Important message and update.
It’s been a long time since I’ve updated everyone about what’s been going on. If you’ve noticed a lot of new content lately, well, that’s because I’ve been writing like crazy. I love what I do and I’m overjoyed by the fact you guys like reading what I create. It’s not an exaggeration when I tell you it’s one of the highlights of my life.
In the last two months, I’ve shared over 30 brand-new stories with you – close to 45,000 words. Most of the new ones have gone over very well. One or two of them…eh… not so much. But that’s okay. They can’t all be winners, and I never mind when a few of you let me know that in the comments. It means you’re reading my work, and I appreciate it.
So, here’s what’s up: UnsettlingStories.com is almost two and a half years old. In that short period of time, it’s received over five million visits. I’m still having a hard time believing it. My work’s been featured in The AV Club, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Thought Catalog, and more. All cool. All good.
But to tell the truth, none of that would have been possible without this phenomenal following on Tumblr. You guys are amazing. Whether it’s reading my stories or leaving amusing messages or converging en masse on a big site that stole my content, you’ve been the core of my support. You’re who I think about most when I’m sitting down to write.
All this hasn’t been without obstacles, though.
Last year, my blog was auto-flagged by Tumblr as NSFW, preventing it from showing up in search results, tags, and search engines. Despite having no content that falls outside the rules of what is acceptable on this site, it still took months before it was fixed. I lost thousands of potential followers.
Now, there are another couple issues. I’m sure you guys have read about how an algorithm is determining the content you see on your dashboard. It’s not like the “old days” when it was a chronological listing of what the blogs you’re following have posted. Certain large blogs get priority while other, smaller ones have been relegated to showing up much further down on your dash. There’s a way to turn that off in the settings, but most people don’t know about it.
Second, and probably most damaging to what I’m trying to accomplish, is that Tumblr doesn’t allow posts containing certain links to show up in tags. As you guys know, my stories have a title and summary post on Tumblr and then you click through to read the whole story on my site.
That means nothing of mine containing a link to UnsettlingStories.com shows up in the tags. Search “#horror stories” or “#scary stories” or any of the other tags I use (with futility.) Nothing. Tumblr allows links to certain sites (always large companies like BuzzFeed), but never the ones from the small content creators.
It does nothing but screw over up-and-coming writers who rely on Tumblr.
Thanks to this, the number of new followers I get nowadays is very low. Like single digits. It means that it’s becoming harder and harder for me to justify the amount of time I spend trying to build and maintain my following on this site when there are other platforms that are less hostile to people who create written content.
I love Tumblr. I adore the community. I don’t want to go to the “big blogs” and beg them to reblog my content so I can get a quick 300 followers who’ll probably never read another thing of mine again. I want people to search for “scary stories” and find my stuff. I want to compete for the top spaces on these tags with other, amazing writers.
Now, though, I’m just kinda treading water. I’ve tried to seek help about this with @staff through the @support channels, but I’ve never received anything other than automated messages that address nothing related to what I’m talking about. It really sucks.
I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. That, I promise. I love this site and I love the relationships I’ve formed with the great people who’ve supported me over these years. I just need a way to fix this. I work too hard to be actively hidden by the platform I’ve been loyal to.