Finding Your Tribe: How a Network of Influence Can Help You Promote Your Book

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Many of us authors get tired of hearing the word “platform.” Working to build an audience can feel like climbing an impossibly high mountain, where the peak looks farther and farther away as you go. The good news is that the potential audience for your book might be bigger than you realize.

We all have family, friends, and acquaintances—some dating back many years. Have you ever considered that the people you know could be helping you promote and sell your book?

Here are some examples:

  • A friendly coworker from 10+ years ago is now working in the marketing department for a big corporation. Could you reach out and ask her if the company would be interested in purchasing your books in bulk? Or if you could come offer lunch and learn sessions at their offices?
  • A schoolmate who you keep in touch with on Facebook has a major Instagram audience following her artsy photos. Could she help by recommending your book to her audience?
  • A cousin works at an event promotion firm. Could you ask him to help you get booked for speaking engagements?
  • A neighbor is related to your favorite author—the one you’d love to have endorse your book. Why not ask?

Every one of us has a tribe. Yours consists of the people in your life who can help impact the success of your book and your author business as a whole. This group includes peers, business associates, fellow authors, friends, family, and acquaintances.

The point here is that you know a lot more people than you realize, and those contacts can help with all kinds of book promotion opportunities. 

Ways to ask your tribe for support:

  • Introduce you to industry influencers
  • Share your book in their newsletter/blog/magazine
  • Send a copy of your book to someone famous
  • Promote on social media
  • Connect you with sponsors
  • Connect you with speaking opportunities
  • Connect you with retailers and other sales outlets
  • Introduce you to nonprofit contacts
  • Write a review for your book on Amazon
  • Publish a book review on their blog or newsletter
  • Buy copies of your book, especially in bulk quantities
  • Host a contest to give away copies of your book
  • Refer you to people who can buy your books in bulk
  • Connect you with media interviews

Here’s what your tribe of influence looks like:


Tribe of Influence

(You can download a printable copy of the Tribe of Influence chart here.)

Homework: Identify Your Tribe of Influence

Sit down at your computer and dedicate some thoughtful time to looking through your contacts lists, social media networks, photos with memories, and even old emails. You might be surprised by who you’ve forgotten about and how they can support you.

I recommend building a spreadsheet that includes the following columns:

  • Contact Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number (if you’ll use it)
  • Your Request (what you plan to ask)

Ideally you should build your lists before your book comes out, but no matter where you are in the process, just start now. It’s never too late to connect with your own tribe of influence and create new book marketing opportunities!


How to Build an Author Platform

Stephanie Chandler

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books including The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Online and Offline Promotion Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. Stephanie is also founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association, a vibrant educational community for experienced and aspiring writers, and the Nonfiction Writers Conference, an annual event conducted entirely online. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine.