Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted on Rainy Day Ramblings where we discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
This week’s topic:
Do you join author’s street teams?
When I first heard about author’s street teams, I was really excited and just had to get on my favorite author’s teams. I had heard members get little extras and perks. Hell, I wanted extras and perks from my favorite authors. I quickly learned that goodies are only part of the process.
Authors and/or their PA’s all run their street teams differently. The point in general is to get the word out about the author’s books and promote them in anyway you can. The range of involvement and author encouragement is all over the place.
Some authors and their assistants are like generals. They want to see you posting all the time, everywhere. They want to see you out there defending their books against bad or even moderate reviews. They are on top of you all the time pushing and pushing. There have even been times where you are told to put some kind of promotion out there or get cut from the team. I do not need that pressure. Also, what if that newest release just didn’t cut it for you? If I’m on their street team, I would feel obligated to give it a good review. That’s not fair or honest to my blog readers.
There are other street teams that are a little more laid back. Members chat about other things in their lives. Things that are fun and related to the books they support. They do the obligatory spread the word when a new release comes up, but in between is a lot of just people getting to know each other. These groups can be fun. Especially when the author themselves join in. I love that you get the personal side to the author as well. Those are fun groups to belong to. However, you do feel the pressure to hold their books a little higher than the others you read.
Street teams can be a really great place to meet other people that love the same books as you. The trouble with joining them is there is a responsibility attached. Whether it is outright demanded, or just assumed. Street team members have a job to do. Yes, there may be some perks on some teams. You have to be aware of what you are actually signing up for, though.
If your main goal is to meet readers with the same tastes, I would advise social media groups. Some groups are a lot of fun, and some even get author participation. There are no responsibilities with these groups, you are free to just rant like the fangirl you are!
For bloggers, my opinion is to stay away. The responsibility of a blogger to review with an open mind for our readers should trump our street team obligations. That could cause some major drama if you do give a less than stellar review for your street team author. If you are on one that is pretty laid back and does not blow up your post with accusatory comments, then great. Enjoy. The author is probably the type you want to get to know better anyway. As a practice though, I would definitely stay away.
That being said. I admit I do belong to a couple. These are the ones I joined before I realized the responsibility I had. I have become sort of a lurker. Joining in when they are talking about something fun. If the issue of positive promotion comes up, I’m out. Kick me off the team, that is fine. But I am not going to give dishonest reviews because of team obligations. I will not join anymore. Besides the occasion I have felt the push, I’ve heard some real horror stories.
So yes, my advice to bloggers is to stay away from street teams. I also think that if you are reviewing a book for a team you are on, you should state that in your disclaimer.
Do you belong to street teams? What has been your experience with them?