I’ve been a Bookstagram influencer for six years now. Throughout that time, I’ve worked with many different publishing houses, promoted books to my audience, reviewed some lovely and incredible new favorites, and made some strong relationships with publicists. The experience of working with a publishing house to help promote a book is incredible. I feel like I am really helping authors and their books get the recognition and love they deserve.
When I became a publicist, I finally got a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes. I love helping authors promote their books and one of my favorite ways to do it is reaching out to influencers and sending them books in exchange for a post. With platforms and communities like BookTok and Bookstagram, it is a great way to reach a large audience and share some buzz about an upcoming book!
While posting about a book isn’t required, publicists do send books to influencers in the hopes they’ll cover it on their page. There’s a silent exchange between the two groups that all culminate to one big goal: helping an author’s book receive some great coverage online.
Seeing how both sides of the email exchange work, here’s a few helpful best practices for influencers to keep in mind when working with a publicist:
Request books that you’ll want to read and promote
If you’re like me then you probably collect books that you hope to get to in the future. I’m always tempted by all the intriguing blurbs and authors putting out new books I haven’t heard of! But it’s also good practice to remember what you’ll actually want to share with your followers. Request the books you’ll have time to read and review and that will avoid the messy scramble to post when it comes time to post.
If you don’t have time to review the book, a spotlight always helps!
The best part of publicity is that there’s so many kinds. Reading and reviewing the book is always a great option, but life sometimes gets in the way. In those cases, you can always opt to do a spotlight instead! Include a little bit about your excitement for the book, share the book on pub day and congratulate the author on this occasion, or share the synopsis in your caption. The options are endless! You can also share a reading list of books on your TBR or maybe even a book mail post sharing your excitement for a new story.
Stay in contact with the publicist
While most publicists keep an eye out for all the coverage a book receives throughout the campaign, it’s always helpful to share the links with them. This extra step not only helps the publicist out, but also gives the publicist encouragement to share more books with you in the future. Building that working relationship with a publicist will come in handy when you see something you’d like to request!
It’s okay if you’re not able to post on pub day
As an influencer, I have a separate calendar I keep to coordinate all the books and their pub days. This ensures that I share or read the books by that date, but sometimes things fall through the cracks. And that’s okay! The great thing about publicity is that it is ongoing, and while a book may have already published, there’s always room for more promotion!
Share your post across multiple platforms
Another great thing about social media is how you can connect your platforms together. If you’ve posted your review on Goodreads, you can quickly send a tweet telling your followers! Why not also share your Booktok post on your Instagram account or even on your Facebook feed! The more eyes on a book, the better and all that social media sharing helps boost your follower count as well.
Avoid sharing negative book reviews with the author
Not every book is going to be for every reader and sometimes you’ll request a book that you didn’t like. That’s okay and that’s the brilliant part of being an influencer; people trust you for your honest opinion. If you do end up disliking a book, go ahead and share your thoughts. Just keep in mind that the author may not want to see it and avoid sharing those thoughts with them. Book reviews are mainly for readers to find out more about a book!
Simone Jung is a publicist and social media strategist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.