A time-honored classic. Like “Do you want me to turn this car around?” or “Wait until your father gets home!” One of those countless sayings you swore you’d never inflict on your own children, let alone your fans.
Yep, this one’s for you guys.
All five of you in the cheap seats waiting to hear what I have to say.
Hanging on every word.
I am not your entertainment committee.
Social media has become a many-tentacled beast. People kneel at the altars with their hands clasped tight around little, glowing screens of divination and spectacle looking to be entertained, outraged, surprised, shocked, turned on, diagnosed all while surrounding themselves with like minds and hurling barbs at the “unlikes”.
In return, social media demands to be fed.
For consumers of media, which is pretty much everyone in the developed world, it is a limitless hole which you can suck you in for days on end. A consumer’s feeding of the beast is optional but the voracious bugger always finds a way to wrap a tentacle or two around your precious parts and drag you into the fray.
For producers of media, the beast is insatiable. Like in an I-want-to-devour-your-first-born-and-may-I-have-another sorta way. We, the writers and designers and bloggers and youtubers and tweeters, are the priests who bring the sacrifices to the altar. We are legion and our voices cry out to the multitudes.
“Speculative fiction! Step right up! Succor your need to escape this dreaded existence!”
“Pornography, get your pornos here!”
“Moral outrage! Hurl insults worry-free at your sworn enemies!”
“Pornos! Get your jollies here!”
“You’ll never guess what happens when she…”
“PORRRRRRNOGRAPHY! GET IT WHILE IT’S SMOKIN’ HOT!”
And so on…
The current wisdom says that in order to be heard, you must be constantly “on”. You must be capable of entertaining quips of 140 characters or less at any second. You must be photogenic or at least able to produce click-worthy images of your cats. Your political views should be borne on your sleeve and subsequently mesh with your target audience so you can rage with them about the trending news. Every mundane belch and movement and meal (wait, food pics are SO circa 2005…) becomes grist for the mill.
You MUST build your platform. You MUST connect with the fans (all five of them) lest the beast turn its insatiable hunger on you.
If you hadn’t noticed recently, I sorta said, “Fuck all that.”
Look, I’m a writer. I write things for your entertainment. I am not a performer. I’m not a quip machine (despite how amazingly witty I may be). I’m not even a great blogger (if this article isn’t enough proof…)
But I’m a damn good storyteller. Specifically of fantastical tales with a dash of realism – not perhaps the beast’s favorite meal. That’s what I’m meant to do. It’s what I want to do. My time is best spent making shit up, not communicating inane facts about my day with the horde. Some excel at that. I don’t.
If you want to hear those facts, great, ask away. I’m on all of these platforms in one form another. I’ll gladly answer any sort of mundane question you want to hurl my way on Facebook, or Google+, or Twitter, or email or Goodreads or Tumblr or any of the other dozen ways my life is tenuously connected to yours. But in the meantime – I’ve got worlds to create.
Because of this, I can’t entertain you twenty-four seven.
However, when you want to curl up with a good book, I promise, if you give me a chance the time you spend with my stories will be worth it. They’ll have been meticulously critiqued, edited, beta-read, torn apart and sewn back together again before being offered up on the altar. Hell, like them or not, these books will make you think. Give me enough time, you’ll get another offering, each one better than the last.
I’m not stopping anytime soon.