Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
One of the most common points of confusion I find among my about-to-be-published clients is the difference between influencers and a street team. Both of these groups become paramount in promoting your book, but if you don’t know the difference, it can be hard to figure out how to utilize them.
Your publisher’s marketing team will expect you to build a list for both.
Okay, my subhead might seem obvious, but that really is how you can decide whom to put on this list. Whom do you know who can influence others to buy your book?
Let’s say you’ve written a book on your personal experience adopting four siblings from Guatemala. Who might be an influencer for your book?
- If you happen to know a famous sports figure or actor who has adopted children from another country, that person would slip onto your influencer list.
- You might know someone who works at World Vision or Compassion International. Add him to your list.
- If you attend a megachurch, pop your pastor onto your list.
- You might be a blogger who has written consistently about the adoption–and adaptation–process as the youngsters were assimilated into your family. Look around for bloggers who are writing about the same or a similar topic. Keep your eye out for those with significant influence and start making comments on their blogs and showing that person you have many points of commonality. (You probably should have been making that connection as soon as you decided to write the book; so the relationship would already be in place. Not to mention that the two of you could well benefit from getting to know each other.)
- Consider if your friends or acquaintances have developed good-sized followings on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, etc., and are connected to the type of person who would enjoy your book. These individuals don’t need to have a big presence on all social media. You’re looking for people who have influence on varying sites so each can sort of “specialize” in the area where he or she is influential.
Who Qualifies for the List?
- A person who is an authority on the subject you write on. (A psychologist for your self-help book; a historian for an era you set your novel in; a recognizable individual in a community of potential readers of your subject.)
- A well-known figure in our society, or within the Christian community. If Dolly Parton is a distant cousin, add her to your list for your children’s book. If Max Lucado lives next door to you, onto the list he goes.
- Anyone who regularly connects with significantly large groups and could influence others to buy your book.
- A scholar who could add the weight of her authority to your book’s reputation.
Do You Have to Know These People?
Yup. Everyone on your influencer list will receive a free copy of the book, with a letter written by you in which you express your hopes that they will tell others about your book. If you send a book to Michelle Obama because you know she cares about the topic of your book, that’s pretty much tossing your book onto the garbage heap. Now, if you know the woman who was Mrs. Obama’s secretary during her time at the White House, you have a link that could make all the difference.
A Street Team
Also called a Launch Team, this group of readers sign on to help get the word out about your new book. You can read details about how a team works here.
An influencer is unlikely to sign up for your street team, even though he is enthusiastic about your book. Instead, an influencer will go directly to those he has influence over and mention your book to them. But a person would sign up for your street team because he or she: believes in what you’ve written; thinks it’s important for others to discover your book; wants to help you promote your book. Because anyone signing up for your street team is committing to spending some serious time and effort to the cause, that person comes to the team ready to pony up. It will take more of a commitment to be on the street team than to be an influencer. Who might offer that sort of unbridled support for a new author?
- People from your church
- Your family, friends, and neighbors
- Other writers with whom you’ve developed friendships as you sought the golden ring of publishing together
- Those individual you’ve connected with online
What questions do you have for me about influencers and street teams?
Authors, do you know the difference between promo influencers and street teams? Click to tweet.
Every author needs 2 lists: influencers and a street team. Click to tweet.