Over the last two years there has been an increase in authors establishing teams of readers, or a Launch Team, to assist in the launch process.
I’m a big fan of these as they are such a practical way a reader can support an author. I’ve been a member of a few such teams for authors in both the fiction and non-fiction worlds. Some teams have ended with the launch and others have continued on to include further book releases. The first one I joined two years ago, is still running, and has evolved across a further two or three content launches.
I wrote a post on establishing a Launch Team from an author’s perspective for ACFW. You can read that here if you like. I thought I’d use my blog to encourage readers to join one.
What is a Launch Team?
Simply put, it’s a group of people who actively support the release of a new book. It generally involves the author inviting people via FB posts, Tweets, and/or emails, and offering to provide them with some “exclusives”. In return, the team members will promote the release with reviews, social media postings and such like. Think of the team as an author’s inner tribe and/or cheer squad.
Why join a Launch Team?
There are a number of benefits for readers that go beyond getting “free stuff”.
- Access to an author
Yes, you can get one and close a personal (virtually speaking) with an author. Depending on the willingness of the author, you’ll get to learn more about them, their interests and, more detail about the book that a typical reader wouldn’t receive.
Authors do this by creating a closed Facebook group that only members of the launch team can access. This allows greater interactivity with both the author and other members of the tribe.
Yes, there are many other potential ways of doing this these days with social media, however, particularly if you live on the other side of the world to authors it’s a great way of “meeting” them.
- Early access to content potentially with some freebies and/or exclusive content
In some groups I’ve received access to the Advance Reading Copy (ARC) prior to launch. Publishers may have a bunch of “Influencer” paper copies that an author will invite some members of the launch team to apply for ahead of launch.
There have been instances where audiobooks and/or multiple ebook formats have been accessible as well.
- You get to invest in an author
This is perhaps my favourite reason for joining a team. It’s clear from some teams I’m part of there are a number of members who have invested in the author. Not just from buying, reading, reviewing and promoting the author’s work but more significantly in prayerful support and encouragement.
One author regularly emails his tribe seeking their counsel as readers and also for prayerful support. I love being able to actively support an author in this very practical way.
- Team members invest in each other
Similarly, there is a delightful camaraderie that has developed within some of the teams. When prayer is needed, the call goes out. In recent days, there has been an instance where one person asked for prayer and within days had other entire prayer communities petitioning the Lord due to other people’s prayer chains being engaged.
- You learn more about the launch process
This is really intended for those readers who hope to release a book of their own one-day. This is a great opportunity to watch first hand some of the machinations of a launch process.
What’s typically required of a reader?
Each author brings their own personality to their own launch. Accordingly, each tribe is different.
- Be an active participant
So read the book, review it and share your review. In my mind this is the very minimum as this is typically what you’ve signed up for. Also take the opportunity to be involved in the group. Share occasionally in the FB group. Some people use these forums to promote their own work, which most authors don’t mind. I take the view the group is there for the author and that’s what our energies should be about.
- Pray for the author
It’s a big moment launching a book with lots to do. These days a lot of this falls on the author so wisdom and discernment are invaluable, especially for those new to the game. But also just pray generally for them. We all can do with our own “two or three gathered in His name” prayer circles, can’t we?
Here are two examples of such teams:
- Mike Dellosso’s The Darlington Society has been active now for over two years and continues to grow. Mike’s always keen for new members so if you love “wide-eyed” suspense shoot Mike an email.
- This morning I noticed Melissa Tagg has put the call out for 100 members for her September release “Made to Last”. Melissa has written a great post about the benefits and her expectations of members. So if you like romantic comedy, get in quick with your application as I imagine the Tagg team will be hotly sought after.
If you’re a member or have been a member of a Launch Team, what have been your experiences?