All of the most successful authors have a cult-like following of readers. I want this. Since it rarely happens naturally, I’ve researched what it would take to just start my own cult. It’s pretty simple actually. I’ve scribbled down a few simple steps and I really think we can make this happen.
bullshit belief system.
Basically, you can build a cult around anything. Meatballs, pizza, God, not God, yourself (which would also be “not God”, unless there’s something you haven’t told me), or a celebrity. My cult will believe in me, because if they don’t believe in me, why would they buy my books? Exactly.
Choose a leader.
If you don’t choose yourself, get the fuck out of here. You don’t deserve your own cult.
Write your commandments.
Also known as rules your group has to follow. Don’t worry about sounding bossy. Cult followers love that shit. Rule them, damn it!
I’ve already compiled a rough draft of my cult’s commandments. Of course, these will change depending on several factors, such as mood, day of the week, level of alcohol in my system, etc.
- You may covet the neighbor’s wife. Just don’t bang her. You have to live next door to these people for crying out loud. A little common sense goes a long way.
- Thou shalt not murder, unless thou has a damn good reason. And if thou gets caught, don’t come crying to me. You’re on your own, you murdering idiot.
- Thou shalt not utter the word “moist.” ‘Tis forbidden. Always.
- Never waste bacon and never use bacon’s name in vain.
- Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. *winky face* Unless they’re assholes. It’s okay to be mean to assholes.
- Pants shall not be worn, as they are the devil’s work.
- Thou shalt not love other authors before me. You can read them, just don’t love them.
- Monday is the Sabbath, because the Cult of Renee is done being Monday’s bitch.
- Coffee is sacred. Thou shalt not ingest that instant crap, or the crap without caffeine. Both are sacrilege and should not exist.
- Thou shall eat poutine at least thrice weekly, because it’s delicious.
Write “The Book”
Every cult needs a body of work to read, quote, snuggle up to. As a writer, this is something I look forward to. My very own “bible.” It shall be vague, yet deep. Profound even. No one will truly understand the Book of Renee, nor should they.
Choose a motto.
Every cult has a slogan of some kind. What’s yours gonna be? For the Cult of Renee, I’m thinking something like, “Fuck it.”
Build a Hierarchy
Minions are easy to find, but you need a couple of henchmen with the authority to act in your name. This ensures none of your minions—I mean readers, wanders away from the flock. This means you need a couple of cult members who are aware that you are not the literary messiah, but who believe you “might” be with a little work. I already have my henchmen selected.
You need minions, as I said. You and a couple of your friends meeting every Saturday does not make a cult. It’s a couple of losers meeting every Saturday. You need folks who love you so fervently, they’d die for you. But don’t be that kind of cult. Mass suicide is never the answer. To recruit, you’ll need to
your minions potential followers as the most special damn folks on the planet. Spoil them. Love them. Give them a few free books here and there. Never insult or berate them (Unless they speak against you. In that case, burn the motherfuckers down.). Sexual favors should be given out sparingly, because obviously, but only use them as a reward. Also, be prepared to punish naughty members. (giggle) If you want them to preach to the world about your awesomeness, your cult members must either love you, or fear you. Keep in mind, though, that honey attracts flies or something. You know what I mean.
If you don’t all dress the same, talk the same, and do weird shit like lay flat on the ground every time someone says “frittata,” no one will take you seriously. So you have to figure out which cult quirks will work for you. For example, Hugh Howey’s minions find a way to mention Hugh Howey in every conversation. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And E.L. James minions build a secret torture room and become wet and swoony at arrogant, abusive behavior. Stephen King’s flock… what do they do anyway? I don’t know, but I bet it’s weird as fuck.
Also, cults have an elitist energy, like “If you aren’t one of us, you’re no one.” So, start treating anyone who doesn’t join your cult like shit on the bottom of your shoe. Don’t explain why. Ruins the fun.
Give them a piece of you.
Not literally, because that’s gross. Maybe you could give out tiny statues of yourself. Or playing cards. Or even just a t-shirt. Your followers need to be able to carry a piece of you around in order to feel closer to you. This closeness fosters loyalty and all that fun stuff. I know, they have your books, but with digital and stuff, it’s not as simple as that anymore.
Oh! I’m getting a Renee bobble-head.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up in the comments.