Regular readers will know that I've been having problems with Twitter since the beginning of August, culminating in what is playfully called a shadowban.
Based on reports from my followers, what the shadowban has done is secretly force their accounts to treat mine as if they've blocked it. My tweets disappear from conversations, and the only way to see them is by going to my Twitter homepage and reading the timeline.
Then, about two weeks ago, my account lost the ability to retweet or follow anyone. All I could do was post new tweets of my own and like others' tweets.
For a professional author who relies heavily on social media to build and maintain my brand, Twitter's shadowban presents a costly marketing obstacle. Luckily Twitter's attempt to censor me has blown up in their faces so far, thanks to the wonderful readers who rallied to oppose the floundering social network's thought policing.
However, I'm getting ready to launch a new book (more on that in a moment), and it would be really great if one of my main advertising channels actually, you know, worked the way it's supposed to.
My research turned up a possible method for fixing shadowbans--which Twitter's notoriously awful customer service can't help with because they don't officially acknowledge that shadowbans even exist.
The suggested method is to deactivate your Twitter account and then reactivate it after a week or two. Doing this reportedly returns an affected account's settings to normal.
On Saturday, October 8th I deactivated my Twitter account. It sucked not being able to interact with my followers, even in my shadowban-hobbled account's limited capacity, but with a little patience and discipline I made it a whole week.
This past Saturday, I reactivated my account.
And found that all of my 1400+ followers were gone. Adding insult to injury, my account had auto-unfollowed everyone I'd been following.
But at least the shadowban is over, right?
Not according to one of the fine folks who's refollowed me since Saturday.
Oh, and heads up, before anyone in the comments suggests that I join Gab, let me save you some time.
This is just a sampling of the many messages advising me to take my business from Twitter to Gab. The outpouring of Gab recommendations tells me two things.
- Gab is upholding its commitment to free speech for all its users.
- Twitter has really alienated a LOT of people.
All of the folks who have helpfully suggested that I join Gab can rest assured that I plan to get in line soon. Currently the waiting list resembles the line at a hot new nightclub that stretches around the block, and the bouncer is choosing who to let in at random. Right now I'm waiting for the admissions process to get a bit more normalized before queuing up.
In the meantime, I'm slowly rebuilding my my original Twitter account. It might be a lost cause, as I've just been informed that the accounts of people who my account says no longer follow me are showing them that they are still following me. As Declan Finn shows, this is not the case.
|How Declan's Twitter page looks to me. NB: I was following him before 10/08.|
I also have an alternate Twitter account that I'll most likely be moving to (in addition to joining Gab) if the problems with my main account don't get resolved. You can follow my backup account here.
Though I'll try to stay as active as possible on social media in the coming days, writing has taken up most of my time lately. I'm currently under deadlines for two books, one of which is...
The Secret Kings
You may have seen the updates I've been posting on Facebook (you're less likely to have seen the ones I've tweeted). As you can probably tell, I've been busily working on Soul Cycle Book III. It's been a little while since the last progress update reported the first draft as being 95% done, so you're probably wondering where the project stands now.
Here's the deal: the percentages cited in those progress reports were based on some back of the envelope calculations of the first draft's final length based on my current outline and those of the previous two books. Since writing isn't an exact science--or a science at all, actually--my initial estimate was a little short.
A of this writing, The Secret Kings stands at 108% of its first draft's original expected length. What's happened is that the last four pages of my outline are now approaching 100 manuscript pages' worth of actual prose text--far more than the preceding outline sections.
The perfectly reasonable explanation for this expansion is that those last four pages outline the book's climax, where I not only have to tie up all of the loose ends in the current book, but several that were carried over from Souldancer and even Nethereal.
I'm making good progress, though. You may also have seen the 2, 3, and even 4k word counts I've been posting (unless, of course, you're on Twitter). After pulling double shifts for the past week, I'm finally into the home stretch. Keep your eyes peeled for my announcement that the first draft of Soul Cycle Book III: The Secret Kings is complete. With Marcelo already working on the cover and Jagi's editing services reserved for November, there should still be plenty of time to make my planned Christmas season launch.
By the way, not only is the writing going quickly, it's going rather well in my admittedly biased opinion. I've made this prediction elsewhere, but I'll restate my expectation that when all is said and done, Soul Cycle fans will place themselves into one of two camps: those whose favorite book in the series is Souldancer, and those who prefer The Secret Kings.
Yes, I'm making that statement knowing that SD won the Dragon Award. SK is already shaping up to be at least as good, and it's a whole different animal than its predecessor. Book II is a JRPG-influenced adventure story with a strong horror element. Book III comes closest to staying within a single genre as any book I've written so far, being almost pure space opera (with possibly a little too much action at this point). That's why I foresee fans gravitating to one book or the other based on genre preferences.
While we're on that subject, SK will probably be the closest that a Soul Cycle novel gets to being a pure genre book. But it won't be the only book I write in a classic genre.
Buy the first two books in the highly acclaimed Soul Cycle now, and be ready for Book III this Christmas.