Day 5. Is there anybody out there?

So. Day 5 of celebrations. I know parties can take a while to get started but so far I’m sitting around eating a lot of creme caramel on my own it seems!

What I can’t tell is whether this is operator error or whether I’m just totally uninteresting to the world in general. For some reason Goodreads determines NOT to update my blog entries and I can find no other way of engaging with folk. How many times can you start a discussion thread and get no one talking to you? And the only discussion threads I can find seem to have people talking way OFF TOPIC so to speak.

So Goodreads. Sucks. Okay I’ve got 86 ‘FRIENDS’ on there but I’ve had no communication from any of them that I can discover.  Maybe I’m missing something. If you are a Goodreader who understands how it all works I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. I’ve got an Author page there. I shouldn’t be that hard to find. Not as hard as on Kobo who seem to favour Carly Phillips over me even when I type my own name in!

Facebook isn’t much better. I’ve got 106 ‘FRIENDS’ there but most of my posts are only ‘viewed’ by 30 people and so that suggests that most of the FRIENDS have actually just blocked my posts.  Another score in the ‘just not an interesting enough person’ box.

The ridiculous Catch 22 is that because one thinks no one is getting your posts you post more and that pisses people off more and they block you. At least that’s my most common theory.

Maybe I have the completely wrong idea about all of this. I thought that as a writer, writing about writing and reading and book related things would be OF INTEREST to people.  Should I have made this 50 days of creme caramel eating? Or something even more banale?

Well, I’m giving it one more try.  Yesterday one of the few interactions I did have was a comment on my Authors Electric Blog from Jan Needle giving me some DATES of birthdays in February. It got me thinking about writers birthdays in Feb, so starting from 7th (Charles Dickens) I’ll be blogging on a number of dates about OTHER WRITERS (maybe THEY are more interesting than me, certainly the biggest blog hits I’ve got was when I mentioned Ian Rankin or Robert Louis Stevenson.) I know they are more POPULAR than me but it seems weird that unless I pay tribute to them I can’t get an audience! What does that say about the modern world?  (Don’t get me started)

Now. Some things that I think are interesting (and consequently which I share far and wide) over the last couple of days:

1) BACKUP by David Wailing. This is part of a short story series The Auto series and this little story didn’t help with my feelings of angst over the bizarre nature of social media in our lives. But it’s an absolute cracker. Makes you think VERY deeply.  In some oblique way it covers ground I was reaching in Brand Loyalty (but there’s as much different as the same!)  I then read FRIEND REQUEST by him and while it didn’t have the shock factor of BACKUP it just buried me deeper in my ‘friend’ paranoia.  But also, sort of explained it.  If people read this maybe they’ll think about our social media in a new and more positive way. I hope so.

2) A new review for the New Review Collective READING BETWEEN THE LINES. This one is by Catherine Czerkawska and it’s subject is China Mieville’s epic novel THE CITY AND THE CITY.

3) McCompetition.  Brendan Gisby, Mr McStoryteller has announced a McCompetition for stories to be included in the 2nd Edinburgh eBook Festival this August.

4) Julia Jones has just published The Adventures of Margery Allingham as an ebook. Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory is a constant source of solace to me as I work on my ‘day’ job of publishing dead and forgotten writers  (its a release from BEING a live and invisible writer!) and I’m looking forward to this new (to me) book in ebook form having failed spectacularly to acquire it in paperback!

How’s that for book related stuff. I’m hoping what goes around comes around and that by sharing this lot others will share about me (but maybe I really AM fundamentally uninteresting!)  I’ve only sold 5 ebooks thus far and I KNOW WHO THE PURCHASERS ARE.  It would be really nice to give those stolid, steadfast folks who read what I write and buy what I write to get a break in February and for some of you who have been always going to, well, maybe next week… etc etc… to actually do something to tell the world I exist and have books to be read. You might even enjoy them! Ian Rankin I am not. Nor Robert Louis Stevenson. And not China Mieville either.  But I’m here, willing to chat with readers.  I just need readers to chat with!

Meanwhile, I shall go back to my very beginnings. This is the first song that I really LOVED. And surprisingly its about what to do when THE WHEELS COME OFF.  It may even be my life’s signature tune!



About callyphillips

12 Responses to Day 5. Is there anybody out there?

  1. Hi Cally – I’m reading anyway! But I’m in darkest NZ with limited IT access and it will get worse in Cambodia, so not commenting on anything much. Hope it gets better!

  2. Mari Biella says:

    Hi Cally. If it’s any consolation I’ve often found that my own attempts to interact with people online have generally been met with overwhelming silence, too. I’ve a theory that it’s little to do with being uninteresting, and a lot to do with the frenetic, noisy and occasionally overwhelming atmosphere of the internet.

    Quite frankly there is just so much going on online, and so many voices, that when you venture into cyberspace you’re bombarded with background noise. Trying to discern just one voice can be difficult, unless they shout very, very loud – which most people feel uncomfortable doing. I’ve found that my best method for dealing with this is to focus on those internet sites where I feel most comfortable, which is usually blogs like this one. I don’t spend much time on Facebook or Goodreads. I’ve come to an appreciation of Twitter, but with so many tweets flying back and forth I’m not convinced that I’ve really mastered it.

    Having said that, I occasionally wonder, like you, if I’m just uninteresting. I’ve no idea what it would take to be really interesting to the world at large, though – a Hollywood star-style public meltdown, perhaps? Deliberately courting controversy? That’s not really my style!

    Anyway, this talk of the internet has made me think of a question. I think I’ve heard you mention that ‘Brand Loyalty’ started life as an idea for a TV production in the 90s before it evolved into the novel, which makes it seem remarkably prescient as regards things like the present dominance of online corporations like Amazon. In ‘Brand Loyalty’, the characters spend much of their time online, which helps to reinforce their allegiance to ULTIMATE. It sometimes seems to me, however, that the internet is, whatever its faults, a very potent weapon in terms of freedom. It is vast, international, and ungovernable, its only limits the limits of human nature. This is why, I think, it can be both exhilarating and terrifying. Do you have any thoughts about this?

    Sorry, I’ve just read through this comment and it seems to have turned into an essay! I think I’ve just become the party bore…

    • Ah, something to get teeth into! Though I have to confess I nearly lost this comment (proving your point that it’s so hard to keep up with anything that’s ‘going down’ in cyberspace. I agree with you, perhaps one has to focus rather than try the mud at wall scattergun approach. I’m not a mass market person and I’m not a crowd person and so why should I imagine that in the big wide world of cyberspace I should be any different. I like one to one conversation with people about ‘things that matter’

      I do think that the internet is democratising and freeing in many ways. But largely if we subvert it. Let’s for the sake of argument suggest that Goodreads and Facebook are owned by Ultimate. And Twitter is total Ultimate! But here, in the small out of the way backwaters (of which there are many) we have a certain amount of freedom. I do believe as I say in BL that keeping ones head below the parapet is the only way to remain free. Which of course is seriously at odds with the notion of trying to shout about oneself/work from the rooftops. There’s a price to pay for sticking one’s head up. I’ve found it’s usually that one gets smacked very hard around it. So.. in conclusion of sorts… perhaps its better to spend a lot of time trying to find the ‘likeminded’ in the off the wall backwaters of cyberspace instead of filling our boots at Ultimate inspired outlets. I have this strange nagging thought in the back of my mind that there are LOTS of us who DON’T want to be part of the Ultimate game but it’s so flipping hard to find each other. Although a lot easier than BEFORE the internet.
      And not a party bore at all Mari! No way. This is the kind of conversation I love to get my teeth into. You want party bore – it’s me saying that in 1984 my dissertation suggested that international law was anarchic and that ‘primitive’ societies such as the pygmies actually had a better handle on ‘rules’ and the like. Ah, you see, it’s all part of the same thing. The LITTLE people are the ones who really LIVE. The rest are all Ultimate created identities.
      Great to chat! I’ll be boring more about the genesis of Brand Loyalty in a post some time soon.

  3. Bill Kirton says:

    I can’t resist extending the exoticism, Cally. This is from the Granite City (where even the sky looks as if it’s made of the stuff today). And all I can do is repeat your bafflement with GoodReads. Lots of people say it’s one of the better sites for writers (and readers). I’ve posted some reviews there and had a few exchanges with ‘friends’ but I really don’t understand how to use it properly. I hope one of your guests comes up with some suggestions.

    By the way, I hope, too, that one of your ‘writers born in February’ asides will be on Steinbeck – one of the first writers who impressed me enough to make me copy chunks of his work into my diary in my teens. Apologies for the genderism but back then, ignorance reigned when he wrote things such as ‘Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments’. I thought that was pretty good then but it seems pretentious and a bit unsubtle now.

    • Hi,Bill, the Granite City IS exotic to me at the moment. An unattainable goal. I want to go to the Uni Library. I need to reserve my books 3 days in advance and it’s like a game of russian roulette to work out if I’ll ever manage to get there through the snow. I had planned this weekend BUT now they say snow is going to come back tomorrow. Will I have to put it off till 18th? Such a dilemma.
      Goodreads is just pissing me off mightily the noo – cannot get it to update my blog. Why?
      And Steinbeck. For sure. I was greatly excited when I found it was his birthday in Feb as he is one of my very most influential writers too! I have this theory that F.Scott Fitzgerald tried to write The Great American Novel and in fact John Steinbeck stole his thunder. Grapes of Wrath kicks serious ass. I LOVE Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night (in all its variations) but The Grapes of Wrath… that’s the one for me. The Greatest American novel bar none. Debate open!

      • Bill Kirton says:

        Sorry, no debate, just complete agreement about Grapes of Wrath, from which I think the quote I used comes. Reading that novel, even as a very young man, felt like day after day of self-indulgence.

  4. Julia Jones says:

    Will willingly share GOODREADS bafflement. I even posted a plea for advice and that sank too. Think it’s a no can do. Otherwise I can cite only time and eye strain for being a party pooper. Feel overwhelmed by all the readiing that I haven’t done. Yet here I am lunchtime STILL in front of the computer and still NO WRITING. (Admittedly that includes ridiculous amnt of time doing children’s travel insurance as my lovely bro is taking them away for ht) Also taking car to garage also booking hearing appt for mum FAMILY LIFE love it but it does take time. Haven’t even started to think about Marge Allingham blog or anything. Thank yu so much for noticing she’s there. (Might send you a birthday pres!!)

  5. Hello all! I can’t get Goodreads to update my blog at the moment either. It’s still on Robert Burns when it should be about Tyador Borlu and the lovely China, but it isn’t and I can’t see any way of manipulating it. Maybe it’s just a glitch. It has to be the most counter intuitive site in internet history. I’m on there and I have friends there (but I can’t talk to them) and people have reviewed my books, but even adding a book to the books I’m reading NOW is an undertaking of such difficulty that more often than not, I give up and click off the site. But I know people who use it and think it’s great. I don’t like those sites with too many constraints. I know it has to happen, because people abuse systems, but I came off one of the Kindle sites (and never went back) because every time I was going to post something, I wondered if I was breaking one of the multitude of rules. Creme caramel sounds good. Creme Brulee on Sundays?

    • Glad its not just me on the Goodreads blog gremlin. Or the whole thing. I want to like it. It’s about reading after all, isn’t it? You wouldn’t think so if you read a lot of the threads. I don’t really like creme brulee as much actually -too much cream and burning sugar seems like a waste to me. In some ways I am such a child of the plastic 60’s. Though fish fingers never did it for me like creme caramel!
      I like the Goodreads review though ‘the most counterintuitive site in internet history!’

      In other news, glad to hear the Mark Frankland has set an example for using blogs and twitter for SOCIAL awareness. Social media for social awareness, now when will that catch on?

  6. Hi Cally, thanks for the kind words about Backup and Friend Request. Very glad you enjoyed them, and I hope they haven’t put you off social media for life!

    I completely agree it is tough to get a response from people with so much internet noise. Your Facebook friends aren’t necessarily blocking you, but Facebook now doesn’t allow your posts to reach 100% of your fans unless you pay for it using the Promote option. This works very well and lets you reach loads more people than usual, but of course at a price. It’s very cheeky of Facebook but obviously a way for them to earn money out of a normally free platform.

    On Goodreads, I recommend joining the UK Amazon Kindle Forum group: This is a very welcoming group of lovely people, both readers and authors, and they are full of advice and support. Likewise, the Kindle Users Forum at is a fantastic, friendly place. Both will help you in all sorts of ways. Tell them I sent you!

    • Hi David, Thanks. I’ll be writing fuller reviews in due course. I’ve downloaded FAKE KATE to read and am hoping that by the time I’ve finished that you may be close to completion of the auto series all in one place! It’s great to find another writer for whom identity is central to their writing. It is to mine too.

      I think I’m a member of at least one of those groups, but I’ll give it another go with your name as an entree!

      And yeah, pay to play for Facebook. No surprise really – the ‘democracy’ and freedom of the virtual world is always subordinate to capitalism it seems. Sigh.

      Nice to meet you, hope to chat more in various other places.

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