So you’re going to be an author. Congrats! You’re at the start of a really exciting journey, so why not bring along your friends and gain some major cheerleaders! I love my street team, but it wasn’t easy putting it together, so that’s why I’m here at the Pen and Muse school to help you figure out how to put one together. There’s no right or wrong way, and many other authors may do it differently, but here are five steps to putting together an awesome street team.
1) Figure out what you want. Do you want your street team to blast every new blog post someone does about your book, or do you mainly want them to tweet promo links? Think about what your goal is—discoverability? Sales? Having a goal-centered plan is key to being able to build your street team and also measure its success once it’s up and running.
2) Start with your friends. I don’t necessarily mean your BFF from third grade, I mostly mean your writer friends. The ones who were in the query trenches with you, the ones who are already published and the ones who are almost there. If they’re active in the writing community and love you and your book, ask them. Note: I didn’t say add them. Some people may not want to be on your street team but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Don’t take anything personally—this advice will go a long way during this publishing process! If you don’t have a thick skin yet, work on it!
3) Meet some bloggers. This part makes some new authors nervous. Bloggers for your genre may often be really influential and it’s scary to just say “UM HI READ MY BOOK”, so don’t do it that way. Follow them on Twitter. Like them on facebook. See what they love to read and what they’re not as jazzed about. Interact. If you end up forming a relationship, you can eventually see if they want to be on your street team. This is after they’ve read an ARC, of course, since they need something to base their opinions on. Some bloggers may not fall head-over-heels for your book, and that’s ok. Stick to the ones who are going to be your cheerleaders. Stop being nervous—bloggers do what they do because they LOVE BOOKS, plain and simple. Plus, they’re always on the lookout for new talent.
4) Decide on a platform. There are many ways for you to organize your street team, but the best that have worked for me are google groups and facebook groups. Google groups is basically an email format where you would add people to a list and then shoot out emails to that pre-made list. Basically, if you have something to say (Hey, ____ starts pre-order today!) then type up the email to the group and it’s on its way. Easy. But not that interesting, and doesn’t build camaraderie as well. It’s good for just business and getting the important stuff out there. This is why I have two formats. Facebook groups allow members and myself to post pictures (This guy looks so much like _____) and ask polls and just interact more in a small, more intimate way. However, sometimes the main message gets lost in the feed so that’s why I like the two group method. Some people don’t have facebook, too, so that’s part of it. Anyway, pick your platform, add your friends and bloggers and then…
5) Reward them. Tweeting your book, RT’ing reviews, sharing on Facebook. Those all take time and effort. Now, that doesn’t mean you should be spending a ton of money just to get your pals (and their pals—don’t forget to get your friends to recruit) to help you out. Have contests, so that the top performers get sweet swag. Offer free copies once you have some. Help them out when their books are out. Thank them often! Street teams can be fantastic but only if you’ve taken the time to grow them effectively and with care.
I hope this article has helped you figure out how you want to work your street team. Best of luck!