If you are a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll notice we talk about your “tribe” a lot. We define a tribe—as it relates to an author—as a group of people who look to you for direction, insight, wisdom, authority, or “how to” on a particular topic. Your tribe may be small (e.g., your family). It may be medium size (say, you are a community leader or you own a small business or pastor a congregation, etc.). Or, your tribe may be large (e.g., you are a thought leader in your industry, a well-known professional athlete, or a celebrity in one regard or another).
No matter the size of your tribe, it is your most important marketing and networking tool. In fact, the traditional publishing working is largely funded by people with large tribes (fan-bases). Publishers know that if a celebrity writes a book, it will sell. There are enough people who count themselves as a part of that celebrity’s tribe who will buy the book because they care about the celebrity. You may not be a celebrity, but you have a tribe. These people will not only be the first people to buy your book, but they are also going to be your biggest advocates. (Think of your mom; I bet she will not only buy your book, but also convince eight of her friends to buy it, too!)
This is why you want to start building your tribe early and communicate often.
If you are anything like me, there is a small part of you that wants to go hide in a cave for two years writing a book and then emerge with a perfect, fully finished product to market. Maybe that is how the world once worked, but it is not today’s world. In a world of distraction, relevance, and constant marketing, you cannot go dark for two years. Maybe your mom will remember that you were in a cave writing a book, but you cannot expect the rest of your tribe to keep up the anticipation for that long.
Do you have an idea for a book? Are you still in the writing process? Tell your tribe. Let them go on the journey with you. Let them see your writing days. Let them see the exciting day you sign with an agent and the bad day you had writer’s block. Build their trust, their excitement, and their loyalty. While you spend your two years writing a book, make sure you are always checking in with your tribe. Keep your project in front of them and on their minds. This way, when it comes time to market your book or launch a Kickstarter, they will be there for you.
Where should you start? First, decide on the best way to communicate with your tribe—e.g., Twitter, Instagram, blog updates, Facebook page, or LinkedIn. Then ask, how does your tribe communicate best? Knowing the main demographic of your tribe (i.e., the audience of your book) can help determine this.
Second, decide if you are going to market yourself or your project. How personal will you make your communication? If your tribe is world business leaders, then you will want to keep your updates professional—market your project. If your tribe is moms with toddlers, your communication can be a little messier, and you can be more comfortable with marketing yourself.
Third, build the bridge. Remember, the end game is not about numbers. Of course, it would be nice if your book sold thousands of copies, but, hopefully, that is not your main goal. You have a unique message to share and your tribe is excited to hear it. That is what matters. Build community through authentic communication and trust.
If you need some help building your tribe, brainstorming ways to communicate/market, or editing/self-publishing your book, Inspira is here to help. Let us become a part of your tribe!
This post was written by Kerry Wade, Assistant Editor.