This isn’t supposed to be a rant. More an epiphany of sorts, about owning it.
If you’ve followed my blog or my newsletter, you’ll know that they have often been sporadic at best, with the blog suffering the most. I’ve tried different ideas to gain momentum and to provide content of interest – for free, or cheaply – but I just haven’t found that “something” I felt comfortable with. As an author, I’m supposed to do “something” and create a buzz around my books, or even better, a buzz about something that has nothing to do with my books, but folk might be interested in. Well, sorry, but I write a lot, and when I’m not writing, I don’t really want to write about something just because I’m supposed to.
This is connected to Social Media and fact that I made a point of dumping SoMe in 2020, having got rid of most of it before then. It was the constant reminder to “write a post” or “share” something from the different platforms that drove me nuts. I had nothing to say. I was already saying plenty in my books, short stories, whatever. Then there was the toxicity, and when I saw how supposedly mature, respectable, businessmen were trashing Greta Thunberg – I don’t know how she deals with that. I couldn’t. I dumped Twitter. It was the last thing I had. I had already dumped Facebook, and then in 2020 I set about going Google free.
It’s awfully, awfully quiet when you get rid of SoMe.
I lapsed a few times, tried LinkedIn again thinking it was different and more professional, and lasted about eight hours – apologies to the people I know in real life who I added as contacts, and then bailed again. But it was okay, I had my newsletter. But then, in trying to go Google free, I changed my email to a private email by a company that puts privacy first. I love it. It totally works for me, but gets treated as spam by almost every other email provider out there.
Awfully quiet, like I said.
Then I blogged a bit, on my website, while shopping around for a more robust form of a newsletter. I tried Substack, then left after the first Facebook-like notification popped in that I could get more subscribers if I posted something. No shit. Really? I returned a month later, set the whole thing up, and then left it sitting there for a bit. Haven’t blogged yet. But I did find the button to get rid of the notifications.
Then Goodreads, which I personally use a lot to track my own reading, and as an author to promote my books a bit. This blog feeds into the blog on my Goodreads author page. But each time I posted a photo, it left a blank. Only smileys worked. So I stopped posting images, and ended up with a pretty boring blog – here and on Goodreads. Cue image right now:
So who am I doing all this for?
SoMe wants me to post, post, post to create traffic and to market the shit out of it. Google and Co. want me to be really active, use all their products, and then they will scrape all the data they can sell from them. And the alternatives to blogging and newslettering (?) just .. don’t .. work for me. And every one of them talks about creating a platform. Which is another word for create traffic for the marketing department to use to drive sales.
And yet, early this year, I amped up my website, and I have to say, I’m loving it. All my stuff in one place. All my books, stories… just everything, all here. And I own it. At least, I’m paying for it, which means it’s not free, and as far as I know there’s no scraping or marketing or whatever beyond the usual stuff. And, most importantly, there’s no bot telling me that readers are missing me when I haven’t posted for a day or so. But you know what? Because I didn’t engage in or write nasty comments, or call people out for … anything … my stuff was so bland I never benefited from the algorithms anyway. I was too nice. Too bland.
Here’s a smiley for being bland, and for Goodreads. 🙂
So, about owning it.
I pay for this website, so I guess I’m owning that part of it. But I also want to own what I do with it. So I’m going to blog for me and throw stuff out there, not caring if anyone reads it, or if anyone likes it. It’s for me. If someone finds some value in it, and chooses to follow or read the blog. Great.
I’m going to use it for me, and for lack of finding anything better or more fun than this website, I’ll post stuff about my books, new things on the way or just updates and stuff here. Such as revamping my payhip store as a means of making my writing more sustainable. There’s a link for that. Or maybe some 3D art, because I love playing around with that. Whatever, and whenever, but all my own, meaning I’m owning the words, pictures, or at least owning the action behind writing and posting it. Not because some big tech company benefits from it, but because I benefit from the writing of it.
Is this a rant? Sure. Probably. But it’s my rant.
I own it.