Writing Well 3, Everybody Needs a Tribe

In my previous post, “Writing Well 2,” I lamented the fact that with nearly 4,000,000 books listed on Amazon and with only 40 of those authors making any sort of money, my odds of financial success as a self-published author are less than me winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Since that activity involves athletes and that’s about the last thing anyone would call me, you get an idea of just how slim the odds are.

If you’re a writer like me, such statistics might be sobering, a bucket of ice water in the face of all those dreams of being a successful author. It certainly was a harsh wake up call for me. At the same time, I was forced to stop and look at my larger life picture. I observed that in my quest for the mythical Holy Grail of best selling authordom, I’d neglected other important areas of my life.

Even though I enjoy the solitude that is part of a writer’s journey, I also need the comfort of companionship. I need to feel part of something bigger than me, to share life and serve others, and, yes, I more than often need a little help from my friends.

How can we create such a community? How do we build our Tribe?

Thank you Jeff Goins for your timely response. In his article, “Every Writer Needs a Tribe,” (link below), Jeff outlines steps we can take to make our Tribe a supportive reality. Of particular value to me, was Jeff’s suggestion that we must be clear about what our “Voice” is in relationship to our tribe. I’ll let you explore his ideas for yourself, but for me this exercise was essential for me getting clear about why and for whom I was writing.

I’m writing young adult eco-fiction stories with solutions.

Have I given up on financial success as a writer? no, I’ll keep working at effective marketing, being a smart businessman, and becoming  a better writer. but my larger goal is to build a successful writing life amidst a supportive community. My main goal is to grow and serve my Tribe.

What is your Tribe and how are you building it around your unique voice?

Here’s the link to Jeff Goins article, “Every Writer Needs a Tribe”-

http://goinswriter.com/writer-tribe/

Good writing!

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You might also enjoy : Writing Well 1, The Transformative Power of Classical Music; Writing Well 2, 4,000,000 Books and Me

Eco-fiction Review 2, “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” by Daniel P. Mannix (1969)

“Troubled Waters” is another young adult eco-fiction classic from Daniel P. Mannix recently brought back to life in ebook form. I’ve previously written about “The Fox and the Hound,” Mannix’s best known work. I count this story equally captivating for its incredible detail and awareness of what an underwater world could be. Daniel P. Mannix is one of those marvelous creative beings whom I wish I could go back in time to visit.

Troubled Waters Book Cover

Here’s a summary of “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” provided by eNet Press-

Beneath the surface of a river, stream or pond lies a strange and dramatic world of living things, a world of unearthly beauty and marvelous complexity that to most of us is unknown. In Troubled Waters one of America’s most popular nature writers transports us into this realm of fishes and other water creatures in all its diversity and conflict, its beauty and terror, its gentleness and violence.

Out of the poisoned and heat-polluted waters of one of our great rivers flowing through a city and past factories and power plants, the male goldfish Buck and his smaller female companion find their way into a clear, wooded stream preserved by fishermen. Here, where patches of sunlight reflect on the soft brown gravel and food is abundant in the deep holes and below the swift riffles, the two fish, who have been washed out of garden pools, face the dangers of existence in the wild. To go along with them and share their life and vicissitudes is an unusual and delightful experience in reading.

Neither the drama of underwater life, nor Daniel P. Mannix’s skill in portraying it, ever flags as the fish push on up the pleasant stream, encountering such diverse and menacing creatures as swift trout, hungry catfish, darters and crayfish, a fishing spider and water shrew, and many others. But the stream is eventually destroyed in a strange fashion by the houses and towns pressing in around it, and Buck and his mate flee to a new home in a wild pond. Of their life there Daniel P. Mannix gives no less memorable an account. It is a place of grebes and mergansers, of a giant snapping turtle and an otter as fluid and swift as water itself; of numbing cold and lack of oxygen under the dark ice and snow of bitter winters; of life, warmth and incredible beauty in spring, summer and autumn.

Both sensitive and dramatic, filled with suspense and poetic in its evocation of nature, Troubled Waters brings the underwater world

“Troubled Waters,” like “The Fox and the Hound,” has my highest recommendation. If you enjoy these books, you might also like “The Last Eagle” and “The Backyard Zoo.”

Good Reading!

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You might also enjoy : Eco-fiction Review 1, The Fox and the Hound: by Daniel P. Mannix

Eco-Fiction Review 1: “The Fox and the Hound” by Daniel P. Mannix, (1967)

“The Fox and the Hound” is perhaps the best animal story I’ve ever experienced. It’s author, Daniel Pratt Mannix (1911-1997), was an American journalist, photographer, film maker, sideshow performer, animal trainer, and brilliant writer. His books cover a wide diversity of subjects with titles including “Memoirs of a Sword Swallower,” and “The Backyard Zoo.” His animal stories were lauded for the unique voices he gave his characters. These stories foretold the environmental consequences of human interference with the balance of the Natural world. Fortunately, many of Mannix’s works, which predate the digital age, have been republished in ebook format making these classics available for today’s readers.

The Fox and the Hound Book Cover

Here’s a summary of “The Fox and the Hound”-

Tod, a red fox kit, is raised as a pet but returns to the wild to do what all foxes are born to do, explore, trot along fence posts, cross icy streams, define his territory, mate, hunt, bury corpses for a rainy day, and, most of all, out-smart his enemies. Tod, in fact, is so sharp-witted and cunning, dauntless and valiant, that his ability to defy death becomes legendary.

Copper, a half-bloodhound tracker, is the dog who lives to hunt the fox and, along with his beloved master, embarks on a lifelong quest to end the life of the elusive Tod.

Described from an animal’s perspective, the paths of the fox and the hound overlap and intersect in a world teeming with scent and sound and sight and instinct. Their vivid,, gripping, and absorbing, story is so arresting and unflinching that the reader’s awareness of wildlife and the essence of their domain may be reshaped and refined and, in the end, irrevocably changed.

Winner of the Dutton Animal Book Award in 1967, the Athenaeum Literary Award, and a Reader’s Digest Book Club selection. The Fox and the Hound also became an animated Walt Disney movie and a box office success.

“The Fox and the Hound” is a superb Y.A. eco-Fiction book which has my highest recommendation.

Enjoy!

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Writing Well 2: 4,000,000 Books and Me

Recently I read a blog post that hit me like a bat on the back of the head. The author, Claude Forthomme, noted that a new book shows up on Amazon every 12 minutes and appropriately called this a self-publishing tsunami.

Claude’s post is now two years old and I expect the tsunami is now even larger. My guess is that Amazon currently has about 4,000,000 book listings.

In the middle of that flood of books are my two quite unnoticed self-published efforts.

That’s a lot of competition.

In another post, Claude shares that only 40 Amazon best selling authors actually make much money. 40 out of four million. I’m not sure what your math background is but even with my meager numbers skills, it seems obvious that the odds for financial success as a self-published writer are about the same as winning the lottery or me being asked to dinner with the President of the United States. It should be mentioned that I’m not his biggest fan.

My current book sales will not allow me to buy a first class ticket to fly to Paris, in fact, those sales barely allow me to buy an occasional beer to drown my writing career sorrows. Perhaps it’s time to throw out all the writing guru marketing crap that tells me that if I only work hard enough and smart enough and, of course, write something decent,, and then have a bit of good luck, I, too will be among the 40 best selling Amazon authors.

Not remotely likely, Grasshopper.

In Seth Godin’s insightful podcast, “Live at Carnegie Hall,” he poses the question of how young aspiring musicians can create successful lives amidst the flood of musical competition released by the same free and easy internet access that has changed the world for all of today’s creative artists. Seth suggests another path for life success. Instead of trying to compete with that tsunami of creative talent, build a tribe of 1000 followers for your unique artistic gift. He notes the careers of musicians who have small but dedicated followers. By focusing on uniquely serving a small group of people with similar passions, such artists have created simple and meaningful lives.

After listening to Seth, I considered my writing career and decided to change my focus to building a tribe of followers around my writing passion, young adult eco-fiction. Here I write for young minds still open and curious about the Natural world, a world that feeds my own soul. I’m building relationships within the eco-fiction community by reviewing other author’s books and being involved with discussion groups. I’m continuing my efforts to support the Save the Vaquita Porpoise! movement. And I keep asking myself the question, how can I best serve the needs of this community, my tribe while pursuing my own life path?

No, Ive not given up on building my writing platform, rather I’ve shifted it’s focus to serving my tribe. Sure, I’d like to sell more books, and I suspect this will happen over time. However, I’m not making plans to fly first class to Paris. I’d rather go fly fishing on the Rogue River.

Here are links to the above mentioned articles- (please make links noted below)

Claude Forthomme’s Blog-

https://claudenougat.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/to-self-publish-and-perish-buried-under-3-4-million-e-books/

https://claudenougat.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/only-40-self-published-authors-are-a-success-says-amazon/

Seth Godin’s Podcast “Live at Carnegie Hall”-

https://vimeo.com/155069902

Good writing!
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