Illustration of a dark haired man teaching yoga to a group of dark haired men and women

Tip 24: Build a tribe

Bikram Choudhury (love him or loathe him) is the world’s most infamous yoga instructor who built a wildly successful business based on just 26 yoga postures. So what can Bikram yoga teach us about writing a book?

When I first started going to Bikram yoga classes, I was gob smacked by the number of attendees.

Nearly every class I went to was packed with 50 or so people – it didn’t matter if I went at 6am, 10am, 4pm, 6pm or 9pm. Again and again, new and old faces continued to turn up ready to bake like rotisserie chooks.

I made an effort to show up early to secure a spot. And it’s been the same at every Bikram place I have ever been to in any part of the world.


The popularity of the practice stems from its people.

In Tribes, Seth Godin looks at what it takes to mobilise this kind of group. He says:

‘A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.’

A movement is created when you have many people, all connected, all seeking something together – this is what has become of the Bikram practice.

So let’s apply this thinking to your book…

You’re aiming to grow a community of people who are passionate about you and your work.
They contribute to your learning, support you as you progress and help you spread the good word.

Janine Garner, networking guru and author of It's Who You Know breaks down your tribe into four core people:

  1. Promoter — makes noise about potential possibilities and inspires you to dream big
  2. Pit crew — keeps you on track, nurtures you and prevents untoward emotions from getting the better of you
  3. Teacher — helps you develop knowledge, wisdom and foresight
  4. Butt-kicker — accelerates your journey, pushes you to do more and holds you accountable for your actions.

Yes your tribe will buy and help you to sell your book, but there’s much more to it than that.

You lean on your tribe

You learn from your tribe.

Your tribe is around you at all times to keep you going, when you no longer want to go on, to talk you up to their friends when you don’t feel like talking.

So involve them while you’re writing, lean on them and learn from them as you progress.

Send them chapters from your book. Or updates on how you’re doing.

Ask for feedback, advice, reviews and connections, not just sales.

Then, and only then, will they continue to show up for you – and even queue up at your door.  

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Book Coach Kelly Irving Website element

The secret to a successful book

Kelly Irving

I’m an editor and writing coach with a love for deep-diving into brains and businesses. Through my one-to-one work and online program, I provide an action-by-action process that speeds up the time it takes to produce your best book, and turns overwhelm and self-doubt into momentum and excitement for writing.


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