If You Build It, They Will Come… Not Actually True
I wonder how many people took that line from Field of Dreams and ran with it. I think a lot of people don’t realize that they’re operating from that mentality when they start something.
In Writing: I see a lot of people publish their books and then not understand why everyone they know isn’t scrambling to buy a copy. That’s just not how it works. And when writers fail to understand this (and accept it), they turn bitter. I’ve seen this happen often and it’s very sad.
If I read every book by every writer I know, I’d never have time to read anything else. That doesn’t mean I don’t read local. I’ve read books by dozens of local authors and I’ve read partial manuscripts from a dozen more. But they don’t expect it of me, just as I don’t expect it of them.
If someone is offended by profanity, I’m certainly not going to shove a copy of This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store at them. Modern publishing allows us further reach than if we were just selling from the trunks of our cars, so we shouldn’t expect our audience to center on those in close geographic proximity.
Also, having the expectation that someone will read your book just because they know you is arrogant, plain and simple. Writers who understand this are the ones who prosper and make real connections with readers in the long run.
In Real Estate: If You Build It, They Will Come… false. People get their licenses and then can’t understand why everyone they know isn’t calling them for help to buy/sell a house. The people they know might have longstanding relationships with other realtors they trust. And with over 5,000 real estate agents in our area, everyone is related to a realtor (or a few).
We can’t assume that the people around us are our audience. It doesn’t work that way.
It’s important to find your audience not based on the people with whom you are already acquainted, but rather the people who will actually benefit from whatever it is you’re putting out there.
It’s equally important to know who your audience is not. All of this informs us on how to best spend our time.
One of the best ways to hunt an audience is to put out varied content. It’s easy to get focused on one message delivered one way and then not understand why it doesn’t resonate with people. Maybe it’s the wrong message to the wrong crowd.
We have to try and test different things.
Like Heather Compton with her “Kindhearted Badass” shirts. When she first mentioned it to people, she got a lukewarm reaction. When she mentioned it in a different platform, a lot of the other ladies and I instantly raised our hands and said, “We’ll take one of everything.” She found her audience.
We’d do well to remember that the phrase, “If you build it, they will come” is from a movie about bringing back the ghosts of departed baseball players. It’s not a viable business approach.
Build it. Then find the audience who needs it.
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