As a member of the Poughkeepsie Street Team, I am excited to bring you a special guest post from Poughkeepsie author Debra Anastasia as she talks about the benefits of creating a street team to help market your brand.
by Debra Anastasia
I thought I was original when I came up with the idea for a street team. I’d been reading about a musician and thought, “That would be amazing for Poughkeepsie!”
That was in 2011. After some brief research, I found that they’ve been around for authors since at least 2008—I always have great ideas five years late. Either way, I have one, and I’ve seen a lot of fellow authors rocking a street team.
In the beginning (around mid-1990s), a street team was a group of devoted fans of a band (or a movie or, apparently, a book) that would hit the actual streets to promote that medium of entertainment (or politician, movement… you get my drift). Oftentimes, there was a reward for the street teamers, whether it be free tickets, access to a band, etc.
Now for authors, the proverbial street is the huge Internet. Book bloggers are a driving force in promoting books and getting unique stories in the hands of readers. Reading-centric sites like Goodreads have been an elemental building block for a book to gain notoriety. Indie authors have been gaining footing in the publishing industry with the help of word of mouth. And by word of mouth, I mean typed-out praise. Social media is the new water cooler. Along with getting recommendations for reading material, we have a constant stream of content coming from an amazing amount of sources.
An author utilizes a street team to be heard in a crowd. A member would ultimately be a twenty-first century town crier, heralding the virtues of a novel. Tasks for a street team could be as simple as starting a dialogue on a forum to using a book cover as an avi on Twitter. In exchange, the compensation could be anything from an extra chapter or a sneak peek at a sequel to a free bookmark and signed print copy.
Now, my Street Team happens to be incredible. I’m not surprised because my readers are the sexiest, most intelligent people on the planet. I look at my team as a nice grouping of friends I’ve been lucky enough to have in one spot. It’s a surefire place to go for experts on my plot and characters, a w
onderful place to get opinions on images and book trailers. In late 2013, I’ll have a few projects that I’ll present to my Street Team to increase awareness of impending releases.
The best way to form a street team is to respond to reviews and interactions on Twitter or Facebook. When you have a nice relationship with a reader, you can ask if they’d like to join. I also include invitations on my newsletter and website for interested parties. I have a Google group that sends an email to each member when I have a proposition or opportunity for my Street Team. One of the most important things I think an author has to remember is that the members of your street team are doing you a huge favor. You do not want to boss them around or treat them like employees.
Ultimately, a street team is tremendously useful, assuming you remain grateful for them and reasonable in your requests.
About the Author
Debra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There’s dinner, the dogs, the kids, and their homework. The laundry pile turns into a big, heaping monster. When the clothes finally make it into the washer, it gets unbalanced and puts on an elaborate show before it cuts out. This crazy job that never ends is her first love and her crowning achievement.
Her writing started a decent handful of years ago when along with the dogs, cat, kids, and husband, the voices of characters started whispering stories in Debra’s ear. Insomnia was the gateway for the plots that wouldn’t give up, wouldn’t let go. In the shower, a twist would take hold and–dripping and frenzied–she’d find somewhere, anywhere to write it down.
Debra grew up in New York and got a bachelor’s degree in political science at SUNY New Paltz. At the start of her marriage, she moved to southern Maryland with her husband. She still doesn’t trust crabs and all their legs, though everyone else in her family thinks they’re delicious. Her favorite hobbies include knitting, painting furniture and wall murals, and slapping clowns.
Omnific Publishing published her début novel, #1 on Kindle Best Seller’s list, Crushed Seraphim, and its sequel Bittersweet Seraphim about a cursing angel. They also bravely published Poughkeepsie, a romance about a homeless man who counts the smiles of his dream girl. You can visit her website at DebraAnastasia.com and find her on twitter @Debra_Anastasia.
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