Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Importance of Book Influencers

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

Ding. The computer chimes and you’ve got email. There’s a nice note asking if you will consider being an influencer. That’s nice. We all like the thoughts of influencing others, but in this case, a number of questions come to mind. Things like influence what? For whom? What’s in it for me?

Let’s take time to learn what an influencer is and then we’ll address what remains.

An influencer is 
someone chosen by an author or publishing house to help the author market their upcoming book. There is no financial gain or loss on this deal. You were chosen because, 1) the author trusts your judgment. 2) You have a solid platform with arms that reach deep into social media or specialty groups. 3) You love the author’s work and you’re one to pass along the news when you see a new book releasing. You’re a fan!

What’s it going to cost me? 
You aren’t required to buy ads, sell ads, nor will you be paid for the efforts you make. You were chosen in good faith and that, in and of itself, is an honor.

Now that we have that cleared up – what does an influencer do? It’s simple. You spread the word about the upcoming title. Tweet, peep, squeak, and squawk to all your friends and peers. If you have a local book retailer, let them know you have a great suggestion for their store and share that information.  That’s it in a nutshell. You simply open your mouth and talk.

So, what are the perks?  
You get a free book. Once that book arrives integrity comes into play. It costs a great deal of money to print and mail out influencer copies. The author and the publisher are counting on you to help spread the news. Read the book quickly and start to share the information about the title, the cover, release date, and just how much you loved the book.

More and more authors are providing prepared tweets, written interviews for blogs, and making themselves available for Blogtalk radio shows and podcasts. All you must do is grab the information in the format you are most comfortable and run with it. INFLUENCE!

But all I got was a PDF! 
No, the author and publisher are not trying to knock you out of a free book, but readers are vastly enjoying reading on their Kindle, iPad, computer, or other devices. It’s a matter of convenience. They want you to read the book and share it. Handing it to you in a format you readily use, assures them you’ll uphold your end of the bargain.

Am I required to write a review? 
No. You aren’t required to do anything. You don’t even have to read the book, but if you don’t, it defeats the purpose of being an “influencer.”  As Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” In other words, if you don’t know your subject matter, you can’t guide others. Please, please, please be kind and write a review. Your review will encourage others to read. Post it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the publisher’s site, and Goodreads. Most review venues do not require huge entries, rather simple information on how you enjoyed or disliked the book, the features that drew you to it, and if you recommend it. One review can spur the purchase of a book, and book purchases help the title gain ground for the author.

As an influencer, you are asked to share the announcement of the book’s release. Adding a review is gravy on the biscuit. After all, you were provided the gift of a nice book. Consider helping the author with a review as well.

What if I don’t like the book? 
Well, that’s a bit of a quandary, so I suggest you defer to the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Authors nor publishers expect you to be dishonest. And we all know books are subjective. What you may not like, your best friend may love. Keep that in mind.

If you choose to write a review in a negative light, then be kind. Say something like, “This book wasn’t my cup of tea . . . or Though this wasn’t in my wheelhouse  . . .” then find good qualities about the book. One can be both honest and kind. There’s no need to rip an author to shreds. That’s of no help to anyone and it makes you look – well, kinda crabby.

Am I allowed to share the book once I’m finished reading it? 
The books come to you as a thank you, a gift in return for your kindness to help the author market the work. There is no obligation to the recipient to keep the book. I have often donated my copies after reading to the local library with a note written on the inside book cover, “If you read this work, help an author and write a review on Amazon.com. Thank you for reading.”

Is there a difference in an influencer and a beta reader? 
Oh yes. A beta reader will often be used by small publishing houses to read a manuscript after editing is complete. They act as an extra set of eyes, catching small typos and little details that were missed in the process. Influencers help spread the word. Both are important jobs and if you elect to accept either, please be diligent and do what you have promised.

Accepting the job of an influencer is vital and important. Helping a book “grow legs” is a generous thing for you to assist with. The author and publisher appreciate all your efforts. There are millions of books on Amazon alone, so your job as an influencer, is to help raise that new title into the view of the readers. When a book becomes a success, you know that you personally had a hand in that success. Thank you from both the author and the publishers.

The important role of a book influencer - @CindyDevoted on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Book influencers can help a book "grow legs" & reach their audience - @CindyDevoted (Click to Tweet)

Cindy Sproles is an award-winning author and popular speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions ministries and managing editor of Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is the executive editor of
www.christiandevotions.us and 
www.inspireafire.comShe teaches at writers 
conferences nationwide and directs The Asheville Christian Writers Conference - Writers Boot Camp. 

She is the author of two devotionals, He Said, She Said - Learning to Live a Life of Passion and New Sheets - Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be. Cindy's debut novel, Mercy's Rain, is available at major retailers. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and book her for your next conference or ladies retreat. Also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Great post, Cindy. Thanks for the clarification.

  2. Cindy, did you use the techniques and/or were there others used to get over 300 reviews on Amazon for Mercy's Rain? Thanks. I met Eddie Jones at Florida Christian Writer's Conference.

    1. I did. And so did Kregel. Once the word spread, people began reading and posting reviews. Only a small few are influencers. But once word spreads from influencers...people read. The snowball effect.

  3. Consider building a YouTube channel and making a special video for your book with linkbacks to where your book can be acquired. lighthouse publishing of the carolinas

    1. I did this too. The trailer had over 5k views. Make them short.

  4. I am no influencer but when I read a book I love I cannot stop talking about it. In a way, we all are influencers in our small way. You can never recommend a good book enough.
    Thank you, Cindy.

  5. Cindy, thank you for this. It is such a help to me right now as I am writing those emails requesting influencers. I may even include the link for them to read your gracious words describing exactly what I'm asking them to do. Edie, thanks for rallying great folks like Cindy to teach us!