A Guest Post by Kelly Diels.
Let’s mash up reality and assume that Dorothy wrote The Wizard of Oz and it is a memoir told through the lens of pharmaceuticals and it is to be published next year.
Dorothy has written a great book: part trippy fantasy, part freudian/jungian/wonky archetypical therapy, part love letter to friendship, and a prefeminist, feminist, post-feminist meditation on the nature and power of femininity wrapped in a trendy, little-dog-carrying, hot-shoe-wearing package. It is Sex and the City meets Eat Love Pray meets Little Red Riding Hood, on acid. It is a journey. It is a great book. It must be read.
Dorothy knows this. She feels it right from her soul to the soles of her ruby red shoes. She can see the future: a movie. Musicals. The talk show circuit. Oprah. Much money, much love, much conversation, and a place in popular imagination.
It can be all of these things, not because she promotes the flying monkeys out of it – which she will, and absolutely should do – but because it offers a watery answer to our thirsty, questioning souls: you are the author of your own affair. Plus there are weird scary creatures who learn to love each other and grow as twisted, maturing moral entities and we all know that stuff sells. I hear a little book called Twilight is doing quite well these days.
So this book should sell. It needs to sell. Dorothy wants it to sell. Even more than that, Dorothy wants it to be read, to land, to take root, to grow, to inhabit, fertilize and animate our popular imagination.
If I was Dorothy – and I am – I would start a blog before I even started writing the book. I’d go all Seth Godin and build a tribe on Twitter. I’d find my people. I’d give them somewhere to find me. I’d get on the cluetrain. I’d Oprah. I’d firestart. I’d listen to Leo Babauta when he says he doesn’t believe in SEO. I’d make friends. I’d work the aich-ee-double-hockey-sticks out of ProBlogger and spend serious time with Outspoken Media. I’d figure out the lessons learned by our pantehon of blog gods and best-selling writers. I’d figure out the mechanics of demand and distribution and audience and I’d build it and they would come. And if they didn’t come, I’d go get them and then hug and pet and feed them because that is the purpose of promotional tricks and lassos and rodeo ponies and hoopla.
But I would only do that if, like Dorothy, I had something wizardly to offer: the journey. The passion. The learning. The love. The living. The lessons. The magic. The really, really great content. Please.
And this is what exasperates me about the ‘blogging and social media for money’ superhighway. So many times I follow the yellow brick road laid by an enterprising blogger who’s working the system – rocking the comments, manufacturing controversy, guest posting, paper-training SEO, tweeting – and when I get there and pull back the curtain…nothing. No wizard. No magic. No message. Just a lot of mechanics and whirling buttons and a robotic, soulless special effects machine.
Honestly, that’s what a lot of problogging and blogs and social media enterprises are looking like these days. It is turn-key blogging. It is execution unsparked by ideas. It is a waste of time and tweets and it won’t make you money.
Straight up: I don’t make a cent from my blog and I’m certainly not disparaging bloggers who do. I LOVE money. I want money. I want you and Dorothy and every other problogger out there to have as many tiny dogs – more! – as you and your minions can carry. I just want you to make it from selling wisdom, truth, experience or sparkly scarlet maryjanes (and if you are, I’m ALWAYS in the market for red shoes, so please put me on your mailing list). I want you to make an offering. I want you to have something to offer. I want you to be a Red Shoe Blogger. I just made that up.
A Red Shoe Blogger is not blogging exclusively for money. A Red Shoe Blogger has a mission and is animated by passion and all the tips and tricks and hacks and tools and tweets are harnessed in service of that divine, cosmic, helpful, genuine, meaningful objective. That mission is Home.
So this is what I want from all the Red Shoe Bloggers out there: I want you to buck the system, or work the system, but know that the system is not a slot machine that will pay off if only you keep pulling that arm and never ever run out of nickels or take a pee-break.
Success is not just about the systems. The home address of success is passion, talent (let’s be honest), creation, contribution, collaboration, conversation, and community.That is where hot sweaty abundance and cold hard cash reside (FYI, they’re totally a couple) and I wish more bloggers lived there too.
Because, after all, there’s no place like home.