The header to my Instagram Profile
The header to my Instagram Profile

I done did it. I played the social media game and have now gained over 25 thousand followers on Instagram. But how did I do it? How much of my psyche was sold to The Instagram Algorithm? And what kind of benefits (and drawbacks) are there to having this many followers for small-time writers? Great questions that I hope to answer.

For some context, I’m N. T. Lazer, a self-published author with two novels out at the moment and a third on the way. I also write a lot of short stories on Reddit. …

Thanks to some fellow indie authors, I was inspired to run a Kickstarter to fund all of the expenses that come with self-publishing a book. It was successful and I was ecstatic! I got 200% of what I was gunning for and a whole lot more reach than I expected to be able to reach.

I made no profit from this endeavor. In fact, I ended up paying $72 out of pocket. That’s entirely my own fault, which I’ll explain below. …

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About seven months ago, I began searching for articles indicating to me whether Medium was an appropriate place for me to be publishing my short fiction. I found a number of articles on — you guessed it — Medium telling me that this was a great idea either to get a fresh, new audience or to monetize that which I already had a healthy backlog of.

I had been writing short fiction on and off for about five years to a modest following of a couple thousand consistent readers, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to share…

Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash

I stared at the carton, the unabashed smile mocking my shock. I glanced up at the refrigerator to see the same exact photo with me smiling my big smile at age six. The only difference I could discern was the huge MISSING stamp at the bottom of the carton’s image.

My face grew hot as I gazed up at my father seated across from me, absorbed in his newspaper. My mother was still in the other room. I pulled out my phone and opened up Google, but couldn’t think of what to look up to corroborate this story. I began…

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I coughed up a little bit of blood as the mugger twisted the knife in the victim I was witnessing across the street. They screamed in agony as the mugger ran off with their wallet. I ran across the street, pulling out my phone to dial emergency services. Well, more like limped across the street. I collapsed in front of them, wheezing, as they clutched at their gut. I dropped my phone next to us.

“Ohhhh God…” he breathed deeply through clenched teeth. “Is it bad?”

It was awful. This guy was dead for sure. I could see multiple severed…

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“You can seriously fix this?” the construction worker asked, scratching the back of his head with wonder.

“Sure, I don’t see why not. So, what are you looking for? A park or something?” I said, pulling back my sleeves and raising my arms at the wall in front of me.

“No, we were just intending on extending the road here. But for way more than your asking price,” he muttered.

“Not a problem,” I said, and heaved at the energy within me, giving life to the wall before me. My eyes rolled back into my head and I closed them…

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“I won’t say a thing!” I screamed at the darkness, “Nothing you do will make me talk!”

“Nothing we do?” a man asked, “but we aren’t going to do anything to you.” He kneeled down in front of me and took off my handcuffs. With them, he took off my watch. Lastly, he pulled off the hood.

“See you tomorrow!” he called, closing the door behind him.

I rubbed my wrists, regaining feeling in them and looked around my room. It was rather small and plain. Nothing but blank walls without windows and a single, solid, concrete door. There was…

Photo by Ilze Lucero on Unsplash

I blinked a couple of times. I was in the middle of getting up from my couch to get the door when I thought I heard a noise. Another knock at the door snapped me back to the situation.

I got up and took a step.

“Did you not hear me? You open the door, we both die.”

I stood frozen in place. My eyes crept around my apartment, trying to locate the source of the sound. Another series of raps were at the door, followed by a ring on the doorbell. I turned my head almost imperceptibly towards it.

Photo by Filipe Dos Santos Mendes on Unsplash

“Your corpse?” I asked.

“Yeah, like, my dead body,” he shrugged.

“So, like when you die, you want to be cremated in a volcano?”

“Cremated? What? No, I want you to scoop me up and toss me right into a volcano,” he explained, much like a teacher would a homework assignment.

“Why tell me? Just write it in your will or something. Your kids will probably do it for you.”

“Will? Kids?? Where do you think we are?”

I remembered the plane we were standing in. And the fact that it was crashing. And I was wearing the only parachute.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Johnny sneered at me. I hated him so much. It seemed his entire existence was just to one-up me. This time it was his stupid universe. It sat floating at the podium in front of the classroom as the best example of what the rest of us should have done.

“Well,” Mr. Williams began, clearly disappointed at first glance of my project, “what have we here?”

I pointed at the Milky Way.

“This is where life will take place. I designed it to develop itself over time.”

A gleam appeared in his eye. …

N. T. Lazer

A microfiction, flash fiction, and general fiction author. With more stories at

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