I started out with a specific goal when I launched this website and that is make money from selling my own stories. In this quest for the all important book sale (which I’m years away from as of right now), I’ve systematically narrowed my life so I can place most of my focus there. Though I mention making book sales, I don’t have anything to sell right now but every decision I’ve made so far: launching this website, being on social media, etc. was solely made to advance book sales down the road. Even if it was waaayy down the road. I’ve mentioned a few times that I did a “soft” launch of this website by writing fanfiction and posting it on a regular schedule. Eventually, if people liked it, I might do the same with original fiction and maybe even sell it.
That’s the far term vision/goal.
I’ve been doing this for almost two years and this vision/goal is full of shit. This isn’t why I’m here, I’m realizing. Is there any wonder that I’ve been feeling that things aren’t quite right with me and what I’m doing? Is there a reason why I keep talking about this stuff? You know, reach out with your hand, enjoy the ride. What I’m saying, feeling and what I’m doing are different.
A while ago I unfollowed a bunch of people on Twitter.
When I first got on Twitter, I started following a bunch of writers. I figured I could watch what others are doing, get some ideas, read some blog posts, engage in community. I enjoy some of the writers I follow but the contradictory articles and advice was wearing me down. On top of that, most of the advice doesn’t seem to be working. Sure, someone might have tens of thousands of followers but is there any real engagement there? How many people is that person actually talking to? Also, I was tired of some authors who seem to have all their shit on auto tweet and barely respond to your comments.
I enjoy wandering through the Twitter timeline, liking, commenting on tweets, and retweeting. I don’t follow back automatically and I sure as shit don’t retweet everyone’s stuff. I mean, this isn’t Tumblr where reblogging and enjoying other people’s awesome content is how we like to spend our time there.
That’s one of the major differences between Twitter and Tumblr. On Twitter, you might get really awesome content about 40% of the time due to the scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours mentality. On Tumblr, it’s more like 85-90% of the time and that’s because I’m following good friends and completely awesome fandom stuff.
I follow another bunch of people on Twitter who I count as real friends. We talk to each other all day long, share things, and hang out elsewhere. Maybe it’s because I have this group of friends and being in this community, a real one not some facsimile of one, is such a sharp contrast to what I experience that it’s making me feel disillusioned about the situation.
The thing about Twitter that bugs me is most of my followers, other than my good friends, don’t really engage with me. They rarely like or retweet my stuff and they rarely comment. Hell, they don’t even notice the stuff I tweet (probably because I’ve been muted or are on a barely seen list somewhere). There are two exceptions to this that I can think of off the top of my head. The truth is the only time these people engage with me is because I’ve commented on a tweet of theirs. We might get into a short conversation and that’s it until I comment on another tweet of theirs. I’ve been getting a slow but steady stream of followers and I believe the only reason why is because they see me talking to people.
I spent about five seconds being apprehensive about putting this blog post on Twitter but you know what? None of those people are going to even notice that I’ve written a blog post so it doesn’t matter.
I had a medical scare not too long ago which is probably what’s fueling this post. I’ve been wondering what the hell I’ve been doing. I have no doubts about my stories. Gay romance and sex stories continue to be the right place for me to be. Instead, I’ve been wondering why I’ve been spending so much time on Twitter with people who don’t even notice my tweets and less time on Tumblr where awesome, squee-worthy content is flying by faster than the speed of light AND most of my good friends are there. I mean I could be spending my valuable time swooning over gifs of Sebastian Stan/The Winter Soldier and his pretty blue eyes and Hamlet_Machine’s beautiful Stucky art.
This is just indicative of the larger problem I’m starting to see and that is this is not about sales so I need to stop making decisions based on that. This is about love, plain and simple. Love of my characters, their love for each other, and the things I love. I need to go back to the original place where I started: I’m not a very good writer but I love my stories and characters, and if I’m lucky, I’ll gain enough writing skill so you, the reader, can see some of that love.
Maybe I’ll never sell a book. Maybe I won’t even try. One thing I do know is there’s no room in my writing life articles on how to get sales.