Do Not F*ck with My Wife

Do Not F*ck with My Wife

Do Not Fuck with My Wife by Ty Brack

Do Not Fuck with My Wife

I mean, not in that seedy-dive-bar-dude-in-flannel-leers-at-my-wife-
but-I-have-a-bigger-truck-with-heavier-duty-suspension-
and-a-louder-engine-so-I’m-gonna-spit-my-chew-on-dude’s-Romeo’s
kind of way.
No, no, no, I mean: Do Not Fuck With My Wife.

For instance,
standing in the security line at the Chris Rock show, dude and his wife are clearly agitated by the fact Chris Rock is having everyone place their cell phones in a secured, locked pouch because, Lord have mercy, an artist wants to protect their intellectual property. So dude says to the security person, “This is fucking retarded.” And I’m shaking my head like, “Uh-oh, dude, you just fucked with my wife.” My wife says to dude, “You know, I work with incredible students and young adults with disabilities, and they certainly do not deserve to be reduced to your selfish pain.” Now dude is really trying to save his masculinity, “Whatever, you’re in the wrong place, going to a Chris Rock show and getting offended by the word retarded.” My wife looks at her ticket and says, “Hmm, my ticket doesn’t say I’m here to see Unnecessarily Angry White Man perform.” People in line laugh. His wife is trying to hide. I’m standing with pride because it’s obvious now to this dude that you do not fuck with my wife.

I mean, not in that
trendy-bar-SoCal-meathead-who-thinks-he’s-a-MMA-fighter-
bumps-into-my-wife-and-spills-her-Vodka-soda-
but-I’m-also-on-steroids-so-I-turn-the-bar-into-the-Octagon
kind of way.
No, no, no, I mean: Do Not Fuck With My Wife.

For instance,
walking down Bourbon Street, Old Testament white lady is bringing down the wrath on a young Planned Parenthood street canvasser, “God has promised to strike you down with all those baby-killing whores.” I’m like, “Jeez, lady, you just fucked with my wife.” I turn to see my wife using PBIS restraint strategies to move Old Testament white lady up the street while saying, “Yeah, yeah, lady, why don’t you take God’s promise and lock it up with all his other broken ones? Your time’s up!” Old Testament white lady turns and disappears up the street, still shouting to the sky. My wife walks back, signs the petition, donates $10, and says, “Honey, we should get some po’ boys.” I look at the Planned Parenthood canvasser, he looks at me, and we shrug like, Do not fuck with my wife.

I mean, not in that
I-own-her-so-I-call-her- “my wife” -to-prove-that-she’s-mine
kind of way.
No, no, no, I really mean: DO. NOT. FUCK. WITH. MY. WIFE.

For instance,
her bosses target strong-willed women who present threats to their authority. A hostile work environment is created. Her co-workers quit or transfer. My wife blows the whistle. She’s attacked, harassed, slandered, “Aggressive.” She keeps blowing the whistle. She’s threatened, accused, libeled, “Insubordinate.” She’s still blowing the whistle. She’s investigated, violated, defamed, “Bitch.” Finally, someone hears her whistle. Her bosses’ time is up. DO. NOT. FUCK. WITH. MY. WIFE.

For instance,
she’s recovering from that trauma. Her new boss forces his frail masculinity onto her. She survives. She reports. She’s doubted. She’s coerced. She survives. She’s minimalized. She attacks his pocket. She survives. His time’s up too. DO. NOT. FUCK. WITH. MY. WIFE.

And I mean this in that
I’m-just-a-husband-smirking-proudly-in-the-background-at-the-fact-that-I-am-in-love-with-
this-powerful-woman-who-does-what’s-right-when-it-needs-to-be-done-while-I-just-write-
poems-about-it-so-actually-go-ahead-and-fuck-with-my-wife-at-your-own-risk
kind of way.

Ty Brack
Ty Brack

Ty Brack is a poet, Hip hop artist, teacher, and youth organizer from the outskirts of Portland, OR. His poetry has been published in Northwest Passage and is set to be published in Writers Resist. 

He can be seen performing his poetry from time-to-time at the wonderful Portland poetry events, Slamlandia, Portland Poetry Slam, and WordLights, and his music is available on all major digital streaming platforms. 

Ty Brack also organizes youth poetry jams in his community, providing young poets the opportunity to increase their social-emotional health through creative expression. You can follow @ty.brack.poetry on Instagram

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Shadows of My Past

Shadows of My Past

Shadows of My Past by Marie Anaïs Tessa L’Etang

It kept on following me
No matter how long or how fast I ran
Pinched myself a thousand times
In hope of waking up from this nightmare
They were out to get me
I could feel the darkness caving in
Soon it was cold, I was out of breath
It caught me, it wanted to kill me
I have been running from the shadows of my past for years
I was finally realising my dream
but the light made the shadows reappear
I was made to remain in the dark,left hopeless and walked upon
That was the message my shadows told me
While stripping myself of all dreams, hopes and life
<strong>Marie Anaïs Tessa L'Etang </strong>
Marie Anaïs Tessa L’Etang

I am from Mauritius.  I’m still in high school, so school and tuitions and studying leave little time for a job or for many hobbies but I write and read every day. Since I was small, writing fascinated me.  It has only been an everyday hobby but I hope one day I can publish a book with poems. Instagram: anais.tessa

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Watercolor for the Soul

Watercolor for the Soul

Watercolor for the Soul by Victoria Oliver

Can I just write
About something beautiful
Not educational or earth-shattering
Just a smattering
Of word paint
Watercolor for the soul
Like a sunset or fruit bowl
The sound of nothingness
While looking at the stars
Or the deafening roar of a waterfall
Drowning out the dark

How the soothing sound of crickets chirping
Brings me back to being ten
Sleeping in the basement of my grandparents’ again
I just floated away from my complicated life
And was someone else for a while
Loved and valued just for being a child

I used to walk forever under the almond trees
Make my way to the edge of the Tuolumne
I’d walk out to the bridge
And watch the clear water swirl by
And then row in the aluminum boat
And feel strong and light

My grandparents’ stories of the past
Mingled with my dreams for the future
And now I wish I could go there
For one last great adventure

I’m so glad I got to go there with you
Before time buried the memories from view
Reflection sometimes makes rose-colored glasses
And even more, as time passes
But that’s ok with me
Give me the almond tree

Come away with me
To the whisper of the river
The echo of the cliffs
The stillness of the blue towering sky
Hot, fragrant grass fields slowly sun-dried
To the old bungalow and it’s storage tower
Beckoning us to rummage hour after hour
To the dredge camp and all its history
Stories shaded in the overgrown trails
Weathered remains of cabins speak veiled
And now that you’ve shared this with me
We’ll keep it alive in our memories
<strong>Victoria Oliver</strong>
Victoria Oliver

I was born near Santa Cruz, California, and grew up in Spokane, Washington. Many of my childhood summers were spent exploring California’s Central Valley (especially Yosemite) with my grandparents. I made my way to beautiful Portland, Oregon sixteen years ago and soon met my wonderful husband. We have two amazing, creative tween daughters together. There’s never a dull moment at our house!

When I’m not writing or spending time with my family, I enjoy playing around on the piano, singing, photography, walking, knitting, and reading.

I’ve been writing poems and songs since I was nine years old as a way to process my thoughts and emotions. I’ve always loved rap, the sound of spoken word rhymes, and learning other languages. I take poetry seriously, but if I try too hard, nothing flows.

I’ve just started sharing my writing on Instagram at @word_awakening. I’d love to someday do poetry readings and compile a book of poetry to share.

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The Gift of Presence

The Gift of Presence

The Gift of Presence by Terra Vagus

My anxieties are always chasing the future.

Frustration grows as I know
I will never leave the present.

I’ll seclude myself from you
to include myself with me.

Nothing exists when I am alone.

I stop time.
contemplate existence.

Nothing exists when I am alone.

But my skin still falls ever so slightly with each thought passing me by.

A cruel reminder that I am wrong.

Even when my clock stops
the world clock tick-tocks.

As I relentlessly obsess over what comes next
I abandon the present.

I abandon the future.

I am stuck in a construct of my own lifeline.

I’m unsure how to see outside this frame of mind.

My ego is my enemy.
My only security.

The present comes packaged with a ribbon
that I don’t have the guts to undo.
Terra Vagus
Terra Vagus


Terra Vagus is an introverted 20-something who resides in the Pacific Northwest. When they aren’t writing, they either have their nose in a book or they are out scouring abandoned and creepy places for anything paranormal.

Terra Vagus is a lover of animals, literature, ghosts and the Earth. 

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Poetry by Karissa

Poetry by Karissa

My Heart is an Envious Prisoner at the Party

Written by Karissa Seibel

Stealth and her sisters have taken 
residence at the cul-de-sacs of my nerves.
They held house warmings,
let the hot air humble itself until
it sank down upon the guests’ shoulders 
as a cool, refreshing breeze,
served hors d’oeuvres for every thought of their origin.
When you look me in my eyes tonight,
you’ll find it useful to know my envy
for the ones who aren’t afraid to dance
at the party, the ones who bulldoze
the properties of preconceived panic
and stomp the dust into the ground while 
luscious laughter sings between their lips.
I have tried all my life to let myself out
of my meaty enclosure, but
there’s a reason they call it your rib cage,
for how can a heart never, at least once, 
feel like a prisoner?
When I tell you I do not wish to go out tomorrow,
know that I am not surrendering my plight,
but I am finding a loophole -
a place where I can unlace the corset,
let myself bulge as I ooze a sugary sap of porcelain melting,
of nature in its nonjudgmental air.
When I confess my love for you,
you might find it monumental,
for I have never been this wide open.
<strong>Karissa Seibel</strong>
Karissa Seibel


I am 17 and from Ohio, USA. For as long as I can remember, I have loved writing. I started out with short stories and began writing poetry a few years ago, but began focusing heavily on it just this year.

As this is my senior year of high school, it is time for me to decide what I wish to pursue for a career. I am still a little indecisive, but one of my top choices is to have a career in editing. I just don’t see myself not being involved in the art of writing!

Some of my other hobbies include makeup and fashion. While I only practice those hobbies for fun, I take my writing seriously. Although I do not have a job in the field, I have an Instagram account: @karissa_thinks_in_ink.

I’m always looking at ways in which I can improve as a poet and I am looking forward to continuing to pursue this craft in my future, whether it’s part of my day job or on the side. I hope you enjoy my work and am ever grateful for the opportunities! 

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Affinity

Affinity

A poem by Ryan Flett

At night
the moon
pulls at something
in your blood
like it does
the tides,
an embrace
by the heavens
that sense
the stardust
in your veins.
<strong>Ryan Flett</strong>
Ryan Flett

My name is Ryan and I live in Colton, Oregon. I work as a registered nurse, but I also have a degree in English from Portland State University. I’ve always loved writing, but this year I finally decided to make a go of it.

My writing mostly focuses on our connection with nature. Some of my favorite poets include Mary Oliver and Charles Wright. I’m hoping to self-publish my first collection of poems in the near future. 

When I’m not reading or writing my heart out, I’m frequently playing with my two dogs, enjoying a cup of coffee, working on computer programming projects, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or hanging out down at the local record store. 

I frequently post original poems on Twitter. You can follow me @ryanwritespoems 

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The Child Finder

Book Review by Deanna M Ramirez

The Child Finder (Naomi Cottle, #1)

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Child Finder moves effortlessly. I couldn’t wait until I had free moments to read this book.

I wanted to find out where Naomi went next. To discover what happened to Madison and Snow Girl. The story unfolds, allowing you to get to know the characters just the right amount.

Naomi is brilliant. A strong female protagonist who kicks butt and creates her own path. The mystery of her past is provocative and intriguing. I want to read the second book to learn more about Naomi, and I think anyone who reads The Child Finder will feel the same.

In a nutshell: It’s a page turner. Has a great momentum to the climax. Solid ending. I have closure as a reader, but want to read more. Empowering read for women. I highly recommend it! My goal for my first novel (just completed) is to turn pages for the readers the way I turned pages reading this book.



View all my reviews

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If Love is A Tale

If Love is A Tale

By Aaradhya Aggarwal

Blood in my veins,
In a frozen state,
Sliding like wine
On his curved, red lips.

Smoke in the air;
My thoughts burning.
Gaze stuck on the window,
Is the rain coming?

Lock my hands,
Throw the keys,
Push me in the fire,
Watch it melt with me.

If love is a tale,
Then what is your role?
Dying for your lover,
Or let him kill you on his own?
Or let him kill you on his own?
<strong>Aaradhya Aggarwal </strong>
Aaradhya Aggarwal

I am from Uttar Pradesh, India.
My hobbies include writing songs, singing, and sketching.

I am a high school student. Writing is amusing for me, but I also plan to publish my work. I have my poem “Rain On Fire” published in the book “Bloom: Poems of Loss, Heartbreak, and New Beginnings” presented by Poem Wars and edited by R.J. Hendrickson.

I have a poetic account on Instagram: @_ocean_mind_

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Ethel Beauregard is Not Dead

Ethel Beauregard is not dead

By Jayla Martin

Ethel Beauregard is not dead.
Ethel Beauregard is alive.
She died, not with a choked gasp, scream
Not metal or a screech
Ethel Beauregard died of paper cuts on her fingers and face
She died, not of heartbreak, but of a heart made whole too many times.

She did not die with her whole life ahead of her,
For she was old, and knew better than to dream,
Nor with her whole life before her eyes
But thinking only of one place…

Somewhere in the world there is a procession of weepers, dressed in black, and circling an open grave.
I am not there.
I am in a library.
A forgotten corner
Full of yellowing books of poetry and light from a single window,
a wooden chair, and a single desk
And perhaps I knew her better than anyone else:

For she did not die full of courage, strength or humility,
But full of brass keys to unopened locks to unopened rooms that lay old and forgotten,
She died full of yellowed letters, tragedy unread
She did not live of cloud and light
But of wood and dust she is buried
As she always was.

She did not die of old age
It was not old age that killed her

Don’t look for her in a hole, or at a grave of stone.
She is not there.
Ethel Beauregard is buried here
In the forgotten corner of a library
Among yellowing books of poetry
In the light from the window
Among spines of poems that mourn and weep the emotions never read
The forgotten poetry of the unnamed thousand
Covered in dust

Ethel Beauregard is not dead
For she lives in the corners of a library
Where forgotten things go to rest.
<strong>Jayla</strong> <strong>Martin</strong>
Jayla Martin

I am a devoted poet and aspiring journalist in Greensboro, North Carolina who writes to perceive and interpret the world around me.

As someone with an innate affinity for words, I always want to get better at my writing and pursue it throughout my life.

When I’m not busy studying or helping with my local poetry club, I’m spending time in my own head daydreaming or I’m trying to rope friends into an impromptu card game.

Instagram: @wethetragedy

Want your work featured? Submit your poem or short story here.

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Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithm for Writers

By Deanna M Ramirez

Follower hide-and-seek.  Only ten percent of followers see your posts.  10%! Thanks to the Instagram (which includes Facebook) algorithm.

I get 2% of likes to my number of followers.   This makes me believe less than 10% of my followers see my posts in their feed.  The alternative explanation is that my posts did not capture my followers’ attention.  Therefore, not giving any likes

What can I do to improve this?  How can I get more followers to see my posts?  If you research the Internet, these same general bullet points turn up to these questions: 

  • Better photo quality
  • Publish consistent stories
  • Publish video content
  • Go live, and often
  • Answer DM’s
  • Craft better captions – add a call to action or question.
  • Have a contest or giveaway
  • Refine hashtag usage
  • Post when your followers are online
  • Avoid shadowban hashtags

I’ll share what I’ve learned on my Instagram journey from the perspective of an author and poet. 

Instagram’s algorithm is unfavorable to words.

Did you know Instagram is unfavorable to words? When I created my Instagram account to feature my written work, I did not understand this! 

In the beginning, it didn’t matter to me. I used my poetry account as a small creative outlet.  I wasn’t thinking in terms of “likes” and “follows”. But once I took myself seriously as a writer, I looked at my use of social media differently. 

I’ll address this unfavorable word topic below. But first…

Do you take writing seriously?

Do you call yourself a writer? A poet? An author?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, GOOD!  If it is not, why? Now, if writing is your hobby, then worrying about followers and likes is irrelevant and this article might not be for you.

However, if you care about this topic.  If you want people to read what you write, you must resolve these issues. Admit to yourself that you’re a writer. Admit you’re a poet. Say it out loud. Tell someone. It’s okay. 

Instagram Algorithm for writers.  Say it out loud. You are a writer!

Here’s a little secret – the people you think will judge you, don’t! The support surprised me when I told friends and family about my poetry and writing. You aren’t alone in hiding from shame. 

You’re in good company.

This topic came up at a writers’ conference I attended. So many people admitted to hiding it. A keynote speaker encouraged everyone to say it out loud. I am a writer.

It was the best advice! I had already outed myself as a writer. But it affirmed in my heart something I had wanted to shout over Instagram, Admit what and who you are! Be proud! Embrace it!   

Okay, now that you’ve admitted you’re a writer. Now, what?  One of my college professors said, “You must market yourself as a writer.”  

Writers must market themselves.

My professor was a published author who wrote an award-winning children’s book. She taught my Professional Writing class that writing success was our responsibility. 

Unfortunately, I took this course prior to Facebook and Instagram.  Authors then lacked concern for social media. Social media was irrelevant for writers then.  

Swipe worthy marketing.

Today our world is different.  The business of writing looks different.  More competitive than ever. With the reader’s attention distracted by other, new stimuli offered immediately at their fingertips.  People favor fast fulfillment.  They want posts impressing them in ten seconds or less.  

This century’s writers must capture readers in a finger swipe.  As I write more on each point, keep this in mind. Ten seconds.  A finger swipe

Instagram algorithm.  Thirty seconds. A finger swipe.

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Quality matters. 

Poor quality, spelling and grammar errors, and anything visually displeasing turns off fast eyes scanning an Instagram feed.

Use a spellcheck! Capitalize. I see a wave of people using lowercase EVERYTHING. Please, for the love of words, cut it out!

This is a fad that will fade, then die. As it should. It’s lazy. If your art is words, become a master of words.  You can’t move from apprentice to master when you’re too lazy to capitalize and use proper grammar.  

Now, I didn’t say perfect grammar.  No one is perfect. Books make it to store shelves with mistakes in them.  But this is the exception, not the rule. Accidents happen. People forgive happy little accidents. (Side thought: Could I become the Bob Ross of writing? “Let’s make this lowercase i into an I. There, now that’s better.”)

Help abounds.

Feeling rusty? That’s okay. There are tools to help you. We’re all using them!

Google Docs corrects your spelling and grammar for free.  I use ProWritingAid.  It made revising my novel possible. ProWritingAid catches spelling errors. It flags repeat words, or if the writers used too many glue words. It catches passive voice versus active voice. It’s freaking amazing.

Using ProWritingAid is like taking a refresher English course. In fact, I’m using it to write this article.

Highly recommend ProWritingAid, or Grammarly.  Both offer free services. Use their free grammar checks. Try both free. I heard multiple authors say they use both during the revision process at my last writers’ conference.

This post was proofread by Grammarly

I promise these resources will help you become a better writer. Remain a student of your craft and it will shine through your words.

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Have out-of-focus posts turned you off?  I’ve read well-crafted poems I didn’t feature on @evepoetrygroup because the words were fuzzy.  Well written but “blah” to the eye. You can’t do that on Instagram and expect follower growth. For good reason, too.  

It’s all about aesthetic these days.

Don’t know how to make eye-catching, beautiful posts? Good news! You don’t have to be a graphic designer and a great writer. Use apps. They’re awesome. They make life easier.

My recommendation is Canva.  You can use Canva for free. Upgrading to Pro opens access to premium gorgeous fonts and stock photos.  But again, you’d do just fine with the free version too.

Pick a look for your feed. Brand yourself. If you create a look and feel and decide you hate it, change it. That’s okay too. I’ve gone through a few phases of testing different looks.

Your brand.

Creating a brand is a process. You, the writer, have a brand. Make it look and feel you. Your brand is the message you wish to send. It should look the way you want your audience to feel.

Test things out. Change your mind. Eventually you’ll find your aesthetic. Your brand.

Do this, and people will follow you. They’ll like your posts more often. Because they will instantly recognize your post in their feed from your branding. It will happen. You’ll get there.

Instagram algorithm for writers.

How often do you post? 

Consistent posts are important for account growth. Anywhere from one to four posts per day are okay. Too many posts will flag you as spam.

Find a happy number that works with your schedule. There is no magic number of posts. Bummer, right? Consistency is key. Not posting all day long.

People desire reliable Instagram accounts that post consistent, quality material. Bottom line, yo! (Sorry, on a Breaking Bad kick ever since El Camino came out.)

Instagram algorithm for writers.  Sorry, on a breaking bad kick!

The what. Words, Words, Too Many Words.

More words on an Instagram post (or caption) means fewer likes. That’s it. The short and sweet. And it sours your tongue, right?

How do writers deal with it? Keep reading. This may cause debate. But if you want to be a professional writer, you need to throw away any purist notions you have about sharing your work on social media.

First thing to understand: They created Instagram for people to share photographs. It has a simple scroll feature for this purpose. This feature, by design, is unfavorable to posts filled with words.

The why. Why do they hate my words?

Casual scrolling is lazy. Reading is work. Casual scrolling and reading a post, then reading the long caption that goes along with it, doesn’t mesh super well.

Avid readers (who read books, not Instagram posts) or your supportive writer friends read your longish posts. However, you’re not capturing followers in droves because you’re not thinking of your audience’s mindset.

Instagram algorithm for writers. Know your audience.

The who. Know your audience.

Mothers, fathers, teenagers, baristas, foodies, the Kardashian’s, white collar business men looking for love, every race, religion, and creed. Just about every type of human is on social media. Except people with something to hide. But I digress. That’ll be a different, festive article.

Your audience is a beautiful mix of people who log on social media for moments of escapism.

They check Instagram in the bathroom at work. Yeah, that’s right. They read your flowery sonnet squatting on the toilet. Sitting in traffic (not safe, but you people do it!). Social media checks occur in line at the grocery store or in a doctor’s waiting room.

Short wisps of time. That is your audience’s mindset.

Make your follower smile in the short 30-seconds you have their attention. Make them giggle. Embarrass them while they wait in line at Starbucks. Cause them to snort with laughter from the brilliant photo you picked to illustrate your short narrative.

Keep it brief. Little word appetizers. Teasers. The happy hour menu. Make them want to stay for dinner. Now I’m getting ahead of myself.

The How.

Create posts incorporating everything mentioned above. If your poem is long, include a portion of your poem in the post. Ensure the stanza or portion you include displays in high resolution.

The post should be crisp and clear. Dazzle the eyes. Use resources like Canva to do it.

Instagram algorithm. Dazzle them.

Include the full poem in the post’s caption or guide people to your website for the full read. Use the post as a teaser. But be sure the post itself is complete. It should stand on its own.

Break it down.

It’s okay if they read, like and scroll on. A few dazzling nibbles later, the reader will read further. They’ll investigate your profile.

Using the caption for the full poem can be tricky. Someone may love a post but scares off by a lengthy caption. Short attention spans. Remember, the mindsets of brilliant people changes for social media.

Using Instagram’s carousel option works too. Breakdown your writing into two or three images for one post.

Use high-resolution graphics and smaller fonts. Poems appear more consumable to the eyes. It’s strange, yes. But it worked for me on my post shown below.

Instagram Algorithm

If concise wording is key in both post and caption, then a website is even more important for writers. Use social media to draw fans of your writing to your website.

Use your own judgement regarding the format you use. I’m leaning toward shorter posts and non-wordy captions and directing my followers to read my website content. (Except for contests, etc. That’s different.)

If you build it, they will come.

Don’t have a website? Why not? These days it’s super easy to slap a blog together.

Use your website to display your long form poetry. Then you can play around as much as you like. It’s your dang website! Instagram can’t tell you what to do there!

Plus, you can link all your social media channels to your website to solidify your brand.

Believe me, if I can start a website, so can you. Weebly is a great option.

Find your domain and create your site at Weebly.com!

You can’t buy popularity on Insta.

Many sources recommend paid promotions through Instagram when I researched increasing post reach. So I tried this theory. A theory that claims paying for promotions increases reach on the algorithm because it reassures Instagram that you’re not a bot. That you don’t sketchy things to gain likes or followers.

Instagram cracked down on scandalous tactics people use. Buying likes and followers: Don’t do it. Accounts disappeared in the past six months because of Instagram’s crackdown on fake likes and followers. Did you notice it too?

Instagram algorithm. Don't buy popularity!

Many legit accounts (like mine and yours) suffer because people shirked the system. They bought social media popularity. It didn’t work out for them. Because of it, the rest of us must work CRAZY HARD for visibility. Changes Instagram implemented reduced our post exposure.

Paid Promotions

The process. First, I selected a post of mine to promote to test the theory mentioned above. Next, I set up the post and selected my target audience. I recommend picking your target audience versus letting Instagram do it for you.

In selecting my audience, I honed in on where I needed growth most. I picked locations where I wanted exposure. After making my selections, my potential reach was at 83,000,000. That’s huge!

Finally, they have you pick your budget and duration. I picked two days and ten dollars for the budget. Doing so reduced my reach. By a lot. Instagram will show you the number of reach in a range based on budget and duration.

It makes sense. Instagram provides instructions in their Help section, if you need them.

Instagram Algorithm.  They are in control.

This process added to my awareness of the amount of control Instagram has on who sees our posts. If I pay more, they let more people see my posts. The more you spend, the more exposure they let you have. Otherwise, screw you, Eve Poetry! (Again, I digress.)

Once the promotion began, I received an email from Facebook. In fact, I received three emails from three different posts that I paid Instagram to promote.

The Instagram Rub

And by rub, I mean a real gnarly carpet burn. They informed me, “your image contains too much text”. In the subject line of one email, ” Your Ad Is Not Delivering.”

I’ve included screenshots of these emails below for your viewing pleasure.

Instagram Algorithm
Email received after trying Instagram promotion.

After the above promotion, I experimented with different text styles, font size, and the number of words. Adjusting the standards in ways I thought would please Instagram. Then I received another email.

Second email received from Facebook.

Want to know the worst part? Instagram won’t allow you to edit a post once promoted. Facebook emails telling you to fix the problem. Then Instagram won’t let you. Even after the promotion is over, you can’t edit the dang post!

On both posts, I opted to delete the promotion. Because I couldn’t edit my post. If I can’t “fix the problem” as instructed, I won’t waste my money.

Instagram (Facebook) blamed me, a writer promoting my art form, for using too much of my art in my post. Ultimately, they blame the user to create an excuse for the debacle that is the algorithm. The algorithm controls viewership. It’s censorship. They censor who sees what.

Censorship in disguise.

In saying this, I realize there are reasons for their censorship. Many iterations of the algorithm were to protect people from harm or bullying. This is important. I respect safety. Online bullying is unacceptable. No one should be unsafe on social media.

Using an algorithm to censor artists is not the answer either. Limiting how many people see our posts is censorship. They mask their censorship with their algorithm. That sucks. Nothing we can do about it but quit Instagram or learn how to use this tool, obstacles and all.

Instagram Algorithm censorship.

The obstacle is invisible, and writers have it worst!

The transition from what you’ve been doing to implementing any suggestions I’ve made requires patience. Be patient with yourself. Don’t try everything all at once. Practice self care. It’s frustrating. So be kind to you.

Take it in small bites. Just like the saying, how does a mouse eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Try small changes and see if your likes increase or decrease. If they increase, keep doing it! If you don’t see improvement, adjust something. Small increments.

Did you lose likes? Something didn’t work the way you hoped? It’s not a failure. Don’t think you failed by trying something new.

Instagram algorithm.  Try and try again.

Even recently, I’ve tried new things that failed. I expect it. I lick my wounds and try again. Licking wounds is gross, so I get a little better with each new attempt.

Unless you explode overnight and become the next Atticus, it’s a process. I have posts that bomb. I’m in a process. Still finding my groove for Eve Poetry on Instagram.

Comfort zones are danger zones.

Use Instagram Live. It’s another layer of exposure. All video features for Instagram help you increase reach. If you hate Lives, then make appearances through your Instagram story.

Don’t use Insta Stories only to share your posts. Change it up. Show a piece of your life. Connect with your followers. Be a real person. People want a connection.

Connection matters.

Recently, I saw Margaret Atwood on stage. I’m a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale. However, once I saw her live in person, I became enraptured.

My fan status jumped up a huge notch seeing and hearing her discuss her life and her work. She is wonderful. She was wholly herself.

My husband wasn’t a fan, but he turned to me fifteen minutes into her interview and said, “I want her to be my grandma!” This is a testament (pun intended) to the importance of connection.

What it’s all about.

Seeing someone. Hearing a voice. It creates a real connection. Connection creates real followers. Real followers create real engagement. Real engagement creates authentic accounts with real growth. Strive for this.

Comment with Questions

Don’t fear my dear, there will be more of these. This is long enough, yet there is still so much I need to tell you!

If I left something out, comment and I’ll include it in my next article! Thanks for reading. Please let me know if this helped. If you found it helpful, please share it!

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