It's been a minute since you guys have heard from me! Oh, so you thought I was gone to never return to the social media scene? Ha, Ha! The jokes on you. But seriously, a great deal of things have happened to me over the course of a year. Some of those things I will share with you, and some are rather personal and I do not wish to divulge. So, without further ado, let's go!
If you haven't figured out by now, it's me, the creator of the former Mello & June, It's a Book Thang! Book Blog. I was with Blogger for about a decade and left and decided to branch out on my own and purchase my personal website so that M&J could grow. And boy, when I tell you that plan worked itself out, it did in a major way! However, it was also the same plan that ended up being my baby's demise.
Yes, Mello & June was my baby I birthed and nurtured into a full-grown adult. I watched her flourish and turn into a beautiful swan only to later have her feathers literally plucked out one-by-one until there was nothing left but mere memories.
I went from having five followers for years to a few hundred and then over fifteen thousand across all its social media platforms before M&J was shutdown. I went from a couple hundred views to over five thousand per day. M&J grew so fast, that it ended up with over a million views and it hadn't been running for an entire year yet. Yeah, M&J was all that and many readers enjoyed my blog. It was one of the hottest blogs talked about. Publishers loved the numbers and readers benefited by having the first scoops on the hottest books out on the market. Life was good! That is. . .
Before I delve into what happened, let me first apologize to many of M&J's fans for abruptly leaving and not providing an explanation. You'll soon understand why I did this in a moment. Because M&J was growing at such an alarming speed, I needed to do some maintenance to help with the pace. When you have a blog that size that you own and operate, it's extremely important to hire the right IT companies to oversee your servers and so forth. I didn't take heed to that warning at first and was hacked twice. After paying a small mint to get M&J where it needed to be, a-gain. . .I hired some website security firm to oversee M&J and to protect its users. Trust and believe, that was costly too, but for the sake of having a popular blog and authors/publishers who respected my hard work, it was well worth the money spent.
Now M&J was flourishing at top speed, but my servers still weren't keeping up with the flow of its use. When I ran demographics on my blog, I discovered that the majority of my users (believe it or not wasn't from the United States, as you'd might guess), but actually was Africa; with Russia running a close second and Australia in third. The U.S. was fourth. M&J was reaching levels much further than I had ever expected it could go. Here I was just this little black woman sharing my passion for reading and writing with the world, and it took me several years to get more than five followers and now I was on my way to thirty thousand. It was mind blowing to say the least! M&J began getting noticed from some of the big dogs in the publishing world reaching out to me to ask me to assist them with their sites and/or authors' work. My emails were blowing up left and right and I could barely keep up with it all. It was stressful and draining and I began to think that perhaps I need to hire staff to assist, in which I did.
I had a couple of good friends help me run M&J, along with some authors that were just top notch who agreed to volunteer (N.D. Jones) to be exact. I hope you don't mind I mentioned your name? (chuckle). Even with the help, the tours kept me hopping. Err'body and his mama was emailing me asking for something. Everyone wanted to get on M&J because of the numbers it produced daily. Hell, I would want to be on there too having that type of exposure. So, my servers were suffering. I didn't know much about how to take care of them, so I entrusted a company I researched to help fix M&J's problem so it would run faster.
That was the beginning of the end, readers! Even though I did my due diligence and checked this company out, it wasn't enough to stop the international hackers from getting a hold of my servers and doing with them what they wish. Ooooh those bastards f*cked me good! Umm hmm, yes indeed they did! When I went to check my site, as I often did early in the morning to make sure it was running smoothly for the authors I was contractually obligated to host, that's when it hit me that something major was seriously wrong. Why my emails weren't blowing up from the tour companies is a wonder, but I was horrified when I saw how M&J was loading. Hell, it didn't load correctly. I had to take it down temporarily and apologize to the tours and readers and it was just a big ole mess.
So, here I'm thinking all I need to do is just have the company fix it, but they all but disappeared. When I tried asking them what the f*ck they did to my servers, ironically, no one was available for comment. Mind you, they took my damn money to fix the servers, but I couldn't narrow anyone down. Immediately I thought of suing their asses off, but that takes even more money. So, that meant I had to go to another website company. And that's when I learned what those bastards did to my servers. I mean to tell ya, they fried my mother board along with everything I worked for in over a decade. The guy was so nice and felt so bad for me. He said, "Kim, you've got two options. First, we'd have to start from scratch and rebuild your server, which is going to be super expensive, or two, we can work around the mess they made, but you'll end up losing most or all of your content." So I'm like, what? I had to have him repeat himself because I thought I misheard what he said.
When I asked him how much money it would cost, it was in the thousands. Although I had plenty of money to take care of M&J, I didn't have that and I had a decision to make. He tried everything to give me the best bang for my buck, but at the end of the day, I wasn't paying that kind of money for a blog. It was at that moment, depression instantly set in. I was devastated. I had one of the hottest blogs out there, and some dirty ass hackers f*cked up my servers so they could destroy me, and they did, almost!
I was just as fried as my mother board. I couldn't believe that twelve years of hard ass work was gone within a millisecond. Poof! That was it! Mello & June was done. The second company I hired felt so terribly for me. They tried everything to get my blog back to some working condition, but to no avail. I paid them for what they did do and thanked them tremendously and walked away licking my wounds. After my depression, came bitterness. I hated everything electronic. I hated every single person on social media. I began suspecting everyone was against me. My blog was doing too damn good and some dirty ass bum was unhappy because I was happy. Talk about haters! Oh yeah, hater-nation is real, people! Needless to say, I sent a letter to all the book tours I worked with and thanked them for agreeing to work with me but I was out of the game. Many of them were just as heartbroken as I was. Some of them begged me not to give up and try to work with what I had, but my bitterness turned into real anger and I wanted nothing to do with social media period! Which is why I never let the public know what happened. I was too hurt to talk about it. This is the first time I've said anything about this in an entire year. I didn't talk to anyone. I was that upset!
It was at this point when I deleted everything that I had left of M&J. Looking back, I wish I had salvaged some of it, but bitterness and anger have a way of clouding your judgment. I even gave up my M&J name. I no longer own the rights to it. I said f*ck it all! I was lost for a few months after that happened. I kept going to my website only to have Google say, this page cannot load. It doesn't exist. Ooooh, yeah, that's right. . .the hackers saw to that! I couldn't stop looking for my blog online. It was truly a sad state of affairs. What was I supposed to do now?
Well, as I was always told, when one door closes another opens, and this story wasn't any different. The money I used to fund my blog, I put back into me. I went back to school, graduated with high honors; opened a gym/club membership; joined a physical women's book club that I started because I still wasn't willing to do anything electronically; and because I was so well known in the publishing world, I had many publishers/agents reach out to me to assist with their authors' work by reviewing and putting those reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. So, if you've wondered what I've been up to, that's what I've been doing. I found other hobbies and left social media alone and I was ok with that. Until...I wasn't. It's been over a year since I lost M&J and I decided now was the time for me to come back to my first love, writing! I miss putting my opinion out there, whether people liked what I said or not. I had a publisher recently ask me do you have a blog that you can display your review as well, and I chuckled. You already know! I went looking for M&J and stopped myself before I finished trying to Google it. I told her not at the present time, but I'm working on it.
So, here I am! I'm better mentally and ready to deal with this beast once again. But this time around, I don't really give a damn if I have one follower or a million. I just want to get back to being me and doing what Kim wants, which is writing and reading. And not necessarily in that order, just depends on the day. I'm good with where I am. Of course, if you like the books I review or would like to try them and you want to be a part of what I'm doing, by all means, subscribe, but if not, I'll live. If you can survive what I've been through mentally and financially over this last hellish year, you can survive anything!