If you struggle to find your readers, it’s because you haven’t decided what to stand for yet. It is a real, practical marketing problem faced by all kinds of creatives.

Let me explain, using the example of this blog.

My motivational, self-help, and rough-but-true articles have by far the highest readership of any of my posts. Meanwhile, the more demanding—to write but also to read—articles on the craft of writing have the lowest readership.

A street corner marketing guru would tell me to write the kind of content that people want to read. But that’s precisely the kind of attitude that got us tabloids, clickbait (“7 Miracle Cures for Creative Impotence!”), and fake news.

So, instead of chasing after traffic, I write this blog for you.

You care about the craft, but you also know the name of the game is practice and persistence. After all, you’ve been doing this for a couple of years already, and you know it may be a couple more before you can seriously think of going full-time.

The only reason I got that right is that a year ago I decided to stand for something and hoped it would attract people like you. People I could be friends with. In many ways, it was a bet.

Now, onto your marketing problem.

The Marketing Problem

“How do I know who my readers are if I only have a few?”

You don’t. That’s why you have to choose your readers before they can choose you.

Write a vampire story today, and it won’t sell, the market’s still hungover from all those Twilight rip-offs. But write a vampire story, then another, then another, and keep doing so for the next fifteen years, and you will become a category of one. In fifteen years, you will be “that vampire author.” Anyone who wants to read about vampires will hear about you first because you decided to stand for vampire stories and stuck out long after everybody else has left the party.

The marketing problem isn’t “How do I spam people to sell enough copies of my book for it to pay off?” it is “Do I have the guts to stand for something?”

Stand for something long enough—it doesn’t have to be fifteen years—and you will find your readers the same way I found you.

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