I’ve had an idea rattling around in my head for a while now, and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it’s true.
The idea is this: everything is story.
That’s a pretty bold statement.
You could argue that I’m biased because I’m in the business of story, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, it’s exactly because I’m in this business that I can see the stories spinning out all around me.
Obviously, books, films and television shows are all stories, but so is music, comedy and marketing. Every communication with friends, family and colleagues is done through story. The way we talk to ourselves is also a story. What we believe, the way we live and the decisions we make are all because of the stories we’ve been told.
This is fascinating stuff and once you see it, you can’t un-see it.
There’s a whole book to be written about this, and maybe someday I’ll get around to that, but for now I’ll just talk about marketing.
Salespeople and advertising agencies have known for a long time that stories are an excellent marketing tool. Those who really learn how to do it make millions of dollars.
If you don’t believe me, watch this:
Dove is telling us a story about the stories we’re telling ourselves. There’s no mention of soap. There’s barely mention of the company! This ad campaign is seven years old and it’s still generating revenue for Dove. It’s brilliant.
As professional storytellers, novelists should be rock stars when it comes to marketing our own work. But in fact, the opposite is true. The only explanation I can come up with is that writers (for the most part) haven’t yet realized that our skills are transferable.
What if more of us did know?
Well, I believe we’d get more of the right books into the hands of the right readers. Everyone would win. Readers would get books they love, and we’d get an income that would enable us to write even more of the books that readers love.