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.
*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