Do You Have a Tribe?

You do. You probably have a few.

I recently listened to Seth Godin’s book, Tribes. The book is about  – well – tribes.

Seth’s premise is that we all belong to tribes. These are groups of people who come together around a common experience or goal.

Seth believes that the most effective marketing happens within a tribe. For authors and publishers this idea has some significant implications.

Authors can create tribes from their fans (book readers). Think about the popular vampire series, Twilight. The fans of this series are not scattered, unconnected people across the world. They are a tribe. They connect on websites and in-person gatherings to share their common love of vampires and the story. Together these tribal fans promote and collect more tribe members. These members collectively increase the sales of the Twilight books while leaving the author free to care for her family or write more books rather than spend all her time promoting her books.

While every author may not collect as large a tribe of fans as Stephanie Meyer (the author of the Twilight series), every author can turn their fans into a tribe.

The most effective tribes involve a movement.  A movement means the fans collectively believe in and promote something.

Let me share how this can be played out for a Christian author. Consider Paulette George. Paulette has a daughter who suffered from a seizure disorder. In her quest to find a cure for her daughter’s seizures, Paulette stumbled upon a special diet. The doctor who developed the diet received his inspiration from a scripture passage. Paulette’s daughter became seizure-free when she followed the diet.

Paulette has written a book, Good Morning Beautiful, about her experience. She has the perfect opportunity to create a tribe from the people who read her book. The tribe’s movement would be to spread the word about this special diet that can help the millions of children who suffer from seizure disorders around the world. As they spread the word, more people will learn about Paulette’s book and want to read her story.

How can Paulette create a tribe? Through the use of social media.

A tribe needs a leader. The leader would be Paulette. The tribe needs a way to talk to the leader and to talk to one another so that they are, in turn, empowered to talk to their friends about this miraculous diet.

Paulette has the power of the Internet at her fingertips. With this medium, she can organize her book readers into a tribe. They can follow her on social networking sites and she can even create a social networking site for her movement (using a platform like Ning). On this site, the people in Paulette’s tribe can congregate and encourage each other.

If you are an author with a powerful message, consider how you can turn your fans into a tribe and empower them to spread your message to the world.