Enlarge Your Audience with Micro-Influencers

“This book is going to be a best seller.”

This is a phrase I have heard a number of times over the years by new authors. Most new authors get excited about their books. This is a good thing. However, the odds of a book becoming a best-selling title are slim. After all, less than 5% of books published each year in the United States sell more than 5,000 copies. And, a book needs to sell a bit more than 5,000 copies to become a best seller.


Due to the testimonials that are presented by many book marketing services looking to sell authors products and services, many new authors naively believe that all they need for their book to become a best seller is to get the right exposure. However, this is rarely true. Every book has a target audience—and only a small percentage of that target audience will actually purchase the book.

Sadly, many authors believe hype stories that are only true for a very small percentage of authors and books. I have heard beliefs like:

  • “If I could just get a Christian personality like Franklin Graham to endorse my book, I would have it made.”
  • “If I could just get a best-selling Christian author like Mac Lucado or Karen Kingsbury to endorse my book, it will sell well.”
  • “If I could just get an Interview on the 700 Club or Oprah show, my book would become a best seller.”

The truth is that selling books is hard work. No one exactly knows what the formula is to have a book become a best seller. If you are only focused on going after the macro-influencers, you are missing out on a wealth of people that could help your book sell better. As an independently published author or small publisher, you are better served to forget about attempting to get personalities like Dr. James Dobson, Joyce Meyer, Joel Olsteen, Denzel Washington, or Beth Moore, to help you promote your book. Instead, focus on micro-influencers.

To effectively use micro-influencers to enlarge your audience and reach, you must first know who the target audience is for your book. Then look at people who have an influence over a small group of this target audience. These include:

1. Bloggers
Blog tours and blog reviews became popular due to this idea that they are micro-influencers. Every blogger has an audience. This is one reason Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) offers our members BookCrash, a books for bloggers review program. Getting bloggers to write a review of your book or interview you as an author puts you and your book in front of more potential book buyers in your target audience.

2.  Local pastors or church leaders
Local church leaders and pastors have influence over the members in their congregation. They frequently provide recommendations on books that will help their members with an issue or concern. Getting a local pastor or church leader to endorse, or just read and appreciate your book enlarges your target audience reach.

3.  Other independently publisher authors or newer authors in your genre
Getting other authors in your genre to endorse your book is a great way to cross-promote. Authors endorse other books in their genres because it widens the exposure for their books (the author and book title are listed on the book they are endorsing along with their endorsement). Many authors also recommend books to their readers as they work to maintain an ongoing relationship with their fans.

A micro-influencer is anyone who has influence over a small audience. Be creative in thinking about micro-influencers. They are everywhere. For example, teachers have influence. Get a teacher excited about your book and your book will gain exposure to 25 or more new people in your target audience.

Remember, small numbers add up. So, go seek out some micro-influencers to get more people to discover your book.

Related Posts:
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Publishing Success

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Are You Using Subject Codes?

Have you ever read a book’s description and wondered whether the book was fiction or a true story? I have.

subject codes

Often, the description of a book, alone, may not clarify whether a book is a fiction or true story, whether the book is a Bible study or devotional, whether the book is a young adult novel or an adult novel. Enter Subject Codes.

The BISAC Subject Codes (also called Subject Headings) were created for books. Their purpose is to give anyone looking at a book—retailers, librarians, distributors, reviewers, and readers—a clear definition of a book’s content.

For consumers, these Subject Codes let them know what type of book they are looking at. Yes, they discovered the book in the fiction section of a bookstore or library, but is this book an historical fiction, a romance, or a mystery novel? For booksellers these Subject Codes tell them where to shelve the book in their store. Do they place the nonfiction book they hold in their hands under devotionals, biographies, or parenting?

BISAC Subject Codes are found on a book’s back cover, usually in the upper left-hand corner, but they can also be listed in the lower right-hand corner either above or below the EAN barcode. Traditional publishers all use them on their books. However, I have found that many independently published authors and small publishers do not include these subject codes on their books.

BISAC Subject Codes are administered by BISG, the Book Industry Study Group, which is a trade association that helps create standards for the book industry. The Codes are a list of industry-approved subject descriptors, which consist of two, three, or four levels of information such as:

  • RELIGION / Christian Church / Leadership
  • YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fantasy / Contemporary
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Poetry / Humorous
  • FICTION / Christian / Historical

If you have not used BISAC Subject Codes on your books, plan to do so with future editions. You can include the BISAC Subject Codes for your books in your online descriptions as well as the back cover of your book. Using BISAC Subject Codes can provide the following benefits:

  • Enhance your current titles’ discoverability.
  • Improve your market intelligence.
  • Increase your selling potential.
  • Maintain visibility of back-list titles.

Access to the complete approved list of BISAC Subject Codes is free. They are also free to use. The Codes can be found on BISG’s website. The organization updates the codes regularly. They just recently added more than 500 new Codes.

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Did You Forget the Subject Headings?
A Marketing Snafu

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Predictions for 2016 that You Should Know

At the end of every year, industry experts make predictions about what will happen in the coming year. Many of these predictions come true, some don’t. Since predictions are based on trends, there is usually a good chance these trends will continue and the predictions will come true, but not always. After all, past success is not a predictor of future success—or the stock market would have already made me rich.


For the past month, I have been reading numerous marketing and publishing industry trends for 2016. I have picked a few that I think are the most relevant to independently published authors and small publishers to share with you.

1. Mobile will dominate in 2016.
Google recently announced that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches. This means that more people are accessing the Internet from mobile devices than ever before. Having a mobile-optimized website is essential for 2016. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you will not show up in Google search results for mobile device users. The majority of email will also be read on mobile devices, so make sure your email marketing efforts support mobile (responsive email designs).

2. Audiobooks and Children’s Books will continue to lead book growth in 2016.
in 2015, the Children’s book market in the United States grew by 13%. Experts predict that this genre will continue to grow in 2016, as it has for the past 3 to 5 years. Audiobooks enjoyed phenomenal growth in 2015. The category grew as much as 31% in the first half of 2015 over the previous six months. Many believe that audiobooks will continue to have double-digit growth in 2016.

3. Print will remain strong, but Indies will dominate the ebook market.
Industry experts are reporting that the ebook and print markets appear to be diverging into parallel markets. In other words, traditional publishers dominate the print market, while indies dominate the ebook market. According to Author Earnings, 45% of ebooks sold on Amazon Kindle store are published by Indies. The prediction is that this will grow to be over 50% in 2016 as traditional publishers leverage agency pricing to keep the price of ebooks higher.

Studies show that people tend to purchase an ebook over a print book if the ebook price is $4 lower than the print book. Many traditional publishers are now pricing ebooks within $2 to $3 of the print book, driving more print sales. Since many Indies publish ebooks only, these authors are growing their dominance of the ebook market—largely with fiction books. As a result, some are predicting that ebook unit sales will grow in 2016, while the amount of dollar sales will actually decrease as people seek out cheap ebooks.

4. Video ads will start to reign in 2016.
With Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options, this venue will only grow in 2016 when Google begins to allow video-based advertisements in search results. Currently, Google only supports text-based ads and, occasionally, images. Video ads showing up in Google searches will only accelerate the current trend toward video-based ads. If you advertise on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere on the Internet, you will need to get on board with this trend to catch as many consumers as possible. Some experts are also saying that advertising on Instagram will become an essential component to a comprehensive marketing strategy.

I believe that we will also see physical bookstores continue to struggle in 2016. Along with this, the percentage of books purchased online will continue to grow. The most successful independently published authors and small publishers will be those that actively engage their target audience.

Do you have a marketing or publishing prediction for 2016 that was not mentioned here? Please share it with me.

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Trends in Book Discovery

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