So…You Want to be the Next Seth Godin?
The first book I ever read by Seth Godin was The Purple Cow. I mean, the title alone was irresistible. And that purple cover was the clincher. But, what I loved more than anything about that book was this: It made me think about my business in a way I had never considered. And Seth did that in about 200 so-fun-to-read pages.
If you’re thinking about writing a nonfiction book about a business-related topic and have visions of yourself becoming the next Seth Godin, STOP AND READ THIS FIRST! Yes. His books are typically small and are really quick reads. And that might lull you into thinking what he does is easy. After all, you’ve got great ideas, too, and you can surely write a book that’s at least as long as Seth’s — right? Hmmm. If it were only that simple.
There are TONS of business books out there. Seriously. Like, literally TONS. But, Seth’s books stand out for many reasons. If you want yours to do the same, you’ll need to channel your inner Seth Godin and do the following things:
Predict the Future
Sometimes I really think Seth is a fortune teller. Books of his from years ago talk about things that many of us didn’t really start thinking about seriously until fairly recently. For example, in the past few years, entrepreneurs have become more focused on building their “tribes.” Why? Because it’s absolutely critical to business success. Seth told us that — all the way back in 2008 (or maybe even earlier). What do you see coming up in the next few years that your readers should be aware of? (Be sure to check out Seth’s TED Talk about tribes. It’s AMAZING!)
Name Things That Exist — Even Though We Don’t Know They Exist
Earlier this year, I read Seth’s book called The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). As an entrepreneur, I had experienced the doubt and worry and fear that tend to pop up when a project (or a business) gets hard. The problem was that I didn’t know it was a “thing.” Seth gave me a name for what I was going through. He called it The Dip — and told me what it was all about. It was one of the best feelings in the world. Amazing what being able to name something will do for your psyche. Is there a common experience — or anything else — that characterizes your audience — but they don’t know what it is or what to do with it?
Blow Your Reader’s Minds — While Doing It Simply and Succinctly
As I mentioned earlier, Seth’s book are quick reads. But they include BIG concepts. The magic of Seth Godin is that he takes the concepts, blows our mind with their power to change how we do business or how we look at our business — and he does it all so very simply and succinctly. Is there a transformative concept you can write about and explain better than anyone else — and in a way we’ll remember?
Bring a New Dish to the Party
The Purple Cow is about the importance of a business being remarkable in a sea of sameness. When Seth wrote the book, that concept wasn’t a new one. All you have to do is look at the classic Volkswagen print ads from the 1950s and 60s to see how products and services have always tried to differentiate themselves. But, what Seth did was put a new spin on the concept of positioning. He modernized it for a marketing environment that has become — as cliché as it sounds — WAY crowded and noisy. It wasn’t just another book about positioning. It was a rallying cry to create something different. Something that can lead. Something remarkable. Instead of just writing about something we all know is an issue — how can you write about it in a way that turns that issue on its head?
Come Up with a Book Title that Readers Will Remember Forever
The Purple Cow. All Marketers are Liars. Unleashing the Idea Virus. Who wouldn’t be curious about what’s in these books? With titles like these, the books essentially become irresistible Your book title matters (as does the cover). It can set you apart — and it can also make you memorable. What are you doing to come up with a title that practically sells your book on its own?
When it comes to your book, your voice is one of the key elements that will set it apart — and, yes — make it feel more authentic. Seth writes like Seth talks. It feels familiar to readers. It’s authentically Seth’s voice. And it’s a voice that’s become trusted by so many. But, don’t try to imitate Seth or anyone else. Your voice is your own. It’s unique to you. And it’s a powerful tool for connecting with readers. What’s your voice — and how can you bring it to your writing?
So, you want to be the next Seth Godin? My advice would be this: DON’T. You can’t be. It’s not possible. Seth is as popular as he is because he’s a unique and welcomed voice in the industry — and he’s spent years gaining the trust of his audience. You can’t and shouldn’t try to mimic him. That would be disingenuous. But you CAN learn and benefit from the lessons his success teaches us. As an author and as an entrepreneur, your goal should be this: To become the next truly unique, transformative and authentic voice for your audience. And I, for one, can’t wait to hear you.
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