Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Book Launch Teams – What Authors Need to Know About Picking Members, Part 2

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyADict

Earlier this year, I contacted authors Mesu Andrews, Cathy Baker, Lynn Blackburn, and Rachel Dylan to learn about their experiences with book launch teams. They shared so many great ideas, I had to break their insights into multiple posts. 

Last month we looked at how to design your book launch team. If you missed the tips for envisioning your team, getting help, or initial planning, check out part one of What Authors Need to Know About Book Launch Teams.

This month, we’re taking the next step, investigating how to fill your team.

Choosing Your Team Members
Have an Application Process
Most authors have an application process for their teams. If you’re choosing to self-publish your book, you may be able to accept as many people as are interested. However, traditional publishers will limit the number of free book copies they’ll supply. This makes an application process critical. Romantic suspense author Rachel Dylan has an ongoing street team but says, “For my traditionally published books, I will specifically put out a call for influencers. My group gets the first opportunity to sign up. For my Indie books, I make e-book review copies available to anyone in the group who is interested and wants to read and provide an honest review.”

Once you’ve launched 2-3 books with a team, you may recognize that there’s an optimal group size that works with you. Biblical fiction author Mesu Andrews noted that over the years her launch team has ranged from 50-75 members but found that the smaller size worked better to build the closeness she wanted among her members. 

Key Point: Team size matters. Having an application process helps you make good choices regarding each member opening you have.

Select People You Don’t Know
It’s comfortable to choose our friends to help us, but that’s not the best marketing strategy. To reach a wide audience, we need to attract people we don’t know to share our books. Romantic suspense author Lynn Blackburn advised, “Be intentional about choosing street team members that you do NOT know and that live all over the country. Your friends are already (hopefully) going to talk up your book. You want people who do not know you and who live 3000 miles away to talk up your books to their friends.”

Key Point:Reach beyond your friends for team members. Ideally, these reader fans will become new friends in time.

Consider What Makes a Good Team Member
When Cathy Baker’s devotional books were released, she noted that because they were self-published, she needed as much support as possible. Don’t we all? But what does good support look like? Here are some parameters these authors shared about what makes solid team members.

Basic Characteristics—A good launch team member is someone who
  • Is enthusiastic about what you write—both your specific books and ideally the genre in which you write.
  • Will read the book and post a review on at least two of the following: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, ChristianBook.com, Books-A-Billion, The Book Depository (International)
  • Is consistent and encouraging.
  • Will talk about the book in person to others.
  • Has at least one social media outlet where they feel comfortable sharing their opinions.
  • Advanced Characteristics—These special people are members who 
  • Will write a blog post about the book and/or author.
  • Will share his or her talents in creatively promoting your book or developing activities for bonding the team.
  • Is involved in readers groups, forums, or their local library.
  • Will participate in special events–Facebook Live broadcasts, blog tours, contests, etc.
  • Will share places to post or review the book.
  • Will encourage others on the team.
  • Will help you manage your book launch team.

Key Point: Choose wisely. Not every member has to be an “advanced” member or have 20K combined followers on social media. But, it’s good to have people with a variety of skills and availability.

Next month, we’re going to discuss three important tips for launch teams that don’t get much attention. In the meantime, you can learn more about our helpful author panel by clicking the links to their websites below:

What can you share about choosing members for or being on a book launch team? I’d love to hear your insights in the Comments section below.


Picking book launch team members? Why you shouldn’t stack your team with friends. @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. Always wonderful tips Ms. Cynthia. Thanks and God's blessings ma'am.

  2. When my first book launched, I had a lot of people contact me through Facebook, raving about the book. I built a private group on Facebook for them, naming it after the bakery in the book, where every one gathers (Dee's 'n' Doughs).

    They even started to interact as the characters in the book. We ended up with a cookbook that my publisher published.

    These people are my street team. There's 40 in the group. They are loyal and really promote my books. I give them free e-books, previews of my WIPs, and some special things. I hand made magnetic book marks for them all, too.

    They are worth their weight in gold!

    1. What a great way to build a team. Thanks for the insights!

  3. So good, Cynthia! Book launch teams was a hot topic at the conference a couple of weeks ago. I mentioned this series. Thanks!!!

  4. Always an encouraging help here on Edie's site.