Worth a Thousand Words: My Life with Tumblr

by | May 10, 2014 | General | 2 comments


A bow to the fantastic WriteSex site, where this column first appeared

It may come as a surprise, but far too often authors—people who are
supposedly very comfortable with words!—have days when they just don’t
want to write at all.

It’s a common mistake writers make when they begin to think about
social media, marketing, and all that other fun stuff: this idea that
words are the be-all and end-all for them. They force themselves far too
often to script tweet after tweet, Facebook post after Facebook
post…until they just can’t write another line of original content, even
if only to say “Look at my book!” Worse, they come to feel that because
they’ve burnt out on writing tweets and posts and marketing copy, they
have failed. They think about all the potential readers they have lost;
markets they haven’t tapped; piles of beguiling words they should have
written—because are they not supposed to be endless fonts of text?
(Spoiler: no.)

Fortunately for you if you’re one of these writers, there are some
great options for social networking that don’t require you to write a
word. They are wordless yet powerful, simple yet evocative, easy yet

In short, Facebook and Twitter are not the only games in town when it
comes to keeping yourself and your writing in the public eye.

I’m talking about using pictures rather than words. Using
Flicker, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr to make your point, catch your
Twitter followers’ imaginations, engage them emotionally in a way that
leaves a favorable impression of you in their minds. An image-sharing
tool like these can help you reach out to others, and save you a
thousand words of writing, every day.

There are quite a few image-sharing venues out there—and while your
mileage and social media needs may vary, in my experience they’ve
basically boiled down to just one. Allow me: Flickr is ridiculously
clunky and doesn’t share well with others—just spend a few minutes
trying to either find an image or a keyword, or pass along a photo.
Pain. In. The…youknowwhatImean. Instagram is fine and dandy for
taking snapshots of your dinner, your dog, your kids, your whatever…but
when it comes to sharing what you snap, or using images from other
sources, it’s not exactly user-friendly.

This basically leaves us with two choices, if you want to save those
thousands of words: Pinterest and Tumblr. I’ve tried both and the choice
was extremely easy to make—it comes down to one thing: sex.

Let’s face it, when you’re an author of erotica and erotic romance,
you are dealing with—in one way or another—characters having sex. Like
lots of erotica authors, I’ve learned to (sigh) deal with platforms like
Facebook that will wish you into the cornfield for showing—or in some
cases even talking about—something as threatening as a nipple.
We deal with Facebook because we have to. But an open-minded
image-sharing social media venue is a bit like Twitter: the more the

Pinterest doesn’t like sex…at all. I used to have a Pinterest account
but then I began to get messages, here and there to start, but then
tons: each one about a posted image of mine that was removed due to the
dreaded Terms of Service. A few were obvious, but then the images they
were yanking became and more innocent. Bye-bye Pinterest.

Tumblr isn’t perfect—far from it—but even after being purchased by
the search engine deity Yahoo, I can count on the fingers of one hand
the times it has caused me any kind of headache. Mostly they will reject
anything that really pushes a button—think of the deadly erotica sins,
but with pictures, and you know what I mean (hate speech, rape,
bestiality, incest, underage, pee or poo, etc).

In a nutshell, Tumblr is easy, fun, and—best of all—a rather
effective social media tool that also neatly and simply integrates into
Twitter and Facebook…and, no, I do not own stock.

The way it works couldn’t be less complicated: you can create any
number of Tumblrs—think folders—(even with an “age appropriate” warning
if you want), and then design them with any one of a huge number of
themes. From your master dashboard you can see—and tweak —all the
separate Tumblrs you’ve created. The themes are a blast, and the
interface takes very little skill to navigate.

As for what Tumblrs you should create…well, that’s up to you. Like
food? Make a nice edibles Tumblr (and they have an app that lets you to
take shots of your meals if that’s what you’re into). Like history?
Create a vintage photo site. Love sex? Well, it’s pretty obvious about
what you can do with that.

Where do you get your pictures? You can certainly take them yourself
or upload them from your various devices, but where Tumblr becomes a
real social media machine is in reposting. Once you create your account
just look for other Tumblrs by interests or keywords and then hit that
little follow button. Then, when you look at your dashboard, you’ll see a
nice stream of pictures that you can like, share, or repost to your own
various Tumblr incarnations. Plus, the more people you follow, the more
people will follow you.

Just to give you an idea, I started—rather lazily—my dozen or so Tumblrs four or so years ago and now my main one, Rude Mechanicals, has close to 4,000 followers. You can imagine the reach you could have if you really put some work into it.

And if you want to see how far that reach extends, you can go back
and look at your posts to see how many times they’ve been liked or
reposted. It’s harder to tell when it’s a reposted picture but it can
also be very heartwarming to see that, for instance, when you post about
a good review or a new book announcement, dozens of people liked your
news or, even better, shared it with their own vast audience.

What’s also fun about Tumblr is the auto-forward feature. It’s not
perfect, as there are some periodic glitches, but all in all it works
rather well. When you set up your separate Tumblrs you can then select
an option where—if you choose—you can also send any image to Twitter or
to Facebook.  That increases the number of people your image will potentially reach. It can even go to a Facebook page you’ve created. Neat!

One trick I use is to click the handy “like” button to create an
inventory of images and then—once or twice a day—go back into my list of
likes to repost them to my appropriate sites…with or without Twitter or
Facebook reposting as I see fit. Tumblrs also feature RSS, which means
you can subscribe to one of them through an aggregator like Feedly.

What’s also neat about Tumblr is its flexibility: you can post images
(duh) but you can also embed video (from YouTube or wherever) and post
text, quotations, links, chat streams, and audio.

Let your eyes do the walking and let the images they find do the
talking. Image-sharing tools like Tumblr are a super easy way to fulfill
your need for social media presence without having to write anything.


M.Christian has become an acknowledged master of erotica, with more than 400 stories, 10 novels (including The Very Bloody Marys, Brushes and The Painted Doll). Nearly a dozen collections of his own work (Technorotica, In Control, Lambda nominee Dirty Words, The Bachelor Machine), more than two dozen anthologies (Best S/M Erotica series, My Love for All That is Bizarre: Sherlock Holmes Erotica, The Burning Pen, and with Maxim Jakubowksi The Mammoth Book of Tales from the Road).  His work is regularly selected for Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and others. His extensive knowledge of erotica as writer, editor, anthologist and publisher resulted in the bestselling guide How To Write And Sell Erotica.  He can be found in a number of places online, not least of which is mchristian.com.

M. Christian

Calling M.Christian versatile is a tremendous understatement.
Extensively published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even non-fiction, it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and in fact too many anthologies, magazines, and sites to name. In erotica, M.Christian is known and respected not just for his passion on the page but also his staggering imagination and chameleonic ability to successfully and convincingly write for any and all orientations.

But M.Christian has other tricks up his literary sleeve: in addition to writing, he is a prolific and respected anthologist, having edited 25 anthologies to date including the Best S/M Erotica series; Pirate Booty; My Love For All That Is Bizarre: Sherlock Holmes Erotica; The Burning Pen; The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi); Confessions, Garden of Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant), and many more.

M.Christian's short fiction has been collected into many bestselling books in a wide variety of genres, including the Lambda Award finalist Dirty Words and other queer collections like Filthy Boys, and BodyWork. He also has collections of non-fiction (Welcome to Weirdsville, Pornotopia, and How To Write And Sell Erotica); science fiction, fantasy and horror (Love Without Gun Control); and erotic
science fiction including Rude Mechanicals, Technorotica, Better Than The Real Thing, and the acclaimed Bachelor Machine.

As a novelist, M.Christian has shown his monumental versatility with books such as the queer vamp novels Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys; the erotic romance Brushes; the science fiction erotic novel Painted Doll; and the rather controversial gay horror/thrillers Finger's Breadth and Me2.

M.Christian is also the Associate Publisher for Renaissance eBooks, where he strives to be the publisher he'd want to have as a writer, and to help bring quality books (erotica, noir, science fiction, and more) and authors out into the world.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    I recently decided to join Pinterest. Then I changed my mind when I discovered that somehow the site already knew about all my Facebook friends – all the friends of my real life personna, not Lisabet!

    I ran away screaming!

    • M. Christian

      That's scary – but then, as you can tell, I'm not a fan of Pinterest

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