What Next for Bertram’s Blog?

In three weeks, I will be celebrating the six-year anniversary of this blog. I will also be celebrating the two-year anniversary of daily blogging. (Two years ago, I responded to a challenge to blog for 100 days, and I just kept going.)

My first post on September 24, 2006 was tentative, a mere dipping of my pen in the metaphorical ink of the blogosphere. All that post said was:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

untitled2Not a bad statement of intent for a new blogger. In the beginning I wrote about my struggles to find an agent or a publisher, my attempts to learn all I could about how to become a bestselling author (still don’t know — drats!), my efforts at establishing my online presence. In the beginning, I used no photo of me, just an initial. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to use a male pseudonym or any pseudonym at all. I’d also started writing a new novel that I now call my work-in-pause since it’s been sitting there, half-finished for almost six years. Later, after I found a publisher, I talked about my newly published books, and when ebooks, Kindles, and self-publishers burst on the scene, changing the face of publishing forever, I wrote various blog posts about the publishing industry, trying to make sense of it all and trying to find my place in the clamor

Three and a half years ago, my soul mate died. His death catapulted me into a world of such pain, that it bled over into this blog. My grief posts became not so much a way to escape, but a place to try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

This blog also helped me to re-establish my life as a writer because, after all, blogging is writing, too.

It’s nice to know that whatever life threw at me, whatever problems I encountered, whatever challenges came my way, this blog was here for me.

But now I don’t know where to go with my life, and I don’t know where to go with this blog. Except for occasional grief updates or excerpts from my book: Grief: The Great Yearning, I’ve said most of what I wanted to say about grief. And there’s nothing more to be said about the publishing industry. It has changed beyond my comprehension, so there’s no point in my writing about it. Besides, there is too much controversy still, with militant self-publishers jumping on anyone they think is casting aspersions on the phenomena. And there is too much controversy with sharing writing tips. Every time I tell what I have learned, other authors stomp on my words, proclaiming that it’s an author’s right to make up the rules. I just am not a contentious person, and I don’t like being pulled unwittingly into such imbroglios.

So, I have three weeks to decide if I want to continue daily blogging or if I want to go back to the way I started, just blogging when I had something to say. I need to decide what, if anything, I have to say — maybe I’ve said it all.

In the end, I’ll probably decide not to decide, and just keep on blogging. It’s become a way of life.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Authors Connecting With Readers

I read an article the other day telling writers they should be connecting with readers online instead of other writers. He gave a few suggestions like going on Goodreads, following people who read the same sort of book you wrote, leaving comments on their reviews or joining the same groups and responding to the same discussions they do.

Is this what online promotion has come to? Authors stalking readers like prey? Many readers do like to interact with authors, and perhaps they would be flattered if it were an author they knew, but an unknown author trying to connect with an unknown Readingreader seems tacky at best. I know I would hate it if I found myself in some author’s sights, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one who would.

I am not a reader who likes to connect with authors. (Though I love when readers connect with me!) To me, a book exists separate from its creator, a thing in and of itself. In fact, once I started coming in contact with writers, especially writers whose book I have read, I lost all interest in reading. It made me more cognizant of the person behind the story, and made the book much less personal.

I do have a group for connecting with readers on Facebook, the Genre Book Club, but most of the people who participate are authors in search of readers. The main problem is that I don’t seem to be able to get people to discuss the books they read. Everyone has different tastes, and few of the participants read the same books.

It is a conundrum, this online promotion. I do realize that connecting with other writers is not the way to sell a ton of books, but writers send me a lot more invitations to connect than readers do, and after all, many of us writers started out as readers.

The article also suggested attracting readers by blogging about the subject matter of your books. I do this, of course, when it comes to grief, but I said all I want to say about conspiracy theories, government intervention in our lives, and the scary possibility of an unstoppable epidemic in my novels. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life talking about such matters. The books were a way of my putting an end to those topics of research, and to keep them in the forefront of my mind and this blog would be appallingly boring. (For me, anyway.)

Still, this blog is a way of connecting with people, not as stalker and prey, but simply as two individuals who happen to be in the same place at the same time and like what each other has to say. And that’s more important than running after readers in the hopes they will buy my books.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Describe your writing in three words

Three words to describe my fiction writing:

colorful, character-driven, conspiratorial

Here are some responses from other authors about three words they would use to describe their writing. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Donna Galanti, Author of “A Human Element”

Haunting. Dark. Hopeful.

From an interview with Siobhán Nolan, Author of “Old Man Harry”

Silly, relatable, fanciful.

From an interview with Andrew Scorah, Author of “Homecoming Blues”

Dark, gritty, cool

What about you? How would you describe your writing in three words?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire http://patbertram.wordpress.com/author-questionnaire/ and follow the instruction.)

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

I don’t generally give advice about book promotion since so many authors are better at selling books than I am, but if I had to, I’d tell other novelists to have patience, stamina, and willingness to give up part of their writing time for promotion. Unless a writer has the benefit of a major publisher’s publicity department, and sometimes even then, he/she will have to spend time promoting their book. It’s not enough to have a blog dedicated to self-promotion or to add thousands of friends on Facebook. You have to give people something to get something — write interesting articles, comment on articles other people write, get to know your Facebook connections. And most important of all, check out Book Marketing Floozy. http://marketingfloozy.wordpress.com It’s an indexed blog with how-to articles on every facet of promotion.

Here are some responses from other authors about advice they would give to other novelists about book promotion. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Debra Purdy Kong, Author of “The Opposite of Dark”

I’d advise writers to use patience and not expect too much right away. Promotion means engaging with others and building a rapport with potential readers. It means building a solid, longterm platform through social networking, blogging, and designing your website. It can seem daunting, but if you limit your time each day, then you won’t risk burnout. And burnout is a big factor for writers who are also actively promoting!

From an interview with Joylene Nowell Butler, Author of “Broken but not Dead”

If you’ve gone to all the trouble of writing and revising and querying, why not market? Why not spend hours blogging and visiting other blogs and establishing a connection to like-minded writers? I’m still astonished when authors tell me they don’t have time to blog and they certainly don’t have time to visit other blogs. They just want to fill your inbox with news of their book and why it’s important for you to buy it. They’re targeting the wrong people. Writers write, readers buy books. Yet how many emails do you receive in a week telling you why you should buy their book?

Promotion is about creating a presence online. But it’s also about getting out and doing readings, signing copies, writing related articles, doing online, radio and newspaper interviews, joining evening events where the opportunity to read arises. It’s about fairs, bazaars, contests, giveaways, and anything else you think will put you and your book in the public eye.

What about you? What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire http://patbertram.wordpress.com/author-questionnaire/ and follow the instruction.)

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Are Book Trailers a Good Idea?

rainbowSomeone asked me for advice on how to get people to see his book trailer and then called me negative when I explained how difficult it would be. I admit I’m burned out when it comes to promotion. I’ve spent the past five years researching book promotion in all its many facets, tried hundreds of different things, and I still don’t know how to turn a sleepy seller into a best seller, though I know a lot about what doesn’t work, or at least what doesn’t work for me. Other people do the same sorts of things I’ve been doing and find a pot of gold at the end of the promotion rainbow, but I’m still searching for the rainbow.

Book promotion is a lot like the house that Jack built. You have a book you want to sell, so you create a video trailer to promote it. Then you have to promote the video that promotes the book you want to sell. Then, you join Facebook to get more viewers for your video, so now you have to promote your FB page that promotes the video that promotes the book you want to sell. And on and on and on.

Some people can just throw a book out there and make a fortune on Amazon, but the rest of us have to promote. Have to find a way to get people interested in us and then in our books. As I said in What Works When It Comes to Book Promotion?, the first authors to blog or use the various social networking sites to promote their books found a strong readership, but now all of those means of promotion are so common that they are simply an expected part of being an author.

It’s the same with book trailers. The first people who created book trailers to promote their books did well, but now video promos are just an expected part of being an author. Even if the video is great, the problem is getting people to see the video.

Sometimes people will stumble across a book trailer when they are surfing Utube, but it’s not as if people by the thousands will be searching for his book trailer. I wanted to hear Madonna’s “Playground” the other day, so I used the search function to find it since I knew what I wanted to listen to, but what if I didn’t know there was a song out there I’d like to hear? How do I find it?

The problem is, you have to promote the book trailer as assiduously as you promote the book. If I knew how to get people to see his trailers, I’d be good enough at promotion that I’d be selling millions of books.

Still, book trailers are a good idea, and the better they are made, the better they will do. I don’t want to discourage him from making his video because . . . who knows? His might catch people’s attention and go viral. At the very least, it will give him something other than the book itself to promote.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

What Works When It Comes to Book Promotion?

lbmugA new author asked me if I ever found a series of steps to take that have at least a small chance of working when it comes to book promotion.

That is a very good question, one I have been pondering for a long time. I have been doing various promos online for more than five years (I started with my blog in September 2007), and I don’t sell very many books, though my publisher assures me that ultimately I will sell many thousands of copies of each of my titles. I have come to the conclusion that promotion is what we do until luck finds us. If you don’t write erotic romances, horrifyingly violent thrillers, or vampire stories (or whatever the current fad is) that can catapult you into bestsellerdom, you will need luck to get your book discovered.  Many authors who have found success will tell you they did it on their own through hard work, but almost every time, a bit of luck played into the equation. And it’s always possible to get discovered — the media (which includes online and offline means of communication) has a fickle and roving eye, and it’s anyone’s guess where that glittering gaze will fall.

It used to be that you could do giveaways and contests to get attention, but there are tens of thousands of books being given away every day, so it’s almost as hard to give a book away now as it once was to sell it. And unless a contest somehow captures the imagination of people, they will pass on taking a chance (even if it’s a sure thing that they will win something) because they are inundated with hundreds of such promos every day.

It used to be that blogging would bring you a readership, but now blogging is so common that it is simply an expected part of being an author. Blogging can be a satisfactory and fulfilling means of writing and communicating, and it does help to create an online presence, but by itself blogging doesn’t sell books.

It used to be that MySpace was a good way to find a readership — the first authors who promoted on MySpace became instant successes, but when other authors signed up for the site by the thousands, hoping for similar results, no one paid attention to them.

It used to be that Facebook was the best place to find and connect with readers. The first authors who used Facebook to promote made a fortune. One guy became a best selling author by maxing out Facebook accounts (5000 friends is all you are allowed, so he had several accounts), and he will sell you a book telling you how he did it, but recently it came out that he also paid for reviews, so who knows what the truth of his success is. One thing I do know is that most authors are not selling tons of books via Facebook because Facebook continually changes their algorithms to keep that from happening. Where once I’d get hundreds of people seeing what I posted, I get maybe thirty now if I’m lucky. And of that thirty, maybe one or two respond. (Respond to the post, I mean.)

The first authors on Twitter, Pinterest, and all the other sites also made a name for themselves, but the rest of us? Not so much.

As for offline: authors who do book signings and festivals and such do well to a certain extent, but you have to be careful — I know several authors who sold thousands of books that way, but when it came time to figure out profits and losses, it turns out they didn’t make enough to pay for all their expenses. They’d have been better off just standing on a busy corner and giving the books away.

So, what do you do until luck comes calling? The best advice I can give you is to do three things to promote every day. It can be something as simple as signing up for Facebook if you haven’t already done so, adding a few friends if you have signed up, posting a photo on the site, or commenting on someone else’s photo. You could do a blog post on your blog or ask someone if they will let you be a guest on their blog. You can comment on the posts of other bloggers so that everyone who reads those posts will also read your words. You could sign up for Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or any of the other currently popular social networking sites.

You can get bookmarks printed up with your book cover, a brief blurb, and an online address or website where people can contact you or buy your books, then pass the bookmarks out to everyone you see. You can get business cards printed up with your book cover on the front side and information on the back where they can find you and your book. You can get addicted to Vistaprint — once you are on their emailing list, you will receive sales notices, and over time you can get all sorts of great stuff such as t-shirts and mugs, stickers and posters, for free or for a nominal fee. Then give those out or offer them as incentives for people to buy your books.

You can do book signings and other events such as fairs, festivals, and craft shows. You can offer your services as a speaker.

The best promotion is one that captures people’s imaginations, so maybe one of your promos for the day could be nothing more than brainstorming with someone to come up with a totally unique idea. Or you can check out my Book Marketing Floozy blog for tips from other authors. Book Marketing Floozy is an indexed blog of sixty-five different articles by various authors about book marketing.

I don’t think it really matters what you do. Just do three things to promote your book every day.

My final suggestion — keep writing. The more books you have, the greater the chance of having sales snowball, but you also have to keep improving your craft. Just throwing out any old thing in the hopes of making it big won’t help you stand out from the crowd.

And that’s all promotion is — trying to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

Facing Off With Facebook

windYesterday’s accidental New Year’s resolution was to spend less time promoting books I don’t like and would never read by authors I don’t know. (For the past few years, I’ve been posting book excerpts from any author who sent me one, and then promoting it via Twitter and Facebook.) Today’s accidental resolution is to spend less time on Facebook. This resolution isn’t accidental — I’ve been giving a lot of thought to where I want to go with my online life. What’s accidental is the timing. What was supposed to be simply a resolution has accidentally become a New Year’s resolution.

Like many authors, I joined Facebook as a way of promoting my books, and I “friended” as many people as possible to get the word out. When I realized I wasn’t getting the results I’d hoped for, I started going for quality — trying to get to know the people I was connected with. That worked to a certain extent — I’ve met wonderful people and have had interesting discussions with them — but now the site has lost its luster. Or maybe I am growing beyond what the site has to offer. I never did like the games that keep so many people occupied, but I liked the feeling that something was always going on, that there was always a chance for an incredible encounter.

A growing problem is that for me there are two Facebooks running concurrently. There is the professional side, where I meet and connect with other authors, and there is the personal side. I’ve tried separating out the two — I have both a personal profile and an author page — but I’m still connected to more than a thousand people on my personal profile that I don’t know, and the constant flow of their personal tragedies and triumphs is beginning to weigh me down.

I don’t know which is worse — the brags about how many books people have sold, how many pages they have written, what awards they have won, their ratings on Amazon, or the announcements of anniversaries, illnesses, hospitalizations, accidents, and deaths of relatives and pets. (Actually, I do know what is worst — the happy announcements of wedding anniversaries. They remind me of what I have lost.)

I sound curmudgeonly, don’t I? In a cosmic sense, what happens to each person affects us all, but in a microcosmic way, knowledge of these events can add an immeasurable burden. Yes, I’m glad of people’s triumphs. (Or at least I want to be.) Yes, I’m sorry about their tragedies. But how do my feelings make a difference to their lives? I’m a stranger to them as they are to me. And if I turn off my computer, they no longer exist. (Ah, such power!)

I can’t completely get rid of Facebook, nor do I want — it’s a good way of connecting with people and getting to know them — but I can curtail my time on the site, and that I will do.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

Thank You for Five Incredible Blog Years

Five years ago today I started this blog. I’d only been on the internet a few months (four months to be exact), had no idea what a blog was but knew enough about book promotion to know that I needed one to help establish my online presence. I spent a few days researching the various blogging platforms and ended up here on WordPress.

My first post was tentative, a mere dipping of my pen in the metaphorical ink of the blogosphere. All that post said was:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

Not a bad statement of intent for a new blogger. In the beginning I wrote about my struggles to find an agent or a publisher, my attempts to learn all I could about how to become a bestselling author (still don’t know — drats!), my efforts at establishing my online presence. In the beginning, I used no photo of me, just an initial. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to use a male pseudonym or any pseudonym at all. I’d also started writing a new novel that I now call my work-in-pause since it’s been sitting there, half-finished for almost five years.

Much has happened to me since I started this blog. I entered a couple of writing contests and made it to the semi-finals in both, (one was the very first ABNA contest). My mother died. I found a publisher. My father had quadruple bypass surgery. My life mate/soul mate got sicker and sicker. And throughout those two and a half years of turmoil, this blog sustained me. It gave me a place to escape from my daily life, a place I could count on.

And then, two and a half years ago, my soul mate died. His death catapulted me into a world of such pain, that it bled over into this blog. My posts became not so much a way to escape, but a place to try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

This blog also helped me to re-establish my life as a writer because, after all, blogging is writing, too. A year ago, I made a commitment to blog every day for 100 days, and somehow I never stopped. And today marks an entire year, 366 days of blogging every single day. (Leap year, in case you’re wondering why 366 instead of 365.) I recently recommitted to another 100-day challenge. It’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges come my way, this blog will be here for me.

I started with meager aspirations, hoping for the seemingly unrealistic goal of 12,000 views a year, and as of right now, this blog has had 215,817 all time views. On my busiest day, I had 3,542 people stopping by. I’ve been Freshly-pressed three times, written 1,003 posts (including this one), received 7,159 comments and almost 3000 likes and shares. My best ranking on Alexa.com was 607,198 out of 350 million websites. Quite an achievement for someone who, five years ago, did not even know what a blog was.

I never told you how much your reading my posts has meant to me, so I want to do so now. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past two and a half years) than you can ever imagine.

Putting a Good Face on Facebook

Apparently, this is Facebook Week on Bertram’s Blog. This is the fifth in a series of posts I’ve written while trying to make sense of the clamor called Facebook. If you’ve read any of the previous posts (Why Facebook is Not the Great Promotional Tool It Once Was, Feeding the Facebook Beast, Trying to Be Heard Above the Facebook Noise, Unfriending Facebook Un-Friends), you might think I hate Facebook. The truth is, I am fascinated by the site. What I don’t like is how I’ve used it, in the beginning by sending friend requests to strangers and then later by accepting all friend requests indiscriminately and now having to fix the unwieldy mess by unfriending those who don’t engage with me. (I worry about offending people, but truly, if they have 5,000 friends, will they even notice I am gone?)

In a perfect world, being connected to what amounts to the entire population of a small town should create book sales, but it doesn’t. Just like with any town, most people you’re connected to don’t know who you are. I once lived in a town with a population of five thousand people, and after living there a couple of years, there were only a few people who even knew my name.

Being connected to so many thousands of people should create a community of people who are truly connected to each other, supporting each other through good times and bad, but it doesn’t. In fact, FB often works to isolate people. If you’ve lost your spouse, for example, seeing a constant stream of anniversary announcements, photos of happy couples, and travel plans for romantic getaways makes you feel even more isolated than you already do.

Being connected to so many people should help dispel loneliness, but it doesn’t. For the most part, facebook is about being upbeat, about bragging of all the good things that come your way, (one person’s “sharing” is another person’s “bragging”), about putting on a good face. (Well, of course. It is Facebook, after all.) But if your life isn’t going great, if you’re experiencing loss or failure, then you feel doubly alone.

Still, Facebook is a microcosm of life (though to be honest it more often resembles the worst of high school). Voltaire wrote, “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her, but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”

Like life, Facebook deals out a lot of cards everyone rails against, such as adding features we don’t want and taking away features we do. If we stay on the site, we have to accept those “cards,” but it is our choice how to play them. Like life, we reap the effects of bad choices made on Facebook (such as my indiscriminate “friending”). Like life, we have to deal with knowing we have unintentionally hurt some people. (Such as the guy who blocked me because I said something he took to be an insult, when the comment had nothing to do with him and everything to do with my philosophy of writing. See? High school.) Like life, we have to take responsibility for moments of tactlessness, and either repair the damage or take our lumps and move on. No matter how much we want everyone to like us, there will always be those who don’t.

But . . . and this is the key. Our life is our life to do with as we wish within certain parameters, and our Facebook is our Facebook to do with as we wish within the site’s parameters. With life, we have to decide what game we are playing so we know how to play our cards. With Facebook, we also have to decide what we want with the site and play our hand accordingly.

And me — I’m still trying to figure out what the game is, both with life and Facebook.

Unfriending Facebook Un-Friends

I’ve been doing a series of posts on the effectiveness of Facebook as a promotion tool for authors, based on my research and my experiences. Some people have taken these as complaints and negativity, but I’m just trying to make sense of a confusing world.

There are four billion users on Facebook, yet most authors seem to be shunted off into a corner of the FB world with other writers. While I’ve gotten to know a lot of great authors this way, I’ve found few readers, which makes sense when you think of it. Authors want something — readers — so we frantically add friends in an effort to reach readers. Readers, on the other hand, don’t frantically friend unknown authors. Most readers stick with previously read authors, or find books by word of mouth, blog reviews and book websites, local bookstores, online stores, the library. (This information is from an informal poll I once did: How Do You Choose the Books You Want to Read?)

When I first joined Facebook, I was guilty of adding as many friends as I could since I thought that was the purpose of social networking. In fact, I almost reached the cut-off point of 5,000 friends. (I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people have more than 5,000 friends. That’s probably because of inactive accounts. I go through my friend list periodically and delete inactive accounts. The only serve to swell numbers and make FB even more unwieldy than it already is.)

When I realized that social networking is about being social, I stopped sending friend requests, and started trying to get to know the people I am connected to. In the process, I am gradually culling my friend list. If someone has four or five thousand friends and has never once bothered to respond to anything I have done on Facebook, I unfriend them. If someone whose friend request I have accepted (I have not sent a friend request to a stranger in over three years, so I know that any friends made in those years are at their behest) spams me or ignores me, I unfriend them. If they are multi-level marketers or any other such blatant scammers, I unfriend them.

This sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But if Facebook hasn’t created a mass of readers for me, then it’s mostly for fun, and if it’s mostly for fun, there is no point in being connected to people who do not enrich my life. (I hope you don’t think I am unfriending everyone. I still have almost 2,000 friends, a good percentage of whom I actually talk to.)

Of course, some people think unfriending is silly, because what difference does it make how many friends you have, especially since you see so few of them anyway, but it does make a difference. When I had close to 5,000 friends, every time I tried to individually invite friends to an event, it crashed my computer. (Except for the Suspense/Thriller Writers Self-Promotion Extravaganzas on Saturday, I don’t bother to do events any more. Where hundreds of people used to respond, now only a handful do.)

Also, too many friends clogs the news feed with posts I have no interest in. It is possible to hide those posters from my newsfeed, but if I have no interest in people’s posts, why am I connected to these un-friends? Why not just unfriend them? So I do.

People do the same to me. One woman told me she unfriended me because I never participated in any of her events. It was a valid observation. At the time, I had 4,000 friends, and couldn’t keep track of them all. All I did on Facebook at the time was keep my writing discussion going, so the people I was most interested in were the people who participated in my discussions. (I hate to admit it, but I still don’t participate in other people’s events; there are simply too many. And anyway, I still prefer to spend most of my time with my discussion group. It’s a small space of sanity in the choatic FB world.)

Perhaps none of this matters. Perhaps unfriending is just a game or a phase I am going through. But the truth is . . . hmmm. I don’t know what the truth is. Maybe I don’t like being ignored. Or maybe I have had a surfeit of inanity and negativity. (What many people consider as positive thinking, I often see as inane, and inanity feels to me like negativity.) Or maybe I’m fighting a system I have no way of beating. Or maybe I’m getting curmudgeonly. Or maybe I’m trying to do FB over, and do it right this time. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m positioning myself for success, making room for the thousands of new friends I am going to make through my writing.

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