Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Marketing Books: Understanding Book Launch Teams

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

One simple, cost-effective way to market your book is through a book launch team. This term has been around for several years, but not everyone understands how these teams operate or why they should join one. We’re going explore those questions today.

First, what is a book launch team? Edie Melson defined this in an earlier article:

“A street team—also called a launch team, dream team, tribe, posse, road crew, etc.—is a group of readers passionate about your book. These are people who believe in what you've written and see the value of sharing it with others. They agree to post reviews, mention it on Goodreads, share about it on social media, and of course talk about it in person.” 

For more background on launch teams, read Edie’s full article here.

Why should a reader should join a launch team?
There are benefits to being on a team. Above all, you receive a free copy of the book before it’s released. For avid readers of a particular author, this may be all the incentive needed. However, some authors provide additional bonuses such as special downloads, giveaways of book-related gifts, and behind-the-scenes peeks into the writer’s life. 

Why should a writer should join a team?
To see how book launches are done. Last month I shared how to learn marketing by studying others’ techniques. Being on a launch team is a great way to study book promotion. 

Recently, I was on a street team for Lynn H. Blackburn’s latest novel Beneath the Surface.Not only did I learn tips from Lynn on how to run a launch, I gained valuable information from her team members. One in particular was familiar with aspects of Goodreads that were a revelation to me. More about that in a future post!

What can you expect being on a launch team?
The number of activities requested within a launch team can vary widely. I studied four teams for this article, including ones for both new and seasoned authors. At minimum, you’ll be asked to read the book and post a review. At the higher end of the spectrum, you’ll be encouraged to do some or all of the items listed below. The more an author asks of you, the more incentives he or she usually provides. 

Note: All of the authors wanted honest reviews. None pressured members to provide a certain rating, so take that worry off your mind. 

Here are common book launch activities:
  • Read the Book
  • Share on Social Media: Authors generally provide prepared memes and tweets. You can also share your favorite quotes from the book or post pictures of the book “in the wild”—pictures of the book on your coffee table waiting to be read or on a bookstore shelf next to other awesome authors.
  • Post Reviews: Besides reading the book, writing a review was the most common activity. Posting on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Christian Books, and other book sites is critical for author recognition. People can also review books on their blogs, Pinterest boards dedicated to books, Instagram, etc. An author interview, if that’s appropriate for your blog, would definitely be welcome.
  • Participate in Group Events: Team members may be asked to join a Facebook Live launch party or participate in another social media campaign. 
  • Follow the Author: As writers, we know that publishers place value on the social media reach an author has. Launch team members may be asked to follow the author on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, a blog, or a newsletter to keep up with the latest activities.
  • Vote: Support the book in reader favorites contests and Goodreads lists. Authors will often find these and share them with the team to make voting easy. Team members can also post any pertinent lists or contests they find.
  • Share the Book with Others: Some simple ways to do this are: 
    • 1) suggest it to your book club, 
    • 2) ask your library and local bookstores to stock the book, and 
    • 3) give copies to friends as gifts.

What have you learned from being on a book launch team? What types of activities were done? Which ones seemed to get the most responses? Please share your experience in the comments so we can all learn together.


What happens on book launch teams? Get the inside scoop from @EfficiencyAdict on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. For more writing and small business tips, connect with Cynthia on Twitterand Pinterest. Cynthia’s new website www.CCOwens.comGrace for every dayis currently in development. Readers can follow her weekly posts to see how a website is created and have input into the process.


  1. Excellent tips, Cynthia! I'm currently serving on Sarah Van Diest's "God in the Dark" launch team. Our private Facebook group is a tremendous blessing! Throughout the month of March we shared how a particular passage in the book resonated with us -- but it was more. We also shared prayer requests, praises, and tidbits of our own stories. It was a place of true community, and we are cheering this book on (it releases TODAY!) - not only because we love Sarah, but also b/c we believe God wants to do great things through it!

    1. I agree, Cathy. Being on Sarah's launch team has been such a blessing. I love that her book setup encouraged daily interactions and that those interactions ministered to the group. It's been quite a different launch experience.

  2. Amazing ideas Ms. Cynthia and Ms. Edie. I've done this,unofficially, but never knew it had a name. So much I have to learn. I've been watching this happen with Ms. Sarah Van Diest's book, and thinking, what a great idea! Now I have to go back and update my book proposal's marketing plans section again. Thank you both for sharing your knowledge. I'm printing this, and "Street Teams" for future reference. God's blessings y'all...

  3. Cynthia,
    What a great and timely post!!! Thank you for helping us all make our way down this unfamiliar path, whether we walk it currently or shall do so in the years to come. You are ministering to us with your skill and knowledge. Thank you!!!

    1. My pleasure, Sarah. And did I see your launch day is today? Wonderful! I think my afternoon break will involve a trip to the bookstore...

  4. I wish my book was ready to launch. Thanks for giving me hope!

    1. We're all on this journey together, just at different spots. Glad to be able to encourage you today, Jackie. Seeing comments like yours encourages me.

  5. I participate in a lot of launch teams and truly enjoy the experience. The conversations with the author and other readers is truly amazing. :-)

  6. Great article! I've loved having you on my team, Cynthia. :) Thanks for the shout out. :)

    1. I learned a lot, Lynn. Can't wait for In Too Deep to hit the bookshelves.

  7. As a reader, one of my favorite things about launch teams is the community of book lovers. Through our different teams, we’ve grown to know each other and share prayer requests, struggles, and even how certain stories resonated with us. And it’s always a blessing to learn more about the authors whose books we love to read.

    1. Excellent points, Suzie. I've learned so much from other book lovers--new authors to try, different ways to view books. It's interesting to see the eclectic mix of people that come together in these teams.

  8. This will come in very handy when I get to the point I need a team. Thank you much, Cynthia. ;)