How Can I Find Key Influencers In My Niche?

Start-ups are typically cash-poor, at least in their very early days. So how the heck are CEOs supposed to get the word out about their fabulous offerings? Marketing firms, publicists, advertisers…everything costs MONEY! CEOs need boku bucks in order to develop their ideas into something saleable but then they need even MORE money to reach customers.

But not if they can appeal to key influencers in their market segments.

Influencers are people who have a respected voice in a specific niche area. They have an avid group of followers that holds their opinions in high regard. They are a trusted source of information and opinions about a given area.

They trick is to figure out WHO the influencers are in your niche.  There are tools you can use to find them.  I’ve used Klout and Kred but i found another one I like better called Followerwonk. You look up keywords and search results are presented with a ranking.  Pick out 10-20 influencers and then the fun really begins because you’ll need to incent them to endorse your product or service. They may accept payment, although this is not as effective as getting editorial review for your company. Positive affirmation from an unpaid source is always preferable, just not always possible.

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Sometimes incentives come in the form of some type of gift, like product, tickets to an exclusive company-hosted event, or swag of some sort.  But what happens if what you have to offer isn’t really enticing enough?  This is the issue for most of us, if you were wondering.  =)

That’s when you have to get creative.  And believe me, it isn’t easy.  I’ve tried a few different things as an indie author to raise interest in my books.  Most times, it doesn’t work.  On rare occasions, my efforts pay off.  It’s those few and far between wins that I choose to focus on, because maybe it’ll be one of those influencers that will ultimately help me spread the word.  Too bad I don’t have any more Krina handbags to send out.  What romance aficionado wouldn’t love to tote around a luxurious leather handbag for an e-reader and some assorted favorite novels?  And maybe a bag of Starburst jelly beans.

Sometimes It’s Good To Take A Few Steps Back Before Moving Forward

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My editor recently told me that publishers don’t like the “s” in “towards,” “backwards,” or “forwards.”  Add this to the ever-increasing list of things I didn’t know about writing.  So I thought the title of this post was kind of apropos.

It’s come to my attention that the first few posts here sent somewhat of an ambiguous message so I want to set the record straight. 

I’m a total novice at this writing gig.  I’ve got no background to speak of, but I’m chuck-full of ideas.  I decided to try my hand at romance since I’m a sucker for drama, spicy hot shower scenes and HEA.  Three rewrites later, it’s 97% done.  I guess the third time really is a charm.   

So I’ve got a big decision to make.  How do I get my story out to the masses?  Do I self-publish and become an indie author?  Or shall I try my luck (again) and go the traditional publishing route?

I love the idea of being an indie author.  As a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, the whole model just suits me.  Also, I’m a little Type A so the idea of being the master of my own destiny is rather appealing.

But other factors come into play.  Do I have the bandwidth to take care of my family as well as juggle all the elements of my day job, my household AND a budding career as a romance novelist?  Maybe I should seek a partnership with a smaller press where I can have a voice at the table and leverage their expertise.  That may just be the ideal scenario for me.

The truth is, I don’t have the answer.  Hence the reason for my first set of posts.  I spend a lot of time opining on all of the alternatives and sometimes a glass of wine gives me some short-term clarity (any more than a glass and it’s back to square one).

What I’ve learned is that you need to have a solid platform, regardless of the chosen publishing method.  The bigger the following, the more lucrative the prospect. I’ve been doing a lot of research to figure out how to create my author brand and I wanted to share my findings, not to be confused with my anticipated successes.

So any time I come across information that I consider helpful, I’m going to share it here.  I’m not even close to being an “expert”; I’d settle for “somewhat informed” at this point.  

And so, my journey continues.

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