Missed Connections.

For any of you that have been following this blog - or me, as an author - you're fully and perhaps even painfully aware of how social I can be. I'm all over the internet, here and there. I flit about like a psychotic butterfly; some months I'm more present here on this blog, other times I'm more active on Facebook, other times I tweet like a birdie in the springtime. I even ran a bi-weekly newsletter for a while, with some success.

But it was a lot to manage, and eventually, the blog suffered, facebook suffered, twitter suffered, and the newsletter suffered. While trying to keep writing regularly, I simply ran out of things to say on all of the different social mediums, and in the midst of being overwhelmed, I suffered.

Well, now, that dilemma has grown into old news, and in some ways it's obsolete. I don't need to worry about keeping my facebook inventive and engaging anymore, because facebook hardly ever shows my posts to even 10% of my facebook following, and there is only rare interaction on other sites like twitter. Also, due to the conflict of trying to keep a blog and a newsletter current, I've decided to let the subscription newsletter go in favor of the more publicly visible blog venue.

But there is one other part of this dilemma,
and I'd honestly love to hear your opinions on it in the comments below.

What's my question, you ask?

Well, hold on, there's really more to it than a simple question. In the most simplified way possible, I could just ask you: Do I need a street team? And if I set one up, would you join it? And if you did, would you truly participate? But see, then it isn't really so simple after all.

So let's approach it like this.

Motive -- A street team (for me) would be a facebook group, a set of people simply wishing to help market me and my work, in exchange for occasional giveaways, first look at snippets and blurbs from my work, first look at new book covers, and inside information. You'd know where to find me if I was planning an appearance, probably long before the appearance became public news. You'd likely receive gifted copies of my books on occasion, in exchange for an honest review within a certain time period. The purpose of the group would be to boost interaction and create a sense of community.

I have been told several times, by several different people, from several different backgrounds, that a street team is essential and I need one, ASAP. But then ...

Drawbacks -- Of course there would have to be some sort of rules, wouldn't there? In exchange for the early information, games, prizes, and whatnot, I'd be really asking people who joined the group to actively participate. I'd be asking members to converse with each other, and with me. I'd ask for ideas and suggestions sometimes, and I wouldn't find it worth all the effort if no one seemed interested. So then, I'd likely have some sort of rules in place or something.

I have been told just as many times, by just as many people, from just as many backgrounds, that a street team is an unnecessary burden on fans, that it feels like a requirement, and that it would be an annoyance and I shouldn't bother with it.

See now, my dilemma.

I want a friendly connection with my fans that seems next to impossible to achieve through the general means. I look at people who follow my work as friends, in a way. Maybe not privy to my everyday thoughts and happenings, but still in some way, a friend to me and my family, through the support shown to me. And I'd like to feel as if I'm giving back in some way. So, because it's a team effort, I'd really love to know what you all think about it.

Feel free to comment below.
(And if you're using google chrome and find commenting on blogger blogs to be nearly impossible,
I can say that it works fine on internet explorer. Or at least, it did the last time I tried it.)