Amanda Luedeke

August 1, 2013

Thursdays with Amanda: Why Authors Need Street Teams


Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Remember in the 90s how you’d buy a CD (or tape) and inside would be inserts that advertised band t-shirts and other artists on the label? And remember amidst these inserts there was one that promised to make you a groupie and all you had to do was send your postal address?

Before the Internet…before musicians connected with fans via Facebook and Twitter, Street Teams were all the rage (look! There’s even a Wikipedia page about it!). You’d simply send your info and in return you got a boatload of band paraphernalia. Bumper stickers, flyers, buttons, posters–you name it. And all you had to do in return was promise to plaster your high school with said items.

To any teen wanting closer contact with their favorite band, this was a must. I mean you didn’t get any cooler than being known for being such-and-such band’s local promoter. (Me? My method of band promotion was to wear band t’s everywhere…to the point where a college professor remembers me as the “Death Cab for Cutie Fanatic.” But that’s neither here nor there.)

So where am I going with this?

Bands of the 90s were on to something. And they HAD to be. In a competitive industry that demands you travel from run-down venue to run-down venue via a 15-passenger van in hopes that you make a good impression and create enough buzz to be invited back to a BIGGER venue that hopefully maybe sells out so that your single gets radio time so that more people hear your music so that maybe just maybe one day you can trade your van in for a tour bus and those gross venues for Madison Square Garden (or Schubas if you’re more into the indie scene), Street Teams were the best way to build a following coast to coast.

And though the Internet has changed how Street Teams operate, their value is still there. I mean what better way is there to expand your sphere of influence than to arm your minions with loads of schtuff and then put your head down and do your thang, waiting for your own version of Bieber Fever to take place?

Listen, author friends, your musician artist counterparts are not so different from you. They face the same uphill battle. They have the weight of marketing and promotions on their shoulders. So it only makes sense that we can learn from them…and steal a few of their ideas.

Because frankly, Street Teams (currently thought of in some circles as Tribes) can be an author’s biggest asset.

Over the coming weeks, we’re going to look at how to build a Street Team and what to DO with a Street Team. So go ahead and get “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cued up. It’s gonna be rad.

Have you seen authors use Street Teams? Tell me about it!


*Love my marketing advice? Check out my $5 ebook, The Extroverted Writer. Here’s what readers are saying: “Having just completed Mike Hyatt’s “Platform” I wasn’t expecting to learn much more from Amanda’s e-book. Gee, was I surprised…Amanda has crafted from her own personal experience and that of other authors a very handy reference guide for fiction and non-fiction authors, on how to navigate the new world of author-led marketing. What I particularly liked about this were the tips around such things as Twitter hashtags, Goodreads giveaways and how to grow your Facebook author community.” – Ian

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  • Inverse Ministries says:

    SOOOO glad you are doing this, Amanda! STOKING our flame!

  • Melissa Tagg says:

    Pumped to read your upcoming street team posts, Amanda–your savvy advice always rocks. Good timing since I just launched my own team…which I’m calling the Tagg Team. Yeah, I like my last name. 🙂 My team has been a-ma-zing so far. So thankful!

  • Carrie Turansky says:

    Hi Amanda, I invited readers to join a street team recently. I posted that invitation on my blog and shared it on Facebook and Twitter. I call it Carrie’s Reading Friends and there are 35 of us in the group. We have a closed group on Facebook where we connect and share what’s happening with my books. Those on my team receive an ARC of my book, and some special little gifts from me. They read the book, post reviews, talk about the book on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. They share the video trailer and will help spread the word about the book launch and giveaways. When one member posts a review, some of the others in the group share that link. When we started the group I asked them to each introduce themselves. That was fun and helped create a sense of community. I am gettong to know them, and I am looking for ways make them feel like they have a special connection and get the inside scoop about my books first. It’s been a great experience so far.

  • Lynette Sowell says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing more. How many on a team? What’s expected from them? What’s expected from me? How to make it as fun as possible? 🙂

  • :Donna Marie says:

    OK, well, I never even HEARD of a “Street Team” before, but it certainly makes sense! And I did purchase THE EXTROVERTED WRITER 🙂 I haven’t read it yet, but did bind it in my little home-made way. In fact, I took photos of the process (which has many shots with your cover showing hehehe) to include it in a “how-to” once I get my blogs up and running 🙂

  • Hi Amanda! I can’t wait to see how you address Street Teams. After ten years, my martial arts school decided to create our own Street Team to help promote our school events. It will be interesting to see what tips and tricks I will be able to pick up to apply to both the school AND my writing.

    Great post!

  • Amy Young says:

    Amanda, wanted to say that I have loved the book and how practical it is.
    The two parts the most helpful for me were the specific goals/numbers for each form (i.e. blog, twitter, FB) and what/how to use a FB page. I was relooking at something and found myself rereading whole chapters. Thanks for writing the book!

  • Laura L. Smith says:

    Our Street Team for the Playlist Fiction line ROCKS! Can’t wait to see what more you have to say on Street Teams, because they’ve been such an integral part of our launch.
    And can we go back to the 80’s and wear our Ant paint? (Antmusic – ay ay ay!)

  • Sharla Fritz says:

    Amanda, thanks for covering this topic. I’m looking forward to learning more about building a team!

  • Robin Patchen says:

    I don’t remember that from the 90s. Could it be because I’m too old? By the time the 90s hit, I’d given up new music for classics. The Kinks never asked me to be on their street team.:)

    I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas on how to make this work with authors.

  • J.A. Marx says:

    Love the topic. Perfect timing for me, too. Eager to learn.

  • This is perfect timing. My first book comes out in February.
    I’m a part of a few street teams. I’m a big fan of both authors, so in addition to reading and reviewing the book, I pass it along to people who I know will read, review, and pass it along again. I also tell people about it.
    Authors can promote and promote, but the best thing is having someone tell his/her friend that they have to read this book. I see it in my library all the time. If I say a book is awesome or read a book to a class, they all want it.
    So, I’m wondering as a new author how I get that word of mouth to extend past my circle of friends and family…..and that’s where a street team comes in. I’m really looking forward to this series. I read your book and loved it (and told people about it). 🙂

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Thanks for reading my book and telling others! Hopefully, this series will prove helpful 🙂

  • Kathy Nickerson says:

    Oh, Thank You! This will be so helpful. (And might actually make me cool.)

  • Rick Barry says:

    Amanda, you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head. I have been thinking street teams lately and wondering what the most effective ways would be for an author to cultivate a group of sold-out activists to lobby the public on his (or her) behalf. I will stay tuned for more!

  • Ninie Hammon says:

    Amanda, you just became my new best friend! Yesterday, I compiled a list of the most RABID fans I happen to know and emailed five author friends to ask how they set up their teams, what the teams do and what the members get in return. Sounds like all I need to do is stay tuned here and you’ll walk me through it. Shh. Listen. Do you hear it? That’s my yippee-I-get-to-go-write alarm sounding. See ya.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      A great idea to poll author friends. I’m sure they’ll have insightful advice!

  • chipmacgregor says:

    Death Cab for Cutie? Really? (“Soul Meets Body” or “Crooked Teeth”?)

  • Carey Green says:

    I love the idea Amanda… and it’s very timely for me as I’ll be launching a new novel soon. I know that a lot can be done to get “buzz” going even before the book is available and I’m keen to hear what you suggest. So far I’ve got a professionally designed poster of the cover art made as a giveaway and am eager to find more ways to “plaster the internet” with my own paraphernalia. Looking forward to it!

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