Path to 100,000 subscribers

A crazy ass OUT LOUD experiment. I might fall on my face.


I have a goal.

I want 100,000 rebel writers on on my email list.

It’s insane. I know it’s insane. I know I should aim a little lower. A little slower. Or a lot. A lot lower. A lot slower.

But, I can’t help it. (You can help me, though. But only if you’re a rebel ninja.)

Here’s the story so far:

On February 1, 2016, I had an email list of exactly 0. Goose egg. Notta one Ninja to be seen.

I started Ninja Writers because I hated my day job and I was in a deep writing funk. I wanted something I couldn’t find. Something revolutionary. So, I took a chance that there were other people feeling what I was feeling.

My first goal was to get to 50 by March 1. I got to 800. And things have been moving right along. Today there are 13,279 writers on my list.

That’s the view every time I open a tab on my browser. It’s been my view since the Ninja count hit 10,000 in December.

I taught a class tonight and at the tail end someone asked me a question about finding readers. I started to talk about how to build an email list and every single student sat there and listened to me and asked questions and took notes . . . until someone came up to the classroom to kick us out.

So, I thought: Okay. People want to know this stuff.

Maybe creative people want (and need) to hear it the most. Because no one talks to fiction writers (or painters/sculptors/photographers . . .) about how they’re business people just as much as they are artists — if they actually want someone to partake of our work.

My Why.

I watched this video tonight. You might have seen before. A whole shit ton of people have: 1.3 million and counting. Here’s Simon Sinek talking about the power of Why. Totally worth watching.

The one thing he keeps saying, over and over, is “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

So, now I’ve spent all night thinking: Why do I do this? Why is Ninja Writers so important to me.

Traditional publishing wasn’t fantastic for me. Imagine climbing Mount Everest and standing up there on top of the fucking world having a meh moment. Or worse a sad panda moment. It was like that.

It seems to me like damn near everyone I know either is a writer or wants to be one. And for both parties, there’s this huge slow-turning Titanic of an industry looming over them. Us.

Even when publishing hasn’t worked out and isn’t doing much for you, it’s seriously HARD to shift gears and decide that you don’t want an agent anymore. You don’t want to be published by a big New York publisher anymore. But, that’s where I am. And I know I’m not alone.

So, my why? Writers are legion! We can change the world with our stories. And we sure as hell can change publishing.

So, I want a flipout of 100,000 rebel writer Ninjas. I want it because I want to be part of it. That’s how this whole thing started. I wanted to be part of something big that I couldn’t find. So I made it. And it’s growing.

I have a goal of getting to 100,000 writers on my email list. And I’m going to risk utter humiliation by taking you along on the journey to get there with me.

Here’s what you can expect:

Biweekly updates. At least. I’m kind of an oversharer. I’ll share what’s working and what’s not. What feels authentic and what feels squicky (and a lot of this stuff can get squicky fast.)

I’ll share ideas that you can try yourself. I’m pretty good at teaching things and I’m excited to teach this.

For now, you can start with this strategy. It’s working well for me right now.

I’m also going to share resources with you when I find them. Here’s one to start with. Sean Wes is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. He spent a long time talking to me in Nashville over the summer, letting me pick his brain. He has a free class about audience building right now. I signed up and I’m going to start going through it tomorrow.

Also, make sure you check out Videofruit. Bryan Harris has so many good ideas. They’ve gotten me this far. He has some paid courses, but there’s a lot of free advice on the site to get you started.

Why should you care?

Maybe it’ll just be interesting to see someone do this work.

Maybe you have your own rebellion, your own fight to pick, and you want to learn with me.

Maybe it’ll be like a train crash and you’ll just watch to see me fail. That’s okay. I can take it.

Everyone has stuff they’re good at. I’m good at taking in information and implementing it. And I’m a good teacher. I hope those things come together into something that you’ll find useful and interesting.

Okay. If you’re in, follow me. OR . . . join my list. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes, is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation, and the original Ninja Writer.

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