Brian Rhea Brian Rhea

Build for Your Audience

There’s no way Breaking Dawn is the best Twilight book …because all the Twilight books are terrible.

But only according to me.

Stephenie Meyer and the millions upon millions of fans who’ve enjoyed her stories don’t have to give a guinea pig’s eyelash what I think about the series because I am not a fan.

And according to her readers, that series got better as it went along.

Book 1: 3.59 rating … Book 4: 3.69 rating

The lesson for entrepreneurs and product designers is to interview your best-fit customers who align with your vision and improve their experience.

Don’t ask people who took a pass what they would need to see in order to jump on board.

Build for Your Audience

I noticed this ratings trend a couple of weeks ago when I was scouring Goodreads for a new sci-fi book: in many cases, the individual book ratings in a series tend to trend upwards as the series develops.

For example, I keep hearing about “The Broken Earth” series, so I checked out the reviews.

Book 1: 4.31 rating Book 2: 4.33 rating Book 3: 4.36 rating

This didn’t stick out to me at first, but as I continued my search on Goodreads, I kept noticing this same pattern over and over.

Wool Book 1: 4.12 rating … Book 5: 4.36 rating

Red Rising Book 1: 4.27 rating … Book 5: 4.53 rating

It wasn’t always true and there were often some dips in the middle of some series, but it made me think:

It isn’t that the books are getting better, it’s that only the fans are sticking around to the end.

These authors didn’t change Book 2 to appeal to the people who hated Book 1.

They kept doing their thing, writing their characters, following their stories to deliver what their fans wanted.

Act Like an Indie Band

Another example is an indie band playing to a mostly-vacant venue of 50 people. 10 are nodding their head to the beat, applauding at the end of every song. 40 are checking their phones or killing time at the bar.

The band would be crazy to spend all their time figuring out what the 40 non-fans wanted to hear and writing songs to make them happy. Instead, they should treat their 10 fans like royalty, give them what they want, and say, “Thanks for the love. If you’re digging this, please tell a friend.”

Your Business is a Book Series

And you want to be Stephenie Meyer. Well, maybe. I mean, you want to give your customers Bella Swan.

Look, I can’t keep up the Twilight references and sleep well at night so I’ve gotta drop it there. But you know what I’m getting at.

When you start building and sharing something, some people will not like it. Some people will even hate it. Maybe publicly!

They aren’t your people. They didn’t like Book 1. Big deal.

Keep writing. Keep building. Give them Book 5.

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