SCBWI-Websites, Newsletters, and Street Teams

Websites, Newsletters, and Street Teams
Tamara Grantham

• Simple designs are best. Too much clutter can be distracting. Where do you want your reader’s eyes to focus? What’s most important?
• Pick one main color and another to compliment it. White and black are usually best, accompanied with one other color such as red or blue.
• What is your website’s focal point? How is the focal point driving new subscribers or leading them to check out a new book?
• Most important: book sales and subscribers.
• Think of the Welcome page as a newspaper. The top 1/3 is the most expensive real estate on a paper. Many people will glance at your welcome page and either decide to click somewhere else or stay and scroll. You want them to stay and scroll. Choose a simple design with minimal clutter with one focal point.
What to include on your website’s top menu:
 Home
 Books
 Bio
 News and Announcements
 Contact
 7-9 tabs max.
In addition to the header and the tabs, the homepage can include links to books (including new releases) and information on how to subscribe to your newsletter. The bottom half of the homepage can include “how to find me” icons, links to recent blog posts, links to books, and videos.
This is a personal decision based on your budget and what you hope to accomplish. The more technical you’d like to get, the more money you’ll spend. Some of the most popular services are:
Mail Chimp: More expensive but user friendly and great customer service for those who are technically challenged. Less options for automation.
Mad Mimi: Automations can be confusing. More affordable.
Mailer Lite: Also more affordable. Better automation. Poor customer service.
Active Campaign: Must be tech savvy. More expensive but worth every penny.
Newsletters: Why have them?
 Facebook posts- About 7%
 Twitter- Less than Facebook, though it’s difficult to give an exact number.
 Blog posts- It varies.
 How many people get your newsletter? Nearly 100% of the people who sign up.
The First Three Emails: Remember WIIFM (What’s in it for me.)
(1) Most important. The first one is a welcome email, plus a “here’s your prize” announcement. (Your reader magnet.) I send it immediately after they subscribe.
(2) The second is a “did you claim your prize?” Sent 3 days after the first.
(3) The third is a welcome to the team! Sent 3 days after the second. This will be your introduction to the street team.
The most important item in your email is your subject line. Subscribers will see this first. It will determine whether your email will be opened or deleted. In many ways, your email subject is more important than your email. A great newsletter is worthless if it never sees the light of day. Spending a little extra time on improving your subject line will boost open rates, avoid the junk folder, and get your message in front of your readers. Some successful subject lines are…
 Ask a question. Example “Did You Win the $50 Gift Card?”
 Include a deadline. “Only Five Days Left to Claim 43 Free eBooks!”
 Make an announcement. Example: “The Winners of the Book Giveaway Are…”
A tip for writing good subject lines: Write 10 subject lines, then choose the best one.
The purpose of a street team is a group of people who will “hit the streets” promoting an event or product. These are the people who will promote you—that’s why it’s so important to get readers to read and rave about your books. They do your job so you can write!
Q: How often do you post on your street team page?
A: Approximately every other day.
Q: What do you post?
 Snippets from my WIP no one else sees.
 Suggestions for character names.
 “Fan girl stuff” Ex: pictures of Thor and Dr. Pepper.
 “Read this first” type posts.
 Always welcome new members.
 Call for Street teams are vital to making book releases a success. A few things I ask for help with:
 Each street team member who commits to leaving a review will get an ARC of the upcoming release.
 They’re expected to leave a review within a week after the book’s release.
 I also post graphics of the new release that they can share on social media. I’ll also ask members to create graphics.
 Street team members are also great at promoting contests I’ve entered, and will usually vote for cover contests, etc…
 Beta readers.