We talk, tongue-in-cheek, about the cult of Apple.
Of course Apple isn’t a cult, though it does have certain cultish aspects. Take myself for instance. My computer was made by Apple. My phone is an iPhone, my tablet is an iPad. I don’t have an Apple Watch—I have a Fitbit Flex (which I love)—but if and when my Fitbit needs to be replaced, I’ll likely buy an Apple product.
Because I trust Apple to make beautiful, quality, products that are both fun and easy to use. (I’m not sure a product could be fun if it _wasn’t_ easy to use. But we could debate that. What do you think?).
There are two Apple Stores in my area and they are both packed whenever I go shopping. There is also a Samsung and a Microsoft store in my area. Both are usually empty.
This got me thinking about what business principles I could glean from my (meager) knowledge of businesses such as Apple that might be able to help writers connect with their readers.
1. Core Readers Understand Your Work AND Love It
Personally, I don’t know of a better compliment than when someone reads a story of mine and says, “That was a good read.” Those people are special. They get your work AND they like it.
Some folks will read your work but don’t really understand it. Other folks understand it but it leaves them cold. And that’s okay. They’re not your target audience. Other folks though—and these are the ones you want to cultivate like they’re your long lost twin—both understand your work and love it.
I think of these folks as my core readers.
2. Understand Your Core Readers
Chances are—even though your core readers are unique, distinct, varied—the more you know about them the better you are at picking up on the kind of stories they would love to read.
Chances are these folks are a bit like you and many of the stories they’d love to read are also stories you’d love to write. Win-win!
The trick is to find out who these people are, to connect with them. What do they love? Hate? Fear? Desire? What makes them scared to get up in the middle of the night? What other authors do they understand and love? What other stories do they read?
3. Make Your Readers Feel That They Belong
What do you like to do? What are your hobbies? Do you hike, climb, garden or cook? How do you like to relax? Did something funny happen to you as you were jogging? Did you see something interesting and take a picture?
Why not share it with your readers?
I find it’s often the little things that connect us to others and doing these little things often takes only a few moments of our time.
4. Let Your Readers Know Why Do You Do What You Do
Simon Sinek’s famous TEDx talk, Start With Why, is awesome. Everyone should watch it at least once .
Briefly, Sinek talks about the importance of understanding why you do what you do. He draws a circle and puts “why” in the center. Around that circle he draws another and in that circle writes, “how.” Around that circle he draws another circle and in that one he writes “what.” He calls this the Golden Circle.
|Simon Sinek's Golden Circle|
The WHY is about your purpose. What do you believe? Why do you write? Why are you passionate about crafting stories others will want to read? Why should anyone care about what you write about?
The HOW is about how whatever it is that you sell is created.
The WHAT is about what it is you actually sell, its qualities and characteristics, it’s selling points.
Generally speaking, we all know WHAT we’re selling. Further, we more or less clear on HOW we write our stories. What we’ve often far less clear on is the WHY.
What Is Your Why?
What folks of any stripe are often unconscious of is WHY we do what we do.
Someone might be thinking: Well, I do it for the money, to pay the rent. At least, that’s what I was thinking, but Sinek calls that a result.
Sinek gives the example of Apple. Here’s what Sinek gives as Apple’s why:
“In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently.”
Here’s Apple’s how:
“The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, easy to use and user friendly.”
And, finally, here is Apple’s what:
“We just happen to make great computers.”
There are a lot of great, wonderful, powerful readers in this world. Take Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl fame. Her prose is like a sucker punch, or at least it can be. Wonderful, wonderful book. (I listened to it as an audiobook first and recommend the experience. I loved hearing the voices change between the two narrators, I loved hearing the change in the tone of their voices as the plot progressed and we, the readers, received new (and surprising) information that transformed our understanding of the story. It was an incredible experience.)
I love Ray Bradbury’s books. I love reading his novels, his shorts stories. His prose has the power to weave a spell around me and change the world in which I live. Further, this experience doesn’t end with the story. The change seeps into my bones and transforms me a little bit. It leaves something with me. It’s special.
I guess what I’m trying to say is something you all know, that writing is magic! Part of that magic is finding your core readers, the people who can be—who will be—changed by your spell. And as you get to know them, you might be changed in return.
Well, that’s it for today! I’ll talk to you again on Thursday. Till then, good writing!
Other articles you might like:
How To Get Your Readers To Identify With Your Main Character
7 Secrets To Writing A Story Your Readers Won't Be Able To Put Down
Connect With Readers' Emotions: How To Make People Cry