Seven days. Seven days without scheduling posts to go out every few hours with links to my books. Seven days without scouring the internet looking for just the right image to convey what this absolutely amazing Tweet (my thinking) will say. Seven days not having to use GIMP to add drop shadows to text, resize images to just the right frame for Twitter (its 1200px x 675px by the way).
For the last seven days I haven't looked at Twitter or Facebook. To be fair, I can't. I deleted my accounts. Nuked them. Sent them off to digital heaven. It was a little tough for about half an hour, and then I just got on with better things and haven't looked back.
The Start Of A Long Journey
I did wonder if perhaps it may have been a mistake coming off the socials, relying purely on my, still-new, website and newsletter as I build my author career, but then I realised what I had just said: I'm building a career. That is something that takes, and lasts, years. That is how I should be measuring it - in years. Not in the very short term.
It has only been around six months since DIRTY LITTLE SECRET was released; four months since FROM SORROW'S HOLD landed in kindles and bookstores. That's nary a drop in the proverbial literary ocean. Very much still a newborn, with its first cries into the world, and a few smelly deposits along the way. The third book, CUT AND SHUT is out in a few months time, with book four being written. I have a long plan for the Louise Miller books, plus at least six standalone crime novels I'd like to get round to writing at some point, so just being a few months in is nothing. Certainly nothing to worry about.
Before axing the Tweets and the Book, I took a look at the analytics of the posts I'd been putting out. I like to do that, look at the data and the metrics and all that boring shit that got in the way of writing, just to see how successful the posts were being. How much "business" they were bringing in, because like it or not, this is what I do to pay the bills and so I need to see a good return of investment on my time. And what did I see?
Crickets. That's what I saw. Looking back over my analytics for the entire time I had my account, the average number of people who saw a tweet I posted was... drum roll please! 20. Out of the (at one point) 1832 'followers' I had on Twitter, 20 would see that tweet on average. You know, the one I spent an hour working out the text to link ratio, finding the image and tweeking it just right. An hour for 20 people out of 1832. And of those 20 who saw the tweet, only 1 or 2 would interact with it, and most times that wasn't to click the link to buy it.
Good use of time, right?
And that's why I decided to come off the socials. This is long term thinking. What speaks better for me as an author? An asinine tweet about what I just watched on TV, or writing and releasing the next book in the series? What am I doing as an author? Writing thrilling crime novels, or posting memes? Making images? Scheduling posts?
I really wish I'd done this sooner. My anxiety levels have dropped in the seven days I haven't been doom-scrolling as Musk completes his takeover of the platform and begins his attacks on those he sees as political enemies (Oh, it's coming. Believe me, it's coming). The UK, like much of the world right now, is suffering. We have this month's latest PM (who it will be by Christmas, I have no idea); an energy crisis that looks like we're going to be having rolling black outs in the coming months (we just ordered a shit load of candles and paper/pens so both my wife and I can continue writing when the electricity is out), and war still continues in Ukraine and doesn't look to be ending soon.
But I haven't been glued to that little blue bastard (light or dark; choose your poison, because that's what they both are). Instead I've been writing. Book four is coming together quite nicely and will be done by the end of November. The outline for book 5 is gradually getting stronger and the research is going well. The newsletter went out last month and there was a lot of response to it, and people are coming to the website each day to read a few blogs or check out the books and links.
Just think what that is going to be like in a year's time, with loads more blog posts, newsletters and, more importantly, books released. Add to that the appearances I'll be doing at book stores, library's and crime writing events around the country over the coming months.
Would having a social media presence help? Looking at the data, I honestly don't think so, and as I have no control over those platforms, the last thing I want is for a post of mine to appear next to some arsehole spewing hate and lies, which is sadly where they are or are headed.
Okay. That's enough from my soapbox. I promise no more posts about being off social media for a while, but I felt it best to finish with a how it's going. Perhaps in six months time I'll do another one.
I'll finish with a reminder that I am at Horbury Library on Tuesday next week (2.30pm) followed by Long Eaton Library on Friday at 6.30pm - details for both can be found on the events page. Next Sunday's post will be an A.A.R of how they went and what I learned for future speaking engagements.