I remember my first eBook well.
After releasing it to scores of positive reviews I was on cloud 200. Forget cloud 9.
Syrupy, sweet praise was music to my ears. All 4 or 5 star reviews. Mad downloads. All was good.
I carefully orchestrated the process too, giving out free copies to all my buddies. Positive review city. Best seller city. Nothing wrong with this approach. Works like a charm. But a sinister little problem began to develop by following this popular but dangerous technique: Blogging Big Fish Syndrome.
Blogging Big Fish Syndrome
I was a big fish in a small blogging pond. For years.
Sure I had a good-sized school of fish/blogging friends surrounding me. Supporting me. Promoting me.
All seemed well. Until my blog growth stopped. Dead in the water. Pun intended. I went belly up because I fell victim to this nasty little blogging malady; since I was a big fish in a small pond I had no room to grow. I had a supportive, loving, caring group of folks around me but I was terrified to venture out into the sharky/snarky critic infested waters.
I was like a little Nemo. Metaphorically. Although some illnesses I contracted while globe trotting turned me orange. With white stripes. Like a cream-sicle pop.
Anyway, I was meek and scared and secretly piddling in my blogging pants to venture out into the blogging ocean of opportunities. I wanted to carefully orchestrate my Amazon eBook reviews. To avoid negative reviews. Don’t let those nasty sharks into my inner circle, I thought. I rarely if ever commented on new blogs. Never submitted guest posts to new blogs either.
Naturally, my audience was…..the same size. For eons, it seemed. Blogging income went down the crapper. Some repeat sales, but no new blood. Because I feared rocking the boat. Loving the marine analogies yet?
I feared being a smaller fish (who would again grow into a big fish) in a huge pond. Meaning, I allowed my fear of criticism and failure and 1,001 other lower energies to dictate my networking campaign. I sat, comfortable and cozy, inside of my confining, curtailing comfort zone, being bound and gagged by my limiting beliefs.
The thing is, if you fall in love with being a big blogging fish in a small pond you may find that everybody loves you and what you do, but you run into a dramatic roadblock. Namely, you never seem to make the breakthroughs and gain the fame that less fearful, more bold bloggers seem to make every few days or weeks. Yeah; the bloggers who are willing to be small fries in a vast ocean of opportunities, gobbling up plankton and other microscopic food stuffs, these are the guys who become REALLY well known, and prospering, and in many cases, famous.
About 6 months ago I chose to be a small but growing fish in the ocean of blogging opportunities around me. I was no longer a big blogging fish in a small pond.
Over the last 6 months I have received more negative reviews than I ever have. Who cares? I’ve also been on Forbes, Virgin Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. Because I was willing to release the 96% 5 star rating on Amazon, I met a whole bunch of new folks, generated a ton more traffic and grew my list like the blazes.
With these wonderful benefits I noted an uptick in critics. A slight uptick. But an uptick none the less. I had outgrown my guppy pond. When I made the quantum leap to the ocean of opportunity out there, the sharks awaited. No worries guys; I’ve learned that their harsh criticisms and bites are both harmless. Because what they say has everything to do with them and nothing to do with me.
The Biggest Mistake Associated with this syndrome
Many awesome bloggers have a helluva time getting known/spotted/hunted for features because they try like hell to manage their public image so no negative reviews or criticisms flow their way. This crowd LOVES being a big fish in a small pond. Small pond mates can easily be manipulated. Small pond mates love you. Awesome. But what happens when you grow too big for this small pond of friends? Beached fish. Suffocation on dry land. Blogging suicide.
Avoid this mistake. Observe guys like Tim Ferriss. He can’t avoid receiving tidal waves of negative reviews. Not just because he’s a polarizing guy. When you choose to be a smaller fish in a bigger pond you will be assaulted by a wave of criticism you had not seen BUT you’ll also receive more love than you’ve ever seen.
The cool part is this: it becomes physically impossible to manipulate these folks to receive 95% or higher 5 star reviews. So you’ll be forced to surrender. To trust. To be at peace with unclear folks who criticize you. And to simply accept that as you become a bigger and bigger fish in a bigger pond, more people than ever will love you and some may criticize you and yep, your wildest dreams will come true.
Take it from a growing blogging fish who leaped the chasm from small pond to ocean.