Street Teams: What To Do & What Not To Do

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It has been a while since I have written a blog post that pertained to anything writing related. For the past few months, I have been preparing for the release of my debut novel Augur of Shadows: The Destined Series Book 1. Now that the book is out into the world, and people are purchasing it and reading it, I have a little more time to do a few other things. Well, when an author releases a novel, the real work starts: ACTIVATING YOUR PROMOTIONAL/MARKETING SKILLS.

However, this blog is not about how to promote your novel, what marketing plan is the most effective, or how much should you spend on hiring a PR person. What this blog is about is Street Teams. Street teams are a way of promoting/marketing, but their stage in the release game and tactics are different.

What is a Street Team, you ask?

A street team is a group of individuals an author gathers to help him, her or they to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) and leave a review on the day of your release. Yes, the author needs to have ARC’s ready for their street team. Street Teams are also meant to help promote your work. And, Yes, the members of your street team need to promote your novel. Think of the phrase Street Team…a team on the streets, promoting your work and gaining new individuals who learn of your story and who may want to pre-order your novel.

In my recent experience with my Street Team, I had done everything my research showed. I made a preliminary list of individuals who I thought would consider joining the cause. After my list was constructed, I created a google doc sign-up, and I posted on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. I set a time frame for people to sign-up. Also, a Facebook group was created so that the members had a place to discuss weekly tasks and ideas.

This is part of the blog where it gets interesting…

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For Authors & Participants:

1) Do NOT sign up if you aren’t going to participate. The purpose of joining a team is to help the author gain more pre-orders/reviews/press for their upcoming novel. You are effectively affecting their release day. Do not join a team if you aren’t going to be helpful.

2) Authors, do NOT take just anyone just because you feel the need to have an actual team. It is better to have a smaller team who will help you out rather than a large group of people that waste your time. This is about YOUR release day, not their ego.

3) Authors, do as much research for your team prior to inquiring. Having all the information makes your life easier when your team comes to you with questions/suggestions. You should be the pro. Again, this is about your novel’s release day…the day that you want to shine the brightest…so do the work.

4) This number goes with #1. If you’re on a team, DO NOT say you’ve completed a task, etc and not have done it. The author will check up on it. It isn’t because he, she or they don’t trust you, but they are trying to increase the reach of their audience. Why wouldn’t the author double check?

The DON’Ts are quite short and simple. If you don’t want to do the work, DO NOT SIGN UP FOR ONE. I had too many people sign up for my street team, and a vast majority did not participate when the requirements were posted and conversations were had.

Should an Author expect a few of the people to sign up and not participate? Yes, life is tricky and busy. While things happen and people’s lives can change a moment later, it is still vital that all members retain constant communication for sheer respect for one another.

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For Authors & Participants

1) Authors, once you give your team members an ARC, be open to their constructive criticism. Maybe they see something that you or your editor missed. It will only help you out in the long run.

2) Authors, tell your team members where you want your book/series to go. Retaining members who love your story/writing style will ease future street teams.

3) Authors, assign weekly tasks so that your street team knows what to do. You can NOT be upset with the team if they don’t know what they need to do.

4) Authors, have your street team speak with bookstores, news outlets, book reviews, bookstagrammers, BookTubers…anyone who has a reach. The more exposure you have, the better.

If you are contacting anyone for a review/book spotlight/author spotlight/blog tour, you MUST be respectful and considerate of the individuals because…newsflash…you are NOT the only one contacting them. DO NOT be disrespectful.

5) Have your street team post pictures with their ARCs (even the eBook version). It’ll allow future readers to see others are truly excited about your story.

6) Have your members add your book on Goodreads (GR). Have them also post updates on their reading status. People do look for those things.

7) The street team should be speaking about your book to everyone.

I am NOT saying that the street team needs to do nothing but concentrate on your book. Come on…it doesn’t take long to post on FB, GR, IG or Twitter.

8) Street Team can also share your blog post to others as well. As stated, getting your name out there is the most important.

9) If you have a giveaway, have your street team share that information as well.

10) Create an “easy-to-use” sign-up sheet/form for your street team.

***Author, you are the manager of the group. If you can’t take the time to do at least the state above, then maybe you shouldn’t form a street team till a time that you are ready***

The above stated is not everything you can do for your street team. These are only suggestions. From my recent experience, I have members who decided to not participate, but I did have members who fulfilled the requirements I posted prior to starting, and I am very much appreciative of their hard work. Because of their and my work, I had a successful launch day. I also have learned what not to do the next time I form a street team. Now, everyone’s street team can be different, but the ultimate goal is always the same—maximum exposure of the author and his, her or their novel.

I hope you find this information helpful, and I wish everyone success with their future book launches.

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