Is my goal to “change” everyone or to give them the tools to do so?

Am I successful if a reader:

  1. Transforms her life,
  2. Makes a small change,
  3. Reads a chapter,
  4. Puts it on the shelf (and never opens it),
  5. Buys the book.
  6. Downloads a free sample.

I wanted to ask a friend about a challenge I had for my upcoming book (Every Single Day). As we walked in the forest with the dog and riffed on each other’s business plans, entrepreneurial strategies, and marketing tactics, I asked him:

What if people read the book but just aren’t ready to change or don’t want to go through the work or it’s just not right for them or … I don’t know, just can’t succeed with the book?

He told me that, in his wallet, he carried with great pride the gym membership where he … rarely if ever went. But the card, the membership, the monthly payment, they all made him:

  1. Feel better,
  2. Convinced that he was doing something good for himself,
  3. Prove to others that he was a gym member and could show them #2 and then feel #1.

But he didn’t go to the gym. He’s a healthy, fit guy. He does other workouts, but he doesn’t go to the gym. Maybe he doesn’t “subscribe” to that type of workout. Maybe it’s too far away. Maybe he just doesn’t like it there.

So, why, pray tell, doesn’t he cancel the costly membership and give in to reality?

Because that wouldn’t be just giving in, that would be giving up.

He doesn’t want to give up on fitness. In fact, he doesn’t give up on fitness. He runs, he eats extremely healthy, but he doesn’t go to the gym.

He said that if one chapter helped one person for one minute of their life, then the book is “successful” to that person. If they buy it, put it on the shelf for ten years, but feel good that they bought a book that they know might help them, that’s a successful purchase. They’re happy, the author is happy. Even though the reader didn’t actually read the book, it helped him.

Wow, this was a shocker to me. “Wait, so someone might buy it, never read it, never even crack it open, but it still helps them?”

“Yes,” he said. “But then it gets better. If they do crack it open someday and it helps them, it will be all the more appreciated because it has been simmering on her shelf for the past years, silently whispering to her to open it up, turn to chapter fourteen, read, weep, and take that first step.”

“Wow, can you be on my marketing team?” I asked.

“I am your marketing team, my friend,” he said.

So, I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.