The 80/20 Rule

If you follow my FaceBook Page (conveniently linked here), you may have read the my post yesterday when I said I am quitting the Newsroom Podcast.

I am.

But before I just give you a list of reasons I want to properly explain why I decided to quit one of my projects so early in the year. If you read my post yesterday, you will see that I spent the majority of 2014 looking for marketing strategies which would help me connect with my audience better – and I mean connect. Yes I would like to sell you books, but for now, I would be very happy just making friends with like-minded people, or people who like my material.

My marketing ideal is forging bonds with you guys, rather than constantly take your money. 

I mentioned Write. Publish. Repeat. yesterday and I will mention it again. This book gave  me a rule which I live by: the 80/20 rule.

I have 8 ongoing writing projects so far – 4 of which need be released this year. This is not including any other writing I am asked to do in the form of short stories, blog posts, guest posts and essay articles. 2 of those 8 projects are screenplays, so if I get a partner I can work with, one of them will be produced either this year or the next. Mind you, I am not complaining at all.

I’m completely in love with each and every one of those projects and can’t wait to tell you guys about them. Actually, I really can’t wait for you to read them and get back to me – that is my marketing strategy.

The podcast – The Lurking Voice – is another marketing strategy, and a project that I’m falling more in live everyday. Every author has a voice they have to get out there. Problem is, I took that a little too literary. I love podcasting in general, and subscribe to quite a lot of shows. I can’t wait to finalize the post production on my own show and have in on iTunes so you guys can download and listen to it easier than having to access my site every time.

Newsroom was an experiment I did. I wanted to see if I could create a comedy show based on my comedic interpretations of weird news stories. Turns out that I could only manage a 2 minute show – and that was fine. For a while. However as I got busier, that show became somewhat of a burden, having to get material from scratch every time.

And for the past couple of week, two things happened:

  1. I was utterly disinterested in my material, and the joke writing reflected this
  2. I stopped loving the show

It happens guys. I would feel more comfortable doing the preamble of The Lurking Voice (the 10 minute intro) and pull that out of my ass, rather than read 4 jokes which lasted 2 minutes in total.

So I applied the 80/20 rule. This rule is simple enough to understand.

As an artist you will invest an equal amount of time and effort on anything you do. Now the laws of equivalent exchange come into play here. If you have two projects, both equally time consuming and both equally exhausting, you would want both to succeed equally.

This is almost never the case in real life. Inevitably there will be the one project with more success – one where you will get more of a return on your investment so to speak. That is your 80%.

The other project will give you less – that’s your 20%.

In the long run, The Lurking Voice is my 80% podcast. It has vast growing potential, it has outreach and more importantly it has malleability. I do 4 types of shows there, alternating between them as I go along. People respond to it way better than anything else I do (with the possible exception of some racy, explicit exclamations I post on Facebook).

Newsroom was something I could have kept if I didn’t have such a huge workload. I could have forced myself to do it – but I won’t. You see, I have this thing called self-respect. I have standards. I respect my audience – readers and listeners alike to only give them the BEST material I can come up with, regardless of my situation. Newsroom kept falling short of that standard and I couldn’t take it any more.

I would much rather spend that time and effort writing more stories and delivering one good podcast. 

I promise you that you’ll still get the usual comedic banter on The Lurking Voice. I promise you to deliver stories to a standard that I uphold to, that you deserve. I also promise to keep in touch with a weekly newsletter so subscribe now.

Click this link to subscribe 

Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for an interview with author Greg Lamb.

Cheers,

Ryan

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13 comments on “The 80/20 Rule
  1. DCTdesigns says:

    I drilled the 80/20 rule into my design students. Helps propel your art and keep what is important at the forefront. I always thought it a good rule of thumb for life in general. I liked your real-life application.

    • enkousama says:

      Thank you. I’m glad we agree on this. Artists need to put their best work on the forefront. And it shouldn’t be a problem since they should love all their works.

      That’s the essential: if you don’t love your work, stop doing it and do something you love.
      And if you’re better at something, focus on that a little more

  2. amberskyef says:

    It’s not your job to sell your book anyway. Write and connect. That is our only job(s).

    • enkousama says:

      Yes I agree, But I would also argue that any artist must know how to sell, or at least how the marketing system works. This would bring the whole tactics vs strategies issues. I should do a post or episode on just that, using my examples.
      Whilst I don’t actually sell my book, I still am learning how to do it. At the very least I am my own backup. Most of the sales points involve connecting with the readers anyway and it is ultimately what I want to do.

      • amberskyef says:

        We are still not sellers, though. AEC is our seller. It even says in how they were created that we write, they sell. We’re responsible for our platforms, which is connecting with our audience and providing helpful material that in turn can help with sales. We also want to platform as efficiently as possible so that we can spend more time writing our own stuff. You can platform well without spending a ton of hours doing so. AEC is helping us with that.

        But if we wanted to be solely responsible for everything, we would have self-published. As it were, publishers exist for those of us who can’t go at it alone, or don’t want to go at it alone.

        The field has certainly changed, even for authors published by the big guys, but the big guys, contrary to popular belief, are still doing marketing and selling for their authors’ books. They market that book for two or three months after the publication of that book–and do heavy marketing before the book, marketing authors don’t see. Those three months in turn can make the book mid-list (sometimes bestseller), and so that book can then carry itself without the author having to platform too much.

        Now gone are the days of yore when you could scribble in silence and fully trust that sales would be insured. We need platforms now because writers expect connection with us and because of social media–even more because our books are mostly available online. But it still isn’t our sole job to sell.

        There is a difference between marketing and selling and platforming and selling and platforming and marketing, neither of which is guaranteed sales.

        I don’t want my platform to be the sole reason my books are selling. Small presses exist to do what the big guys can’t do because they’re working with a ton of books, and that is continually helping us with our books to ensure sales. We’re with a publisher because we don’t want to go at it alone.

      • enkousama says:

        I agree 100% with that. Platforming should not be selling, although the only result of a successful platform is engagement and sales. Unfortunately when talking about something as social as our platforms, the results tend to be numerical ex. number of likes, number of comments, rating, etc. This shouldn’t be the case and as we grow more experienced in our fields and engage more with our audience, that relationship becomes less mathematical and more social – which is where all platforms should go in the first place.

        What you said about the marketing leads me to a concept called ‘funneling’ which I plan to do a post/episode on because it’s such an important strategy for artists to use. Primarily it allows the audience to see other works by the same person.

        Bdw, you win the medal for longest comment I’ve ever seen

      • amberskyef says:

        I go by views. My followers are small in number, but this blog has gotten about 23,000 views since its inception some time last year. Followers on a blog are great, but the only thing follow does on WordPress is register you on someone’s reader. You actually have to subscribe to have your posts in people’s inbox.

        Tumblr for me is a great platform, because it’s easy to encourage people to interact with you. WordPress, not so much, but WordPress is great for SEO. And my FB page is just weird. It doesn’t get a whole lot of interaction, but a lot of my views from my blog have come from my page. *shrugs* I also love Twitter. Engagement on there is super easy. Now I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do with my Youtube channel. I want it to be more about me as an author, as it is such a visual medium. Hmm…maybe my introductory video can be me answering questions Tumblr users post–and I’ll encourage them to ask.

      • enkousama says:

        Personally I want to get into the newsletter part – I want to send emails directly to my readers

      • amberskyef says:

        Are there any free newsletter sites? I know there’s mailchimp, but I don’t know if that’s free.

      • enkousama says:

        I use Aweber but it’s not free. There’s a link to sign up to mine in my About Me page

      • amberskyef says:

        If I can find a free one I’ll probably do a monthly newsletter or something. Just have to figure out the subscription part.

      • enkousama says:

        That part is the easiest. They provide you with a link. If people click on that link they can sign up. That easy. Like mine: http://forms.aweber.com/form/65/762414465.htm

      • amberskyef says:

        I also have all my social media linked to one another, so it’s been increasing views on this blog.

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