The Great Popularity Contest

Hello 2010! I know, it’s been a long while since I last posted; but, I got super busy finishing up my latest book: Sex, Life, & Hannah::Volume 1, SPRING SEASON, and time flies when you’re writing, working with editors, and figuring out how to launch your book in a completely digital space.

Let me give you a little back story and then get to the point of why I’m writing today. When I first delved into the world of writing and publishing things were pretty status quo. You wrote a manuscript, and either self-published or got a publisher or agent to tackle the details. If you self-published you went through the sometimes arduous process of finding an editor, designer, and printer; and then, the truly arduous task of finding distribution (a.k.a. how the heck to move your books out of your garage). And then, things started changing–very quickly.

The storm clouds of what the music industry went through with Napster and mp3 files were rolling over books and the publishing world and by last year things were very clear: the amount of people paying for printed material was dwindling, newspapers were going out of business, and publishers wouldn’t touch newbie writers with a ten-foot-pole unless…they were already celebrities. Enter MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the likes, also known as social networking.

What’s really funny about all of this is that I never really believed your popularity meter mattered all that much. I believed your smarts would ultimately determine your fate, and that celebrity-ism was more of a freak show than a path to success. Throughout junior high and high school, I was “alternative”. While this gave me a lot of leeway in the types of groups I was able to fit in with, I was never a “popular girl”. I could hang out with the popular girls every now and then, even end up at some “cool” kid parties, but I wasn’t in their inner circle, and I knew it. And up until last year, I didn’t care all that much. So what changed?

In December, 2006 Time ran a feature about Tila Tequila. A girl not known for any one particular talent except garnering 1.5 million MySpace friends. If we didn’t see the writing on the wall then, we probably did two years later when Barack Obama swept the young American vote. Nearly 70 percent of Americans under age 25 voted for him–the highest in US history–as evidenced by his 7.5 million Facebook fans. The pettiness and superficiality that we thought we had left behind after senior prom was smacking us right back in the face. Perhaps I should have tried harder to be one of the popular girls in high school…

Welcome to the “me” generation or the “you” generation depending on what side of the fence you’re sitting on. You seem to be more interested in telling the world what you’re eating for breakfast, and they seem to be more interested in finding out more about you; what you buy, where you eat, what movies you watch, what coffee you drink, your favorite color, and…how many friends you have. And this has everything to do with how many books you will sell, whether or not you will get a six-figure publishing contract, and then be able to option the rights for a movie, about you.

When we next meet in cyberspace: How to get involved and leverage The Great Popularity Contest.

Until then, I am happy to answer any questions, for you, about me, at www.aohwrite.com🙂

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