GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Running a Street team - interview with Faith Hunter and her Primo + Giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Running a Street team - interview with Faith Hunter and her Primo + Giveaway

Street teams have been around a long time, but recently have become a bigger part of an author's marketing strategy. I am a part of many street teams, but The Beast Claws for Faith Hunter is one of the largest and most organized I've seen. So I wanted to ask Faith and her Primo, Lee Williams Watts (head of the street team) about what goes into creating such a successful street team.

Sharon: You recently created a street team “The Beast Claws” for your Jane Yellowrock series. What made you decide to do this?
Faith: A very serious fan kept insisting that I create a space for like-minded fans to promote the series. I kept insisting back that I didn’t have to the time to run one. But the fan (who later became my chief PR person at Let’sTalkPromotions,( ) was insistent. So I created a site and invited fans to join. In less than 48 hours I had nearly 200 and I shut done the invitation. Totally panicked. I had thought maybe 20 people after a few weeks. But 200??? I was terrified. And I knew I needed help, which is why I asked Lee to take it over, and become my assistant, at a ridiculously low, sweat-shop-low, salary.

Sharon: Has it made a difference for your series? Would you recommend it to other authors?
Faith: I honestly do not know. BLACK ARTS will be my first book to have a fully functioning team in place. Anything might happen! And yes, it is scary! As to other authors, If the fans themselves don’t set one up (some do) it takes a lot of work to set up. A LOT of work. And the giveaways can be expensive. But yes, I’ve become friends with almost all of the street team members, interacting with them on the FaceBook site every day. Lee and Let’s Talk promotions established rules for the members, and Lee runs the Beast Claws. 

Sharon: How much work do you personally have to put into running the team?
Faith: Thanks to Lee, not much. I go on 5 times a week, to answer questions and deal with any problems that Lee hasn’t noted, which might be one problem a month, if that. Then two months before each book, I host a packing party where any member who wants can come and help me package swag and promo material to all the Beast claws to pass out to bookstores and libraries and any venue that they feel is appropriate for book lovers! We package stuff, apply labels, eat pizza, and have fun. And then I read to them the first chapter of the next book. Yeah. Sneak peek. LOL

Faith, Jane Yellowrock and Lee
Sharon: Does it cost a lot of money to run a successful street team?
Faith: Mailing costs can be exorbitant. But the claws decided to set up a donation system and they donate money to run the Claws and pay for postage. They first mailing cost me nearly 2 grand. Yeah. Gulp. But this time will be half that, thanks to the donations!

Sharon: How big is The Beast Claws street team and what perks do members get?
Lee: We have 211 members.

Faith: They get special sneak peeks at new material. Things no one else will see until it hits the book stores.
Lee: So far they got a batch of Jane Yellowrock’s business cards, a batch of drink cards (the alcohol and human-blood breakfast of vamps everywhere) bumper stickers, lapel pins, we draw birthday winners, and they can buy Beast Claws T-s at cost, Jane Yellowrock armbands at cost, and they can take part in contests to win even more. They also get first peek at all new snippets of writing, and sometimes short stories in full, long before the public gets to see.
Faith: The Claws also get to know the personal side of the writer. I post several times a week what is happening in my life and I respond to posts about them and their lives. We have become friends.

These next questions are for Faith’s street team Primo Lee Williams Watts
Sharon: Tell our readers what a Primo is and what your job is as the Primo?
Lee: A Primo is the head blood servant first in command. I am Faith’s first in command. I am in charge of her Street Team. 

Sharon: How is Faith’s street team set up and what elements are essential to making it successful?
Lee: Faith’s street team is set up in tiers. We have several people who take on more responsibilities such as coordinating the members in their area so that we spread promo material to as many locations without doubling up.

Sharon: Is there a lot of work involved in being the Primo? What advice do you have for someone who might want to lead a street team for an author?
Lee: yes and no. There is more work before a book comes out but I don’t consider it work. This is something I do part time as I have a full time job. It is also something that I’m interested in so more fun than work. And Faith has a PR company, which meant she doesn’t have tight deadlines for me. I do go to her Con’s and signings when I can, and support her then. Writers can get frazzled at both and having a sorta of assistant is helpful.

Faith: She is being modest. I couldn’t get around without her at Cons. Seriously! I can get lost in a paper sack, and Lee keeps me on track and on schedule and heading to the right room.

Sharon: Is there someone or someplace you went to for advice before starting the street team?
Lee: I did some research about street teams on the internet. And I’ve heard of bands that make use of street teams. 

Sharon: What are some of the biggest mistakes you think street teams make?
Lee: Maybe not specifying what their members should and should not do while visiting bookstores or libraries. We have set up Protocols for our members to follow.

Sharon: Is there any other wisdom you would like to pass onto readers and authors about street teams?
Lee: Remember that a street team is there to help the writer, to spread the about the writer and the characters and the books. To act with dignity and kindness. And to always promote the series.

Faith: Always remember that it’s supposed to be fun.

About the Author:
Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. The Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock is taking off like a rocket withSkinwalker, Blood Cross, Mercy Blade, Raven Cursed, Death’s Rival and Blood Trade. Her Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy series—Bloodring, Seraphs, and Host—feature Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic, alternate reality, urban fantasy world. These novels are the basis for the role playing game, Rogue Mage.

Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 20+ books in print in 28 countries.

Hunter fell in love with reading in fifth grade, and best loved SiFi, fantasy, and gothic. She decided to become a writer in high school, when a teacher told her she had talent. Now, she writes full-time and works full-time in a hospital lab, (for the benefits) tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their dogs to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.


  1. I'm not on a street team as of this moment but I've been invited to a couple. After this exciting post, I'm going to choose one and join. Sounds really fun and I'm all about promoting authors!

  2. I'm a Beast Claw! It's a special treat getting to interact with my favorite author! I even got to meet her at Dragon Con. And, I've made friends with other Claws. :-)

  3. I'm on Heidi Betts street team. I've been a member of her street team for some time now and love the snippets and little things she does for us for promoting her books. She sends out bookmarks that we give out on our blogs and to friends and I usually send them out along with any other bookmarks I have with whatever a reader has won on my blog when I do a giveaway.


  5. I'm on several Street Teams and it is a lot of fun. I've become close friends with "my" authors and with other members of the Teams. It's a refreshing experience. Most of the teams I'm on are very organized with "missions" to be completed. Some have giveaways. Some do not. We understand the expense. A few of the authors are fairly new. We are there to help our author(s) succeed. We aren't in it for the goodies, though we certainly get excited when we are rewarded with swag. Thanks for the giveaway. I love the Jane Yellowrock series.

  6. I 'm on a Street Team and it is fun. This Street Team usually has "missions" to be completed.

  7. I've been a member of Beast Claws since it began. It's fun, a great way to promote an well-liked author and her books. Alisha

  8. Thanks for the nice interview ladies. I would love to be on a street team, but as I live in Holland, that is probably just too costly to keep sending me swag to hand out. Do you have foreign team members? Would you like one? I absolutely love the Jane Yellowrock series, and I have Faith's other series on my shelves to read.
    There are a lot of Dutch readers reading English books though.

  9. I'm on 2 street teams. So far all the work has been on the Internet, mostly sharing reviews. I find it frustrating when authors close their street teams. There should at least be additional times to sign up, maybe around a new release that you can say come back and sign up in Jan.
    I also don't think people should automatically expect swag, but I had an idea to make the initial swag pack more affordable. If you do printable bookmarks and wallpaper files you can email them with the acceptance to the team and send updates with each new release. No shipping costs.

  10. Love being on Faith's Street team!! Love all of the books!!

  11. Beast Claw here! I am also on a couple other street teams, but those teams are not nearly as active. I love being a claw!

  12. I'm not... my only suggestion is good organizational skills!

  13. I participate in several, primarily because I love to share about new books. My one suggestion would be not to burn out those who are sharing and keep it fun. I want to share fun, good books, and joy of a author's work and not feel like I should be collecting a salary at a high profile ad firm LOL