Gini Dietrich

Writing for You…Or the People?

By: Gini Dietrich | May 15, 2012 | 
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A few weeks ago, I came across an OpEd by Ann Patchett. It was in the New York Times and she was lamenting the fact there was no Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction this year.

Before I go on, let me be clear I also think it’s a shame there were three finalists, but no Pulitzer Prize winner, too.

But the OpEd read like sour grapes to me.

When this blog gained a little bit of popularity, we began to have internal conversations about the type of content we should be writing. You see, what I consider the “smart” posts are never the ones that get shared a lot. Sure, people read them, but not as many comment nor share on their social networks.

The ones that do get a lot of comments and shares? The top 10 this or the such and such is dead.

It kind of makes me nuts. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. I’m an English major. I choose to read over watching TV. Heck, I just wrote a book. So the idea that something that takes 20 minutes to write and 90 seconds to read gets shared more consistently hurts my feelings.

Ann Patchett says:

With book coverage in the media split evenly between “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Hunger Games,” wouldn’t it have been something to have people talking about “The Pale King,” David Foster Wallace’s posthumous masterwork about a toiling tax collector? Unfortunately, the world of literature lacks the scandal, hype, and pretty dresses that draw people to the Academy Awards, which, by the way, is not an institution devoted to choosing the best movie every year as much as it is an institution designed to get people excited about going to the movies.

Pulitzer Prize-winning books don’t get made into movies. Well thought-out blog posts don’t get shared.

Both make money…just not as much as kids killing kids or top 10 ways to approach journalists on Twitter.

I remember reading somewhere that Julianne Moore makes two types of movies: The kind she wants to make and the kind she knows are going to be hits.

Perhaps it’s not high-brow enough to say authors should do the same. Perhaps I’m suggesting something insulting. I mean, I was there. When we had this conversation a year ago, I was saying, “Let the guest bloggers write the top 10 lists. I’m going to keep writing what I want to write.”

But after reading Patchett’s sour grapes OpEd, I’ve decided it’s OK to mix the two.

Give the people what they want!

P.S. This probably won’t get shared as much so I’ll have to write a top 10 post tomorrow.

P.P.S. The book launch went great! It still feels very surreal to me, but Geoff Livingston made it a very fun day. More to come.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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