whose work I like.

I stumbled around a lot in the process of learning what to do. I've picked up a few ideas along the way.

The purpose of an influencer is to help an author (and their publisher) sell their books. There are several things you can do that will help your chosen author. Usually they will send you a free book, either hard copy, pdf, .doc, or Kindle, so you'll need an e-reader that will accept the different types of e-books. I have an iPad, and I have the Kindle app. The iPad already had the capability of reading the others. If the author won't send you a copy for review for free, you can always go to your local library and request the book.

This is what I now do to help my author friends:

1. I review the book on my blog. To review the book, I begin with an introductory paragraph including that I liked or loved the book in some form or fashion. Depending on your own blog (if you have one), you might also review books you don't like. Personally, I won't review books that I don't like because of my motto. See the note under the name of the blog? Mine will all be positive, or they won't be there at all.

Be sure you don't give away too much about the book. What you want to do is tantalize the reader into wanting to buy the book--or not, if you don't like it. Either way, have enough respect for their hard work (and trust me, it is hard work) to not give away the end or any other spoilers. Usually what you write will not include any information past the first quarter of the book.

If you review non-fiction, that varies a little more. You'll want to include enough to tell them this book is one that they need, no matter if it is about knitting or overcoming depression.

Include links to the location where the book can be purchased, usually Amazon and Barnes and Noble at a minimum. Because I only review Christian books, many of the ones I review also can be found on The links will go directly to the page where their book is listed. For instance, the link to my book is:
Now, you don't want to copy that whole link into the blog, so this is what I do: I type The Roman's Quest, highlight it, and click "Link" up at the top of the page. Copy the link there. I do two other steps, too, because of Blogspot's limitations. I bold the name of the book, and I force it to be bright blue text. Otherwise, it isn't obvious that it's a link on the post.

You might also ask the author if they want to do a giveaway on your blog. If you get their okay on that, include a note that if folks will leave a comment with their email, they will be entered to win the book. Give them a time limit, too. I do one week, but whatever works for you will do. Once the time's up, select a winner and notify them via email. Give them a reasonable length of time to reply giving their address. Again, I do a week. When you get the reply, send the info to the author. It's their job to send on a book to the winner.

2. Once the review is live, I share the post to social media (in my case, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads. I like to share it to that author's timeline or his/her author's page.

3. I copy all but the place where they can buy the book to the bookstores' book review site and to Goodreads.

4. Sometimes I get to interview the author, and I put a link in to their website, if they have one, and a link to the review I did. What I do is send them a few questions (I usually limit the number to seven questions), and include the option to delete or add one they wished I had asked. I do the interviews on the day following the review. Those I also share to their Facebook timeline once it's live.

5. If you belong to a book club, you might recommend you favorites to the group.

After a while you're going to accumulate a lot of books. You might consider giving them to a library, to a friend, or wherever. NOT, however, if you received one that says advanced reader's copy or something similar. You do not hand those on--it's illegal.

I would really appreciate it if those of you who are influencers reading this blog would add your own suggestions in comments below. I definitely do not know it all.

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