If I continue my night owl tactics and don’t… you know, die of exhaustion first, then next year I will be launching not one, but six books. That’s the aim anyway. Much as it’s traumatised me not to publish sooner, I’ve been sitting on these books for a reason.
It terrifies me to say it, but 2017 will see me publish actual, word filled, hold in your hands books, and hopefully, a few of them.
But any author worth their salt, knows they can’t and shouldn’t be launching alone. Visibility is the one thing that connects indies to new traditionally published authors. I say it all the time, but Amazon, is a rainforest of books. Getting seen in any part of it is difficult.
We might day dream about coffee shops and alone time to ink our hyperbolae in peace, but getting a book from chapter one to finished product isn’t a one man job. While the writing might be, there are beta readers, cover designers, formatters, editors and reviewers that help with the rest. If writing a book isn’t a one man job, why should launching one be?
Mastering a book launch isn’t really about the big day, it, like anything you anticipate for a while, is a bit of an anticlimax. Besides, if you want sustained sales, then don’t focus on the launch. Focus on the lifetime of a book. It’s not about its first day, or week, or even its first year. It’s about optimising that book as an asset, it’s a product you can earn from again and again and again, so why worry about getting sales in it’s first week. You want to be worrying about getting them for the next ten thousand weeks.
Launches are about
driving yourself crazy and into a six foot deep grave through stress sustained activities over long periods, garnering stacks of reviews, running competitions, paying it forward for other authors, teaming up or compelling your own boxsets and unfortunately, paying for advertising.
I’ve been doing a chuff load of research on marketing and book launches, so today, we’re talking street teams, and for anyone willing, there’s a personal request from me, to you, to join my street team.
STREET TEAMS -What in the shizzle are they?
Street teams are a group of generous writers, bloggers, readers, reviewers, friends, family, dogs, cats, cousins, chimps, chocolate… wait…
It’s a group of people willing and able to help you launch and promote your books.
I say books plural, because that’s the ideal. Otherwise it would be a right pain in the arse having to create a new team for every single book, especially if you publish more than one or two a year? Sure, not everyone in your street team will help with every book launch, but still – why have more than one group to manage? If people are happy to be kept in the loop and help when they can, keep it simple.
Pat Flynn, from the smart passive income podcast has a great podcast on street teams, you can check it out here. The most important lesson I took from his podcast, is the importance of building your team early, and not just a week early either. Months early. The earlier you gather your team, the longer time you give them to help you. Makes sense right?
WHAT DO STREET TEAMS DO?
The way I see it, street team work is split into two parts:
1. Street Team Reviewers
The reviewer side of any street team could also be called an ARC team which stands for (Advanced Reader Copy).
You give them an electronic copy of your book (or, if you can afford it, a paper copy) for FREE and in exchange they leave you an honest review, and if they are super lovely and have the time, in more than one place, i.e. Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Goodreads, at least, that’s what I do.
While that all sounds lovely and candy floss covered, it isn’t quite so straight forward, the stats I’ve read vary massively, but with an engaged group of street teamers (as opposed to a KDP Select freebie day), you could expect an average of a 25% return rate, so for every 100 books you give away, on a good day you might get 25 reviews back. (I know this is a rough figure, not everyone will have the same experience)
Giving your book away for free won’t hurt your campaign/launch/career either. You need to think long term. Giving fifty books away for free now, might lead you to a hundred sales later, especially if that person leaves you a review or tells their friends about your book. Short term pain for long term gain. Besides, lots of people who receive books for free actually buy copies of books they love to support the author, I know I do.
2. Social Media Sharers
The list of things you could ask your social media sharers to do is endless, but here’s a few ideas:
- Create sharables (i.e. pre-made tweets, statuses or other social media content with photos for them to share at their leisure)
- Guest posts, or if you don’t have time to write stacks and stacks of new content then half a dozen posts that can be reused on different blogs
- Blog tours
- Publishing review posts
- Sharing and promoting competitions you run
- Telling their friends, family and networks about your book
- Join in a Thunderclap
HOW DO YOU GET A STREET TEAM?
Well, it ain’t rocket science. You suck up your introvert tantrum, undo your zipper, slap out your steel balls and quite simply… ask.
Friends, family, bloggers, writers… I’m not going to repeat the earlier list, but if they breathe, can hold a pen and write more than their name, bloody well ask.
You can encourage street team sign ups by treating them with the utmost respect and giving away freebies, creating Facebook groups and organising special prizes just for them.
HOW BIG SHOULD MY STREET TEAM BE?
How big can you manage? Some people like small an intimate, ten or twenty reliable people who you know will post a review. But I have also heard other authors speak about the benefits of having a less engaged but much larger team of five hundred or more. You have to decide what you want to achieve, what you can give your street team as thanks and how you’re going to stay on top of the organisation.
The other factor to consider is how many reviews you want. Bookbub doesn’t accept a book for an advert unless it has a shit ton of reviews. Lindsay Buroker author and podcaster extraordinaire says that while she has had books accepted with less than 100 reviews, its easier with more.
What are the best book launching tactics you have ever come across? Let me know in the comments below.
So, that’s a short run down of what a street team is, what they do, and how to get them.
Now for my personal ask…
It’s a bit early, as I’m not launching till next year, but I’m a planner and like to be organised. If you’re interested in joining my street team – where you’ll get free early access to my ebooks and other goodies, and would be willing to either post and honest review, or happy to share my launches on your social media, then let me know in the comments below.
Please note, by agreeing to help me, I will use the email address you use to comment to contact you. Your email will ONLY be used to send information in the run up to launches. There will be no spam, no newsletters or content of any other kind.
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