Introducing the Tribe!
I have heard that I that one of the many things I should be doing as an author is having a ARC, or Street Team–whatever it is you want to call it–I need one of those. A few years ago I was too terrified to start a newsletter, but I have one now, but I haven’t sent out a whole lot of emails. But I bit the bullet and did it even though I was scared crapless. I haven’t had much going on that readers may or may not care about. Of course, I am terrified of annoying them and everyone leaving in one fell swoop.
Just like everything all-things-author, I am hardly ever the first one to the party. I pretty much never am. I am usually the last to know so I don’t really reap any of the benefits, so then the question becomes does it any hypothetical value. I find out/join in when there’s hundreds/thousands/millions of freaking people doing the same thing. Ugh! I don’t have popularity on my side, so I don’t stand out. The only way I could ever be the first at something would be for me to invent it myself–or between me and my close friend. He’s awesome. That is if anything ever caught on. That’s something that has never happened for me before. Who knows if it will…
So, I put off the team thing. I don’t even know where to start. This whole team deal seemed even more terrifying than the newsletter deal. Ugh! Let’s face it, due to my anthropophobia, I am scared of my readers. There, I admitted it. I am scared of book bloggers and reviewers, too. Anthropophobia is being afraid of people, so it’s really nothing personal to readers, reviewers, and bloggers. It doesn’t matter if it’s virtual or real life, I am afraid of people. Period. I will write a post about why I am so scared of people, but you can read some of my previous posts to get an idea. I really do want to create relationships with readers, but I have learned the hard way early in life that reaching out to others is dangerous for me; I have been slapped down and outright condemned for doing it. I have been made to regret asking for anything from people, even if it’s as small as asking for 50 cents for a drink. Of course, I am afraid whether or not readers will like me or not in addition to simply being afraid of them in general. Oh god!
It’s quite a struggle to want something so badly but be deathly afraid of it at the same time. Anthropophobia also incorporates the fear of forming interpersonal relationships with others. I also have extreme insecure attachment if I can attach at all, but that’s another topic. So basically, I am involved into doing something that scares me me to death. To translate: starting a street team/ARC team is like asking me to jump off a cliff without a parachute or a glider. There is a chance I will survive the collision with the ground and maybe not break anything that will cause permanent damage, but it’s all in how I land and what I do in the air on the way down. Greeeaaat! Maybe I’ll just die, and it be over. Or a rescue by an angel would be nice too…
So then the fine folks at LitRing had a workshop with some extras to help me get my footing and set one of these boogers up. The instructor Melissa Storm created the graphic, I am in the group with a few other authors, but I am the only YA author. She did awesome bringing it to life. Even though not all of my series are rooted in Native American themes, the wolf and the quill portray these and give the “lone wolf” feel. I have been a lone wolf a long time in search of a pack. The themes will be about belonging (something I haven’t really had before) to a tribe (Native theme yes, and I have some Cherokee decent). Tribes stick together closer than most families and is not a clique. I hate cliques–they are the bane of my life.
There’s an event planned this week and I am both excited and scared at the same time. I have always dreamed of a place or something tangible to be able to interact with my closest readers (if I ever had any–I’m not sure) on a personal level to some extent, but at the same time it terrifies me. The fear of anthropophobia and avoidant-borderline personality disorder rearing its ugly head again.
From the personal stories about what were possible that could result with getting to know readers and what we do as an author can go way beyond the printed and digital pages and the sales and reviews was almost magical. What could be possible from this simple thing can go way beyond the “buy my book” and “review my book” and “do this and do that for me” almost seemed like the very thing I had been missing my whole life other than this one profession–with people who were not my blood relatives or my good friend. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it will, but the fact that it could be possible was saying something.
Of course, this is something that I have to work at: me getting to know the readers who join the inner circle and me getting to know them without being scared of them. Being ostracized for 30 years had made making relationships extremely difficult for me or almost impossible. There are things I have never learned or grabbed hold of because of being shut out for so long.
Of course, doing this event could result in no one joining and no one wanting to know me. But I do owe it to myself to try one more time, even though I feel that I am insane in doing this because such things have never worked for me before. But this time I have some people working with me, and I’m not alone this time which is a rarity. To add, a couple of the people I am working with have had similar struggles that I have. I did feel safe enough to share the intense feelings that I am having from them being human and open about their own issues. I am not going to be turned out into the wild and faced with this feat on my own which is astronomically huge for someone like me. I have experienced people who are there to help which would not have been made possible if I hadn’t invested in the workshop. So it has been an investment in me as a person as well as an author and taking this to something beyond someone who writes books.
My goal for this group is to make it “more than just the average Review/Street Team”. I know that’s a tall order considering how socially challenged I am. I hope these hypothetical readers will tell me what they want in this team. Of course I want it to be more about interaction and being able to share. I am not all about sell, sell, sell. I’m on the other side of the coin. I have a hard time with asking for things, even at the 10% level versus the 90% fun stuff. Truthfully, I hate selling. I hate marketing. But it’s those things I HAVE to do (it’s a friggin’ chore to me, not a joy regardless if I have written a book about it). It’s worse when you have social issues like mine. If there was a way I could do it in a way that feels natural to me and not have to mold to someone else’s model (the industry as a whole), that would be great. However that works. I don’t even know what’s natural to me among people since I have been cut off from the rest of the world since I was 5.
Are you reading this and want to join? Click on the link below to join the Facebook group where all the fun stuff will happen (eventually, when I learn how). Do you want to join the ARC review team? Click on the tab “Join my ARC/Street Team” and fill out the form, and you can join the Facebook Group there too.
About the Author
AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.