For some general references on writing romantic fiction, grab a copy of The Love Plot, How To Write A Brilliant Romance, and Quickies, Writing Short Fiction For The Romance Market
This is going to be a super short, succinct guide to help you develop romantic relationships.
Any relationship is going to form based on several integral aspects that should be incorporated in your writing. So it won't matter in what setting the relationship is formed if you don't develop it in a way that creates an actual connection. Let's go over a few points here that I learned from fabulous historical romance author Sarah M. Eden.
Common Romance Pitfalls
Now find ways to develop an emotional connection, need fulfillment, and their personal value for one another within whichever environment you place them. As long as you incorporate these essentials keys and avoid the romance pitfalls then you can develop a relationship in any setting or situation.
Good luck with that romance novel.
The Blond Guerrilla
If you're new to the joys of book marketing, the term street team, may be a foreign concept for you. It's also referred to as a review team or a launch team. Either way, the point of your team is to build a group of devoted fans who will read, review, and then help spread the word about your books to every person they come in contact.
Building this team is worth it. I promise you. Though it will take a little time in the beginning to build this awesome team, you'll find that once you launch a new release, you'll be very grateful you don't have to spend hours emailing bloggers for reviews. I'm not knocking that process in any way, I'm just saying it's very time consuming.
So the first step in investing in future reviews is to create a landing page for people to sign up for your street/launch/review team. I call it a launch team. You can dub it whatever you wish. Here is a link to my opt-in page for my launch team. I created it with leadpages. They have some fantastic templates for creating beautiful landing pages that help to convert traffic to subscribers.
Click here to see my launch team landing page.
You'll notice I have an eye-catching graphic right from the get-go, introducing any visitors to the team. Then I have a description of what my launch team is about, what I offer my launch team members, and what I expect in return.
Another thing you'll discover when you go to my launch team page is that there isn't an actual opt-in form visible. Instead, there's a button at the bottom with a strong call to action. "Join my awesome launch team". It doesn't get any clearer than that. Once you click on the button, then the opt-in form pops up on the same page. It isn't redirecting you to a different page, making you feel as if the process is taking too long.
This is called a two-part opt-in form. You might think that more steps would discourage potential team members, but research has shown this is not the case. This type of opt-in form has a higher conversion rate, which is why I decided to go with leadpages in the first place.
You offer your launch team free books, something that they will benefit from, and then you have a strong call to action button at the bottom. By then your visitor is either primed to join the team or ready to walk away. If they walk away, no worries. Most likely that person wasn't your target audience. Better to have engaged team members than members who are ambivalent when it comes to your books.
I learned this helpful information from Nick Stephenson. A guru in book marketing. His online courses on the subject are steller. You can check out some of his stuff for free with Your First 10K Readers program.
I prefer using Leadpages to create actual lead/landing/opt-in pages. You can click here to check them out. You may decide that this is the best, most professional way to go when it comes to converting traffic into launch team members.
What's nice about these folks is you can either let them collect emails for you or you can integrate your autoresponder so people's emails are directly delivered into your autoresponder account. I have aweber integrated into mine. Works flawlessly.
If you're just starting out, and you're looking for ways to be cost effective until you are making money that you can actually invest back into your author buisness, then I would consider creating a google docs form and embedding it into a page on your website. You can still include the description of the group, their role, and what you offer. Then you insert a few questions into the document such as:
You can get as detailed as you wish or you can simply ask for their name and email. When you send out Advanced Reader Copies to your launch team you simply include download links to all of the formats you have the book in such as pdf, mobi(for kindle), and epub(for nook, kobo, ibook).
Note: To create those download links, I like using BookFunnel.
Google docs will collect the information in a spreadsheet where you can keep track of everyone. Then just copy and paste their email addresses into a group email.
Another way is to simply create a nice looking landing page on your website with the appropriate description of what the launch team is all about. Then at the bottom you have a small opt-in form connected to your autoresponder such as aweber, mailchimp, or whichever one you're using.
You create that opt-in form on your autoresponder account and then embed it into your website. If this seems too technical for you, don't worry. There are tons of tutorials on youtube that take you through the process step-by-step. You need only google the question you have and you will find your answers.
I use weebly to create my websites because building pages is so easy. I'm not much of a coder or computer programmer. I like the drag and drop feature that weebly has to offer. So I just drag and drop an embed code box, copy and paste the html code for the opt-in form into the embed box, and boom baby! The box shows up without me having to do anything else or have a technical support person embed it into my website for me.
That's what I did here. Here is an example of what your opt-in form might look like.
This is actually an old opt-in form I used to offer up a free copy of The Healer, the first book in my YA romantic fantasy series. It still works if you want to test it out and grab a free book. You would set your opt-in form up the same way, just change the wording to fit your launch team offer.
As you can see, this one was my first opt-in form. A little plain, and not very professional, but it got the job done when it came to handing out free books. My new opt-in form for The Healer is now on Leadpages of course. Can you tell how much I love this company?
Here's what my opt-in page looks like now. Click here.
But I digress.
To summarize you can go with leadpages, google docs, or create your pwn leadpage on your website.
Now how exactly do you plan to drive traffic to that leadpage and get interested parties to join your team?
The most effective way to do this it to invite people who are already on your mailing list. (I hope you've been building that list of followers who have opted into your monthly newsletter.)
Everyone who opts-in to my newsletter, usually through a free book offer such as The Healer, will get a follow-up email that is scheduled to be sent to them about two weeks after they've joined my mailing list. This gives them a chance to read my book, decide if they like my work, and either stick around or unsubscribe from my list.
If they stick around then they get this email about two weeks later:
Most people will click on the link, but only about twenty percent will sign up. This doesn't mean the other eighty percent don't like my books. It simply means they aren't interested in joining the launch team, and that's perfectly fine. I only want truly devoted people who are willing to leave reviews and share my books on my team.
Now there are tons of other ways to get your form some exposure. You can...
In other words, stick that sucker anywhere you have a presence on the internet and always start it off with, Want some free books? or something similar to that. So you're asking them a question and following it up with a call to action. Get your free books by signing up for my review team here.
You may be wondering why on earth you should go to all the trouble to set this up in the first place.
Consider the benefits of having a group of trusted fans who love your books.
Once you have your launch team leadpage set up, and the link posted in every place you can think of, what do you do while you wait for that launch team to grow?
I hope this information has helped you understand the importance of a street/launch team and how to go about building one. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on the subject, and feel free to check out my own launch team if you're a fan of YA romantic fantasy.
I have found that the best lead magnets for both fiction and non-fiction authors are free ebooks. If you’re an author, and the thought of giving any of your hard work away makes you cringe or if you assume perma-free devalues your hard work in some way, I want you to consider the following:
My non-fiction side of things is a work in progress at the moment, so I will just share what I have done on the fiction side of things to give you an idea of where to get started.
You will need:
I’m a YA Fantasy and Paranormal author. My Healer Series is steeped in Japanese mythology and my Paranormal Misfits Series dabbles in the world of the Fae. So my target audience is those people interested in these types of genres. Anyone who enjoys books like Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, The Vampire Diaries, or The Iron Fey Series are going to enjoy my stuff.
The best way to attract these readers is to have one perma-free book, preferably the first in a series, to funnel your target audience to. Hence the reason this book is called a funnel book. Don’t consider this book a throw-away. It needs to be of high quality, have a great cover, and offer value in some way, whether it be through entertainment or enlightenment. (Solving a specific problem is key with non-fiction)
At the beginning and end of your funnel book you are going to offer them a free book. I know. One might argue that your perma-free book is the incentive, but one would be wrong. Your perma-free book is the pollen that brings the bees on over to investigate. You are funneling your target audience into your mailing list.
Most authors make the mistake of asking their readers to do something for them at the end of the book. “Hey, please sign up for my mailing list here” or “Grab a free book and sign up for my mailing list.”
Most people won’t click on that. Instead of asking for something, you offer them something of value. This is where your magnet book comes into play.
Create a graphic of your magnet book that invites them to grab it for free and link it to your lead page. It should look something like this:
Put this at the beginning and the back of your book with a link to your lead page. Doesn’t this look a million times more inviting? Once people click on the link they will be redirected to your lead page which should look something like this. Click Here!
Don’t keep reading until you’ve clicked on that link above and checked out the page so you have an idea of what it should look like. I created this with Leadpages. Awesome sauce. This form is a two-part opt-in form because instead of people seeing a place to put their email address they see a strong call to action. This converts better than the other opt-in forms.
Once people click on the button, a form pops up that asks them, “Where Should I Send It?”
Then you get an email address from a very targeted lead, one who you know enjoys the genre you write in, and your autoresponder sends that person an email with links to download the book. (You have to set up that email.)
I encourage you to actually enter your email on my lead page so you can see what that email looks like and you can go through the whole process. Don’t worry. I’m not after your email address, unless of course you like these types of books. :) As soon as you are finished going through the process to see what I did, you just unsubscribe from my list and you’ll never get another email from me after that…BUT you will have learned a valuable marketing tactic that grows your email list exponentially.
In conclusion, your first order of business is to:
Now are there other things you can use? Sure. If you don’t have a funnel book just use case studies, blog posts, or fun giveaways. Make sure those giveaways are of high value and cater to readers. Just offering money isn’t going to work. I actually have a giveaway going on right now if you want to take a look at what I did. Check it out here. If you have questions about the set-up just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I love helping people out with this stuff.
You can also get all of this information is much more detail by going through Nick Stephenson’s free book: Reader Magnets. OMG! The man is amazing.
His online course is even more in-depth. I pretty much owe all of my marketing savvy to this dude so I highly encourage you to take a look at his free guide and get working on everything he teaches you. Take action, folks. I’ve grown my email list from 400 to 8,000 in less than four months due to his insights and instructions. You can grab that freebie here.
Well, I hope that helps you guys out. Good luck growing your email list, and happy writing and marketing!
Th Blond Guerrilla
The Blond Guerrilla is your one-stop guide to all things Indie writing, self-publishing, and marketing! I hope you find everything you need to make your author journey a success.
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