Generating Awareness with Influencer Outreach

With the prevalence of social media continuing to grow, influencers are becoming incredibly powerful tools in content marketing. Generating awareness with influencer outreach can be incredibly useful when it comes to relationship development. A simple Instagram post or story can go a long way in terms of making a lasting impact on consumers.

Using Bookstagram to Generate Awareness Around Your Book

A bookstagram is an Instagram account dedicated to — you guessed it — books. The bookstagram community itself is massive. It encompasses authors and readers who love sharing their passion for books. This can be a great place to share your book, especially if you have a budget. Unlike in newspapers or on the radio, people who follow these influencers and engage with their content are a lot more likely to love books. If you connect with bookstagrammers that have a specific niche that is relevant to your book, then you are placing your book directly in front of an audience that is likely your ideal audience for sales.

The key in initially building durable relationships, in my experience, is to come across as genuine as possible. Considering the numerous amounts of DMs these influencers sift through every day, taking an unorthodox, new approach can help achieve the attention you desire. Here are some tips to help you pitch bookstagrammers and begin working with them:

Tips for Pitching & Working With Influencers

1. Design your pitch around how your book can be beneficial to the individual influencer and less about how they can be beneficial to you. Any salesperson will tell you that people are of course more interested in what they stand to gain, so always keep that in mind. For instance, when reaching out to a teacher influencer, emphasize why your book would be a great addition to their classroom libraries. What teacher doesn’t love free books!?

2. Be relatable. It’s basic human nature to be drawn to people who you can relate to. It further shows these influencers that you’ve taken the time to scroll through their feed to find out what they’re all about.

3. Do not expect large creators to share your book for free. Many of these influencers have huge, active audiences. Would you want to give something of value away for free? Probably not. Smaller bookstagrammers may be more willing to trade for a free book — but make sure they have a public profile.

4. Research before reaching out. If you write thrillers, it would be a waste of time to reach out to a bookstagrammer who only enjoys romance. Show them you know who they are. Social media bios are convenient, go-to places to find that kind of personal information – so utilize it!

5. Engage with the accounts you would like to work with prior to reaching out to them. Although this is not absolutely required, it is good etiquette, especially if you are hoping to get something for free.

All in all, generating awareness with influencer outreach can be extremely advantageous if approached properly. Authenticity is essential when building any type of relationship, so treat influencers more like people and less like brands.

TikTok & Book Promotion

If you aren’t using it, you’ve heard of it. However, you might not know how to use it, or what it really is. Today we will be discussing the underdog tool in your promotional belt, TikTok, and how to use it for book promotion.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a window to the latest pop culture trends among Generation Z. Gen Z (any individual born roughly between 1997-2012) dominates TikTok’s user base; the same generation also happens to be the next large target group of potential consumers. TikTok was created by the Beijing news-media tech company ByteDance. Often described as a combination of both Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok is a social app for short videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. The app has over one billion monthly active users, meeting or exceeding its competitors (Hootsuite). Their net user and download numbers only continue to climb. Needless to say, a large audience is there for the taking – particularly ripe for YA authors.

How do I use TikTok?

TikTok can be used via mobile device or desktop, however most creators recommend the use of the mobile version for the best experience. You will need to download via smartphone or tablet. While this may sound limiting, don’t fear: TikTok has a host of editing tools in-app that enable you to create unique and original content.
  • Setup: The first prompt you get when logging in to the application is one asking your interests. Would you like to see comedy skits? Do you follow beauty influencers? What about dance performance? Your answers to these questions feed TikTok’s algorithm and influence what content you view under the “For You” page (one of two pages that make up your TikTok “Home” screen). The “Following” page consists of users you are subscribed to after tapping around the app and finding what you like. Each user has a page setup much like Instagram -a photo of themselves, their handle, a follower count, bio, and their content.
  • Creating Content: Similar to Snapchat, creating your own content starts with a simple point-and-shoot clip. You only have a limited amount of time to deliver your message. Even though TikTok has updated its abilities, and you can now post longer videos, most users are still scrolling quickly. Try to hook their attention in the first few seconds of your video.

How can I use TikTok for book promotion?

Here is where you’ll need to get creative! TikTok has little text involved, and is video-based. In other words, TikTok users aren’t typically looking to read when they engage with the app. Get involved in the #BookTok community to begin promoting your book. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to promote your book.
  • Challenges and trends: TikTok users generate a great deal of challenge and trend-based content, including the BookTok community, that you can monitor and utilize tailored to your own content.
  • Connect with your audience: Share “Monthly TBR” or “Wrap-Up” videos to show your audience what you like to read and use this opportunity to share books that are similar to yours. Grab the attention of those that are in your book’s target audience. Interact with their comments and foster those relationships.
  • Most importantly, stay active on TikTok! It’s recommended that you post 1-4 times per day to promote organic growth (Planly). Staying active on the app will not only help with growth opportunities, but also keep you in the know on trending challenges, sounds, and more. Lean in to what is trending and tweak it to align with your own content.
TikTok has increased in notoriety to the point of Facebook imitating the application, and Instagram introducing Reels. It’s time for you to make use of the trend. Now you’re ready to TikTok with the best of them!

References

https://www.clairemckinneypr.com/social-media-101-snapchat-and-author-branding/ https://www.clairemckinneypr.com/social-media-101-instagram-updates/ https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-for-business/ https://planly.com/tiktok-limits/#:~:text=1%2D4%20posts%20per%20day%20on%20TikTok%20is%20better%20for%20TikTok%20growth https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/05/facebook-lip-sync-live/

What is the Best Social Media for Authors?

Most people have multiple social media accounts in order to consume a wide variety of content. However, for creators themselves, it’s better to stick to one or two social media sites in order to better build a focused audience. This post is meant to help you discover the best social media for you as an author, rather than the best overall. Each has its own demographic, so no one social media is best for everyone.

TikTok

Tiktok is much more popular with the younger generation than anyone else. 25% of TikTok users in the US are aged 10-19, with a 2:1 ratio of female to male users. YA books are popular among TikTok’s younger demographic. The best tag for authors to use is #booktok, as many readers use that tag to find new books to read or talk about.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites. Thanks to it taking inspiration from several other sites, its content is fairly generalized. The same goes for its audience. Most Instagram users are 18-34 years old, and the split between male and female users is miniscule. There’s a slight lean toward men, with 50.6% of users being men and 49.4% being women. Like TikTok, it has its own tag for authors and readers: #bookstagram. There are also widely used niche hashtags by trope and micro community.

Facebook

Meta’s very first social media site, Facebook, is well known as an early pioneer of social media. Because of its age and fame in the online world, it’s possibly the most popular social media site. Many people assume Facebook is used by primarily older generations, however the majority of its users are 25-34 years old. The gender demographic skews toward men, with 56.8% of users being male and 43.2% female.

Reddit

Reddit is incredibly useful for building an audience in a certain subject. Subreddits are helpful for finding people who enjoy the same things you do. Like Instagram, the majority of Reddit users are young adults, with 42% of its users being 18-24 years old. Reddit has the biggest gender split so far, with 63.8% being male and 36.2% female. However, all of these stats can change depending on the specific subreddit you’re using.

Tumblr

Tumblr is the most unique of the social media listed. It encourages people to reshare and engage with posts they like, and more unexpected people use it than one would think. Niel Gaiman and John Green are two well known authors who regularly use Tumblr. 28% of its users are 18-29 years old, and 69% are millennials overall. Its gender split is very even, like Instagram’s. 48% of its users are female, and 52% are male.

X

X, previously Twitter, is incredibly popular. It’s best for short-form content and short bursts of advertising due to its character limit, but that doesn’t stop it from being useful. The majority of X users are 25-34 years old, and 70.4% of its users are male. This is the biggest gender gap of the social media discussed. These are some of the most well-known and used social media platforms you can use as an author to build an audience and market your book. As said earlier, it’s best to stick to one or two, preferably the ones that will have the biggest potential audience for your content.

References

TikTok User Statistics (2023) (backlinko.com) Instagram Users, Stats, Data, Trends, and More — DataReportal – Global Digital Insights Facebook Users, Stats, Data, Trends, and More — DataReportal – Global Digital Insights Reddit Statistics For 2023: Eye-Opening Usage & Traffic Data (foundationinc.co) https://blog.gitnux.com/tumblr-statistics/ 23 Essential Twitter Statistics You Need to Know in 2023 (thesocialshepherd.com)

Design 101: Typesetting

There’s a lot of thought that goes into self-publishing. If you’re an author, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to a few key things about your book such as the jacket, the title and the content. If you’re a reader, these are probably the things you regularly pay attention to as well. Have you ever thought about the interior of a book? How the pages are laid out, the margins set up, or the style of the chapter headings?

If you haven’t thought about those things, that means that the person behind the book did a good job typesetting. Typesetting is the process of properly setting the text on to the page of a publication. Bad typesetting can completely ruin the reader’s experience and interrupt the flow of the book. The last thing you’d want is for a reader to stop paying attention to your carefully crafted work because the spacing between lines is uneven!

When self-publishing, you will eventually have to deal with typesetting. Here are some simple dos and don’ts of this book design fundamental:

Don’t think it’s a simple job.

Typesetting on the surface sounds like it would be easy. After all, you have probably used word processors like Google Docs or Microsoft Word before. These programs can handle simple design tasks, but when it comes to the nitty gritty, they can’t handle a book interior. Which leads me to…

Don’t choose the wrong software.

It may be easy to try and make a program like Word work for you- you already own it and are familiar with it. However, word processing programs are not built for typesetting. While they may be able to handle some basics such as kerning, margins, and fonts, they are frustrating to use. Bending a program to try and fit your needs is harder than using a program built for typesetting. I have used Adobe InDesign for typesetting in the past and highly recommend it. Other programs include LaTeX, Reedsy Book Editor, or Bookwright by Blurb. 

Do study up on the basics.

There’s probably a lot of terminology and best practices that you won’t know going in. Typesetting is not easy to do well. I suggest looking over Canva’s illustrated typography terms to get an idea of popular terms. Typography and typesetting are different, but they have a lot of overlap! After that, start reading up on things like font choice or industry standards.

Do consider hiring a professional.

Let’s face it: you’ve got a lot going on already when you’re self-publishing. If you don’t have time to sit down and learn how to typeset properly, it might be best to hire someone. A professional will already have the appropriate software, the knowledge of how to use it effectively, and should be intimately familiar with the best practices. There’s a lot of typesetters out there who have a skillset to match your project. It may cost more than DIY, but the result will be less frustrating and more professional. 

If you found this helpful, check out our other blogs on design and self-publishing.

Social Media 101: Snapchat and Instagram Stories for Authors

SnapchatInstagram and Snapchat are popular social media platforms for influencers, especially those who are celebrities or are in the fashion industry. The various Kardashian women are perfect examples of Instagram influencers—follow their accounts to get a rounded grasp of how useful Instagram Stories and Snapchat can be for public figures.

Snapchat and Instagram tend to skew young in terms of who is using these platforms, from teenagers to millennials in their mid-30s. As an author it can be useful to tap into these age groups to cultivate a new audience for your books and/or brand.

How both Snapchat and Instagram Stories work is that you take a photo of something (yourself,your dog, something cool you saw) and it disappears after 24 hours of your posting of it, unlike regular Snaps or Instagram posts. Regular Snaps to friends disappear after they are viewed (if not viewed, then after 30 days); Instagram posts are there permanently unless deleted by the user.

Here are 5 tips on how authors can use Snapchat and Instagram Stories:

Use them for exclusive content. Are you in the middle of writing a new book? Snap or Insta-story a line from a chapter you just wrote. Are you writing a short story for a new anthology? Snap a photo of yourself with one of the other authors or editor with something along the lines of, “Meeting with so-and-so today. Can’t wait to show you our latest project coming soon!” Creating some mystery and suspense will excite your followers.

Snap an immediate and intimate glimpse into your life. We all want to know what our favorite celebrities are doing – and snapping photos of themselves cooking food, out to dinner, enjoying a concert, or reading a book achieve that aspect of making followers feel like they are included in their lives. You can do the same thing as an author by taking a video of a book you are reading or a new recipe you are attempting to cook.

Show off your fun side. With all the funny and cute filters available (making your eyes huge, face swapping, giving yourself dog ears, etc.), showing readers how you can have fun will make you more personable.

Hold a contest. Gain followers on Instagram or Snapchat by holding a contest–with the winner receiving an advanced reading copy of your upcoming book, a box set, or a signed copy of your newest release. Hold the contest only on Instagram or Snapchat, but announce it on your Facebook page or Twitter so that you drive new people to your Instagram or Snapchat usernames. For example, post on Facebook: “New contest on Snapchat that I am announcing in five minutes! Go to [username] to see what I’m giving away this week!”

Engage your followers. Because people can message you back on your Instagram stories or Snapchat stories, post a question: “What are you reading today?” or “What are you doing today?” to engage your followers by having them respond in a message. Respond back so that they can feel that you are engaged with them as well.

Even though Instagram stories and Snapchat are similar, you may find yourself inclined to use one more than the other, and that’s fine. Just make sure to use whichever one you favor on a daily basis so that your followers don’t lose interest.

Read more beginner’s tips for social media here.