Episode # 38 – How a Street Team can be Great for Book Marketing

In Editing, Networking, Social Media, Street teams, Uncategorized by Julius S23 Comments

Victoria Danann cover

Victoria Danann is an award winning novelist and author of the Order of the Black Swan. I talk to her about her rather unique planning process and just how she manages to bring such depth to her characters (something her reviewers constantly praise her for). We also talk in depth about book marketing and street teams and the value of having people around you supporting your writing.

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Links:

The Order of the Black Swan Series (first book is free)

Amazon Profile

Website

Mentions:

Romance Writers of America – attended a conference with a talk with Mark Coker the CEO of Smashwords.

Bitten by Paranormal Romance – Where Victoria took out her first ad.

Indie Marketing Group – A Facebook group she runs sharing marketing tactics.

Victoria’s Blog

Kym Grosso – Not mentioned in the show, but Victoria’s book marketing planner who is a huge part of that strategy. Victoria mentioned this in the comments below, but I feel it deserves a place up here for those who don’t read the comments :).

Kym had just released a first book about the same time that I was releasing mine. I had a strong hunch that she was going to be good. So I contacted her and said, “Hey. Let’s form a mini marketing consortium and promote each other. I’ll put your books in the back of mine. You put my books in the back of yours.” Long story short. It has been a big success.
We know that because on Amazon, her books are always on my product pages as “also bought” and v.v. We have just added a third partner into our little group, Teresa Gabelman, and will be adding her books to our updates.

Show notes:

Victoria started by writing out a huge number of query letters, but after getting no response decided to go ahead and try self-publishing.

Using Permafree

Victoria went immediately permafree on her first book when the second one came out which was what really caused the series to start to take off, she puts this down as her most effective book marketing technique at the time. She heard about this after attending the Romance Writers of America conference and seeing a talk by Mark Coker who was talking about marketing strategies for self-publishers.

Character Development

Victoria writes her books quickly and still gets a huge amount of praise for her character development. She says that one of the reasons this is possible is because she came to writing later in life, she now says that she has a huge amount of experience to work with. She also is a student of human behavior, both in life and in academia (having a degree in psychology).

Even her minor characters are praised for having depth. I asked Victoria about this and she said that it is unintentional – she just sees each character as fully formed when they are in her head. They all have features and personalities, even if they don’t even have a name.

The Planning Process

Victoria is someone who plans her work but also lets the story takes it own shape. Her planning process is something a bit different. It takes her two months to write a novel, not because that is how long it takes her write the book, but that’s the time it takes for the ideas to seep out of the brain onto the plan.

  1. Bare essential outline – Numbers one to twenty-something are written out, each one being a chapter. One line (or slightly more) is written down saying what will happen in that chapter.
  2. Expanded outline – One page for each chapter. The line from the bare essential outline is written down on this page. Victoria finds that ideas for her story come to her at different points during the day and night and when one hits her she finds a place in this outline to expand on it.

The ‘pantsing’ part (writing without plot) comes later when she is drafting. The characters start taking actions in her head and going about the story as she planned. Sometimes they can do unexpected things that can throw off the plan. The first book she wrote has to be completely re-written because one of the characters made an unexpected decision. She plotted carefully on the following books to stop that happening again.

Permafree Read Though

10% to book 2. 90% to book 3. Read through to book 4 and beyond is significantly over 90%. Victoria says at these point they are “my people.”

There are no cliffhangers to hook people into the next book, but a strong call to action in the back of the book for people to buy the next one in the series.

Book Marketing

65 : 35 / Book Marketing : Writing. This is even with two assistants helping her. She spends a lot of time experimenting with different things that she hears about, just to see if it works, if it does she does more of it. The book marketing that works for books is constantly changing, so keeping up with the latest marketing trends is super important.

In her genre of paranormal romance there are plenty of blogs out there and she start approaching them about guest posting and doing interviews. Even a small blog will have a few hundred readers and some of those will convert to sales.

Street Team

A street team are dedicated readers who are willing to help you out with book marketing and Victoria uses them heavily to spread the word about her books. People have described her street team as a ‘cult like following.’ She has a hairdresser giving away bookmarks to clients, a waiter handing them with a check… Her street team current stands at 59 people. They will also beta reads all the books for her and she says that by the time the book hits the shelves there “are no mistakes.”

In return she gives them ‘anything she can think of.’ They get a lot of exclusive stuff in return for the work they do.

If you are interested in putting together a street team to help with your book marketing, get in touch with Victoria as she is happy to let you inside her street team and ask them questions. Highly recommended, reach out to her through her website.

QUOTES

“I feel like a reporter who has visited this world and simply written down what I heard”

“I still don’t understand why people would want to spend some of their time promoting my books!”

Untitled-1

Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Julius SEpisode # 38 – How a Street Team can be Great for Book Marketing
  • R.M. Prioleau

    I may have to re-listen to this to get all the information in there. Goodness. Street Teams are definitely a great way to get loyal fans to promote your book. And yes, Simon, I think you should totally do an entire podcast on Street Teams.

    • SimonRSP

      I recently recorded another interview which will be going out in a few weeks, and while it wasn’t entirely on street teams, we did talk a bunch more about them. Doing a practical episode on building a street team would be a winner I think :).

      • Linda Brashears

        I’m currently on another writer’s street team and feel like we need to learn as much as possible to help our writers out. I think an episode on builiding a street team would be great and the many ways for the team to support their writer.

        • disqus_IEdgLGcTVF

          🙂

      • Victoria Danann

        That is a great idea. Practically speaking, remember that nothing is one-sided. There are some issues to consider and some pitfalls. To be fair to everyone, be sure to include a mention of those.

  • J.P. Choquette

    Such a great podcast–I too, nearly fell over (with dumbells in hand no less!) when I thought of readers promoting my work for free. There are really people who do this? Hmmmmm. . . . Thanks for the great show and ALL the helpful tips, Victoria. A wealth of information for sure!

    • SimonRSP

      Ha! I also listen to podcasts while exercising! Victoria was a great guest, thanks for listening 🙂

  • Victoria Danann

    ONE CORRECTION / ONE AMENDMENT…
    First, I’m letting my .com go in favor of consolidation. I can found at http://victoriadanann.me
    Second, the minute I hung up with Simon I realized that I had forgotten to mention my marketing partner, Kym Grosso, which was a huge error because she’s such a big part of the strategy.
    Kym had just released a first book about the same time that I was releasing mine. I had a strong hunch that she was going to be good. So I contacted her and said, “Hey. Let’s form a mini marketing consortium and promote each other. I’ll put your books in the back of mine. You put my books in the back of yours.” Long story short. It has been a big success.
    We know that because on Amazon, her books are always on my product pages as “also bought” and v.v. We have just added a third partner into our little group, Teresa Gabelman, and will be adding her books to our updates.
    Last, Simon, thank you ever so much for the marvelous opportunity to share my experience with your other fans. All the best.

    • disqus_IEdgLGcTVF

      That is a really great strategy, I have found a couple of authors in the Gothic genre I write in and have wanted to approach them but I’m not sure I’m at the righte level of sales yet. Its startung to happen–but I have to get that Book 2 out this year!
      Thanks Victoria! and Simon! 🙂

      • SimonRSP

        You’ve very little to lose by asking :). I’ve seen some great examples of some major league indies doing a box set and bringing in some lesser knowns. Indies tend to be a very generous bunch 🙂

    • SimonRSP

      Victoria, thank you, as I always say it’s the guests that bring the value to the show. I just sit there and listen :). First “woah!” moment in a while for me, so thank you for that!

      I’ve updated the show notes above to add Kym and the link over to your website has been changed 🙂

  • Sarah Nicole Blausey

    Loved it! Love working for you Victoria! Great podcast Simon, I will have to start listening to more of them!

    • Victoria Danann

      Totally biased opinion. Sarah is one of my assistants.

      • Sarah Nicole Blausey

        BUT I started working for you because I LOVE your books, so it’s only semi-biased. 😀

        • SimonRSP

          Hahaha, thanks Sarah ;). I hope you continue to enjoy the show 🙂

  • disqus_IEdgLGcTVF

    Very amazing! She has lots of great ideas. I ordered her first book—I like this genre myself. Allthose fans must be a dream come true.
    The wisdom about keeping the series going keeps coming up. That second volume…demands to be taken on boeard.
    Congratulations Victoria!

    Alyne de Winter

    • SimonRSP

      Right? The power of that street team blew me away.

    • Victoria Danann

      Hi Alyne – Yes. The second volume. AND THE THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, etc. !! Anybody still writing stand alone novels is seriously missing the boat.

  • Judy Fox

    Such an informative interview! I loved it, well spoken, a wealth of great information freely shared, a nice peek into how her mind works when writing, and fun hints on upcoming books! Thanks for such a great podcast.

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Judy, glad you enjoyed the show.

  • Tracy Kunzler

    I have just discovered this rockin’ series of podcasts and over the moon I am getting ready to publish my second book and had my volunteer editor back out of the job. I listened to this podcast and was fascinated to learn about Victoria’s “street team” and beta readers. I immediately put a notice on facebook (via my personal page) for beta readers, and within an hour, I had a dozen offers! I can’t wait to listen to more of these podcasts! Simon and Victoria and all the other angels who are sharing their knowledge and experience with us on this program are earning great karma points. Love that spirit of giving and sharing! Many thanks for this program and your wonderful website and show notes!

    • Victoria Danann

      Lovely, Tracy. I’m so pleased you got a “take away”.

    • SimonRSP

      Hi Tracy, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment :). Glad that you are finding the interviews helpful. Awesome that you got so many beta readers on board so quickly! Good luck with the launch of the second book :).