Catering to Your Masses

There’s this thing called “selling out.”  You don’t want to do that.  You’re an artist.  You have your passion, your story, your style, and you don’t want to sacrifice any of it.  Nor should you.

But you want your work to sell.

This may seem like a catch-22, but it’s not.  Assuming you’re ready, assuming your work is any good, there are people out there who will want to read it.  Your job—the objective of marketing—is to find your people, to grow with your reader, and to respond to your fans.

1) Find Your People

Chances are if you wanted to write it and you write it well, then there are people out there who will want to read it.  Those people may not edit or publish magazines.  They may not edit or publish books.  If so, that does make your job harder.  But self-publication is always an alternative and now it’s even an affordable and (potentially) lucrative alternative.  So, it doesn’t really matter what editors and publishers have to say.

The best strategy for finding people who will want to read what you’ve written is to:

  1. Offer some of your short work for free on a blog.
  2. Connect with other bloggers by finding blogs you feel connected to and inviting them to visit your blog.
  3. Leverage your following as a means to introduce readers to your saleable work.

If you do this right and have something to say that you can say well, then you’ll get at least a half dozen “strangers” who are interested in your writing career.  Granted, that’s not a lot (you could get quite a few more than that, but a half dozen is enough), but that’ okay because it’s just a start.

2) Grow with Your Readers

Even if you only start with the half dozen minimum people, that’s enough to grow with.  The idea here is two-fold:

  1. You want to increase the number of readers you have by seducing your core into inviting more.
  2. You want to increase your ability to please your readers by leveraging the feedback of a living audience to improve your craft.

Over time, you’ll get more readers and even more ways to attract more readers.

3) Respond to Your Fans

The great thing about fans is that they will tell you what they like about your work, which gives you the opportunity to give them more of what they like.  That’s not selling out, it’s being responsive.  The difference may seem subtle, but it’s really, really huge.

Respond to your readers.  Let them help you grow into your market.  You can stay true to everything that makes you an artist while actually selling your work.  Before you know it, you’ll have your own “masses” that will become the backbone of your writing career.

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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5 Responses to Catering to Your Masses

  1. acflory says:

    I know this is implicit in what you’ve said, but above all be genuine. This is a long term approach and will only work if you connect to real, live /people/ as distinct from ‘potential customers’. Like that trailer recently, setting up false expectations is worse than no expectations at all.

    • Exactly. You want to make a real connection, which makes a real fan out of a real person because they like the real person you are. We’re not talking about hero-worshipping zealots, here; we’re talking about folks who’ll say, “Hey, have you tried…”

      • acflory says:

        Yes! I think this is the only part of marketing that I truly enjoy. After years of beavering away in splendid isolation, I didn’t know how lonely I was until I started making friends online. I do have real life friends, but real life means I don’t see them on a daily basis. With my online friends, there is always someone to talk to. I love that. 🙂

      • Yes, the online world does open things up that way. I do tend to be rather isolated. I have real life friends, too; but fewer than I used to. Finding people who are open to the idea of my children is far different from finding people who really enjoy spending time with us, and I don’t have much “free” time to socialize without my family. Most of my friends are “family friends” and all of us have busy lives that make it more difficult to connect regularly.

      • acflory says:

        I suspect a lot of people have the same experience, which may explain the popularity of social media such as Facebook.

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