We're halfway through the 22 Laws but lately, it's been sounding more like mathematics than marketing: Law 8, Duality; Law 9, Opposites, Attraction; and Law 10, Division. I don't know about you, but I hate arithmetic.
The sad reality is, marketing really is about crunching the numbers. You need to know where you are and where you want to be to calculate the distance between those two points. That distance is (or should be) your goal. Never mind #1, just look at the distance from your current position to the next rung on your product ladder (review Law 7, Law of the Ladder, for what this means).
The Law of Division simply states that over time, that product ladder you've chosen will split into two or more categories. It's unlikely that you can or will lead with one product on multiple ladders, so you'll need to choose where you want to be when the split occurs.
Remind yourself of the importance of Law 5, Focus, in order to maintain your position on the product ladder in your chosen category so that when the market shifts, you won't fall off the rung that is your current footing. And be assured, the market will shift. Publishing is one of the fastest-changing markets out there today. Shift with it, being a leader, or be one of splinters that will be excised and cast aside. Click through the jump-break to read how to apply the Law of Division.
Law of Category In Action
Recall that with the Law of Category (Law 2), you were advised to create a new category for yourself in which you could be first, be the leader (as advised in Law 1). This made sense to you, I hope, because it advocated a position of being proactive, of creating your own opportunity, of taking charge of your future. It's a very inspiring and empowering stance. It's also how you divide and conquer everyone else. I know we all like to support one another here in the Indie Author community but let's face it, when it comes to marketing, you gotta be a little cutthroat at times. This is a business, after all.
I'll use the same example I've been using all along: Stephanie Meyer and her TwilightI series success. She created a new category of vampire story, she was the first and, therefore, the leader of that new category. The specific category Meyer created has splintered into sub-categories. Now, a few years later, everyone and her sister is trying to write a vampire story with either shiny, likeable or do-gooder vamps or using popular teenaged vamps in a high school setting or taking some other single aspect that new author thinks is what made Meyer's new interpretation so successful. The category Meyer created has already divided.
The way book ideas are propagated is almost like an amoeba or other single-celled creature yearning to reproduce. One successful entry will spawn thousands of offspring based on some aspect of it and most will wither and die quickly but one or two will spark sufficient audience interest to spawn a new category of their own. You want to be that rare descendant who can spawn your own new category.
Publishing a Cross-Genre Product is a Risk--Not Advantage
In Publishing, we have a phenomenon called "cross-genre" fiction, where a book's category could be defined as either A or B--or both, where (presumably) readers from both categories will be interested in the book. Using Meyer's Twilight as our ongoing example, she wrote a YA romance, a YA fantasy and/or a Paranormal Romance that would appeal to adults and YA audiences alike. The Twilight saga is a successful cross-genre piece of work.
The problem is, trying to please multiple audiences with one product forces you to dilute your message on purpose. This weakens your brand. Instead of trying to combine your original audience with new readers outside your chosen category, apply the Law of Focus and the Law of Opposites to force a division between yourself and your direct competitor. Who is that? (yes, this is a pop quiz :-) Hopefully, you know that your direct competition is whomever occupies the rung of the product ladder directly above you.
Unless that's Stephanie Meyer, stop trying to be her (and if you're second to Stephanie Meyer in her product category, why are you reading my blog on marketing? Kidding! Unless you really are Sophia Sharp, then I say thanks so much for stopping by! What's your secret? LOL)
I keep advising against trying to imitate the Stephanie Meyers and J.K. Rowlings of the world. I keep trying to tell you that instead of being another them, you should be another you. The Law of Division is why it won't pay off to copy someone else or trying to be all things to all people. Be you. Instead of chasing after Stephanie Meyer's or J. K. Rowling's spots in their categories, split off one of your own. You can't "get into the prospect's mind first" unless you create the idea and highlight it as different not the same as anyone or anything else.
Next in this series is Law 11: Perspective. Tomorrow is Tuesday Tips and it's November 1st, the beginning of Nanowrimo. I'm not participating in the event but for tomorrow and each Tuesday throughout the month, I'll try to share my tips for making your writing experience (for Nanowrimo and beyond) a painless and successful one. Since I've never been at a loss for the ability to churn out thousands of words at will, I'll try to share what little mental tricks I use (even though I don't consider them tricks or deliberate choices).
For those celebrating it, have a Happy Halloween tonight and safe Trick or Treating!