Launch Teams: Are They Worth It?
One of our Chicago authors posted a pain point associated with developing a launch team. After investing time and money to ship her books to a launch team in hopes of getting reviews of her book, she didn’t see the participation she hoped for.
If you’ve considered mobilizing a launch team/street team for your book, you may have similar questions.
I often say that an authors’ own already existing networks are their most valuable resource in book marketing. The people closest to you are your beta readers, your support system. Harnessing their energy and interest is critical in building momentum for your book marketing.
Formalizing your requests by inviting people to a launch team is an important part of mobilizing your network. It helps you identify the people most interested and willing to help.
Here are some tips for identifying and interacting with a launch team:
Start early, but not too early. Once you know the planned publication date for your book, you can reach out to your network to identify a launch team. Ask them to save the date, and begin a countdown if you’d like. But avoid too many requests too soon as you want to make sure people aren’t worn out before your launch date.
Help people feel special and important, a part of something bigger. People enjoy joining launch teams if they perceive they’ll have special access to the author and exclusive information. Consider how/what you can share with your launch team to fuel this special bond and commitment. Many authors we support use closed Facebook groups as a place to interact with their launch teams. Showing up in those groups via Facebook live is a fun way to connect with launch team members who are geographically dispersed.
Give launch team members early access to your book. Whenever possible, make the investment in print copies of your book for people on your launch team. Personalize the sending of the book as much as you can to make launch team members feel special. One author we supported used fun stamps and colorful packaging to make sure her launch team members noticed her book’s arrival. If you can’t send print copies, digital copies are a lower cost alternative. If you are working with a publisher, be sure to check their policies on sending digital copies or consider using a service like NetGalley.
Realize that despite people’s best intentions, many may not review your book, at least not right away. Our team has noticed a 10 – 30% review rate on review copies we send on behalf of authors. This means that for every 100 books you send, you can expect 10 to 30 reviews. Proactive follow-up can result in more reviews from your launch team over time. Be patient and stay connected. Assume positive intent! Trust that the people who have received your book are doing the best they can and realize that every book you send into the world is a seed that can grow where you might not expect it. But keep asking for reviews, gently, over time.
If this return rate seems too low, consider the alternative. How many reviews would you have without a launch team effort? How would you get them?
Make it easy for people to participate. If possible, create and share content your launch can use to support your book marketing. Send emails with one-click functionality to help people share your book on various social channels with only one click. Use utilities like Click to Tweet or Facebook Sharer to accomplish this. Also, give instructions on how to post Amazon reviews; some people may not know how. Remove resistance by explaining that even a review consisting of a few sentences is helpful.
What experiences have you had with launch teams, either starting one or participating in one? What tips can you share?