If you’re an author, you’ve no doubt heard the term “Street Team”. It’s one of those phrases that gains popularity in an instant and is thrown around with the wink-wink, nudge-nudge sense that you should know what it means.
But what if you don’t?
What if this is your first book launch, and you’ve never had to publicize a book before? What if you’re struggling to find your way through the first round of edits – never mind promotions! If that’s you, then here’s your answer: a five-point summary of street teams, and how having one can help YOU sell your book faster and more effectively than you ever thought you could.
- They are the author’s “feet on the street” – or in this case – the internet.
A street team is composed of online bloggers / reviewers / social media people who assist in the online launch of a book during the first crucial weeks. Every author needs a voice online if they want their books to be found and your street team creates it.
The usual expectation is that the relationship has benefits for everyone involved. Authors generally include swag, publicity, and connections to their street team members, and in return, these bloggers keep the author’s book in the public eye.
- Build your Network:
Having connections to bloggers and reviewers is key, but even if you have a relatively small number of online followers, you can still find a street team. You just need to ask. Find bloggers and ask them. Post to Goodreads and Facebook. Show what you’re offering. When I was creating the street team for Edge of Wild, I posted in all these places. I also listed what the street team members would get in return for their participation and within a few days I had an enthusiastic street team ready to spread the word!
- Giveaways give back.
Since my promotions budget was relatively small, I capped my street team at ten people. The costs are not just for the giveaways and your books. It’s also time. You will be writing plenty of posts, as well as organizing.
Some things you might include in your giveaway are…
- A signed first edition copy of your book.
- A digital ARC.
- Bookmarks, postcards and stationary.
- Bookbags, clothing items, other swag.
- Pens, paperweights, keychains.
Basically whatever fit YOUR book..
- Keep your costs reasonable.
If you’re self-publishing, your biggest asset is the book itself. Print a few galleys before the release! Beyond that, most of the items can be made or purchased.
Do not pay for a thousand pens with your book’s name on it. (You’ll regret it.) Go small and special. In my case, I designed and produced my own bookbags and tee-shirts. I also bought a few items from Michael’s, laminated bookmarks at Staples and printed postcards from Moo.
- For the love of all that’s good, STAY ORGANIZED.
Nothing will destroy your street team faster than lack of planning. And since the author is in charge, you need to stay organized whether that’s your natural approach to writing or not.
When Edge of Wild’s street team had a full roster, I put together a Google folder to keep everyone’s tasks straight, and then mailed out a “Welcome to the Street Team” email. I encouraged the group to develop their own projects for their blogs. Some wanted guest posts, others reviews, and a few opted for other items. All of these were laid out in the google docs. Organized. Clear. They were all ready to go long before they were needed.
In the end, a street team’s effectiveness is as much about how you make the bloggers feel as much as what you do. A little bit of planning and patience goes a long way. Your street team is your voice, so make it strong.
Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (Edge of Wild, The Intaglio Series and Ctrl Z) and teens (All the Feels). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.
Websites: http://www.danikastone.com/ and http://www.authordkstone.com/
Book Release #1: Edge of Wild, Stonehouse, May 1, 2016:
Book Release #2: All the Feels, Macmillan, June 7, 2016