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Love the One You’re With

The, ahem, older song “Love the One You’re With” was always one I liked, but the message wasn’t one I really cared for. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with? Well, that sort of encourages cheating, doesn’t it? And, of course, a man wrote it. I think.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about readers here lately. Now I know some of you may be unpublished as of yet, but I think this post can apply to anything you are involved with, especially if that thing is aimed at getting new people to climb on board with something, whether it’s reading your books or attending your dinner party.

I’m the president of NOLA Stars chapter, and here lately we’ve had a huge slide in membership. All those people who were so eager to learn 5-6 years ago bolstered our numbers and it was good. We had critique groups, gave bootcamps, and threw pretty darn good conferences. But over the last 2 years, those people have fallen off the bandwagon and we’ve watched our size decrease to half. When I asked people why, they inevitably say, “I’m just not getting anything out of it anymore” or they’d say “I’m indie publishing and I can get what I need without paying dues.” Ouch! And I’m not going to lie, it hurt. It felt like a reflection on me as the President. And I stewed about it.

One day at a meeting, where I was pretty visibly upset because we didn’t even have enough people to vote on an important bylaw, someone said something to me that was like a baseball bat to the head – why worry about the people who don’t want to be here. Shouldn’t we worry more about the ones who are actually here?

Uh, DUH!

And suddenly I got it – you have to love the one your with.

Translating this to readers also makes sense. In this industry, we’re constantly chasing this or that…or our tails. Add more newsletter subscribers, creates a FB page for readers, sell more books, do ads to reach more people. Visibility, Visibility, Visibility! But what if you just loved the ones you’re with?

Think about it. You have people who like what you do. May not be a ton, but you have some, right? Love those people. Tend to those people. Write the words for those people. And you might find that before long, those people grow. And they tell others about you. And pretty soon you’re doing organic building of your readers by simply focusing on them…and not on all the other people who aren’t reading you. It’s something plenty of successful people have done. In fact, my husband who is a huge fan of KISS (yes, my dentist husband loves to rock out to “Lick it Up.” Irony?) tells me they owe their success to the few who liked them. They grassrooted that ride all the way to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

So instead of feeling frantic about the readers you don’t have, perhaps you should love the one you’re with.

You’re welcome for the earworm 🙂

The Latest Comments

  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Ooh! I hope you write some of the them, Autumn. I love a snowy meet cute. 🙂
  • Autumn Jordon: Our first snow left me stuck at work and not able to make it home. Boy did I think of a number of...
  • Autumn Jordon: Love this, D! I really don’t think there could ever be enough romantic comedies. That’s...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: I love the first snow of the year. It always feels so magical. Happy holidays, Bev!
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Yes! I love just falling into the season headfirst. 🙂

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