Reach Beyond Your Market: Finding Podcasters to Pitch

We are now several years into the podcasting boom. Podcasts like Serial and S-Town have gone viral and every major news outlet has gotten in on the game, from The Daily at the New York Times to Thirst Aid Kit from Buzzfeed. And there are countless smaller, indie podcasts about everything from true crime to comics to wellness.

Naturally, there are plenty of podcasts that cover books and the book industry. Some of these podcasts, like Book Riot’s Hey YA, are only focused on a specific market in the book industry while others, like Call Your Girlfriend, are broadly about culture and media, and often feature books as well. Podcasts are an important part of our cultural landscape, and therefore should be an important part of authors’ and publishers’ publicity plans.

Photo Credit: BookRiot

Podcasting is an intimate medium, which is its strength. At their best, podcasts feel like being let in on conversations between friends. Listeners develop personal attachments to podcast hosts. It’s one of the reasons why sponsors and advertisers prefer live reads for their ads. Featuring a book or an author on a podcast functions like a word-of-mouth recommendation because of the intimate relationship that listeners have to podcast hosts. If a book is vetted by a cultural critic who feels like a friend, a listener is more likely to pick up the book or research it further.

If you have never included podcasters in your publicity strategies, now is the time to start!

When building a roster of podcasts to pitch, start by searching podcast recommendations for listeners. There are plenty of lists of podcasts of all types, from Bookish podcast recommendations to romance podcasts to podcasts hosted by women of color.

Photo Credit: Call Your Girlfriend

Expand your horizons beyond exclusively literary or book-focused podcasts. If you write sports romances, look into sports podcasts. If you are publicizing a non-fiction title about time management, explore podcasts about wellness, creativity, and career advice. Podcasts give you an opportunity to reach unexpected new audiences.

Just like other media, it can be difficult to find just the right podcast to suit your book, and to help your book stand out. The most popular podcasts are also going to be the toughest to have your book chosen for a feature, while smaller podcasts might have too tiny an audience to be an effective part of your marketing strategy. This is why it is important to be creative with the types of podcasters you’re pitching, ones who reach niche communities relevant to your book.

Trickier still, there’s no standard way to tell how many people a given podcast reaches. Hosting platforms like iTunes generally don’t show the number of subscribers for a podcast, making it hard to tell how big a specific audience is. To get a sense of a podcast’s audience, take a look at the podcast’s social media presence. Does it have a good number of followers? Do those followers engage with the podcast through comments, likes, and re-tweets? Has the podcast been written up in any other sources (i.e. on lists of recommended podcasts for its particular niche)? Use these guidelines to find a list of appropriate podcasts to pitch.

When you are pitching, make it personal. As with all other kinds of pitching, targeted and personalized requests tend to be better received than anonymous, formulaic ones. Demonstrate to podcast hosts that you are familiar with their work.

Take advantage of the form. Think about what opportunities audio offers your titles.  A short teaser of an audiobook? A chance to highlight an author’s witty banter to build personal interest? Audio podcasting is a unique medium. Be creative with how you might use it in your publicity strategy.

Podcasting is an exciting and emerging part of the media landscape. Tell us about how you use podcasts as part of your publicity strategy in the comments or by emailing insights@netgalley.com. We hope to share success stories in future articles!

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How to Use BookishFirst If You’re a Marketer

The Internet is a social place. It’s where readers find their next book, where authors stay connected to readers, where publishers keep abreast of new voices, and industry newbies hunt for their first jobs in the field. “How to use…if you’re…” breaks down best practices for literary social corners of the Internet for different players in the publishing industry.

We’re starting this series out with our sister site, BookishFirst!

Using BookishFirst as a Marketer

Utilize BookishFirst to connect with a community of highly engaged readers, jumpstart early interest and consumer reviews for your books, increase buzz on social and retail sites, and gain valuable demographic information about your audience!

What is BookishFirst?

BookishFirst is a new platform that allows publishers and authors to reach avid readers directly with a pre-publication excerpt and book raffle. Readers get a “First Look” at new books with an excerpt, and enter the raffle to win the full book by providing a short blurb, their “First Impression.” Raffle winners are then sent the full book, and after reading, they submit full reviews on retail and book community sites. Readers are incentivized: each action earns points (writing blurbs and full reviews, and sharing those reviews, especially on pub date), and those points can later be redeemed for a free book without raffle entry.

Category trends are beginning to develop, as raffles for Women’s Fiction, YA, and Thrillers are doing especially well. But recent experiments with other verticals, including nonfiction, comics, and cookbooks, have seen success as well.

How To Use BookishFirst

Learn more about your readers

One of the most powerful benefits of a BookishFirst campaign is the information marketers get about their readers. BookishFirst reporting includes information on readers’ age, gender, and book-buying habits (including how often they purchase books and where). Marketers can then use this information to gain early insight into what kinds of readers will be most interested in their titles. If a marketer expects their title to resonate best with women 21-30, but finds that most of the raves from BookishFirst are from women 51-60, that marketer can adjust the marketing strategy to best access those readers.

Gain early impressions

Readers get a “First Look” new books with an excerpt, and enter the raffle to win the full book by providing their “First Impression” or short blurb. Raffle winners are sent the full book, and after reading, submit their full reviews on retail and book community sites. Readers are encouraged to write full reviews and share them widely. They earn points for every action (writing blurbs and full reviews, and sharing those reviews, especially on pub date), and those points can later be redeemed for a free book without raffle entry. BookishFirst has an 80% review rate: readers are very engaged and incentivized to submit full reviews after winning the book.

The in-depth reporting that BookishFirst provides to publishers after the pub date includes those full reviews, as well as the specific links to those reviews on retail and book community sites. Publishers find the reporting especially valuable: “This is so great, especially the audience breakdown…I definitely want to do this again.”

Generate buzz outside of BookishFirst

BookishFirst campaigns radiate out into other parts of the Internet in several ways. Raffle winners crosspost their reviews on book sites (like Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, etc), especially on pub date, and are sent an automated reminder to do so. BookishFirst campaigns can also integrate into social media campaigns; for example, through hashtags.

Reach the Bookish & NetGalley communities

New raffle books are promoted heavily to the entire Bookish audience via email marketing and social media throughout each week. BookishFirst titles are also cross-promoted to NetGalley members when applicable. All this extra marketing is included as part of the raffle cost.

Learn more here or email BookishFirst@Bookish.com for more information, including pricing.

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Book Industry Instagram Accounts to Follow

You already know that Instagram is for book lovers. It is full of swoon-worthy photos of gorgeous books (Book Bento Box, Modern Book Design, and Book Baristas for starters). But it is also a great place to keep up with trends in the publishing industry.

Discover unique community programming at brick and mortar bookstores, see how publishing houses are creatively marketing their books on social media, look at online book clubs to learn what readers are excited about, and get inspired by cutting edge book design. These accounts are some of our favorites in the whole universe of book-loving Instagram. They showcase unique viewpoints and strategies from different corners of the industry that we think you should be paying attention to.

Photo Credit: Instagram – @subwaybookreview

Subway Book Review (105k followers)

As book lovers ourselves, we always want to know what people are reading. Subway Book Review satisfies that itch by asking strangers on the subway for a micro review of what they are reading at that moment. It’s a fascinating slice of life, in the spirit of Humans of New York, but this account is really a sneak peek into the minds of consumers. Why are people gravitating towards the books they are choosing? How are people finding these titles and where are they buying them? Use this account for some free market research.

 

The Spines (8k followers)

The Spines, aka book blogger Megan Prokott, might not be the biggest book-loving Instagram account, but she really knows how to engage her community. The secret? Ask questions! She ends her posts with questions about what her followers are reading, where they like to read, and more. Readers love talking about reading, and Megan is giving her followers a way to interact with her account, and with each other. It also doesn’t hurt SEO.

 

Women & Children First (4.4k followers)

Women & Children First is a bookstore in Chicago that has been stocking books by and about women (and for children) since 1979. Their Instagram page is chock full of events held at the bookstore–you can look at their account and see that they host author interviews, drag queen storytime, and multiple book clubs. The community centered around Women & Children First is clearly vibrant and passionate. Keeping tabs on indie brick and mortar shops is a great way to see how bookstores are serving the needs of their unique communities and can help you craft specific pitches to different kinds of booksellers for different kinds of bookstores.

 

Photo Credit: Instagram – @littlefreelibrary

Little Free Library (43.4k followers)

Have you ever seen a structure on someone’s front lawn with a small lending library inside? You likely have Little Free Library to thank for that. Little Free Library is a small non-profit that fosters neighborhood book exchanges all over the world. Their mission is based on hyper-local community reading needs, but they use Instagram to keep the global Little Free Library community engaged with the project, and, if you look in the comments, with each other.

 

Well-Read Black Girl (85k followers)

Founded by Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl is an online newsletter and social media community highlighting the work of black women authors. It has also blossomed into an in-person book club and an annual festival in Brooklyn featuring author interviews, panels about writing and self-care, and more. Well-Read Black Girl’s Instagram is full of photos of book recommendations, author quotes, and photos from in-person events. It highlights a vibrant and engaged community that is communicating on multiple platforms in a variety of ways.

 

Belletrist (176k followers)

A digital book club for predominantly millennial women readers, Belletrist was founded by Karah Priess and actor Emma Roberts. Their Instagram account is full of links to author interviews, check-ins with their book club readers, and collaborations with other book-loving Instagram accounts. Belletrist was started by two best friends, and the conspiratorial, friendly tone is reflected in their social media presence. It feels like a conversation with your friends, inspiring lots of follower engagement. Belletrist also makes great use of live features on social media, both in Instagram stories and on Facebook Live, premiering new book club picks in a livestream, encouraging their audience to tune in all at once and all together.

 

Photo Credit: Instagram – @graywolfpress

Graywolf Press (24.1k followers)

Graywolf does a fantastic job of marketing its titles on Instagram. Graywolf promotes its titles with visually appealing, color-coordinated shots. The trick is that they post multiple shots of the same title, creating unique pieces of content while keeping the branding consistent. This tactic keeps the information feeling fresh while also keeping their titles in the feeds of their followers, and hopefully top of mind when they go to the bookstore.

 

The New York Public Library (186k followers)

An iconic library and cultural institution, the NYPL’s Instagram is a mix of serious shots of their massive collection and casual celebrations of its community of patrons. They post vintage index cards full of questions that patrons have asked librarians (subtly reminding us all how vital librarians are to their communities!). The NYPL also spearheaded #BookfaceFriday, where some of their librarians and staffers match their faces or their surroundings to a book cover. The trend has spread and NYPL reposts photos from other libraries, creating cross-library awareness and goodwill. It’s a great reminder to be creative with your photos, and to have a sense of fun with your visual marketing.

 

Photo Credit: Instagram – @shedesignsbooks

She Designs Books (2.2k followers)

Highlighting books designed by women, this feed is full of beautiful book covers. If you are a self-publishing author, get inspired by these innovative and effective images. If you work in book design, take a look at new trends in the field. Even better, if you are a designer in New York City, follow this account for their live meetups and networking events!

 

Marley Dias (47.7k followers)

Marley Dias has been on the literary scene since 2015, when, at the tender age of 11, she began a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks, calling for more children’s books about black girls (she complained to her mother that she was given mostly books about white boys and their dogs to read in school). She has been promoting better representation in children’s books ever since, interviewing other creatives, writing a book, and going on book tour. Keep an eye on her and on other young voices who are the next generation of literary tastemakers.

 

Jen Pastiloff (34.2k followers)

Jen Pastiloff, author of the forthcoming On Being Human, has an Instagram presence that shows some of the less glamorous moments in her life, like wearing pants that still have their tags on them and eating a tupperware full of goldfish crackers for dinner. Her account is relatable, and very personal. She posts photos of her family, including her young son. It helps her audience connect with her at an intimate level, rather than purely a professional or literary one. Not all authors will want to divulge their personal life, but for those who do, Jen’s account is a great model.

 

You can always also keep up with NetGalley and Bookish on Instagram, too!

 

How have you used Instagram to market your titles or engage with your audiece? Let us know by emailing insights@netgalley.com We’d love to feature stories from our publisher and author community for future stories.

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