Do you want to break into publishing? Say something important, but more importantly, say it well. We don’t need more voices, and we certainly don’t need more celebrities. We need transcendent ideas. We need people that challenge us to see how the world ought to be, and inspire us to make it so. We need people who show us the best of ourselves, and call us to be that version, rather than the veneered version that seems so much easier to sell to our “friends.” Inspire someone, and you just may make a bestsellers list the old-fashioned way. Inspire important conversations and you may just stay there. But if you fake it, if you buy your way on, if you take the shortcut to significance, we’ll know, and we’ll ignore you. And that second cut will hurt.
An encouraging word, that, especially on the eve of my first book release.
Throughout this process, the one advantage I’ve realized that I have is that I am stepping into relatively unoccupied territory. I don’t know if the book is going to be good enough to start a conversation–I’ll leave that to the critics to judge–but I think the conversation is ready to be had.
And that combined with the overly loyal and gracious support of our happy band of readers here at Mere-O gives me some cautious optimism that just the right people will trip over the book and find something helpful in it.
But at the same time, I think Febree downplays what is happening in the social media world a little too much. Yes, it’s an odd form of slactivism that often gives people the veneer of action without the substance. But however diluted the influence is, the transmission of ideas and sentiments through the social media world is still as good an indicator of genuine influence as any we have.
Yes, people can buy and trick their way into thousands of fans, and many people do. But not surprisingly, most of the folks with massive followings on social media also have massive followings in real life because the rules of the road aren’t that different. The demand for the sort of writing and idea generation that Chris and I both care about and strive for simply isn’t as strong as the desire for the platitudinous fluff that ghost writers labor away on for minor celebrities.