There is a wealth of information available to authors who want to learn about the craft, marketing, and publishing. There are literally thousands of websites, hundreds of thousands of books, and hundreds of online courses that all put forth the idea that anyone can become a successful author as long as they follow “the system.”

Many times, in places such as Facebook groups, hundreds or thousands of authors will gather to post, comment, and support each other.

These open environments, which can also include old-fashioned electronic bulletin boards, can be helpful—but only to a point.

There tends to be a shift that occurs when groups become too large. Some psychological studies say that dynamics change once a group hits 10 to 15 people, again when they hit 30 to 40, and then again at around 125. Once a group grows past 125 members, the effectiveness of the relationships of the people in the group is minimized. There will be certain people who will contribute regularly and others who will never contribute.

This happens because there is inclusivity at play in these groups. In other words, anyone can and does join these types of open forms and groups. Initially, and on the surface, this appears to be a positive thing. We all want a world that is more inclusive and open.

However, this is a strange paradox when it comes to being an author. The inclusivity becomes so prevalent that the value of the experience is diminished purely based on scale. Therefore, it makes more sense to find smaller groups where the participation level is more genuine, and everyone feels as though they have a stake in owning the group.

Nothing could prove this concept better than a mastermind group. A mastermind, by its very nature, is exclusive. There’s an investment of time and money required to participate, and in many mastermind groups like my own, you must apply to become a member. There is usually a vetting process that takes place, not by a bot or a computer algorithm, but conducted by a real person. And because of that, decisions are made in the best interest of the group, keeping it exclusive instead of inclusive.

The exclusivity developed within a mastermind group is the same type of situation you find on athletic teams. Not everyone can play on every team, and therefore, the players on any given team feel a loyalty to each other and to the team or organization. Masterminds can function in the same way.

In my mastermind groups, I try to keep the numbers of members low so that everyone can have a personal relationship with every other person in the group, and that exclusivity raises participation because there is nowhere to hide.

With higher-level mastermind groups, exclusivity comes with a certain status. As you become better at what you are doing, you tend to find yourself in mastermind groups with others who are functioning at that same level. Whether it be royalty earnings, daily word count, or simple lifestyle success, the exclusivity that’s involved in that group becomes important to all of the members in it.

This type of fierce loyalty is really what makes a mastermind group so special. It is not like a Facebook group that anyone can join. It is yours, and it belongs to those select people who are in it with you. I have seen much deeper connections and friendships develop within exclusive communities instead of inclusive ones.

That is not to say that we should take a position of intentionally excluding people from organizations or groups that we create. However, once the group has been established, it is important for them to feel as though it belongs to them, and that nobody can come in and upset that dynamic.

Being exclusive does not mean being racist or mean. An exclusive group is simply a way of making sure you’re in perfect alignment with others, provided the exclusion is not based on things like gender, race, religion, or politics. In all of the mastermind groups I have led, I go out of my way to make sure there is a diversity of experience and knowledge among all members of the exclusive group. While not everyone can be part of the mastermind group, those who are part of it are widely represented and coming from different walks of life.

Sometimes, a mastermind group can splice off into another group. In those situations, the exclusivity becomes narrower, and sometimes, a subgroup of a mastermind group can have a more specific goal or purpose. We see this in the corporate world when committees form subcommittees to do specialized or temporary work. These sub-mastermind groups can become permanent or even grow to add more members. Having the ability to be as exclusive as you can makes the experience richer for all members of the mastermind group.

And mastermind groups provide opportunities to step outside your own head and explain your thoughts to others.

Want to take your writing chops and business savvy to the next level? Check out The Author Success Mastermind group at