Two months ago, Seth Godin wanted your headshot for the cover to his next book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Yesterday, with that book still two months away, he issued another invitation, announcing “a members-only tribe… for marketers, for leaders, for those focused on building communities or creating products or spreading ideas” that will get to hang out on a subscriber-based website, triiibes.com. To get the required invite, you had to forward Godin a copy of an electronic receipt proving you had pre-ordered Tribes from an online bookseller.
The book immediately spiraled into the top ten bestsellers at Amazon.com, and though Godin had originally planned to keep this invitation open until August 10, the overwhelming response has caused him to move that deadline up to… this morning, at 11 A.M. (Eastern).
Over at mediabistro.com’s AgencySpy blog, Matt Van Hoven has a cynical take on all this, describing it as a $14 book club. The more I think about it, though, quite a few successful authors (and publishers, for that matter) have already embraced the notion that the people who buy and read their books are joining a “book club,” or a “tribe,” or whatever you want to call it—and if that sounds too cultish for you, then ask yourself this: What are you doing to make it easier for people to talk about your ideas or your stories?
There’s an obvious (if cartoonishly reductive) authorial objection to be made—”I poured my soul into writing this; what more do you want from me?”—to which I’ll offer an equally simplistic counter-argument: OK, this is your life’s work; wouldn’t you like somebody to notice?