With the release of my first book, MUST LOVE DUKES, one month ago and the release of my second book, DESPERATELY SEEKING SUZANNA, today, my life has been consumed with marketing and promotions. Blog tours, giveaways, signings…it’s overwhelming, terrifying, exciting, wonderful…and it can, at times, also feel like you’re dancing the soft shoe to an empty auditorium.
The temptation at times like these is to scream louder about your book release. But, this, bad girlz of the world, is a slippery slope of continuous buy my book posts and retweets of every single mention or review you can find. And all of your friends and followers will simultaneously roll their eyes and scroll on past you. After all, would you want to chat with someone who could only talk about the book they just released?
So, what’s a Bad Girl to do? …I have no idea. But, I was hoping we could discuss it and come up with some answers. *winks* I’ve heard 2 ideas recently that could work: newsletters and street teams. Today, let’s talk about street teams.
What the heck is a street team?
Street team is a term that originated in the music industry. It refers to a group of people, usually fans, who hit the metaphorical streets to help promote a product. I first heard about street teams at Moonlight and Magnolias Conference 18 months ago when an author there was talking about throwing a party for her street team. I didn’t give it much thought at the time other than a casual, well that’s an interesting concept. More recently, I heard another author talking about how she had to hire an assistant to help manage her street team. This seemed crazy to me. Our job as writers is to write, isn’t it? Why are we spending so much energy and in this case money to manage a group of people who—if truly fans—would want us to be focused on writing our next book anyway? I’ll be honest, I was anti-street team up to this point. But, more and more, street teams seem to be everywhere these days. And, now I’m wondering…
Do I need a street team?
We have all heard about developing our platform and role social media plays in getting published and promoting our brands. But, unless we want to be like Wolowitz just after his return from the space station, how do we promote ourselves? I think the idea behind a street team is to make your circle of influence larger. There’s a much larger impact on social media if there are 20 people posting buy links for your books, sharing reviews, and even writing reviews, versus you banging your followers over the head with your book. On the other hand, there is some administrative work that goes into managing activities and organizing mailings which takes time and energy. Let me explain.
How it works. (This is the information I’ve been able to gather online. I’m sure there is more. If you have more information, feel free to share it in the comments section.)
- You need a title for your street team. If I had a street team I would name it something like E. Michels’ Glitter Squad. I’ve seen Author X’s Corset Crew, Author Y’s Darlings, and Author Z’s Jewels. You get the idea.
- You need a place to gather your group. Either through a Facebook group or a page on your website, you need a place to post things to your street team.
- You need a system. This works much like earning those little tickets at Chuck E. Cheese. The plastic ant your child doesn’t want is 10 tickets, but the shiny rubber bouncy ball you child is begging for is 50 tickets. Same concept here. Retweets, likes on Facebook, sharing of buy links and cover images, posting of honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads—everything has a point value. People involved in this want the top prizes: ARCs, jewelry, mentions in the acknowledgements, party invitations, even naming of characters. Of course the plastic ant equivalent in this explanation is a postcard with a promotional button attached, with the midrange gift being something like a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
- You need a spreadsheet or Google doc or ??? This is where I get a little fuzzy. How do you keep track of all of this? And, do you need an assistant to handle the logistics of it so it doesn’t consume your life? If you have details on this, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments of this post.
To sum up: Have we reached the point when personal social media just isn’t enough anymore and we must go down this road whether we want to or not? I’m a new author and I only have ¼ the number of reviews on Amazon that some authors have…and I have to wonder if that difference in numbers *isn’t* simply because I’m new to readers. I wonder if the difference is my lack of a street team.
Should you have a street team? Should I? Let’s discuss it.
~ E. Michels
Today is Release Day for DESPERATELY SEEKING SUZANNA!
Her Cinderella Moment
Sue Green just wanted one night to be the pretty one. But a few glasses of champagne and one wild disguise later, she’s in some serious trouble. Who knew the devastatingly handsome face of Lord Holden Ellis would get in the way of her foot? And how exactly did all that high-kick dancing start in the first place? At least she blamed it on her new persona—Suzanna—so Society’s most eligible bachelor will never find out the truth.
All Holden wants is the truth. Who was that vixen who seduced him so thoroughly, then disappeared? The only one who seems to have any answers about Suzanna is Miss Sue Green. She’s promised to help him find his mystery woman, but she’s not being all that helpful. And the more time Holden spends with Sue—witty, pretty, and disarmingly honest—the more he realizes he may have found exactly what he’s been looking for all along…