Crowdsourcing the concept for my next book
Who better to determine than the actual audience?
Bestselling author and marketing strategist Ryan Holiday reveals to creatives of all stripes-authors, entrepreneurs, musicians, filmmakers, fine artists-how a classic work is made and marketed.Classic. Evergreen. Cult. Backlist. We can all identify with products that seem to last forever and just keep selling. But how can we create things that can and should last, especially in an environment where short-term gain and flash-in-the-pan success are so often the benchmark, where Hollywood movies are written off after a weekend or Silicon Valley start-ups are considered to have failed if they don’t go viral?
I have a very specific reason for reading this book. No, I don’t have visions of a New York Times bestseller; nothing grandiose.
I’m simply ready to work on book #2. I’m determined to take my time and get it as right as humanly possible. I’m also dying to get started already. This book has provided that impetus.
Even though I’m just short of half way through reading the book, I’ve been converted. Converted to fully grasping the following:
The intended audience
The need to edit, pivot, test, edit again, pivot again and test again
That last one is what is front of mind these days; the need to collaborate. I’m not talking about co-authoring a book. I’m talking about really engaging the right people starting from the point of determining the book concept all the way through publishing.
A willingness to accept criticism.
A willingness to accept that it shouldn’t be easy.
A willingness to throw away chapters if necessary.
A willingness to listen.
When I wrote my first book I went into it with a dirty little secret. My blog would write the book for me. Ultimately there was a ton of editing required but if I’m being honest, I copied and pasted blog posts from the past 8 years and in doing so, already had the backbone of the book completed.
In terms of writing a book, I had it easy.
I still stand by the concept and by the fact that the gardening book market was devoid of anything that came close to covering my topic. But it could have been better, way better.
I could have made a more concerted effort to solicit blog readers for their input along the way. But I feared negative feedback would shut me down. I needed to write this first book so I made sure to avoid any opportunity for suggestions.
Fingers in the ears, blah blah blah, I don’t hear you.
I’ve been writing about gardening for 8 years and have curated a small but passionate audience. I have my niche, love being in my niche and love all those that love hanging in the niche with me.
I have many ideas for book #2 floating around in my botanical head, some more fully realized than others. I think, correct that, thought, I knew which had the greatest potential for a future book but now I’m ready to test my hypotheses.
I will no longer arrogantly assume I know.
The creation of book #2, from origin story to the effort to find a publisher (even if it is self-published again) through pains of writing and marketing the book will be done via crowdsourcing on my blog.
The readers don’t know yet but they are going to be inundated with book talk on the blog. I hope they find it interesting and more importantly, I hope they truly enjoy participating.
This should be fun.
I’ll be using Medium to provide updates on my successes and failures along the way.
Hopefully that is fun as well.
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