Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Last month I talked about How to get More Reviews for Your Book, this week I am talking about exposure and why it can make a difference. In my job as Lola’s Blog Tours I still use some of the knowledge I learned during my uni study and the importance of exposure is one of those things. I might get a bit theoretical, but I personally love the theory of exposure and I think some people underestimate how important it is. Being a blog tour organizer I often hear from satisfied customers who loved my tours, but I’ve also heard some customers say they didn’t get enough sales. While I always hope authors see an increase in sales when they book a tour, I never focus on sales as the goal of a blog tour as I know the main goal from a blog tour isn’t sales, it’s exposure. That exposure might lead to sales, but it can take some time. Having done a psychology study and having majored in economic and consumer psychology I always thought that exposure is a pretty good goal to have for any marketing campaign, but I think many people underestimate the power of exposure. So that’s why I want to talk about exposure today. Exposure might lead to sales, it might not, it might take time, but what I do believe is that that exposure makes a difference.
What is exposure?
Simply said exposure is how you come in contact with products. You see an ad for a new product or brand then you get exposed to that product or brand. In consumer psychology exposure theories are given a lot of weight. Generally speaking the more you’ve been exposed to a brand or product, the more familiar that brand or product feels to you and the higher the chance you buy that product. When you feel more familiar with a product or brand you associate this with less risk and you’re more likely to buy that products. Exposure is a big part of the reason why we buy certain products. For example I always go to the same supermarket as I am familiar with it, I understand how they work and every supermarket of that chain gives the same feel, it feels familiar and I enjoy shopping there. Let’s take another example, there’s a new cleaning product called Product X. After seeing some ads for the product you have been exposed to this product. Then if you are in a supermarket one day and you are choosing a cleaning product because you don’t have a strong preference for that yet, you might be more likely to pick up Product X as it feels more familiar and customers prefer to buy products that are more familiar. So by being exposed to a product or brand you might be more likely to buy that product or brand or shop at that store etc. There are ofcourse circumstances where the effect is stronger or weaker, like if you always buy cleaning product B you won’t switch as easily to a new brand. I think for books this theory is applicable too. If you don’t know a book exists you can’t buy it and that’s where exposure comes in.
How to get More exposure for your book
When you’re focusing on more exposure for your book, you’re focusing on making sure your book get’s seen by as many people as possible as often as possible. Keep in mind that there is a limit, if you spam people with your book they might get annoyed and will be less likely to buy your book. That’s why it’s important not to overdo it.
- Reviews. Reviews are one form of exposure. So by focusing on getting more reviews for your book you’re also working on exposure. Most reviewers post their reviews or links to their in multiple places, like book selling sites, social media sites, bookish sites like Goodreads and on their blog. Can you imagine how many people can hear about your book if a blogger reviews it? Which is one reason why reviews are so valuable.
- Guest posts, interviews etc. You can contact bloggers for guest posts, interviews and such to make sure you can visit their blog talk about you and your blog. There are many blogs who accept interviews, guest posts and such and it might be worthwhile to contact blogs for that reason.
- Blog Tours. Blog Tours are a great way to get more exposure as they focus on getting your book on multiple blogs. The nice thing is that you don’t have to do the work of contacting the bloggers yourself, which saves you time and effort. Although that also means you can’t decide on which blogs you’ll be featured. So if there is a blog you really want to get featured on it still might be handy to contact those yourself.
- Social Media. Promoting your book on your own social media accounts and maybe get some of your followers or fans to share that post, pin, tweet etc. Social media is a good medium for promotion, although the downside can be that you get lost in the sea of information and posts. Still I think social media is an important part of your online presence and exposure strategy. Make sure not to overdo it and spam your followers, but you can definitely make them aware of your book. For example by posting about a release day, sharing great reviews it got, awesome sales or the next book you’re writing.
- Ads. Ads might not always lead to more sales, but they contribute to exposure for your book, especially if you can book an ad on a popular blog with lots of visitors. There are also social media sites that accept ads, although make sure to read more about how ads work there before committing.
Exposure and buying books
When it comes to my own book buying habits I can also see the effect exposure and reviews have on me. When I see one fantastic review for a book I might add it to my to-read list on goodreads, but most likely I won’t buy it. After seeing a few great reviews for that book the chances increase I will add that book to my to-read list, although only if it’s a book I might be interested in. Sometimes only one review is enough to have me add a book to my to-read list, but often it takes hearing again and again about a book and then eventually I decide to give it a try. I remember seeing a book blitz post for a book on multiple blogs on the same day and deciding I wanted to buy the book. Another example of a book where this happened to me is Burying Water by K.A. Tucker. I am not a fan of memory loss stories so I dismissed the book at first, then I kept hearing good things about the book and kept seeing and eventually I added it to my to-read list and eventually bought it. This process almost took a whole year. A whole year from seeing the book and it’s sequels before I read it. So yes exposure works slowly, but it definitely can have an effect. I think exposure initially doesn’t give a big boast in sales, but more in intention of buying it or people adding it to their to-read or wishlist. Which can be very valuable as these are potential customers and they can change that intention into actually buying the book. Not many people will see a book and immediately decide to buy it, that’s probably only a small percentage. But the amount of people who get exposed to the book and then later decide to buy it, that’s were the power of exposure really lies. Same goes with those ads you see on tv or on billboards. You probably won’t see an ad for Pizza Restaurant A and decide to go there now, but next time you are looking takeout or to go dining at a restaurant it might pop into your mind and you might go there, that’s the power of exposure.
Exposure and blog tours
So let’s focus a bit more on blog tours and exposure. I think blog tours do not primarily lead to more sales, like I said before there might be some people who buy your book after seeing it once, but they are more likely to buy the book after seeing it multiple times. Blog tours do get your book and cover seen on multiple blogs. It makes sure more people know the book exists. I think that this is where tours shine, by getting knowledge of your book’s existence out there.
To show an example of the effect a blog tour can have, let’s do a little example. Say 20 bloggers participate in a blog tour, which is a reasonable expectation based on the tours I organized so far. And let’s say each of those bloggers have 1000 social media followers, ofcourse there are bloggers who have many more followers and also those who have less, but let’s say 1000 average for this example. Say for every posts during the tour 50 followers see it, I am assuming never all followers will see post, this depends on time you post about it, the season, how many people share it etc. But let’s set this number low and say at least 50 followers see the post or link about the tour on each blog. That means 20×50=1000 people hear about the book/tour. That are 1000 new people who hear about your book just by one blog tour. That are 1000 people who might not knew that book existed before then. The thing about exposure though is that it is hard to measure, you can’t measure how many new people have heard or seen your book during a tour. But I think exposure is the real power behind blog tours and I think exposure is very important. And I think exposure is one of the reasons why a blog tour can help authors and their books be seen. It’s why on my services page I focus on what a tour can do for an author in terms of exposure and reviews. After all you can’t buy a book you don’t know exists.