No. He Writes For Himself.
- They wrote about subjects they found interesting
- They have no idea why their books and concepts became popular
- They wrote about topics and shared work they wanted to better understand
Malcolm Gladwell Writes About What Makes Him Happy
Gladwell offered these thoughts when asked why he thought audiences made The Tipping Poing a best seller and influential work:
"I've considered all my books to be very private, idiosyncratic projects designed to make me happy. And, I'm forever surprised when they make other people happy."
Dan and Chip Heath Write About Things That Puzzle Them
The Heath Brothers wrote Made to Stick because they wanted to better understand communication phenomenon that didn't make sense. Here's what Dan Heath shared in the Fast Company interview:
"We were puzzled and somewhat disturbed by the fact that lots of shady ideas--like urban legends, conspiracy theories, and rumors--have no trouble succeeding in the marketplace of ideas. Meanwhile, many important ideas fail to stick (e.g., public health messages and the correct nationality of our president). We wanted to reverse-engineer the "naturally sticky" ideas and figure out what made them so effective. In the book, we tried to demonstrate that there are patterns that explain their success, and these patterns can be used by people who have credible, important ideas to share--teachers, non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs, etc."
Here's Dan Heath's reply on why he thought Made to Stick succeeded:
"I'd love to tell you that it all unfolded according to our master plan of stickiness, but the honest answer is that I have no clue. Chip and I worked hard on Made to Stick, and we're proud of it, but I'm not naïve enough to think that our hard work explains anything. There are lots of great books that don't get much attention. I think the book's success was 90% luck and 10% putting duct tape on the cover."
Why Obsess or Worry About What Might Be Popular? It's safe to say no one really knows what will resonate with readers. No one knows what pre-determines something going viral. The process is about building, measuring, and learning (a key concept I'm reading about in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries).
Don't Be Your Own Worst Enemy. My latest blog post series reviewing the book The Start-Up of You was a labor of love. But, it was the most agonizing and difficult writing experience in my three (3) years of blogging.
During the entire process I constantly worried about "what if no one likes this?"
Well, here's what Google's says from the first-page results for the search phrase "start-up of you book review":
No More Self-Sabotage. Out of 1 billion+ Google search results, these two (2) posts rank #2 and #3 on Google's front page. Why was I flinching?????
Just Ship It. Write it. Publish it. Put it out there. Share it. Let others Share It, Comment On It, Like It, Tweet It, Plus It, LinkIn-To-It, or Pin It. And, if your readers don't, lack of applause doesn't make your work or your art less valuable.
Maybe, readers sometimes just want to read.
Commit To The Process. That's the the beauty of online publishing (and The Internet). You can keep experimenting and pivoting to continuously build, measure, and learn because:
- Your audience will inform you
- Google will inform you
- Your gut will inform you (but don't let it paralyze you)
All of the above will help you improve and move closer with each iteration. Freedom to experiment is a good thing.
And that's a topic we'll discuss next. Stay tuned ...