The Holy Trinity of Creating Communities for Writers: Content, Service, Visibility

For your work to be read, you need to build communities of fans. The holy trinity of community—the three elements you need to build community are content, service, and visibility:

  • Because content is king, you need to keep producing work of different lengths and in different media. You have more ways to serve your readers than ever: more media and devices for reaching them faster, less expensively, more easily, and in more places than ever.
  • Making a book succeed requires a holy trinity of acts by your readers:

–They have to buy your book.

–They have to finish it; 57% of books aren’t finished.

–They must like it enough to use word of mouth and word of mouse to tell their communities they must read it.

  • Readers have to find your work. Timing, the President descending from his helicopter with your book, and other forms of luck can make a book take off, but there are two basic ways books succeed:

Magic: the simpler, faster way is word of mouth and mouse. Fans online and off enable a book to go viral, a rare phenomenon.

Communication: consumers have to hear about a new product seven to ten times to convince them to buy it. Communication is queen. The faster you want to build your readership, the more effectively and frequently you have to use all of the ways you can to serve your readers so they remain engaged members of your community of fans.

Becoming a successful author usually takes more than one book. Agent Don Maass, author of Writing the Breakout Novel, believes it takes five books for authors to build an audience. Make creating fans for life your mission. They’re waiting for you, and they want to help you succeed. Why not let them? The aces are the writers who create content and communicate about it best. Finding them is easy: look at any bestseller list. Starting dealing yourself a winning hand now.

 

The blog aspires to help us both understand writing and publishing. To make the blog as helpful as it can be, please respond with your questions and suggestions for changes. I hope you find it worth sharing.

Do one thing every day to make the world better.   –John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman

The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / www.sfwriters.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com /

Keynoters: Bella Andre, Anne Perry, and R. L. Stine

http://sfwriters.info/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference

San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn

Laurie McLean, Dean/free classes/www.sfwritersu.com/sfwritersu@gmail.com/@SFWritersU

415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109

The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time

September 2013 / Unitarian Universalist Center / Geary and Franklin

www.sfwritingforchange.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com

Words and Birds: Catching the Write Flight

Birds in flight … are not between places, they carry their places with them-claims the architect Vincenzo Volentieri. We never wonder where they are: they are at home in the sky, in flight. Flight is their way of being in the world.

–Goeff Dyer, quoted in The Global Soul by Pico Iyer

More people in more places have access to more books faster, more easily, and more inexpensively than ever. If you don’t want to splurge 99 cents to download all of Charles Dickens’ books on your e-reader, you can still have more than 80% of the best books ever written for free.

Public-domain books are available in print and for your e-reader from your library. If, as I do, you prefer print, they’re also available in low-priced editions at bookstores. Want to discover new authors for free or at low cost? Online booksellers and social reading sites like Goodreads will help you discover your next favorite writer.

What a glorious time to be a writer or reader! It’s far from heaven, but it’s about as close as you can get in this mortal coil. And sharing your passion for books online and in book clubs will make friends of strangers.

For birds, the sky’s the limit. But you can soar on the wings of words as far and high as your ability, freedom, resources, creativity, and imagination can take you. If reading and writing are your way of being in the world, now is the best time for you to take flight. You were born to fly. I hope you find home in the sky. May your words be wings that transport you wherever you want to go. Bon voyage!

The blog aspires to help us both understand writing and publishing. To make the blog as helpful as it can be, please respond with your questions and suggestions for changes. I hope you find it worth sharing.

Do one thing every day to make the world better .   –John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman

The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / www.sfwriters.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com /

Keynoters: Bella Andre, Anne Perry, and R. L. Stine

http://sfwriters.info/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference

San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn

Laurie McLean, Dean/free classes/www.sfwritersu.com/sfwritersu@gmail.com/@SFWritersU

415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109

The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time

September 2013 / Unitarian Universalist Center / Geary and Franklin

www.sfwritingforchange.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com

New Year New You: A Golden Age for Writers

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.
–Author and speaker Zig Ziglar

In publishing, the beginning of the year is “New Year New You” time.  People use gift cards, exchange gifts, atone for holiday excesses, or start fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions by buying self-improvement books. E-books can add other media to them and make them social and interactive.

The new year is a time for taking stock of where you are and for deciding if you can get where you want to go faster. My wish for you is that 2013 be better than 2012, that you write better and get more of the help and visibility you need to succeed.

Technology has made this a golden age for all writers. The relative ease of writing, sharing, and profiting from your work on a worldwide Web of eager readers should be all of the inspiration you need to serve your readers as well as you can. You control your career. Your future is at your fingertips, on your tongue, and in your ability to speak, and build your visibility and communities to help you.

The essence of the challenge you face, whether you publish your books or Random House does, is that you have to balance being a writer and publisher, artist and merchant, creator and communicator, student and teacher, and being online and off.

You have to keep creating content that satisfies your readers’ need for information, entertainment, guidance, or wisdom so well they become lifetime fans of whatever you create and tell their communities to read your work. Content is king, but communication is queen. I call this passion for writing and service contentpreneuring: enterpreneuring for writers.

My brother’s unexpected death on December 28th brought home once again that my only salvation is service. As Lao Tzu said: “He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” So my resolution for 2013 is to serve you as well as I can. This is both an opportunity I relish and one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced, one reason I’ve neglected you.

Writing as well as I’d like is as hard for me as turning out your best work is for you. Finding something to say that will have lasting value for you is even harder. I live with the frustration nothing I write will ever be as inspiring, insightful, humorous, life-changing, or even just as well written as I want it to be. Knowing this doesn’t make me leap to the keyboard. Knowing that you need all the help you can get prevents me from stopping.

You need and deserve the best ideas, insights, and information I can give you. I will use posts from others and encourage you to send posts, yours and those of other writers that you think worth sharing. I’d also like to learn your writing resolutions and hope you’ll share them.

Two reasons this is a golden age for writers:

More readers than ever, everywhere on this aching planet, want to read your words.

It’s easier than ever to get your share of the gold.

I hope you will have a productive and prosperous 2013.

The blog aspires to help us both understand writing and publishing. To make the blog as helpful as it can be, please respond with your questions and suggestions for changes. I hope you find it worth sharing.

Do one thing every day to make the world better .   –John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman

The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / www.sfwriters.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com /

Keynoters: Bella Andre, Anne Perry, and R. L. Stine

http://sfwriters.info/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference

San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn

Laurie McLean, Dean/free classes/www.sfwritersu.com/sfwritersu@gmail.com/@SFWritersU

415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109

The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time

September 2013 / Unitarian Universalist Center / Geary and Franklin

www.sfwritingforchange.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com

Creating a Literary Ecosystem: The 10 Essential Elements of a Successful Writing Career

You can create a literary ecosystem: a balanced, organic, evolving, sustainable, inter-dependent, international, environmentally sensitive community. Your system will be unified by two holy trinities and by passion, interest, service, connection, and commerce. The ten circular, integrated elements of your literary ecosystem will be

  • Passion—your love for creating and communicating your work
  • Purpose—literary, publishing, and community goals that inspire you to achieve them
  • Professionalism

–knowledge about writing, publishing, and your field

--the holy trinity of craft: reading, writing, and sharing

–the holy trinity of commerce: communities, a platform, and test-marketing

–using the technology you need to succeed

  • Perspective—understanding that developing your craft and career is a long-term process
  • Products and services—being a contentpreneur by producing a steady stream of work in your field in different forms and lengths that you re-purpose in other media
  • People—win-win relationships with engaged, committed, growing communities of people you serve who want to help you, because they know, like, and trust you
  • Platform–your continuing visibility, online and off, on your subject or the kind of book you write with your communities and potential buyers   
  • Pre-promotion–test-marketing your work in as many ways as you can
  • Promotion— serving your communities by using your passion and platform to share the value of your work  
  • Profit—what you need to achieve your personal and professional goals and maintain the system

The importance of each element will vary, depending on what you write. Promotion and test-marketing will be more important for a book than a blog post. 

Your ecosystem has to keep learning from and contributing to your communities, the hyper-connected human family, and the planet. Your system will continue to build synergy as long as you sustain it by enriching its soil with content and communication. Make cultivating your ecosystem a lifelong quest. You will accomplish more than you can imagine.

The blog aspires to help us both understand writing and publishing. To make the blog as helpful as it can be, please respond with your questions and suggestions for changes. I hope you find it worth sharing.

Do one thing every day to make the world better .   –John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman

The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / www.sfwriters.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com /

Keynoters: Bella Andre, Anne Perry, and R. L. Stine

http://sfwriters.info/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference

San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn

Laurie McLean, Dean/free classes/www.sfwritersu.com/sfwritersu@gmail.com/@SFWritersU

415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109

The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time

September 2013 / Unitarian Universalist Center / Geary and Franklin

www.sfwritingforchange.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com

Books and Babies: Labors of Love

Work is love made visible.     –Kahlil Gibran

The right to bear children, like the right to write, creates the responsibility to do justice to one’s creation. Without parents as models, children will become burdens to themselves, the people in their lives, and society. The love, patience, compassion, knowledge, generosity, conscientiousness, selflessness, skills,  sacrifice, pride, forbearance, discipline, determination, resourcefulness, creativity, courage, understanding, sense of humor, and spiritual beliefs needed to be a parent make it life’s hardest personal challenge.

Unless their books are irresistible to everyone who reads them, authors have to take the responsibility for the success of their books, or their babies will probably be among the 80% of published books that fail.

From the moment of conception, parenting, like writing, has to be a labor of love. Parenting requires spending two decades transforming children from being totally dependent into adults, capable of living and thinking independently. It’s a perpetual push-and-pull effect. You push them to be independent while pulling them back from challenges they’re not ready for.

The result of parent’s efforts should be adults who

  • Live by the values with which they were raised
  • Have a mature, ethical, emotional, and intellectual response to any situation
  • Attract a mate with the same strengths, vision of life, and desire to be a parent
  • Accept ambiguity and uncertainty, but are life-long learners with the potential to be a life-long earners in a rapidly changing culture
  • Balance service and self-interest, personal and professional obligations, and the masculine and feminine aspects of their identity
  • Fulfill the role of citizen and member of the community

Parents who bring up children like this create a legacy essential for sustaining the country. Nothing is more important for our future than parents’ labors of love.

Your book will be born twice: It may take you nine months to write it and your publisher nine months to publish it. You will do it faster and perhaps better, if you publish it yourself. You have to decide the best way to bring it into the world and achieve your goals for it. Doing  whatever it takes to get your books written, published, and promoted as passionately and professionally as you is what it takes to become a successful author.

Someone once said of a writer that “After receiving numerous rejections, he decided to write for posterity.” Once you decide why you’re writing, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals. Children embody the love with which their parents raise them. The most likely way for your book to become a source of pride and profit is if writing and promoting it are labors of love. If they are, your book will succeed.

The blog aspires to help us both understand writing and publishing. To make the blog as helpful as it can be, please respond with your questions and suggestions for changes. I hope you find it worth sharing.

Do one thing every day to make the world better .   –John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman

The 10th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 14-17, 2013 / www.sfwriters.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com /

Keynoters: Bella Andre, Anne Perry, and R. L. Stine

http://sfwriters.info/blog /@SFWC/ www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference

San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn

Laurie McLean, Dean/free classes/www.sfwritersu.com/sfwritersu@gmail.com/@SFWritersU

415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109

The 5th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time

September 2013 / Unitarian Universalist Center / Geary and Franklin

www.sfwritingforchange.org / sfwriterscon@aol.com