You are over 30% through this series.
This email will be different because it is a refresher for what we’ve covered. I strip away the narrative to let you see the structure.
In email one, I shared I was going to have three core topics
- Business Systems – Systems Thinking
- Personal Development – creating a decision-making system
- The Market – understanding the forces at play
All of this was for you to have a fighting chance in the battle for attention—a way to make your brand the place to gather as a community.
We do this by CREATING CUSTOMER DELIGHT
In the second email, I suggest working on two systems: a business system and a decision-making system.
Then I shared my reasoning
- As the CEO of your publishing business, you need a decision-making system
- Your business needs to be a system that optimizes your advantages when they are present and conserves your advantage when your chances of winning are low.
- You need to have the right expectations for the ebbs and flows of your business.
I talked about how publishing like a poker tournament is a game of strategy with high uncertainty.
Breaking down the analogy:
Launches = hands of play
Career = the tournament
Tournament win = stack management
Stacks = capital + customers
Conserve stack for leverage points
Exploit leverage points
We leverage resources when we have the advantage and conserve our resources when disadvantaged to accumulate advantage faster.
In the third email, I discussed creating a vision for your business. It doesn’t have to be building an empire, but it has to align with investor needs.
I asked, “What do you need from the business as an investor?”
It is essential to define what the business will deliver.
Be specific in your investor goals. Saying “make six-figures” is arbitrary. Know why.
I introduced the concept of contingency, that unpredictability is involved in evolution. You need to understand how probability and chance influence who succeeds.
I challenged you to think about your vision of success versus following others. That you needed a system focused on reader delight & investor needs.
In the following email, I discussed why building an anti-fragile sustainable business is essential.
A publishing business needs to be adaptable because of the fast-changing markets (contingency).
I introduced the idea of being an architect or creator of your business versus allowing evolution to drive you to become a vampire bat.
I shared my belief that change will be more unexpected, faster, distracting, and confusing. We, therefore, focus on customer delight and investor needs.
We need to make the reader-writer relationship the mitochondria of your business. This is the essence of value creation in publishing.
I then broke down how start-up and planning working capital is a vital “stack” that needs to be planned and managed.
In email five, we began to design your plan.
For every author, the next right thing is publishing the best quality book at the lowest cost.
This simple statement reminds us to stop designing a cathedral when we need to build a one-room cabin.
Using the building design analogy, I shared how we need to design a modern system for taking water (cash) from the well (source of cash /reader). The plumbing moves the water to where it is best used.
The cash flow feedback loops of your business are the most vital. Without them, you can’t afford to find and win customers or grow your business.
We design a business system that has positive feedback loops to accumulate advantage.
In the sixth email, I discussed how Return on Investment is only measured on the cash you can take out of the business against the cash you invested in the business.
Ads ROI isn’t business ROI. It’s a helpful tool, but it doesn’t show you that your business is successfully spinning off enough cash to meet investor needs.
We discussed the idea of determining the right growth rate for a publishing business and that growing too fast could make your business fragile.
In the seventh email, we explored how an investor with realistic expectations of a return is the best investor. This presents in two ways;
- You set reasonable needs
- You articulate/understand your needs (in this case, to yourself)
We can be realistic about our design and the expectations for what the business can provide with knowledge of what we need to deliver to the investor.
In the early stages, this is getting to break even. We need to balance what comes out of the business to the investor (TRUE ROI) and what gets reinvested in reader delight.
In the eighth email, I shared my cooking skills and how a business system needs to have processes and feedback loops to deliver reliable and repeatable results.
Build business and decision-making systems with loops that provide positive feedback to other sub-systems to accumulate advantage.
These loops interact and work as a system amplifying results.
Building the loops to serve the customer and investor rather than focusing on rank (indicators) is a paradigm shift for most authors.
Have you made this shift?
A final note on this concept, these loops, when built well, help you scale faster by accumulating advantage and donging with minimal intervention. The system compensates for the ebbs and flows in stock.
In the ninth email, we explored feedback loops further and looked at how these can achieve paradigm shifts rather than setpoint changes.
I shared how Rolls Royce doesn’t advertise but focuses on an experience and identity.
The opposite side is Drunk Limo logic, where you pervert the solution to get the desired result.
“If you focus on tactics at the expense of being a human, then you’re going to go down a blind alley. It’s said that if you do enough A/B testing, eventually, your website will become a porn site because every single thing you could test is going to push you in that direction.” – Seth Godin
I showed you how indoctrination loops could build on each other to build a better reader stock.
This is where most businesses drop the ball, either ignoring new customers or trying to transact too soon.
Building community and getting the reader to associate their identity with your brand is where value is created and advantage accumulated.
How can you use the group and onboarding to help visitors understand the story world and the experiences you offer?
In the tenth email, we discussed visibility. How boredom is a gateway to curiosity, and curiosity is a powerful instinct to trigger when getting a reader to discover what you offer.
I discussed how we look for meaning in everything and that authors can use tools like plot to help readers discover meaning in the work and a reason to care.
In the eleventh email, I talked about visibility and discovery. I also shared my model of the growth curve for authors with all its cycles.
In the twelfth email, we were discussing how there will be an endless escalation. Sure, I’m referring to social media and advertising, but I also mean publishing’s persistent adaptation and change to be relevant.
I again talked about why it’s harder for you to go viral.
How your interruption of attention wasn’t the result you seek but just the start of getting to discovery.
I shared a strategy where a reader is not moved off of social media or sold a product but introduced to the community where community building can cause discovery.
How can you use the group to help visitors understand the story world and the experiences you offer?
I shared some psychological tricks that casinos use to get a gambler into a gambling state in the thirteenth email.
Authors have special access to the lizard brain and can trigger behaviors through connection with characters, but what about those that haven’t been exposed to our story world?
I shared how you’re building your platform as a place where you have more control over the experience.
I shared how you should look to deliver quick wins to reinforce the behavior you want from readers. Move them right into a story with no request for email.
Casinos face this same problem. Just because you’re in the Casino doesn’t mean you’re gambling. To get a prospect to take the risk, you need them to see proof you deliver the desired result and feel the possibility of achieving that result.
In the fourteenth email, I shared research on how lab rats in complex communities with a challenging and engaging environment don’t do drugs—those in isolation drug themselves to the point of death.
I believe social media is the opiate for those lacking complex social interaction.
By designing a reader park to discover your story world at the reader’s pace, you create a passive lead generation system that eventually will deliver more sales.
Your brand becomes where they congregate because it’s got more social meaning and feeds their needs for community.
I challenged you to leave the FOMO and join me in JOMO (Joy of Moving on).
Moving on to a customer-centric fun community where readers celebrate being associated with your brand and don’t get treated like a transaction.
So, where from here?
I’m going to discuss markets and where I see publishing is going.
You swim in the publishing sea, but it is interconnected to the entire water system—not just oceans but also the evaporation cycle and the moon’s orbit.
Until then, take this week to invest time into building a system that stocks and delights engaged readers.
This work won’t deliver immediate results, but it will feedback and spin up fast in future rounds. Don’t be surprised to see a sudden breakout, two or three launches from the first one with all the pieces in place.