What is the best way to get our work out into the world – in small, regular bursts or in one big release? Is it better to write a series of blog posts and articles or directly publish a book?
Firstly, I have never quite understood the phrase – “Familiarity breeds contempt”. If anything, the opposite is true, for familiarity breeds liking. When something is familiar and known to be harmless, we get comfortable with it. We are wired to be wary of the unfamiliar and trusting of safe familiarity. A familiar face in a crowd of strangers or a familiar language in a faraway land are always sources of comfort.
In our digital times, we compete for people’s scarce attention. Everything we publish on the internet (and also offline) competes with Facebook quizzes, Tweet storms, Snapchat stories and videos like this ad featuring a psychotic panda. In this environment of fragmented attention, a big bang release can easily slip through the cracks. Reading a self-published book from a first time author is to ask for 6 to 9 hours of somebody’s time for a stranger’s work. Those are 6 to 9 hours from busy people who are permanently connected to a portal of infinite distractions.
The alternative is to show up regularly in smaller measure and slowly build a following and a reputation. Once that happens, the creator has an audience to create for. He can then be familiar, specific and keep a promise he has already made rather than make a new one.
Seth Godin asks first time writers to prepare for the launch of their book three years before it is actually out. Those three years give us time to show up regularly, iterate and learn what resonates with our audience. In the process, we also find our inner voice that eventually flows into a book. Those are also three years that aren’t going to get shorter anytime soon.
Inspiration: You Should Write a Book – Akimbo, a podcast by Seth Godin