By Tiffany Colter
I made a mistake a few years back. See, as I talked about in my blog last week our definition of success will influence the way we work to build up our writing business. While I’ve always focused on doing great work for my clients, in my business development plan I was focused on making the company itself bigger and bigger. That is because I really thought clients would see me as more successful—and thus more credible—if I employed more people. Therefore, I built up a company in only 4 years from non-existent to employing 12 people [including subcontractors and interns]. While it was extremely gratifying for me to help all of these people earn money doing what they loved, I no longer loved it. Also, it was harder for me to make that personal connection with readers and writers. Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long [under a year] to realize that I was chasing the wrong goal and return to my passion.
Your example will likely be different from mine, but the results are the same. When we fail to make that personal connection with our reader [or with writers, if you’re a coach/editor like me] then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, and possibly, failure.
So, what do we do if we either have lost that personal connection or we don’t think we’ve gotten it yet? Here are some things I’ve learned:
1. Bigger isn’t better!
No one cared how many people I had on staff. They wanted to know how much I cared about them and their project. I cared a great deal, however, taking the time to talk to each person simply became overwhelming. With that many people working for me—and earning from the stuff between MY ears—I was working a job just to pay people. I am very good at many things, but that doesn’t mean I should do all of them. You may have eight different books fighting for your attention. Or maybe your goal is to do seminars every month with lots of books, CD’s, workbooks, and handouts. You won’t be able to do it all at once, so focus on doing that one thing at a time. We are creative beings. We have lots of ideas. Get one done…then the next. Otherwise you’ll get none done. You have a person or a group of people who are going to benefit from your book. Think of them. Focus on making the connection with them. Then move on to the next thing.
2. Know who wants to know what you know.
This ties in to the previous point. You really need to know the person you’re trying to reach personally. You need to care about what they need. That doesn’t mean you have to get emotional and sappy about it. What I mean is you need to make their needs a priority. This isn’t just about what you want to say, but what your reader wants to know. That may mean additional research is necessary or you need to leave out a few things you wanted to add to keep the book from getting too long and bogged down, but by making a personal connection with your reader through your book and its focus you can get readers who are much more excited about your book and more willing to tell others.
3. Work with people.
You need to get out of your comfort zone and circle of friends and find the people who will read what you’re writing. We can get comfortable in our mutual admiration societies and only write to our little group. If that is your target market, great, but if you want to expand beyond that then you’re going to need to get around other people and find out their wants, needs, and questions.
Here is a little exercise that might help you see how easy this really works. I have a few major groups of readers of my blog: Aspiring novelists, professional novelists, non-fiction writers, business consultants/experts who use books as a product at their seminars, and editors. Why don’t you scan some of my blogs to see how I reach out and connect with each of those key readers?
Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.