The Broken State of Social Media--And My Brain
Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when you've been in a long term relationship. Everything becomes intertwined. You end up losing half your friend circle. Nothing about the experience is enjoyable. But sometimes a relationship becomes so toxic that you don't have much of a choice. You can continue dealing with the neglect or abuse, or you can move on and find healthier relationships elsewhere.
Yes. I'm talking about social media here. Because this is exactly how the last few months on Twitter has felt: like trying to get out of a bad relationship. I kept saying I was going to leave, and I kept staying. Why? Because I have a friend circle there. Because I need to market my books and I have a large following there. But it's reaching the point where I can no longer see the value of trying to save the relationship.
I assume I don't need to give too great of an explination. The news of Elon Musk's hostile yet utterly incompetent takeover of Twitter has been easy enough to follow. But if you need a primer of what's been going on, here you go. Feel free to read in your best movie trailer voice:
An aparthied era emerald mine heir with a lifelong false narrative of being a tech genius buys a social media platform, runs it into the ground, and turns it into a playground for nazis under the guise of "free speech."
Yeah. I think that more or less covers it. Feel free to add your own "IN A WORLD" at the beginning.
And if you know anything about me and my belief systems, you understand why I would find that problematic to say the very least. If you've read any of my books, you likely understand that the bad guys often have fascist tendencies.
For example, in my Forbidden Scrolls trilogy, the villain is Frost Dirvent. He comes from a city called Felbreach that treats all half elves, half orcs, and the like as second class citizens. Then more or less toss them into the slums to fend (or starve) for themselves. It's no surprise that Frost is also a necromancer. At the end of the day, the tale has a fairly straight-forward point: if you can debase any one group of beings based simply on their background, you can do it to any or all of them with little to no further regard. Evil begets evil.
In this case, the villain is Elon Musk. Of course, you would have a hard time convincing him of that. The same could be said about his hoarde of fanboys willing to fork over eleven dollars a month to a billionaire for features that were free for over a decade. And frankly, no matter how much I need social media to promote my books, I just can't justify staying on Twitter as it falls apart--all the while being consumed by accounts that are only there to spread hate or promote their glorious leader's false image of superiority. It's a disapointing situation to say the least when you've put a lot of time and effort into a thing and then have to watch it deteriorate. In this case, I spent years building up a following, networking with fellow authors, and becoming friends with people all over the world. As anyone who has ever been in a bad break up can tell you, it can be disheartening to have to start over. Now imagine having to find twenty-one-thousand people who are potentially intersted in your work all over again.
And to be fair, there's also a bit of a problem with the indie writing community on social media as a whole, but Twitter especially. It is somewhat insular. In our search to find readers, we all found each other--though most of us struggle to break outside of that bubble to truly reach our potential audience. We are a community, but we're also seperated by miles--be they only a couple, or a couple thousand. You get used to seeing each other on a daily basis, but when you have to uproot yourself and move to another social media platform you have to rebuild those relationships with new people while also trying to find all the people you've lost. And chances are, a great number of the people you've come to know and love are not even there when you arrive. We have all jumped ship to different new platforms. Some of us have already tried other platforms that have sprouted up and then failed to deliver. As if just trying to market our little book babies wasn't difficult enough without having to constantly change direction because some dipshit billionaire decided to uproot everything we've spent years to build up to turn it into their own personal playground.
It's enough to make someone like me question what I'm even trying to do here. I've made no secret about the fact the two projects I'm working on (The Shadow Sisters, and the follow up to The Miranda Project) have been particularly difficult for me. My mental health has been in the shitter again of late. And with summer in full swing here in Arizona featuring temperatures in the hundred and teens for a couple of weeks straight, I can feel the seasonal depression kicking in full throtle. I love these stories, but they're not coming easily right now. Mix in the added stress of basically having to recreate my circle of friends all over again and things have reach a state that is far beyond daunting.
And that leaves me facing this harsh reality: chances are I'm not putting out a book in 2023. If that turns out to be the case, it will be the first year since I started publishing my work that I don't have a new release coming out. It's just not flowing, and I have too many projects outside of the actual writing part of being an author that I just can't see how it's going to happen. That doesn't mean that I'm putting these books on the back burner, it just means that I'm forcing myself to be realistic about where I'm at with my own mental state, as well as the crumbling state of the social network I've spent years building.
So where am I now? Well, while I won't be posting there very much or at all anymore, I will be leaving my account up on Twitter. If people stumble across my work that way, so be it. I still have accounts on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and (though I rarely use it) Facebook. I've also added accounts on Threads and BlueSky Social. All of them will be available in my Linktree, and I'll keep the icons at the bottom of my website as updated as I can when icons and direct links become available--hopefully without all the social buttons down there taking over the entire site. It's becoming a thing.
So for now I'm gonna be taking things one day at a time. I've got 80K words of The Shadow Sisters out with my editor right now in an effort to clean it up a little bit before I jump back into it. I'm trying to rebuild a presence on two new social networks, but I'm going to take it slowly and hopefully find readers as well as fellow authors this time. And I need to start posting more content to both TikTok and YouTube. It's a lot, but it can be done if I focus on one thing at a time.
Ha. I have ADHD. No chance of that happening.