I am very passionate about today’s subject. I am not going to be talking about anyone specific because I don’t roll that way but more of a general feeling I have been getting lately. I have been a reader most of my life. I have always had great respect for authors or anyone who even attempts to put words on a page. I have been writing these blogs for about 15 months and there are days when I want to bang my head against the wall. This is the reason I had great respect for authors. Don’t get me wrong I still have love for most authors but I have seen a disturbing trend lately.
A few years ago it would have been just a pipe dream to talk to an author but with Facebook and other social media it makes authors so much more accessible to the reader. Is this a good thing I think so in most cases. It makes the reader feel closer to the author. Now I will tell you as a reader there are a few authors that if they asked me to clean their house I probably would jump at the chance. Most readers would. I think some authors are taking advantage of the love readers hold for them. Now I am not bashing the authors I am just adding my two cents into a discussion I have had with multiple people both in the reading world and outside of it. I work with people who I sometimes respect and so I ask their opinions and then there is my family who some of which are readers and some are not. I have gotten views from members of the Righteous Perverts and other places as well so here goes my rant.
I hate street teams. I feel like a street team is buying readers affection and in a way it is using them. Most readers would give their left arm to help an author that they love. I get that an author has to promote themselves because most publishers do not. My thing is that with most street teams the author is giving swag away to the members of their teams. Yes, they do expect the team members to also give the swag away to other people and to share their links and websites on their Facebook pages. Do the readers like the authors or their books, sure they do. Do they want the author to do well and write more books, yes. But to me this promotes ass kissing. If you are receiving free swag then you are not promoting the author because you love their books you are doing it to get free stuff. If you have read a book and not liked it then you are in the position of promoting something that you don’t believe in. Some will pimp an author or a book to get more stuff. I know some authors want their fans to be honest with them. Yes, I do know that some of them have street teams but to me the members of the teams cannot be an honest judge of a book because they are in a way being paid to promote the book/ author just not in money.
Now the actual promoting. Most of you know that I am one of the administrators of The Righteous Perverts. We are a group that is about 115 members of which half is probably authors. We do allow authors to pimp their books, blogs and contests in the group. We also expect them to participate in other threads as well. If they do not then just like any other member they will be removed. That being said we do not get free anything. We have had authors run contests in the group but it is rare that it happens. They usually just tell us that they are running a contest on their blog or site so that we know. We do not allow street team members to promote in our group either. To me this is the way an author should promote. Reach out to your fans and if they want to share your book or you as an author then they are going to do it because they love you or your book.
Now onto the fact that how many people are the street teams really reaching? I do know that some people have several hundred friends on Facebook but how many of them are readers? Next up if they are putting the bookmarks and things in stores or the library they are going straight to the trash because most places do not allow that. If you have pimped your author at your hairdresser or for that matter at your bookclub meeting then how many new people are you reaching? If you have mentioned the book or the author then you can cross those people off your list because if you keep telling them then they are going to feel like they are being hounded. Are you seeing where I am going with this? There is no way for anyone to really reach that many people. I think authors are better off spending their time and or money doing interviews with magazines or bloggers or book clubs rather than expecting 10 or 15 people to reach a mass audience. This is just not going to work and I think that in the end it will create hard feelings of other fans for the authors.
As a fan of several authors I sometimes feel like we are being ditched or that authors do not appreciate the people who have been with them from the beginning. I refuse to join a street team although I have been asked. I keep my friends list low on purpose. Most of the people on my list do not read so that kills me pimping out there. I work in a store and I do pimp there but I do it by suggesting authors or books even though our store does not carry them. I have lists already made up to hand out to people who are asking for help finding a good romance to read. I do something unique I talk to them, I find out what they are looking for, I tell them if I have met an author and how that author acted. How nice they were or how good their books are. I do this free of charge because I want my authors to do well and to be successful in their careers. I do not expect the author to give me anything for it. I do it because I want others to experience the joys of getting lost in the pages of a book. I do it to get people to read. I know I sound like a librarian but books have been a way for me to experience things that otherwise I would never know about. Yes, I have told people that they should read the book even if it wasn’t the author’s best work but I also am honest with people and if they ask me if I liked the book then I give them the truth. I tell them that this particular book is not the best the author has written but I do like the book. If the book sucks and someone asks me about it then I tell them that they should try another book by the author. This is the way an honest reader shows their favorite authors the love because they are not being paid to do it.
Now as my rant draws to a close the line forms to the left for my lynching and you can send me my hate mail in the comments so it can be repeated over and over again.