Investing in My Community

One of my goals for 2012 is to invest in the right things. Most often, this will center around building relationships, and investing in those people.

I observed Lent this year, as you know if you’ve read the blog in the last month or so. I wrote a daily series on my observations as a way to both keep myself accountable, and have something to look back on when it was over. Now that we have celebrated Resurrection Sunday, I am moving on from that series. But I’d love to share something with you about what happened during Lent.

Relationships

Since I was feeling the weight of the looming Holy Week for the first time in my life, I asked a few colleagues if they’d be interested in getting together to read scripture and reflect over the lunch hour. I tell a bit about this in my post, Insurrection in the Empire, which you can read here. But out of those conference room meetings came deeper relationships that I would have ever imagined forming at work. I made the small choice to invite a few guys to read and reflect. I took a very small step with the aim of investing in relationships. No end goal. No book sales. No increased blog readership. Just relationships. And image what happened…relationships formed.

What does this have to do with a newsletter? Great question….allow me to explain.

While I will continue to invest in you, the reader of this blog, I am not sure what 2012 will look like here , as I’ve wrestled with its direction for some time now. I will continue, at least for now, to post on faith and creativity, and my observations of their intersection. But as the year unfolds, my newsletter readers will get the best of what I have. There’s a few reasons for that.

Inbox permission

My newsletter subscribers have granted me access into their inbox. This is important. If you think about your social networks, and who gets what permission, the inbox is the most guarded. I want to honor this with my time, attention and output. I’ll make more time for those who respond to my monthly newsletters. I’ll engage in conversation and provide feedback. I’ll also continue to dedicate exclusive content only for those who subscribe, which is my small way of saying thanks. You may get this blog delivered to you inbox, which is awesome. But it isn’t quite the same. Case in point: you can’t reply to me out of that email. It’s not built for conversation, it’s built for delivery. I’m striving for conversation.

Long-term Connection

You may be an avid reader of this blog, subscribed and engaged. Thank you. I truly mean that. My goal is not just to keep you reading. My goal, in the grand scheme of things (this is my being completely honest) is to build a community around my work. It’s the same theory that drives Noise Trade; I plan on giving away great content in order to build a base. Any marketer, especially in the publishing world, would call this building the platform. But more than just a career move, this is about connection. Remember, my goal for this year (and beyond) is to invest in these relationships. Yes, my newsletter subscribers will hear about new projects first. But this is only because I will be creating projects (books and whatever else gets dreamed up) for the community. This is about resourcing a community, not throwing together random projects.

unMarketing

I mentioned building a platform. Usually this requires engaging big names to talk highly of you. I did a bit of this when I solicited for endorsements of my book. But really, building a platform is about having relationships with others who may be interested in your work. This blog is part of my platform for sure. In fact, that’s why I created a subscribe page. I would consider my social networks to be a part of my platform as well. So when it comes to marketing a book, these are the folks who get blasted with marketing. While I have engaged in that, and will continue to a degree, the email list is what many would consider a warm market. They know me, they know my writing, and they have given me permission to share with them directly. The more of this, the less I rely on tweets, posts, blogs, interviews, etc etc etc. And for a writer who is just insecure enough to hate all of the self-hype, this is gold. So to help me in my attempts to unmarket my work, I will offer my best stuff. Conversations with thought leaders, giveaways, long form reminations on faith and creativity and publishing and justice and life, and other things you may be interested in hearing.

Join us!

The community is brand new (only 4 newlsetters sent so far) and will grow and change over time. I’d be honored to have you as a part of the community. You can sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.