What the publishing industry could learn from the fashion industry
For some reason I seem to have become a fashion influencer, I’m not really sure how it happened or why but I’m certainly not complaining. And working with these fashion brands has made me realise how so far behind the publishing industry is and how much it still has to learn when it is looking to work with influencers.
So what have I learn from working with fashion companies?
1. I know this might sound simple, but before any of these brands reached out to me they followed me, liked some of my pictures and engaged with me. Not only is this a nice thing to do it’s also a really smart thing to do as it links us together in the social graph. Most publishers who offer to send me books do not follow me, don’t engage at all and if they do its only when it relates to their books. It isn’t great for relationship building.
2. These clothing companies have personally reached out to me after following and making sure I’m a good match for them. And they have all been spot on; I have yet to be offered something that isn’t in my style. In contrast, I doubt whether most publishers would know what types of books I love and read; they just offer me anything in an email blast and often they are wholly unsuitable for my audience. Their e-mails are often so impersonal as well.
3. The clothing companies put no limits or expectations on me, unless I applied for an ambassadorship. It would be nice if publishers reached out in the same way, but often it’s for just one book and in exchange for a review or a feature or something else. The clothes are often 10 times more expensive than a book, yet they are not asking for anything from me.
4. The clothing companies check in to make sure I have received the items, that they all fitted well, etc. I have not had one publisher reach out to me ever to ask if I have got the book and if I liked it. They only ask if I have put a review up or if I am going to feature it.
5. The clothing companies like my photos of their outfits, comment and share. Some publishers do this but most just don’t seem to care or even notice.
6. The clothing companies keep in touch, sharing, asking if I would like anything else, telling me what they have coming in. I’ve never had a publishing company do this other than mass emails.
7. And the most important thing that these clothing companies make me feel important, like I am in a reciprocal relationship with them, like they care and we are in this together. Most publishing companies often make Bookstagrammers feel pressurised and used; not all, but some. You can feel like you are just another name, another number, another person to help them promote their book.
And I’m not foolish, I know that the clothing industry perhaps makes more money than the book industry, has departments set up just to source and find influencers and schmooze them. They have been at this game for longer, they understand it more, but it that really an excuse? While I have a large book loving audience I’ve always felt that a lot of the publishers have never really capitalised on that, have never really got to know me and what I like and consequently I’m often left feeling like they don’t care, which may be harsh. Perhaps if you constantly write reviews and constantly post pictures with books as the hero image they show much more love for you.
Maybe I’m just not bookish enough? But then am I fashion enough?
I don’t know and I certainly don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining. I’m grateful for every book I get offered, the ones I take, the ones I read and every publisher that reaches out to me, I just feel that they could be doing such a better job, they could be taking the work of influencers much more seriously and they could be getting so much more out of the influencers they work with.
What are your thoughts?