Authors, especially those who are new to publicity, often wonder: What is the value of coverage from book bloggers, influencers and other niche media?
A fair question!
The value in traditional media coverage (think: New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle) is obvious. These sources have wide-reaching readerships, and positive coverage from them will meet a lot of eyes and ears. Yet, they represent only a fraction of the bookish community and the media they consume. There are plenty of benefits to working with more niche media outlets, and oftentimes, these benefits fill in the gaps where traditional media falls short.
The numbers problem
A thought experiment: If media Outlet A has an audience of 1,000 and media Outlet B has an audience of 500, will a book review in Outlet A always lead to more sales? Though it may be tempting to work this out mathematically (if the likelihood of a purchase is 10%, I can expect 100 sales from Outlet A compared with 50 sales from Outlet B…) book sales never follow such solvable patterns. If Outlet A has more followers, but they are on the whole less engaged with Outlet A’s content, they’ll be less likely to make a purchase. By the same token, if Outlet B has a smaller – but more dedicated – following, coverage with them may leave a more meaningful impact on a larger number of readers.
Consider an author who has written a book about fishing. A review in a niche hunting and fishing magazine may lead to equal or greater engagement than a review in a general interest publication with a larger audience because only a fraction of those readers like to fish.
Furthermore, a sale is a sale no matter how small! Even if a media link inspires only one person to buy a copy of the book, that’s one more reader than you had yesterday. Every new reader is a potential long-term fan, and every one counts!
One of the goals of a publicity campaign is to build up online buzz by securing multiple media links for a book. That way, when someone hears about it and they search around, they can easily find plenty of positive reviews, mentions, and coverage. Most readers won’t check to see how many followers certain websites have; instead, they’ll be more interested in the content (“Wow, they really loved this book!”) and the number of links out there (“It seems like everyone’s reading this book!”).
Having all these links is also good for your SEO, as these sites often link back to you and instigate more google searches for your name and/or book title.
Bloggers often cross-post their reviews to Amazon and Goodreads as well, which is great for your brand, too!
Many authors who’ve been interviewed on national media in the past feel this should give them a one-up on the competition. Surely they’ll be a priority for future coverage right? Sometimes this is true, but unfortunately, a wide variety of factors can (and often will) stand in your way.
If your previous interview was about a nonbookish topic, it’s unlikelythis will give you an advantage for a book-related interview. If you interviewed about a past book, but have since switched publishers or changed genres, that can be enough for producers to pass on future coverage.
Ultimately, this comes down to loyalty. No one can blame these media giants for being picky with their coverage. But what many authors seek are loyal supporters who want to cover all their work and follow them throughout their author journey.
This is why we love working with book bloggers and influencers – they are the most fervent supporters of authors! If they become a fan of your work, they often remain a fan for life. We’ve heard from some bloggers that they’d be willing to read outside of their preferred genre if the book is written by an author they trust, which we think is the ultimate sign of loyalty.
Additionally, influencers and bloggers will often follow you on social media, helping you grow your accounts, and they’ll spread the word about your work through online and in-person brag-sessions. There’s no better feeling than knowing that someone is out there championing you!
Don’t forget about the little guys
National media will always be on our bucket list, but we never want to forget about the bloggers and influencers who work so hard to keep the book community fresh, fun and full of joy. They do so much for authors, often for free and without thanks. So, be sure to show your support for these folks who promote new books everyday, simply for the love of reading!
Jackie Karneth is a publicist with Books Forward is 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.