Author Street Teams: Building a Bookish Community

Author Street Teams: Building a Bookish Community 1024 576 Reader Views

by Sheri Hoyte

Creating engaged communities around your work is a key aspect of the author’s journey. A practical way to do this is through an author street team. But what is an author street team? Essentially, it’s a dedicated group of readers who commit to actively supporting an author. They help spread the word about an author’s work, provide valuable feedback, and engage in various promotional activities. Typically, these teams consist of enthusiastic fans who are familiar with the author’s work and are keen to contribute to their success.

If you’re a new author or don’t yet have an extensive fan base, forming a street team may seem challenging, but it’s absolutely achievable. The goal is to build a supportive network of individuals who are eager to participate in your journey as an author, regardless of the size of your current fan base. Let’s explore how to build your street team!

Identify Your Target Audience and Build Genuine Connections

To identify your target audience, you might consider creating reader personas—semi-fictional characters who represent your ideal readers. Consider their age, gender, interests, reading habits, and the other types of books and authors they enjoy. Once you have a clear image of who your potential readers are, look for where they gather—online book clubs, genre-specific forums, social media groups, etc.—and become an active, contributing member. Show genuine interest in their discussions, provide valuable insights, and help when you can. This type of authentic engagement builds trust and reputation.

Invite Readers to Join Your Team and Set Expectations (with Flexibility)

After building a relationship with potential readers, personally invite them to join your street team. Be transparent about what they can expect and what is expected of them. Remember, their involvement is voluntary so you can’t make demands, but ask for what you want, be it writing reviews, sharing promotional materials or online posts. Just be flexible and express that you understand if they cannot participate in every activity.

Create a Dedicated Space for Your Street Team to Foster a Sense of Community

The space you create could be a private Facebook group, a Discord server, or an email group, among others. It can look like whatever you want, but it should be something exclusively for your top fans. This dedicated space should feel like a ‘club’ for your readers—a place where they can discuss your work, share their opinions, and feel a sense of belonging. Schedule regular activities, like live Q&A sessions, discussions around a certain theme, or contests to keep them engaged. Trivia anyone? Get creative!

Start a Blog or Newsletter

I know – you hear this all the time, but a blog or newsletter can help you share updates about your writing journey, upcoming events, exclusive content, and more. This keeps your street team informed and engaged. Plus, it makes them feel like they’re part of the process, which can enhance their dedication to your cause, much like the dedicated space we talked about above.

Offer Incentives and Express Gratitude

Rewards can range from free or early access to your work, swag like bookmarks or T-shirts, or even their name in the acknowledgments of your book. You could also offer them unique experiences like a personal Q&A session or a sneak peek into your writing process. Make sure to express your gratitude regularly, and remember that a simple, sincere thank you can go a long way.

Connect with Other Authors

Collaboration with other authors can help you reach a wider audience, learn new strategies, and gain a supportive network. You can partner on joint giveaways, host events together, or exchange guest posts on each other’s blogs. These partnerships can be mutually beneficial and can help each author’s street team grow.

Host a Book Launch Party and Grow Together

A book launch party, whether online or live, can create a sense of celebration and community among your street team members. It’s also an opportunity to generate buzz around your new book. As your career evolves, continually solicit feedback from your street team. Learn from their insights, adjust your strategies, and ensure that your team is growing and evolving with you.

In closing, building a street team is like nurturing friendships—filled with regular chats, mutual respect, and shared bookish treasures. Even if your team starts small, that’s perfectly fine—every member’s contribution matters. Think of this as an ongoing adventure, not a one-time event. Keep the conversation genuine, sprinkle in exclusive goodies, and watch your tight-knit community of passionate readers grow organically over time. Here’s to the journey of cultivating a heartfelt, book-loving community!

Do you have a street team?

We’d love to hear your favorite tip or experience in the comments!

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