What Kind of Reader Team Do You Need?
There's one thing that all authors need, and that is a fan base. Everyone needs someone to cheer from the sidelines as you write, edit, and publish your next big thing. What kind of reader group do you need? There are different types, and while some crossover may exist, each has a unique purpose.
An ARC team reads an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of your book before it is published, understanding that they will leave a genuine review. Authors typically give their ARC reviewers digital or audio copies of their books. Paperbacks are usually reserved for street teams, as referenced below.
Creating an ARC team can be a lot of work. Many authors find it helpful to have a PA to field emails, deliver books, troubleshoot problems, and track reviews. Others forego having a team with specific members in favor of using a fee-based service like NetGalley or BookSprout. These sites have members who request a copy of the book with the intention of reading and leaving a review, but the site handles vetting the reviewers, so it's one less thing you have to do.
If you're looking for ways to get reviews on launch day or increase positive reviews in general, this is the team you should build.
A beta team can help you improve your book by reading it with the understanding that they will give you feedback about the characters, setting, plot, typos, or anything else that might pull them from the story. Like readers on your ARC team, the beta team members typically read your book before you publish it.
No book is flawless, but it's almost impossible to have too much help when it comes to If you have a few readers who, after each book launch, send you a list of typos missed in the many rounds of editing, these readers might be the foundation of your beta team.
A beta team may be what you need if you're looking for ways to improve your craft or shorten the editing process.
A street team is more like a fan club. Its members love your books so much that they're willing to shout it to the world from the rooftops—or at least to social media from their phones, tablets, and other devices. These fans will hit the street to give your books the best word-of-mouth advertising.
Authors reward their street team with a wide range of incentives, including (but not limited to) live video chats, signed paperback, swag, and exclusive t-shirts readers can wear to book-related festivals and conventions.
Creating Your New Reader Team
Your mileage may vary but start with social media or your subscriber list. Put a call out for team members on your Facebook page or your next newsletter, for example. Tell them what kind of team they will join, your expectations, and how to contact you if you have any questions.
Many authors we've worked with here at Novel Publicity use a Google form to have potential members sign up for their team. In addition to basic details like name and email, you can ask readers to provide any other information. We recommend asking, “Have you read my books before? If so, which is your favorite?”
The Google form collects replies and will auto-transfer the data to a Google sheet (which you can also download for use with Excel). The Google sheet is handy when collaborating with a PA because a timestamp accompanies each action in the edit history.
Are you eager to get started? Do you need more details? Head over to www.novelpublicity.com/hire now to schedule a marketing call to discuss which team is right for your marketing!