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How to Build Your Tribe of Influence (Even if You Think Your Platform is Small) Stephanie Chandler
San Francisco Writers Conference San Francisco Writers Conference
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco , CA
Friday, December 13, 2019


When I work with authors one-on-one, the first homework assignment I give is to make a list of important contacts, which I call the author’s Tribe of Influence. Your tribe 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, and family.

The point of identifying your tribe is that you can then reach out and ask them for support and assistance.

While you may think your platform isn’t very big yet, when you follow the steps outlined here and identify influential people in your life, you could find that your potential reach is much bigger than you thought.

Here’s what your tribe of influence looks like:


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

How Your Tribe Can Support You

Following are some of the many ways you can ask your tribe to support you and your book.

  • Promote your book via social media, email, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, videos, or any other platform they use.
  • Join your beta readers group.
  • Interview you as a guest on their programs.
  • Post a review of your book on their own blog/website.
  • Publish an excerpt of your book.
  • Invite you to speak at industry events.
  • Connect you with speaking opportunities.
  • Introduce you to media contacts and other influencers.
  • Buy copies of your book, especially in bulk quantities.
  • Refer you to people who can buy your books in bulk.

How to Identify Your Tribe of Influence

Spend some time looking through your contact lists, social media networks, and even old emails. I bet there are people in your tribe that you have forgotten about! As a fun bonus, this can also create opportunities to reconnect with people from your past.

As you build your list, consider these questions:

  • Do I have any current or past coworkers who could support my book?
  • Do I have any current or past clients who could support my book?
  • Do I have any past schoolmates who could help?
  • Do I know any bloggers, podcasters, or social media stars?
  • Who are the authors I know who could help?
  • Do I have any influential family members or personal friends?
  • How can I reach my past readers? (Hopefully you’ve been building your email list!)

Action Item: Build a Tribe of Influence Spreadsheet

Your spreadsheet should include a column to list exactly what you will ask each person to do to support you and your book, based on the list of possibilities shown above. Here’s an example of what your spreadsheet might look like:


Segment Your Tribe List

Once you have a master list of contacts, you can then separate your list into categories or perhaps create additional lists to include media outlets and other opportunities.

Consider adding these people and opportunities to your lists:

  • Authors who can endorse the book or provide a foreword.
  • Authors who can promote the book or have a large social media following/platform.
  • Review copy recipients including media pros, industry bloggers, review sites, social media influencers, awards programs, potential clients, and event planners who hire speakers.
  • Local and national media contacts, online and offline, including radio/podcast hosts, local news programs, print publications, and industry specialists.
  • Potential bulk book buyers including past clients, current clients, corporations, associations, schools, speaking contacts, and nonprofits. In other words, who can you ask to buy large quantities of your book?
  • Any person, book, product, online resource or company that you mention/recommend in your book.
  • Groups where your target readers spend time. This includes trade associations, alumni groups, Meetup groups, online groups (Facebook and LinkedIn), and nonprofits. Include key contacts and those who oversee blog content, newsletter/magazine, and booking speakers at events.

Ideally you want to build your lists before your book comes out, but regardless of where you are in the process, just start where you are. It’s never too late to seek book reviews, podcast interviews, bulk sales, or speaking opportunities!

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books including The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan: The Professional Guide to Profitable Self-Publishing and 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 community for writers, and the Nonfiction Writers Conference, a traditional writers’ conference experienced conducted entirely online. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine.

The San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change conference are both produced by the San Francisco Writers Conference & San Francisco Writers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The SFWC Director is Laurie McLean.  For registration help, contact Richard Santos at registrations@sfwriters.org. For SFWC sponsorship and scholarship opportunities, contact Barbara Santos at Barbara@sfwriters.org.  The SFWC website is:  www.SFWriters.org

Marketing Director
San Francisco Writers Conference
Oakley, CA
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