The Key to Finding Your Audience

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Stop reading this blog post, and read this one instead: Andy Rachleff on growth strategy. It’s okay. I’ll wait.


Welcome back.

I’ve long been fascinated with how a book becomes viable. In the past, a viable book was one that a publisher would pick-up, support with a generous advance, and market. In 2015, a book’s viability requires redefinition: it’s now a book that recoups its production and marketing costs and allows the author to finance the next book.

It’s been said that the average self-published book sells only 250 copies (and trending downwards). That gap between a self-published book and a viable self-published book is marked by a chasm. This chasm is described in great detail in Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the ChasmPut simply, any book can get to 250 copies sold. Through effective marketing, an author can push their title long past that number.


“To get big you need to start small.”

Andy Rachleff offers insight:

Geoffrey Moore, the [Crossing the Chasm] author, argues that companies must first dominate a niche of early adopters and expand from a position of strength to succeed. This advice contrasts with the view, commonly held by today’s entrepreneurs, that companies need to address a large market from the start.

In their eagerness to win, entrepreneurs ignore the lessons of history. Name a successful tech company. The overwhelming odds are that it followed Moore’s advice.

If you replace “entrepreneurs” with “authors”, you’ll see how true this is. Authors who are dazzled by the vision of the yacht and the Weinstein movie deal forget one thing: in order to sell 100,000 copies you first need 1,000 dedicated fans.

So, where is your small, dedicated army?

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Andrew Gaudet

Asker of Questions
Andrew has worked in sales and management for more than a decade. His favorite books include Star Wars "Hier to the Empire" trilogy by Timothy Zahn, "Raw Shark Texts" by Stephen Hall, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, and "Paris 1919" by Margaret Macmillan. "No plan survives first contact" - paraphrased from Helmuth von Moltke.

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