Things have been quiet around here lately. I realize that I haven’t been very good about posting, either here or on social media, especially after I had a really good start to doing so frequently not too terribly long ago. There are reasons for this, which I’ll get into in a moment, but over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to decide what to do about being more communicative with my readers, and it’s made me realize quite a few things going forward.
The first realization I’ve had? I hate, and I do mean HATE, social media.
I’ve long had this strong dislike of social media. Not the concept—if done right, social media can really be a force for good overall. In fact, I used to be a pretty heavy user of social media and a little bit of an enthusiast; I was a heavy user of Myspace back when it was a thing, and I was an early adopter when Twitter came around (early enough that there weren’t any Twitter apps—you had to use text messages on your phone to read your timeline, post to Twitter, and @ reply people). I even started using Facebook pretty early, having signed up sometime during my first foray into college (which lasted until somewhere around 2005-2006) and then deactivating my account before reactivating it later on. I’ve met and made connections with a lot of wonderful people over the years on social media, from readers to fellow writers and more.
But all these good things have been far outweighed over time by the bad: the sheer level of toxicity that social media as a whole presents. Social media has, over the years, become increasingly toxic. Don’t get me wrong, some of social media has been useful—the writer groups I’m in have been infinitely helpful for learning the ins and outs of publishing and marketing books—but on the whole, when it comes to mental health, social media is not a place to be if you want to maintain a healthy balance mentally, at least not for a long period of time.
In addition, I’m increasingly disturbed by the lack of control I have over my own content on these platforms. For example, on Facebook, my FB page has over six hundred followers, last I checked. Six hundred people who have liked my page, presumably because they want to see what I post over there. One of the last posts I made on my FB page, on June 19th, where I was reminding everyone about my Payhip store where you can purchase autographed paperbacks? Out of six hundred followers, only forty-three people saw it. FORTY-THREE. That’s seven percent of my followers seeing one single post of mine. Another post was seen by only thirty-four people. (That’s the one where I was alerting everyone to the availability of The Becoming’s new paperback.) When Under Siege was re-released, FB only deigned to show my post to twenty-three people.
But if I’d like more people to see my posts? Facebook will allow me the PRIVILEGE of paying to “boost” the posts so more people who have voluntarily followed me on FB in order to see my posts can see it in their timelines. I have to PAY Facebook for my posts to be seen. This is, obviously, not something I’m willing to do—I have a lot more uses for my money than boosting FB posts, such as paying for book covers and marketing for my books.
Instagram is pretty much just as bad. The algorithms on IG, just like FB’s, pretty much bury your posts so that the people who voluntarily follow you have minimal chances of actually seeing them. (This is no surprise, really, considering Facebook OWNS Instagram.)
We won’t discuss Twitter. If you’ve been on Twitter in the past, oh, five years or so, you’d realize that the place has devolved into a cesspool of politics and arguing, and anything that’s NOT about politics or isn’t something intentionally rage-inducing (because inducing rage gets them clicks) gets only a passing glance of interest and zero interaction before it’s lost to the aether.
So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about all these problems I have with social media. And it all comes back to one real desire: to have more control over my content, to have more control over my readers’ ability to actually SEE my content without me having to pay a third party money per post to “boost” it into their timelines, and to make sure that I’m actually able to communicate with my readers. And I think I’ve finally come up with a solution, one where I don’t feel constantly overwhelmed with trying to post to everything in a manner frequent enough for the social media companies’ tastes.
So here’s what I’ve decided I’m going to do from here out. Over the next several weeks (maybe couple of months), I’m going to start focusing primarily on posting here on my website. Whenever I post here, I’ll still link to the post on my social media, but those social media accounts aren’t going to be my primary posting places anymore. Rather, they’ll focus primarily on funneling readers over here to my website for content. Considering the amount of work I’ve put in on my website to make it look good, I’d like to produce more content here, and I’d like this to be the first place people come to when they’re wanting to know the latest about what’s going on with me and with my books.
I’m going to be phasing in a lot of new, fun features here on my site too, things like Writer Wednesdays, where I post my thoughts about topics relating to the business and craft of writing; movie/TV and book recommendations for the weekend, if you’re looking for new things to watch or read; assorted promos and contests; update posts on what’s going on with my books and with me; and whatever else pops into my head that I think you guys might like to check out.
There’s a couple of ways you can make sure you catch all of my posts, especially if, like me, you don’t trust social media to actually show them to you. First, and probably easiest if you want to ensure you see every single post I make, is to sign up to subscribe to my blog via email. To do that, simply look in the sidebar to the right of the screen and scroll down to the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” option, fill in your email address, and click “Subscribe.” (Don’t forget to confirm the subscription in your email inbox!) This will email you every post I make, right into your inbox, so you don’t miss anything. As you can see, I don’t post TOO often here, though that might be changing, but it’s probably the best way to make sure you keep up on everything.
If you’d prefer a more “digest” version, where I highlight only the biggest news and most important posts I think you should see, then you can’t go wrong by subscribing to my newsletter, which I’ll be sending out on a biweekly-ish schedule. You can subscribe to that by clicking the link in the sidebar that says “Sign up for my mailing list!”
And if you’d like to post your thoughts on any of the posts I make, you’re welcome to comment on any post, or you can use the “contact” link at the top of the page to send me an email! I respond to virtually all emails I get (unless it’s obvious spam or harassment), and I make sure to interact with commenters where I can—something that will get tremendously easier if those comments are all in a centralized place like this!
What are your thoughts on these changes? What do you think about the idea of getting away from such a heavy reliance on social media and focusing more on centralizing all of my posts in one place? Do you think this will make it easier to stay up to date on the latest information on my current and future releases? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!