Today I am beginning my blog. Why? Because I have written a book that I am now shopping to agents and publishers. I am hearing the same thing back from each, “You do not have enough of a platform for us to get behind you. The material may be fabulous but if we don’t know for sure that we can sell it to enough people (and we certainly are not going to be the first to believe in you), you are out of luck.” I actually had a conversation with an editor this morning about building my planks so that my platform could be stronger. Great material, she agreed, but who will buy it? And so, reluctantly, I begin my journey out into the world of blogging. I am sick at my stomach as I feed the modern-day marketing machine that I so disagree with, bow to the monster, but here I sit writing a blog, building my planks. What happened to the days when content ruled decisions? What happened to standing behind our own experience, because we believe in what someone has to say? What happened to our faith in the people that read books, that they will read something that has not been presented to them by Oprah. What happened to publishing?
It is quite clear to me as I go through this process of trying to get my book published that the business of creating a platform and selling myself is taking me as far away from the content of the work as humanly possible. The book is about creating a consistent state of well-being, a how to for living through our hearts and not our heads. I have spent the last 6 hours trying to figure out how to get hooked up with a thousand social media sites, 6 hours trapped in my head, so that someone will get to read about living from the heart. Selling the message in this technology requires that we spend our days trapped in our minds, staring into boxes on a screen, distracted, consumed, not present, tinkering with codes, passwords and the language of sales. All the tasks that publishing now requires: the social media, web design, pitch-writing, proposal-designing, self-promotion, the insane hours of work “about” the work, is preventing us from having any time to create, and ultimately, from making the world a better place. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but one could easily argue that forcing us to be “linked in” to this technological swirl is a good way to disempower us, and keep us from challenging the way things are. All this buzzing about, how we are going to sell nothing (because we have no time to create something), is in fact in the way of our actually saying something, or for that matter, changing the world. Gone are the days when the publishing houses and PR folks did their jobs. Now, as authors and artists, we are expected to do everyone’s job. We cannot just be a writer or an expert in our own field, we must become a one-woman geek squad, webmaster, flash executive, marketing director, and a PR and advertising creative as well. We are to tell the agents how to sell our book, the publishers how to market our book, the promoters how to position us. What is “their” job exactly? But most importantly, what are we learning through all this technological/marketing expertise other than how to be technology and marketing experts? Where is the space to work on the content that this technology/marketing is supposed to be selling? Once again, the monkey has scampered off and locked the scientist left in the cage. What is the solution to all this? Can we opt out and start conducting real conversations of content ever again? How do we get out of this terrible trap that we are in? Is there a way to return to the practice of creating valuable material/contents that can help us evolve as a society? I am in the process of figuring it all out… Stay tuned.
I was told by several publishers that I would have to blog in order to strengthen my “platform” and get my book published by a major press. Sadly, all this technology, this business of getting a platform, is entirely in contradiction to the message of my book, namely, being well. The UN-Happiness Project: How to Be Well in a Happiness-Addicted World is about finding our inherent wellness, our place of silence amidst all the noise, living from our deeper knowing and not through the franticness of our minds. This unending technology and social media pulls us up into our heads and out of our hearts, away from the center where our Spirit is well. Promoting myself on the internet is an experience that creates UN-wellness. Ultimately the question shifts from “what will getting this book published DO for me (my ego self)?” to “how do I want to live the moments of my life, right now?” The truth is, I do not need anything FROM this book. The process of writing it was remarkable. Building the business of ME is out of alignment with my living as Spirit, and out of alignment with how I want to live. As such, I choose the experience of life, I choose living a life that is well instead of trying to sell/arrange myself into a life that will supposedly benefit my ego. I will blog as my heart is called to, because I want to and not because I should–telling myself that it will be good for ME. It is not good for the ME that is awareness. Knowing myself as awareness, consciousness, presence, I am moved to be still and listen, and to use words and technology only when they serve awareness and what is truly my growing edge. Ultimately, it comes down to whether we want to live as the narrator of our our lives, arranging a life that is “good” for us, or, if we want to live directly as who we are, trusting that this directness will lead us to well-being and to what is best for our true self. For me, I choose the latter.