Claire King


Why we all need a First Follower

Posted on: June 4th, 2015 by Claire - 4 Comments

I was recently reminded of this short (3 mins) TED talk on starting a movement, and it occurred to me how it’s a great analogy for the word of mouth that grows around a book.

So, when you publish a book, you are basically the dancing man. Out there on your own, enjoying the contents of your own head, wanting to share it with others, taking a risk.

But as Derek Sivers says, The First Follower is what transforms you from being a lone nut. You put it out there and then wait for that first person to stand up and dance with you. Maybe it’s a reviewer, maybe it’s a retailer, but more often than not it’s a reader who really loves your book and wants to tell the world about it. What’s important is they are also taking a risk, letting the world know that they’re part of your movement before they know if it’s going to take off or not. And *thank you* they start trying to get all their friends to join in too.

And you, the dancer, are hoping and praying that they will come and join in, but you can’t make them. You’ve done all you can with your funky dance. All you can do is welcome these people to the party graciously and with gratitude. And keep on dancing.

And very soon it’s not about you any more. You are just one more person in the crowd.

The perfect time to sneak off and write a new book.


4 Responses

  1. Annecdotist says:

    I love this, Claire, and very timely for me gathering my “first followers” for my debut novel. And it’s always refreshing to find the leadership aspects of followers acknowledged, something I was interested to learn about when I studied organisational consultancy.
    So is this you off to start book number three?

  2. Claire says:

    Hello Anne,
    Well I briefly dabbled with number three a few years ago, when I had two novels jostling to be written post The Night Rainbow. ‘Everything Love Is’ won, but I’m really excited about picking back up on the next book now. It’s an interesting thing seeing which crazy dances take off into a movement, and which do not, even if they deserve it. I know publishers with they could figure that out too!

  3. tu says:

    Oh, how funny, I just cottoned onto this one. So, C, up for a boogie?

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