Why publishers turn authors into social media influencers

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“I can’t say that I’ve already planned to release my second book in the middle of a pandemic,” said Haley Newlin, bestselling horror / thriller author Sarah Halls and Take Your Turn Teddy.

But I’m thankful that as more and more of us entered there were legions of horror fans supporting me through online communities, events and experiences.

Newlin’s success with their second book in 2020 is due in part to an increase in readership across the industry as more of us move closer to a book in 2020 which has increased sales of 8.2% from 2019, the biggest increase in a decade. And for readers, they have never had more choice than today with 4 million books published in 2019, more than 10 times more titles per year than in 2007 according to Bowker.

“We’re finding that more and more readers are turning to the author’s biography first when choosing a book,” said Brian Bies, publishing director of New Degree Press, the publisher of Newlin. “Readers buy the book, and then one of the first things they do after they finish reading is follow the author on Instagram, subscribe on YouTube, and interact with them on Twitter. It’s totally different when readers feel empowered to speak directly to the author. And so we realized that one of the most powerful ways for authors to cultivate book following is to learn how to engage readers directly and authentically through social media.

Writers have long been viewed as more introverted than the general population, where one-third to one-half of all people are more introverted than extroverted.

“We’ve learned that a lot of writers just don’t feel comfortable marketing themselves,” Bies explained. “It’s not that they can’t do it, it’s just that it’s not natural for them. And we realized how important it was to put a writer at ease with their public voice – we brought in coaches and teachers to train our writers to talk about themselves and their books. People keep telling me, “Are you hiring speaking and social media coaches, not writing coaches?” But it has transformed all writers, not just the most introverted. “

Tiffany Mosher had an important and powerful story, but lacked the confidence to tell it. “Because of my depression, I was very lonely. This ultimately led to a suicide attempt, which I wrote about in my book, but I had to figure out how to move on from a large part of my family not knowing what has happened until now, the world. known.

One of the people Bies turned to was Newlin who had been experienced as a social media strategist and had obtained his Masters of Fine Arts. Newlin knew, as an author, that she would need to design, develop and execute a completely new approach for writers and authors – helping them activate and expand their existing networks rather than thinking about marketing a book. .

For many writers like Mosher, their stories were powerful and moving, but without learning to tell them beyond the book, their reach is limited.

“I think all too often writers are told to change to sell books or develop their audience,” shared Newlin, who has coached and mentored over a thousand authors.

“Reality is consistency and community is key – and that’s one of the reasons publishing with a cohort of fellow authors is so important. When you write and publish with a community of fellow writers, they form that first network that uplifts you and your book. This is where we saw the greatest progress for writers: moving from marketing a book to building a community of readers. “

Newlin, Bies and New Degree Press saw their investment pay off with authors like Zev Burton (Two Fish in a Tank, New Degree Press 2021) pushing his community on TikTok from a figure to nearly 150,000 even before the releasing his book, Rahul Rana (Making Moonshots, New Degree Press 2020) leveraging his book for a venture capital job and ultimately being named one of the top venture capitalists under twenty-five , and Tiffany Mosher (Beauty Beyond the Threshold, New Degree Press 2020) makes over three dozen radio stations and podcasts interviewed and ultimately hired into the film industry based on her memoir.

“While most newbie or younger authors might not fit into their books with a large audience,” Newlin explained, “you can teach and coach an author to behave more like many social media influencers. today. It’s about being real, honest and vulnerable. But perhaps the most important thing is to recognize that the first step is to activate the people you already know and let them grow your book.

“We realized that some of the best people that writers can learn from are young freelance writers, YouTube creators, and social media influencers,” Bies explained. “We can learn a lot from them, and in an increasingly noisy market, we’ve looked at unique ways to help authors settle and establish their books. “

And the investment has paid off, with New Degree Press authors selling on average seven to ten times more than self-published authors and double the traditionally published authors by industry figures.

Bies continues, “We can’t market for an author because frankly people don’t buy the publisher – they buy the author. But we believe you can teach influencer techniques, approaches, and mindset, even to people who have never seen themselves as influencers.

“I never realized my story would touch so many people,” Mosher said. “But I’m so grateful he did.”

Posted on May 31, 2021


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