I’ve never enjoyed any of Stephen King’s books.
Something about his writing style strikes me as immature, the plot twists always seem predictable, and I can never relate to the main characters in the same way I do with other novelists’.
I have friends who love his books, people whose literary opinions I trust and respect. These friends have lent me some of their favourite King novels; but they just weren’t for me. I can safely say that I will never, ever, buy a single Stephen King book.
Is Stephen King Worried?
Do you imagine Mr King has ever lost a single night’s sleep over me? Of course not. He has published over 50 books, more than 200 short stories and sold in excess of 350 million copies. Those are staggering figures, he’s a phenomenally successful author.
He’s not going to worry about me, he’s going to write for his fans. There are literally millions of people out there who love what he does – if he tried to write his next book for me, how many of them might be turned off?
In his book On Writing King says:
You can’t please all of the readers all of the time; you can’t please even some of the readers all of the time, but you really ought to try to please at least some of the readers some of the time.
Stephen King is happy with the knowledge that you can’t please everyone.
You Can’t Please Everyone
When somebody tries to please everyone, their ideal becomes bland, characterless mediocrity. Ironically, these attributes are guaranteed to please absolutely no-one.
So why do so many companies try to please everyone? Making the kinds of statement that seem to offer the best of both worlds, but where they clearly can’t achieve one half without compromising on the other:
We’re a family business, offering a truly professional service.
If you’re a family company, I’m guessing your management team aren’t handpicked from the best in the industry.
We’re a national company, that acts like a local company.
If you’re a national company, you won’t have the vested interest in the regional economy that a genuinely local company will have.
We offer the best quality, at the lowest prices.
If you’re pricing to a budget, then quality clearly can’t be your primary concern.
Companies make these kind of statements because they’re worried. They don’t want to pin their colours to the mast too openly, for fear that some people might take a look at their message, decide it’s not for them, and walk away.
These are precisely the wrong people to be worried about.
Instead, worry about the people who will see what you have to offer and nod in agreement. The people who like the level of care and investment a family-run business offers. The people who like the security of working with a large organisation. The people who aren’t worried about buying ‘the best’, but want to buy the best for them.
You can only find these people if you’re not trying to please everyone else.
Find ‘Your’ People
So shout your message from the rooftops; there are people out there who agree, and you need to let them see you. These are your people, they are the ones who will become your most passionate customers and your best advocates. They’ll tell all their friends how great you are, and those friends will want to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe, unlike me and Stephen King, those friends might just like you too.