I just renewed my WordPress subscription. I started posting to annemcclane.com in August of last year, but started messing around with it last July. (I’ve mentioned before how I tend to take my time with things.)
So, what have I learned in a year?
I’ve learned to really respect WordPress. (And Squarespace, Blogspot, etc.) And not just because it’s afforded me the opportunity and the space to go on about the stuff I’ve gone on about. Also because it’s introduced me to some voices I’ve really come to respect. People who, just like me, write posts about things they truly care about; ambitions they’re actively pursuing; stumbling blocks they’ve encountered.
I look forward to their posts. And I try pretty hard to reciprocate. I try to take extra care with the fifty or so followers I have on WordPress. I feel like if I phone it in, it’ll be like I’ve been caught. While I reserve the right to the occasional throw-away post (like now? ;-), I don’t want to abuse it.
So here’s fair warning, I’m planning to re-blog a post soon. It’ll be at the end of August—my Hurricane Katrina post from last year. It was the second post I ever made, and it’s the only time I’ve topped 100 views in a day. Though I got very close with last week’s post.
Anyway. I know I’m not burning up the blogosphere with these stats. I’m okay with that, because burning up suggests quickness, rapidity, and I’m just not built for speed.
My fifth post on WordPress was called Social Media and Me. In it, I bemoaned my ineptitude with Facebook and Twitter. At the time, I had 43 followers on Twitter, and the Anne McClane Facebook author page had 22 likes.
I now have roughly 4,400 followers on Twitter, and over 250 likes on Facebook. Looking at just the percentage increases over a span of 10 months, it feels somewhat impressive. But it’s not because I’ve got anything figured out. I haven’t learned any trick. It’s pretty much just because I’ve shown up, day after day. That particularly applies to Twitter.
One of the best things that’s happened to me on Twitter this past year was connecting with someone who was launching a science fiction anthology, called Just a Minor Malfunction. I submitted “Holiday Bob”—the only piece of short fiction I’ve posted to annemcclane.com. After some rework, “Holiday Bob” is one of the stories in the inaugural issue of Just a Minor Malfunction, now available on Amazon.
It all came about because I responded to a real direct message on Twitter (as opposed to the bajillions of automatic crowdfire messages.) And I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t shown up.
The Facebook likes are mostly due to a very well-run Facebook group called Books Go Social. It’s made up of writers like myself who are trying to make a go of it in today’s brave new marketplace. The members of the group support each other by participating in occasional “Facebook Like Days.”
So here’s the thing: after a year of “showing up” to social media, are there more people, besides my immediate family, who know that I’m about to publish a novel? Yes. I’m sure those of you who are kind enough to follow me regularly are saying, “Yes! Enough already. Just publish the damn thing.”
It’s certainly more people than would have ever known before WordPress, Facebook or Twitter existed. For that, each of these platforms has earned a certain, particular respect from me. And no small amount of gratitude.