In his blog, Seth Godin pointed out the following statements from Michael Brooke, editor of Concrete Wave, the magazine for skateboarders. I think what Michael has to say applies as well to most book authors. Check it out:
I am not publishing a magazine – I am helping to document and foster change within skateboarding. The magazine is part of a greater movement within skateboarding. Concrete Wave exists to spread specific ideas. The more people we can spread these ideas too, the more success we achieve.
I am not merely building readers or subscribers – I am building a cult of supporters, each of whom will further support the cause and bring in more readers and subscribers.
I build marketing INTO the product and distribution. By limiting the kinds of advertisers I allow, by keeping the editorial strictly focused and by carefully distributing the magazine, my readers and advertisers trust the magazine to deliver on its promise of 100% skateboarding. I will never betray that trust.
Concrete Wave wishes to remain a ball bearing – small, hard to find and continually in the state of being polished. Our goal is to provide readers with a deep impression when they get hit with it. Conversely, we do not aim to be a beach ball – big, seen all over the place, colorful and yet leaving very little impression when it hits. A beach ball is very fragile indeed and must avoid challenging environments, because it requires so much air to keep it afloat. A weighty ball bearing can withstand both challenging environments along with the pin pricks of adversity.
Most authors would be better served becoming small solid ball bearings than over-inflated beach balls. Focus on your core audience rather than trying to convince the world that you are the fulfillment of the masses.