Many Stories Matter: A Cautionary Tale about the “telling of the single story”

The Danger of the Single Story, by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie

Today I listened to Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie, caution others about the dangers of telling a single story. For Chimamanda Adichie, the danger of telling single story about a place called ‘Africa’ is that the single story becomes the definitive story for all the people of Africa. The danger is that different versions of the single story are told over and over again, so that the single story creates a stereotype of all Africans. This stereotype, whilst not untrue, is also not complete.

Chimamanda Adichie cautions that the single story is given greater power than any other story and by telling only this story, many voices with different stories are silenced. She feels that the single story of Africa comes from Western Literature, which whilst well-meaning, is also patronising and misguiding. What is needed is for Westerners to reject the single story and embrace the concept that many stories matter.

Entrepreneur Tips for Authors in a Changing Publishing Market

I spent last weekend with 480 entrepreneurs at a course in Sydney, run by Siimon Reynolds from The Fortune Institute and I’ve put together a summary of points that I feel are particularly relevant to today’s authors given the current seismic changes in the publishing industry.

• Authors will need a ‘Growth Mindset’ whereby they believe abilities aren’t fixed, that with practise they can conquer new areas. John Kay coined the term “obliquity” whereby oblique approaches are the most successful when negotiating difficult terrain.

• Success is not about perfection, it’s about self-correction, constantly making small changes to ensure continued writing success.

• Time mastery reduces stress.

• Positive attitude of ‘I am unstoppable’.

• Every author must have an image of their ‘future self’, not just their past and present selves. Self-identity is FUTURE based.

• Be unstoppable.

• When focussing on sales and marketing you need to test for effectiveness in a measurable way.

• Buyers respond when they feel there is a personal connection with the author. Start by developing your personal story, why you came to writing.

• Every author needs to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. It’s called having a USP, Unique Selling Point. Can also have an ESP, Emotional Selling Proposition.

• Have a clear goal of where you want to be positioned in the market. This is your brand.

• Reflect your brand in everything you do. Make smart media and social media choices.

• What audience do you want to attract?

• Build relationships with readers/buyers.

• Structure increases efficiency – structure for each day, week, month, 90 days, year. Structure in both personal goals as well as business goals.

• Outsource anon-core tasks.

• Realise that you may need to create a new self-identity and business identity. If not, maximise what you’ve got.

• Introduce daily accountability.

• Monitor yourself for: self-discipline; concentration; optimism; relaxation; enjoyment.

• Know the financial facts of your business.

• Invest in personal development.

• Consider forming joint ventures with complementary others.

• Maintain standards of excellence.

• Seek supportive peer groups.

• Reputation is an excellent form of advertising.

• Avoid negative people.

• Have clear goals, short-term, 3 year+ and 10 year goal.

• Keep innovating.

• Bundle your products and services to improve value.

• A well-developed website will improve marketing and sales through SEO, Search Engine Optimisation.

• Expect to fail frequently.

As a writer what do I believe?

I believe in the Power of Story.
I believe I must think outside the square.
I believe in innovation.
I believe in breaking rules.
I believe in looking to the future.
I believe in our community.
I believe in family.
I believe in our youth.
I believe in good mental health.
I believe in the human spirit.
I believe in the passion inside me.
I believe in the power of the little person.
I believe that I will never be happy to be put in a box.
I believe life is fragile sometimes, just because.