How to Create Meaningful, Long-Lasting Works (Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday)

Apr 6, 2020

4 minutes

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Will anyone give a sh*t about what you created Next week? Next year? Next decade?

No matter what kind of business you have, you are a creator. At the very least, you create content to gain attention for the work that you do, and you may even create things like books or courses that people can purchase.

But are you creating meaningful, long-lasting work that people will continue to buy + use 5, 10, 20 years from now?

OK, so you’re latest Facebook post probably isn’t a masterpiece, but the work that you create that represents your business – the things you actually sell that have an impact on people – are they perennial sellers?

In Perennial Seller, Ryan Holiday blends art, science, and old-fashioned luck together to share a time-tested formula on how to create works that sell for decades to come. 

Why does creating a Perennial Seller matter?

Ryan explains is pretty well:

“Perennial” … regardless of how well they may have done at their release or the scale of the audience they reached, these products have found continued success and more customers over time … Like gold or land, they increase in value over time because they are always of value to someone, somewhere. In other words, they are not simply perennial; they are perennial sellers.

Whether it’s a movie, or a book, or a course, or a physical product … a perennial seller is something that consistently sells, year after year. You may update it, expand on, create a new version, but the core thing is the same … and it sells, over and over and over.

Perennial sellers are the types of works that you can create an entire career around – the kind of thing you become a “recognized name” for.

So the “why” is pretty clear: a perennial seller is a cornerstone of making an impact that will, quite literally, outlive you.

How do you create a Perennial Seller?

So, you want to create a perennial seller … must be simple, right?

No way! If it WAS simple, then everyone would do it; that’s part of what makes a perennial seller so impactful.

It’s not a random, one-off, unedited creation that someone slapped up onto a website and promoted on social media.

But don’t lose heart, it IS possible for you to create a perennial seller.

This is the good news. It means that your perennial seller does not have to be birthed in some single episode of genius. Instead, it can be made piece by piece – or, as Anne Lamott put it in her meditation on writing, “bird by bird.” you don’t have to be a genius to make genius – you just have to have small moments of brilliance and edit out the boring stuff.

In fact, Ryan spends the majority of the book explaining the 4 parts that are vital for any perennial seller:

  1. The Creative Process
  2. Positioning
  3. Marketing
  4. Platform

Skip any of these elements, and having a perennial seller would be nothing short of a miracle.

But we’re entrepreneurs, we’re used to great odds!

Don’t waste your time, friend.

Read Perennial Seller, and you’ll be more than motivated by Ryan’s collected examples of grit and creativity that have helped to create some of the most memorable movies, TV shows, albums, books, physical products, and more.

No matter what we have heard from our parents and internalized as part of the American Dream, hard work does not trump all.

It’s that old saying: The more you do, the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.

One of the things that I found most impactful about Ryan’s writing style and his approach is that he walks the talk.

He is an actual embodiment of all the elements he discusses in the book. He is continually putting this into practice over and over.

He even explicitly says that the book Perennial Seller itself went through FIVE rounds of edits before it was finalized (by the way, even in the publishing world, that’s a lot of editing rounds).

We have to have this kind of discipline. The discipline required to hit pause and return to our prospective studios until the work meets the standards we’ve set for ourselves and that the fans have for us. We need to have our own test: Does a summary of the book work as a talk? Are the early users you’ve given prototypes to already addicted to their early versions of the product? Does what you made scratch your own itch in a way that suggests it will do the same for others?

If you’re out to make works that matter – the ones that continue to impact people for decades, generations to come – then read Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday. It will change the way that you think about creativity, marketing, and building a business (and maybe your next Facebook post).

P.S. It is my utmost goal to make the book I’m currently writing (my 3rd book overall) into a perennial seller. Expect to see more about that process as I put Ryan’s insights into practice! (Join the VIP list so you don’t miss a thing)

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