I’ve had more than one person write or tell me they set aside time to enjoy a cup of coffee and read my emails on Saturday mornings.
They (you know who you are) get some chores done or write, then take a break to read these words.
If you’re reading this around the time I send the email, you and hundreds of others are sipping on coffee or tea and reading my words. It’s an experience that you do as an individual, but the act makes you part of a community.
I intend to help you see the world in a new way and deliver an experience. I’ll assume that if you’re still here with me after thirty-six emails, you’re enjoying the experience.
Experience is the process through which conscious organisms perceive the world around them.
Notice the definition includes perceive, not observe, or record.
Experience is subjective, malleable, emotional, and becomes our reality.
What’s the difference between the coffee you’re drinking right now and a cup of espresso from a cafe in St Mark’s square?
A lot and very little.
The primary constituent water is chemically almost identical. It’s then filtered through ground coffee beans. Maybe the beans even come from the same plantation, and you use the same coffee brewing process.
From there, the similarities end. Most of what’s different comes from the experience. The perceptions and emotions we have along drinking the coffee. Later, it’s how we recollect the incident.
When Suze and I were on our honeymoon, we sat in a cafe in St Mark’s square and drank coffee. Those two coffees were nearly twenty euros.
Why would I pay so much for a cup of coffee?
We didn’t have to have an espresso in the square. We could have had free coffee back at our hotel.
We wanted the experience of drinking coffee and people-watching in a famous location.
While I can’t report precisely what I saw or even the name of the coffee bar, I can recall my experience and emotions.
The significance of being there and some facets of the experience are all subjective and part of the myth I create in my head.
What you produce is entertainment. Fiction. Your stories are no different from when you hear about my coffee in St. Mark’s. Your fiction and my memory of that coffee are perceived in the same parts of the brain.
Your stories and marketing should be an experience creation opportunity with the outcome of your readers making the experience part of their identity. Just like espresso in St Mark’s square is part of mine. An experience I paid for to be able to have and then recall.
Back in email five, I made this claim…
For every author, the next right thing is to publish the best quality book at the lowest cost.
I stand by the words and wish to elaborate further as you begin to think about your publishing system and what it needs to produce.
What is it that readers want?
Good books, but what does this mean?
It’s hard for those that look for literary excellence to understand that authors publishing genre fiction can be so financially successful.
It’s pretty simple best selling genre fiction delivers an experience the reader expects or wants.
Not everybody wants the $10 espresso. Some just want a good cup of coffee to get them through the morning.
Then some will go to the mattresses over whose coffee less expensive coffee is better. Dunkin’s, Horton’s, Buc-ees…
What they defend is the emotion and identity they have with the brand.
We will talk a lot about emotion, sentiment, experience, and perception in season two. My position is that these have way more to do with success than quality does.
What makes a fiddle worth $45 million?
In a sealed bid at Sotheby’s, a 1719 Antonio Stradivari Viola sold for $45 million.
A Stradivari violin is a common symbol of artistic excellence. Perfect and unreproducible. Most professional violinists will tell you that there is no sound like it and will pontificate about how it is so different.
That is, until you do a blind-playing test.
In the study where top musicians were allowed to play old million-dollar violins and new “cheaper” instruments to determine what they felt was the best quality instrument, the results often shocked those with trained ears. The violin that most musicians chose as the one they would want to take home was the modern violin.
Once you understand the market, you serve, it’s all about managing the experience. Not just the story experience, but their recollection of the story experience. If you pluck the right string in their heart, they will vote with their wallets.
Remember this, no matter how talented (or untalented), if your goal is to earn a living from writing, the market will dictate your success, measured by gross royalties.
Your talent as a business operator will then be measured by how much of those royalties turn into profits.
In season two, you’ll begin to see how the general masses can have their tastes influenced, yet believe they come to their conclusion as to quality.
What’s lacking for most is clarity on what to tell the masses. If you can’t have clarity and articulate it in the simplest terms, you can’t expect the market to understand and identify with that experience.
In most cases, the breakaway success isn’t that different from what exists in the market already.
It’s just a variation, a slight change on the spectrum of experience.
What’s different is that the collective unconscious of the market comes to a common sentiment about the work. Then it becomes something more through cumulative advantage.
This is where you, as one of those people sitting down each Saturday to read my words, can break away from the status quo.
Once you have your experience formulated, you can systematize and scale it up. Not through ad spend and gimmicks, but by using community and individual psychology to influence behavior.
The more you blur the lines between your story world and reality, the stronger the experience will be. Those that delight in your experience will come back to it like a good cup of coffee.
All the best to you on the Saturday as you contemplate these words with your favorite beverage.