This post was originally published here. I thought it important enough that I wanted to keep it in my writing files. I hope you enjoy it!
There’s one key aspect to writing that authors either love or hate. Promotion. We either find it exciting and can’t wait to dive in or we fortify ourselves with pots of coffee followed by bottles of wine all the while wishing our books would magically appear on the bestsellers list with no effort on our part.
I’m one of those authors who fortify myself with a fresh pot of coffee and some of my favorite chocolate before I dive in. But I’m not relying on magic. I have a Street Team!
A street team is made up of readers who love your storytelling and want to help get the word out about your book(s).
Why have a street team?
Simple – promotion! By banding together readers who love your stories, you’ve expanded your sphere of influence to reach more potential readers. The best form of promotion after all is word of mouth.
Here’s where I need to brag upon my team or “secret society” a bit. I love them. They are a support system for me I didn’t realize I would or could need. I love the community we are building and it has become more than just a ‘street team’ for me. So a HUGE shout-out to those who have joined me and are my new ‘sisters’.
Creating a street team
First, I had to get over the “Who in their right mind would want to join my street team” angst, I’d seen several authors spam their way through social media trying to get people to join their team. Not the way I wanted to approach this.
The objective for me was not to get more sales, but gain new readers.
- I redirected attention off me and focused on my books. Through social media (Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, etc) I connected with readers.
- I redesigned my website so that it would be more appealing to readers.
- I created Steena’s Secret Society. Who can resist a “secret society”?
- I built up my newsletter following and sent out a special invite to join my Secret Society.
That’s it. I didn’t fill up my friends timeline with multiple requests to join my street team. I didn’t create a group and then invite all my friends and all the authors I knew. I didn’t join Goodreads discussions or visit the kindle boards and entice strangers with free books.
In other words – all I did was ask the readership I had built up if they’d like to be part of my secret society. I didn’t want to inflate my street team with people who ONLY wanted free gifts. I wanted people who loved my stories and would support me as an author.
I expected to garner only a handful of readers who were interested. I was surprised at the responses and found myself needing to cap it to a level I found manageable for the beginning.
Once I created my group I had one focus. NOT to promote myself.
Counter productive? No.
I don’t want just a street team. I want a community. I want it to be a place where my ‘sisters’ feel like they belong. Where they feel a personal connection not only with me but with each other.
Because I write stories that touch women’s hearts. If I’m going to connect with them personally, then I need to connect with their hearts as well. I don’t want a group that will only promote me if I’m throwing gift cards or free books or other items their way. I want them to want to promote me – because we’ve built a connection, because they love my stories, because they want to see me succeed.
What about the free stuff?
Of course I offer free stuff as well. They get swag for being part of my group and then I offer gift cards and chocolates here and there as a way to say thank you for all the promoting they do. But I’m the type of person who likes to be part of their lives – so when they lose a loved one, when there is a wedding, Easter, Christmas, birthdays…they are not JUST my street team – they have become my friends.
And to me, that’s the key. I’m connecting with my readers in a personal way. My street team are my readers. My team will grow and will continue to bond as a community, as a family.
It’s probably why it started out as Steena’s Secret Society and my group now calls themselves Steena’s Secret Sisters.
Have you started a Street Team? What worked for you? Or are you part of a Street Team and what made you join?
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