When I worked in the business world there was a time when we were told to think about our tribe. The latest business book by Seth Godin was Tribes and like good little business people we did try to find out who our tribe was and connect to them.
Now I run my own business – consulting and writing – I think that there is more to it than just the tribe, I think we all need our flock.
What do I mean by flock?
This is the group of people who support you and who you support. For me it’s other writers. We don’t all write the same type of book. Some of us write memoir, some short stories, some novels, and some screen plays, but we do understand the challenges and pitfalls of writing as a craft.
We are in it for the long haul, helping each other build our writing chops. We share successes and laugh at our stumbles.
What do I mean by Tribe?
These are the people you attract with excitement. You catch their attention and if you treat them right, they follow you. You need to identify them, find them and entertain them. You engage them with your product and you can lose them as fast as you gained them if you bore them.
For me these are my readers. I have three tribes of readers – Urban Fantasy, Mystery/thriller and Fantasy Romance. I find them by getting reviews and creating campaigns and doing give-aways. If I don’t give them good stories, I lose them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying tribes are fickle, I’m saying I have a responsibility to be true to them. I can’t bring them to me and then just leave them hanging.
The bottom line
Just like any business, an author needs tribes. They buy your product, they tell their friends and they build a bigger tribe for you. Give them good books on a regular schedule and they’ll stick with you.
And you need your flock too, but they thrive as a community of support. They help you and you help them.
Don’t treat your flock like a tribe, and don’t treat your tribe like a flock.