Aliya Hall. Freelance journalist. Author.
Today Aliya talks about your Street Team.
Now that your book’s release date is on the horizon, how do you promote it while balancing those last minute publishing details? Marketing is always a challenge and it’s even harder to do if you’re an indie author, which is why creating a street team is crucial to getting eyes on your book before it’s even published.
A street team is a small group of volunteers that help drum up support for your book a few months before it’s actually available to readers, as well as celebrate the book’s release day with you. They help build up anticipation for your book through sharing the book cover, synopsis or reviews, and using word of mouth to help authors connect with readers. This method of self-promotion is also popular among traditionally published authors because it helps bring readers and fans into the publishing process.
The benefits of having a street team
As an indie author you’re a writer, publisher, and marketer all rolled into one. Utilizing these tried and true support systems takes a little of the pressure off, because it’s not just solely you talking about your book. Your street team is behind you every step of the way to tell potential readers what your book is about, when it’s coming out, and why people should buy it. Every time you make a post about your book, you know your team will share the information and get it in front of as many eyes as possible.
Finding a street team
As helpful as it is to have friends and family talk about your upcoming release, it’s more effective to turn to social media and book bloggers to make up your team. The community on #bookstagram or Goodreads are great options to find strangers who would be willing to promote your book. Ideally, you should choose reviewers or readers that fit your target audience and have a healthy following on social media platforms. That doesn’t mean, however, your team has to have thousands of followers. Small but engaged followings that see a lot of interaction can often drive even better traction.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other indie authors in your genre either. It’s like the idiom, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Networking and building connections with other authors is another way to bring awareness to your brand and expand your market. It can also lead to more partnerships down the line.
Getting the most out of a street team
It’s hard to convince someone to do something for free. Everyone has their own lives and as interested as they may be in your book, that might not be enough. Offering incentives to join a street team is more likely to yield results than asking for blind promotion. Sharing advanced reader copies (ARCs) of your book is one of the best ways to execute a successful campaign because your team will be invested and familiar with the product ahead of time, and a free book is great motivation. ARCs will also help jumpstart more reviews for your book, which will give you more attention. Some authors even include swag like bookmarks or merch discount codes as an extra thank you.
You will want to make it as easy as possible for your street team to participate in promotions. Remember your team is busy too, and sharing pre-made photos with captions cuts down on the effort the street team has to put in. It also gives you more control over the content.
Despite all your best efforts, there may still be team members who forget to post or don’t participate as much as you would like. Building a team of 10-15 members keeps you from being disappointed if someone is unresponsive.
Writing is a solitary and sometimes lonely profession, but marketing is all about connecting with people. By having a cheerleaders supporting your endeavors, pre-release marketing becomes a breeze and you can focus on getting your book into the world.