Tribes – which one are you in?

Stylized_MasaiWhen we first started roaming the planet we did it in small groups or tribes. In the traditional sense of the word, a tribe is a related group of people with some sort of kinship or other social bond. Tribes were about belonging, and in many senses they still are. Think football fans, for example. They even get dressed up in their team’s colors to hang out at games together.

Recently, for obvious reasons, I’ve been studying marketing and self-promotion, something authors have to do for themselves these days, and I’ve come across the word tribe used in a different context.

According to the marketing gurus, you need to identity your tribe so that you can tailor your marketing message to the right group of people.

This is an interesting use of the word. No kinship in this context but maybe there is a sense of social bonding. What you are looking for is the group of people who are interested in whatever it is you are marketing or promoting.

I guess the message is that only a small cross-section of the population is going to be interested in whatever you are promoting, so don’t waste your efforts with the ones that aren’t.

So, who is my tribe?

Maybe I should have specialised. I’m writing in three genres or categories:

  • Mystery and detective
  • Non-fiction
  • Body, mind and spirit

Maybe that simply means I have three tribes to connect with.

The Inspector West series, with it’s focus on relationships within the framework of a crime story, will appeal to a particular type of reader. We’re talking about the tribe that likes murder mysteries and intrigue, and seeing how other people deal with those things, and how the detective works toward solving the crime. Maybe the same readers who enjoy books by Louise Penny or Peter James. Definitely not the readers who can’t wait for the next Jack Reacher book.

The Living Alone series has a fairly easily defined tribe: those guys who find themselves somewhat adrift at the end of a long term relationship – but the books in that series, especially Cooking4One, could also appeal to someone leaving home and going it alone for the first time. Or maybe their mothers.

As a reader of this blog, there is a fair chance you belong to the body, mind and spirit tribe that is looking for inspiration or encouragement to continue the journey of personal growth and discovery. Sharing the Journey is coming for you.

There is one other tribe, according to the gurus, that will love anything and everything I write, and will happily and enthusiastically share it with their friends. That sounds like the tribe every author would love to be surrounded by.

Do you belong to any of these tribes?

Which one?

Do you know someone who would benefit by being a member of any or all of these tribes?

Why not share this with them?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter




I was in a graveyard or cemetery this week attending a funeral.

According to Wikipedia, cemetery means sleeping place. How’s that for optimism?

On the way home from the funeral, my son asked me how many funerals did I reckon I’d attended.

I’ve been to three in the last twelve months but I started going to funerals as an altar boy, more than fifty years ago. It was one way of skipping a half day of school. So the first funerals I attended were of people I didn’t know.

The first family funeral I remember attending was my grandmother’s. I was thirteen. I went with my father. In fact, we had driven all day to get to the hospital before it was too late. She died twenty minutes after we arrived at her bedside. It was as if she had held on until her favourite son arrived. That ended up being a week away from home – a holiday with my cousins. Don’t know why my father took only me and not any of my brothers. Can’t ask him, because I’ve been to his funeral as well.

To be honest, I’ve been to so many funerals over the last forty or fifty years that I have lost count. Some have been harder to attend than others. I think one of the more difficult was that of my name-sake cousin. I can tell you, it’s a strange feeling standing next to a casket with your name on it.

I’ve witnessed a range of emotions on display at the graveside – from stoic acceptance right up to hysterical wailing as the casket is lowered. It’s just as well we are understanding of expressions of grief, even if we feel uncomfortable when someone totally loses it.

I’ve been to some good family wakes over the years. Something Irish families in the diaspora do pretty well. I’ve been to a lot of somber Italian funerals too – they seem to have a different take on death and dying.

On reflection, I’ve noticed something else. I don’t visit graves. I go to the funeral but I never go back, unless we are slipping another casket into the same grave. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over when I leave the cemetery.

Why do some people visit the grave every week? Why do some spend a fortune on tombstones?

If you wander around a cemetery and look at tombstones, it’s like there is a competition to see who can erect the biggest memorial. Personally, I think there are better things you can do with the money.

From my perspective, cemeteries are places we use to dispose of bodies that are no longer required. We are returning the components to the earth. For the process to be completely natural you’d think we would bury bodies in caskets that breakdown easily once in the ground or rely on cremation and simply scatter or bury the ashes.

I’ve been to funerals where the body was buried in a stainless steel, fibreglass covered, vacuum sealed casket in a cement lined grave. How quickly do you think a body buried like that would be reabsorbed back into the natural cycle? And we thought the Egyptians were crazy with their pyramids and mummies.

It’s all a matter of perspective. What’s yours?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.