Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 15 - Serve

Today is the last day of Jeff Goins' Great Writers series.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this series.  What about you?

If anyone is still interested in downloading Jeff's book, it will be available through today FREE on Amazon.  If you don't have a kindle, you could download the Kindle for PC program and read it on your computer if you are still interested.  You can get it here

Today's topic is Serving Your Reader.

Jeff reminds us that a great writer is selfless. He doesn’t look to his own needs, but finds a way to serve others.
A great writer is a servant. If you’re going to take your writing to the next level — to be truly great — you’re going to have to learn to serve other people.

The big question
One of the biggest questions writers ask is, “What do I write about?”
Every writer needs to write first for herself; that’s where your writing begins. But it’s not where it ends.
As Stephen King says,
Write the first draft with the door closed and the second draft with the door open.

But how do you tackle that second draft? How do you do the work that other people will see?

Serve your audience
Here are three ways to serve your audience with writing:
Solve problems. Not just any problems. But the ones that people don’t know they have. If you have to ask, “What can I do for you?” you’re asking the wrong question. You need to know what your audience needs before they do — whether it means creating a new sub-genre, addressing issues
in a way nobody else has, or simply telling your story.
Answer questions. If you don’t know where to begin, look at the questions you want answered. Be observant. This applies to writing fiction and nonfiction alike. Put yourself in the seat of the reader, and guide them where they don’t know they need to go.
Help people. Do favors without being asked. Be generous (think over-the-top here). Do something remarkable, something truly outstanding that will get noticed. And do it for someone else.

Jeff's challenge - find a way to serve your audience
Do a giveaway of a product or service. Find authors or organizations wanting to partner with people like you, and ask them for donations. Do this to build trust with your readers, and make sure whatever you give away clearly adds value to their lives.
Conduct a survey. Find out what readers (or perfect strangers) want, what they struggle
with, and create something for them. This can be a blog series or an eBook or a whatever. Just make sure there’s a need for it before you make it.
Write something important and give it away. Publish an eBook to Amazon and distribute it through the KDP Select Program. Or offer it in exchange for people subscribing to your blog.
Answer all correspondence. Respond to every single email, phone call, tweet, etc. until you can’t possibly keep up. Be accessible

Why we do this
Because art, at its core, is about generosity. Not profits — passion. We serve our way into an audience’s affections, because this is the only way influence is earned: gradually, over time, little by little.
We don’t give because we get, but if we do this enough we’ll find that what goes around comes around. Which isn’t the point, but a nice byproduct.
Don’t begin with a “get” mentality; put the giving first. Because if you’re going to leave a legacy, your work will need to be more about others than yourself.
This, by the way, is where most people quit. They stop finding ways to address the needs of others, especially when it gets hard. They fail at realizing their potential: to push back despair and bring hope with words the world needs to hear.
They fail to be writers.

I'm so sad that this series is over but I have learned so much in these past few weeks.  The most important thing I have learned is that I have a lot of work to do, but at least now I feel like I have a direction to work in. 
Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up.  What did you think of the series?


  1. Fantastic post. I like the keep the door closed and then open it aspect of writing. The first draft is me getting something down on paper and when I revise I think more about the audience. I also believe in being generous and I find the writing community to be extremely giving.

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  3. Opps sorry about that I pressed the wrong button, my computer is being really slow today! What I actually said was - I'll have to look into downloading kindle on my computer. Thanks for the tip, Heather.

  4. I snagged a free copy. :)

    That's a great way at looking at writing. I definitely think the majority of writers are generous.

  5. even though i do not read stephen king--i love his methods of writing and hi thinking!

  6. Well, you convinced me to get the book and read through it. I like a lot of the ideas you posted about, they make sense. And this last one definitely.

    Thanks for sharing your learning experience Heather. It is nice to see a writing book as it is being used.


  7. This series has had so much great advice. Thank you for sharing! I love the Stephen King advice. His On Writing is my main writing book I go to for advice and inspiration.

  8. Those are great tips! I always try to write with readers in mind.

  9. These are some great tips. I'll have to check out your other posts.

  10. Lots of things to think about. I did download the Amazon for PC app.

    1. Kindle...not know what I meant, right? Can I be this tired before 9 pm?

  11. Thanks for the great tips! Sorry I missed the free Kindle version. I'll have to keep it in mind after I've caught up with my other books. Julie

  12. This is very wise advice, indee. The give mentality is so much more comfortable and fun than the get mentality.

  13. I have loved following this series. I missed a few and had to go back. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. I love the idea of serving the reader. I know how great it makes me feel when I hear back from an author.