Saturday, August 13, 2011

Street Team or No Street Team?

There's a new kick in the writing circles geared toward self-promotion called "Street team." Basically, writers ask a group of fans to do simple things like pass out bookmarks and other promotional items to book stores, coffee shops, reading groups and friends. Buy their books the first week they're out to help boost them on the bestseller lists. Talk the books up to friends, family and even sometimes random strangers.

A few years ago, Jane at Dear Author wrote a cautionary post about forming street teams. I found the discussion in the comment section (pro an con) to be pretty enlightening.

Like any author, I need all the promotional help I can get, but I don't earn enough advance to pay for a publicist or do a lot of marketing and promotion. At the same time, it's against my nature to ask for my readers to put themselves out to help me.

However, there are things that I, as a fan of other authors, don't mind doing to help them out. So if you like my books and you don't mind doing any of these things, please feel free to help me out if you're so inclined.

1. Buy the book the first week it becomes available nationally.

eHarlequin puts our books out a month early, and while I like to think that people love my books so much they just can't wait, I would be more likely to make one of the big bestseller lists (mosly likely USA Today) if everyone waited until the debut week to buy the book. Making a list is a very good word-of-mouth tool.

2. Request the book at your local library.

This doesn't do a lot for sales, but it does get my name out there as a writer.

3. Go to Amazon.com and "like" my books, especially my ebooks. Also scroll down to the tags for the books and click the ones you agree with. This helps my books get attention, as it helps with their rankings.

4. If you liked the book, please leave a brief review on Amazon.com. Reviews are like telling a friend you liked a book. You don't have to go into a lot of detail. Even a simple "Loved this book, one of my must-read authors" will do. But be honest. Put it in your own words. Give the rating you think it deserves, even if it's not 5 stars. Readers looking for books sometimes pick the book with more reviews because they figure if that many other people are reading it and talking about it, it must be worth checking out.

5. If you frequent blogs like Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Dear Author or any of the bigger writing blogs, and there's a question like this one at Smart Bitches, asking for examples of books where the widowed hero/heroine truly loved their dead partners (rather than "I never knew it could be like this" moments where the past love is sort of disrespected), feel free to mention my books if you think they fit. (At least two of the Cooper Justice books would fit the bill. So would my first book).

The main thing is, do what you're comfortable with. If you're not comfortable with any of it, I'm perfectly content if all you do is buy my books.


6 comments:

EllenToo said...

I write reviews for eHarlequin and I could very easily post the same review on Amazon. Why can't I remember to do it???. I'll have to try to remember that for your books ~ which I love ~ as well as for authors whose books I love.

GayleC said...

I appreciate your comment about short direct reviews. I avoid spoilers, so I seldom read reviews, which is why I didn't think post them before. Now, because of Goodreads and the low quantity and quality of reviews that Intrigue's seem to get I am more than happy to review there and other sites. Barnes and Nobles has a romance readers FB page, and they are always asking great questions too. Lot's of good ideas.

Angela said...

Hi Paula,
My favorite book of yours is Cowboy Alibi. I will review that on Barnes and Noble.com. I belong to a book club and will put the word out about you.
-Angela

Paula said...

Thanks, Angela! I love Cowboy Alibi, but it seems to get the least sales of any of my books in ebook format. :(

So yay for the review! I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Cowboy Alibi is the first book I am going to order just because Ellen can't remember it. I can talk to eHarlequin & others and state my own review. Like or dislike, takes a couple minutes after you close the book to give a review? I love Terry Brooks, He sends his love Paula. Each to their own.

Paula said...

I try to remember to do it, too. It really does help the book get more hits on searches, which of course helps the writer. And if I love a writer's work, I figure it's a small thing I can do to help make sure he or she keeps writing!