Over the last five years, I’ve been studying the work and teachings of some of the best marketers in the world in an attempt to learn how we can launch our books and make more sales. I’ve devoured more than 200 books with alluring titles that promise “5 Easy Steps to Unlock Your Success,” and I’ve traveled extensively to attend workshops, conferences, and mastermind groups to learn directly from the gurus.
So why am I advising you to STOP TRYING TO REACH MORE PEOPLE?
Because I’ve seen firsthand the problem with the hocus pocus mumbo jumbo that most entrepreneurs go through to create a gigantic following. (Don’t flinch when I say “entrepreneurs”… Authors are business owners, for crying out loud!) All this struggle brings them to a place with expensive tech tools and an enormous advertising budget where they craft email after email essentially begging people to “buy my shit.”
And when their costly new tribe doesn’t respond, then they have all the weapons to automatically retarget those who didn’t “buy my shit” with a massive quantity of annoying follow-up emails and ads. And that’s when things get infuriating for both the entrepreneur and the would-be tribe member.
Honestly, the gurus never intended to teach their marketing students to be irritating, but if you’ve ever had a child and some well-meaning friend or family member gifted them a pair of drum sticks, you know how things can get ugly really quick!
And this is the media world in which we must promote our books.
Instead of banging your PR drum in an attempt to be louder than the competition, today I’m recommending a different approach: Stop trying to reach more people… and instead try to reach people more.
Of course we still need to embrace principles of marketing and advertising, but when we’ve created a product… a story, a book, a series… that really resonates with a teeny-weeny narrow audience—a topic or a lesson or a distraction that’s specifically crafted for “the few” instead of the generic “everyone”—and it’s beautifully crafted and elegantly designed into a work your readers can’t put down… well then those readers won’t be able to help but fan the flames of your wildfire.
And by all means, don’t fall prey to the myth that having an awesome first book is enough to launch you to stardom. Apart from the 0.001% of authors who get Oprah or Ellen to rave about their books on national TV, the rest of the world’s successful writers became that way by continuing to deliver content that matters to their readers.
Look at your own bookshelf and ask yourself how many titles those authors had to write before you “discovered” them. Maybe you aren’t even aware that they’ve written additional books, but chances are they’ve been more prolific than you expect. In fact, the biggest names in the writing industry deliver not just one book a year, but sometimes three or four, or in the case of James Patterson and Nora Roberts, it’s 12-13 new titles annually!
(Wanna know the best-kept secret? Almost every single one of our favorite authors has between 1-3 books that they buried after finally crafting their break-out hit. It takes time and practice to find your voice… and it takes repeated contact to find your tribe!)
It’s time to write what you love, and to write it for whatever “small” tribe really needs that message. Because seriously? Of the 7.6 billion people on this planet, you only need to reach 0.000001% of them to have a bestseller on your hands.