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March 15

Build Your Book Marketing Street Team

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Start building your book marketing street team early so that you can be absolutely certain you will launch your book to five-star reviews. 

Your street team is made of up anybody who you have been in contact with about your book, from your writing group to your beta readers, from your peers to your friends and family. It's your job to connect with your tribe, and make influencers and the media a part of it, long before your book is ready to launch. Make sure everyone knows, likes, and trusts you before you ask them to review your book.

Your book marketing street team may not even know they're on your street team. This is a term you can use just in your head for people who you can ask to support you or who are invested in your success. That investment may be simple friendship or goodwill or something greater. 


What you'll learn in this post

In this post, you'll learn:

  • What is a street team
  • When do you start building your book marketing street team
  • How to plan book production and marketing
  • How to cultivate a street team

No but really, what is a street team?

"Street team" is a term that was coined during the indie music revolution. It's been adopted by authors and publishers to describe a group of people who will spread the word about your book when it launches. It's all about gathering your tribe and listen, it should be fun and not a chore to communicate with your tribe. Fun, you say? Yes. Marketing and promoting your book can be fun when done with friends. 


When do you start building your book marketing street team?

Ideally you start building your tribe as soon as you start writing (or even before!). Your writing group (and other critique partners such as peer reviewers), are your first fans, besides your friends and family, who you can ask to spread the word about your book when it launches. Once you've got a final(ish) draft, it's time to find readers you don't know, or you don't know very well, to get a reality check on your book. All these people are part of your street team. 


Plan book production and marketing

It helps so much to use a big erasable annual calendar to help you plan out your book launch journey.

Take a look at this erasable wall calendar. One side is vertical and the other horizontal, and it comes with a dry-erase marker. 

2023 erasable wall calendar

Use a big annual calendar to plan out your book launch journey


Here's how to cultivate a street team

Your friends and family are naturally part of your street team, but you need influencers, other authors, and readers to join in so they can spread the word about your book when it launches. I think the easiest way to organize them is by adding to your email list with the tag "street team." Secret: They don't have to know that's what you're calling them.


1: First, verify who your readers are

This sounds obvious but I cannot tell you how many authors write a book and are not clear on what genre they're writing in. So first, make sure you are writing to an audience that exists. Then, get to know them. This is your number one task and although it seems obvious, most authors don't do this. We work a lot with comparable analysis in my book publishing courses and community. It's more fun to work on this with a group!


MAKE SURE YOUR BOOK FITS INTO A GENRE

Yes, you need to fit into a genre. So find out what other books in your genre are popular now, connect with their authors (sign up for their email lists, follow them in the socials), and get to know their audience and influencers (these are your audience and influencers, too), and where they have been mentioned in the media.

A great tool for figuring out what genre, categories, and keywords will sell your book is Publisher Rocket. It's only $99 for a lifetime license with updates included.

More info and get Publisher Rocket here.

Publisher Rocket keyword chooser


HANG OUT WHERE YOUR PEERS AND READERS HANG OUT 

Then go hang out where they hang out and contribute value. I created a guide and toolkit to help you with the research process. It's free, my gift to fiction and nonfiction authors. Sign up to get it below.


Get your free self-publisher's toolkit here

You'll get my Consumer's Guide for Authors, Editors and Publishers, a metadata cheatsheet, and a book launch checklist to make your own in your writing, marketing, and publishing journey.


2: Now, share your book with critique partners

Critique partners are other writers and editors who will workshop your book so you can get a decent draft done. These are your writing besties.


3: When you have a good draft, share it with beta readers

Now, share your book with beta readers you've found. Take their feedback seriously, and don't cry if you have to make changes to your story or characters. Hey, there's a way to choose the right beta readers and... you guessed it! I have a course on this, too. It's called How to Recruit Critique Partners & Beta Readers.


4: Put everybody in a mailing list, and keep communicating

Okay, these people, who you now know and love and have been communicating with for months or even years, are your street team. All these people have helped you finish your book and they will help you spread the word about it. There are various ways to involve them in your book launch process—a private Facebook group, a Twitter hashtag, email communications, Zoom meetings, or all of the above. That's up to you.


5: Ask for book reviews when you launch

If you have listened to your critique partners and beta readers, incorporated their feedback, and involve the world in your process, then you will enjoy five-star reviews when you launch your book, really.

It's all about writing in community. Making friends, reciprocating, enjoying the process.


Need help? 

You'll find a lot of free information about publishing and marketing your books on this site and you can also find a lot of answers in my Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Independent Authors.

If you want to accelerate your book marketing process, check this out: A couple of years ago I created a course to help authors identify their genre, other authors writing books like theirs, where their readers hang out, and what media is covering news about their book. In fact, I require that authors I work one-on-one with complete it before we start working on a launch plan. It's also the first step in my small group workshop, Five-Star Book Launch Masterclass, that I run each year. 

The happy news is that you can market your book and have fun doing it by connecting with your tribe. Where's your tribe? I'll help you find them, organize them, and figure out how to talk with them in this course.  Get it here and get a head start on book marketing that's fun. Really.


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critique partners, early readers


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