In the midst of a highly competitive industry, publishers and authors are constantly asking themselves the same question: how to sell more books? One strategy has been gaining ground in recent years and is being used more and more: influencer marketing. Influencer marketing involves working with content creators or influencers to promote a book or an author to their subscribers and audience. Influencers working with the publishing industry include bloggers and YouTubers, and more and more podcasters, Tiktokers and Instagrammers.
Influencer marketing has a major advantage over advertising in contributing to the visibility and sales of a book: it is based on trust. Indeed, we are more inclined to follow the advice of those around us or the content creators we follow, especially when it comes to reading.
The trust that binds the content creator and their community creates the best word-of-mouth that your book can benefit from. The content produced by the influencer as part of your influencer campaign is ideal for developing your visibility and becomes a guarantee of quality for the published book. We can’t help but draw parallels with book clubs whose popularity illustrates the desire to create communities of exchange and sharing of readings. Social media is a new fertile ground for these communities of enthusiasts.
Sponsored post to promote Sophia Bennet’s novel. @MuffinsAndBooks gives us a nice setting for the book and gives her thoughts on the read.
One of the strengths of influencer marketing is also related to the fact that it is suitable for niches, less famous authors and small publishers. In particular, we think of micro-influencers and their communities that gather an ideal target audience and for which the remuneration is not high.
We can’t talk about influence in the publishing industry without talking about TikTok’s #BookTok trend.
#BookTok is one of the most used hashtags on the social media and gathers more than 43 billion views! This hashtag is taken up by book lovers who use it to share their reading. Thanks to video montages and often melancholic music, the book as an object is highlighted. The TikTokers then share their opinions on a novel in a very short, very direct and convincing way. This phenomenon particularly affects young people, between 10 and 18 years old, and has given back the taste for reading to a target that seemed to have turned away from it.
As a result of this popularity, the website of the American bookstore Barnes and Nobles has created a special page “BookTok” to reference the most popular books on the social media.
The most striking example of the positive consequences of this phenomenon are the books “And they both die in the end” by Adam Silvera and “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Millers. Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes & Noble, said of the books, “We were usually selling a few hundred copies, but suddenly we were selling tens of thousands every two or three weeks.”
BookTok echoes the “TikTok made me buy it” trend: it’s the power of TikTok to make everyday products interesting and trendy, whether it’s a book, a body cream or a spray oil dispenser. TikTok has all the elements to drive consumerism: buying brings users together and makes them feel part of a community while being trendy. And this effect is particularly powerful with Generation Z.
To select the right group of influencers for your project, consider the following:
Depending on the literary genre and the subject matter, the content creator may have a natural affinity with the book. This coherence comes either from the profile of the influencer (his academic or professional background, his passions, his hobbies,…) or from the themes addressed in his publications (Youtube channel specialized in science, literature, police investigations,… the subjects are countless). A Youtuber specialized in History will easily promote a novel or a historical comic book through his videos. A lifestyle influencer will be totally credible to talk about a book on architecture or interior design. The logical link between the influencer and the highlighted book clearly contributes to the success of the influencer marketing campaign, which will benefit from a flawless credibility.
Another way to select the right content creator is to focus on the audience of the content. A concrete example: if your novel targets young girls between 12 and 20 years old, it is in your best interest to contact influencers whose audience matches this audience.
Create visibility, generate sales, raise awareness on the subject of the book, create sympathy for an author,… So many objectives that you can reach thanks to influencer marketing campaigns. Depending on these objectives, your selection will be based on certain metrics: number of subscribers, engagement rates, themes addressed in their content, etc.
The number of content creators who could support and add value to a book release is high. Since your time is precious and your resources may be limited, influencer marketing platforms like Stellar can help you from the key stage of selecting influencers. Indeed, based on criteria about the content creator and/or its audience, you can narrow down your search to a list of relevant people in a few clicks.
Once you have selected your ambassadors, you need to contact them and convince them to collaborate with you. At first, it seems natural to give them a physical copy of the book. To generate sympathy with the influencer, you can also send them a copy of the book along with a personalized letter and promotional items, etc. Just like with influencer marketing campaigns in the beauty or fashion sector, “product mailings” or “seedings” are just as important in the publishing world.
The aesthetics of a book as an object is a huge asset to your influencer marketing campaigns. Indeed, thanks to the illustrations on the cover, a whole universe is revealed. This universe can be extended in the decor and the staging found in the influencer’s publication. The installations then give more strength and clarity to the message. Very simple but effective examples: a cookbook will stand out more in a setting of dishes, ingredients and utensils, a detective novel will be highlighted surrounded by a pair of sunglasses, a camera or a notepad, etc.
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The contest is one of the most used influencer marketing mechanisms to promote a new book. It allows visibility but also to engage the influencer’s audience who will show more interest in the book’s release.
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To take advantage of the authenticity and quality of the review and rating produced by the influencer, it is interesting to repost it and publish it on your own account. For example, the publishing house Casterman posted the review left by @bookstagram.literarian on the novel “Murder, mode d’emploi”:
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As part of its influencer marketing partnerships, the store Cultura frequently reposts content and presentations of its creators’ books to promote new literary releases.
The chain does not limit itself to purely literary influencers but has also turned to creators of lifestyle content, food, etc. It takes the sponsored posts of its influencers directly on its own account as with the example below for the promotion of the book “Je serai le feu” by Diglee.
To better understand the use of influencer marketing from the content creator’s point of view, the video of Audrey, from the Youtube channel Le souffle des mots, reveals the backstage of her paid collaborations.
Stellar gives space to influencers to get their point of view, to understand their expectations and to give you new keys to manage your influencer marketing campaigns.
Stellar : Let’s start with A few words to introduce yourself, your social media accounts and your audience?
Shariqa : Hello, my name is Shariqa, but my Instagram followers know me as @Postal Love ! I started this account back in 2017, and since then, the account’s content plan and approach has changed quite a bit. At first, I was sharing my letters and postcards exchange photos. Then it turned towards me sharing my journal layouts and other craft projects. Then a sales account – where I was either promoting my webshop or doing direct sales. Now, even if it is mostly me sharing vintage crafting and other content, I still do sales promotions from time to time. My audience are mostly women who are crafters themselves and are often looking for inspiration!
Who contacts you most frequently?
I have not been a “book influencer” for long, and have only been in touch with 2 publishers, whom I contacted myself when I saw they were looking for reviewers. Even though I am not an established “book influencer”, they were open to send me books due to my account having a decent number of followers. But, I believe, it is also a way for them to diversify the audiences they reach. (…).
What content do you create for these partnerships?
I wanted to do something different to standout among the thousands of bookstagramers, while remaining true to my brand. So, I decided to create book journal pages in my vintage style. I record videos and turn them into Reels, and it seems my followers love it!
What criteria / What reasons do you have for accepting or not a partnership?
I am an avid reader, so it is truly exciting to receive books! But there is also the excitement of receiving an advance reader’s copy/ review copy. For the past 2 years, I have been on a mission to read a book by a female author from every country in the world. So the books I have received so far are all by female authors. I do some research on the publishing house before accepting books/partnerships. I think I am treating them on a case by case basis – if I like the summary of the book, and if I have a good feeling about the publishing house. In the future, if I do get contacted by a lot of publishers/authors, I would then be selective based on if I feel like I want to support the author, or if there is interesting compensation on offer.
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