Street Team: Great Idea, or Kind of Silly?

I’ve heard a lot about author street teams lately. The concept (for those who haven’t heard of it) involves a group of fans of an author’s work who are excited about promoting it. Those special readers hand out bookmarks, leave honest reviews, maybe request or donate library copies in their town, recommend the books to friends, or mention the titles in relevant Facebook posts. In exchange, they might get advance copies of books, paperbacks, or other swag. Maybe they become the author’s inner circle, the devoted fans who the author asks to beta read new work, or who have the author’s ear when they have questions about the stories.

And, of course, they get the author’s eternal gratitude. It’s about connection, not bribery.

Ideally, it’s a win-win situation. As an author, I wouldn’t be comfortable asking people to help out with promotions if they weren’t getting anything but warm, fuzzy feelings in return…

…but then, people do that anyway, don’t they? I know I do, when I read a book that I love. All of Bound‘s early sales came from word-of-mouth promotion. People read advance copies and reviewed on their blogs, or bought copies and recommended the book to their friends. A few people suggested it to their wine-drinking clubs book clubs, and they all bought it and read it together. And that led to enough sales that Amazon started recommending it.

It continues now. People will write and say they loved the book and are recommending it to everyone, and I just want to hug them. But I don’t. Because that would be uncomfortable for everyone.

Also, internet hugs get weird.

But I’m starting to think that a street team could be fun. I know there are people out there who are reviewing and recommending, and darn it, I want to give them stuff to make that easier. I want to send them postcards with book covers on them. I want them to be the first to know when a limited number of advance review copies are available. I want to wish them happy birthday (from their favourite character, if that’s what they want).

I want to thank them.

IMG_5663

Like… all the swag. I should get more.

 

So, how to do it?

A Facebook group seems like the obvious answer. This would be better than a page, as it would ensure that people actually see my posts (unlike my page, where posts reach very few of the people who have signed up and said they want to see them). It would allow people to interact with each other and share ideas, and I’d get to know them a little better, too, as I’ve done with a few readers through my Facebook page.

Or would it just be a time-suck? I’d love to do fun things like awarding points for achievements (sharing promo posts on Facebook and elsewhere, recommending the book or nominating it for things like readers’ choice awards, leaving reviews, etc.), and then send out prizes like book charms, exclusive bookmarks, paperbacks, etc.

But that could get complicated. I mean, I can’t even use Excel to track this stuff, because I’m no good with computer… thing. And I kind of need to use my “spare” time for writing. This isn’t something I’d take time away from writing to do, but I could definitely set it up and maintain it on days like today, when the kids are home and I can’t do my “real” work.

And there’s the expense. Mailing anything bigger than a few postcards gets really expensive when it’s coming from Canada.

So my questions for all y’all: 

AUTHORS: Do you use a street team? How do you keep in touch with them? What do they do? Is it what you hoped it would be? How do you make it worthwhile for your readers, those wonderful people who make your professional world go ’round?

READERS: Would you be interested in something like this? Say, a closed Facebook group where you’d be the first to learn about my new books and promotions, see things like teasers and new covers, and have first dibs on advance review copies? Would you be willing to help out with occasional promos in exchange for these things, or do you prefer to recommend books for no reason other than the fact that the moment seems right? If you were on a street team, what would make it fun for you? Points? Raffles?  Just-for-fun, random party games a few times a month? Group chats? Constant AMA author access?

And also: What would my team be called? “You Guys” is probably taken. O.o

And P.S: I am so grateful to those of you who are already doing this stuff. Those who are sharing Bound with people, writing reviews, tweeting about books, recommending to your book clubs, clicking “helpful” on positive Amazon reviews, commenting on Facebook… the one teacher I know of who stuck a copy in her classroom… I appreciate it, and you, so much.

 

 

Advertisements

About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

15 responses to “Street Team: Great Idea, or Kind of Silly?

  • Amos M. Carpenter

    I don’t know much at all about this sort of thing, but it sounds like a great idea. As for the name, how about “The All-Sparkes”? 😉

  • RevRuby

    I’m interested but I’ve an awful attention span. Not sure how effective i could be because of it. It’s a really neat concept though. just wish i didn’t feel like my voice is so small.

  • carenksr

    This is the first I have heard of a street team. Interesting concept. Can’t wait to see how it works out for you.

  • sknicholls

    I know one author who has a very effective street team and they are wonderful. I also have heard horror stories of street teams embarrassing authors tremendously and not behaving the way the author would appreciate, despite the author asking them to play nice. (Like leaving bad comments on negative reviews, one starring other books in the genre.) It may depend on genre and laying the ground rules early.

    • Kate Sparkes

      Yeah, that would be terrible. I think ground rules would be really important–like, any of that behaviour would have to be grounds for exclusion, or something. Because that does reflect badly on the author. :/

  • Gloria Weber

    I have no personal experience in this, other than I almost signed up for a couple. (You know, for swag and learning about it first hand.) One had sign up done by a survey. The other was done by signing up for a newsletter. And that’s as far as I got. Might I suggest maybe signing up for a team yourself, to see one in action? I would think that’s one of the best ways to do it.

    Additionally, why not have someone be your street team captain (a family member or trusted reader/fellow author). Someone to keep track of all those points and people. Or maybe only do points at certain times (like big publicity pushes). Rather than a constant, have it be limited time/contest style for that. You know what, maybe look into an unpaid intern? They can cyber commute and be your girl Friday? Not just manage the street, but maybe help you reach out to other reviewers?

    I’m just throwing stuff out there. Feel free to ignore me.

  • Linda McDonald

    Sounds like fun. I would love to participate and help in any way 🙂

  • Lorna

    I think it’s a great idea. Anything I can do to help, just let me know. As for a name, the “All Hail Kate Sparkes” 😉

  • L. Marie

    I wasn’t familiar with street teams either. But I’m always happy to help promote your books.

  • Annette

    I think it is a great idea and I’d like to join if you do create a group. I may not be able to be as involved as others because of school right now, but I’ll do what I can. 🙂

    As for a name, I have no idea because I’m terrible at coming up with names for anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Writer Within

Inside the world of author AnnMarie Wyncoll

mum mutter

the mutterings of a tired mum and aspiring writer

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

Are You Finished Yet?

Life, writing, books, dragons- not necessarily in that order. Home of best-selling Fantasy author Kate Sparkes.

Life, love, writing

Sara Beth Williams, Author of Christian Romance

Allie Potts Writes

How to appreciate the everyday

Ultimately Useless Stories

~ Might as well Laugh ~

The Wordy Rose

"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

shanjeniah.wordpress.com/

Learning. Laughter. And Loving My Glorious, Messy Life!

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

The Sword of Air

Stunning new multitouch iBook by breakthrough author R.J Madigan

Doorway Between Worlds

Communication tips with a creative twist

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

Benjamin Wallace Books

Books written by Benjamin Wallace

Denise D. Young

Wisps of Magic & Moonlight

chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/

LGBT Book Reviews, Cover Reveals & More! We are a group designed to help promote and review LGBT et al books. We were created out of seeing a need and wanted to have that need filled. We pride ourseles of having opinionated reviews that are unique and helpful to the author. Welcome to a world of the best LGBT et al books out there!

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night

Avid Reviews

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reviews For Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

Author Jen Wylie's Blog

Welcome to my mind... Blog for fantasty author Jen Wylie

%d bloggers like this: