In the past, before the internet, the main way an author got people to sign up for his or her newsletter was through seminars. Just as with the indie rock band we spoke about recently, whose local performance might have inspired you to sign up for alerts about its new releases and coming appearances, seminars were a way for people to sample what you had to say.
Roy H. Williams is an example of this approach. He began building his marketing platform before the internet age. Every year he spoke at the Radio Bureau Convention is quite a few states, as well as at other radio-industry functions. Without seriously promoting his newsletter, he was able to build an impressive subscription list of more than 250,000 people who received that newsletter each week (the list has since grown).
The downside to Roy’s approach, before he built his own website, is that it takes a long time to build a marketing platform if you are waiting for people to attend conventions, pay for your seminars or by chance hear you address a meeting or give a talk.
As we consider the principles of the gravity well, we know that the people paying for a seminar featuring Roy H. Williams are already aware of his reputation, and they are big enough fans to put up the money to pay for a seminar. By the time people attended Roy’s seminar (again, before he had created a website), these people were probably deep enough into Roy’s gravity well to purchase his books and less-expensive ancillary materials. For those fans, going a step further and subscribing to Roy’s newsletter was simply a way of keeping up with Roy.
The internet has changed how people interact with authors, but now you’ve got to think of how to attract people in ways that are the digital equivalent of in-person appearances.
In our next post, we’ll look at how that has changed, and what savvy authors do.
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