Somewhere on WhatsApp (web for desktops) or even maybe a real-life conversation

M: You’ve got to get yourself on Twitter

F: I am on Twitter

M: I mean properly, like actually promoting yourself on it. Like having more than precisely 15 followers. Like not having a cockroach as your profile pic

F: It’s a beetle.

M: It looks like a cockroach. Anyway, who gives a fuck what it is. Why haven’t you got a picture of yourself?

F: It’s actually a dung-beetle. It’s supposed to be me.

M: Stop fucking about Franz

F: I’m not. That’s how I see myself in my mind’s eye.

M: Do you have any idea how the world works? You have to build up your network. play it straight. Why be oblique when no one’s watching?

F: Fair point. But why do people need to know what I look like? What difference does it make to the legitimacy of my writing? In any case I can’t stand my face. I always manage to look like a vampire in those holiday photos.

M: You’re a good looking guy do I need to tell you this? Just put one from Tinder.

F: What so then people will know I’m on Tinder?

M: No one’s going to know or care you’re on Tinder.

F: It actually causes me physical pain to do things like this. You know that

M: Jesus, those are the sacrifices you have to make. Unless you want to carry on as a box-ticker for the rest of your life? Make at least a tiny bit of effort. Update your bio then. You haven’t listed a single one of the magazines you’ve been published in. Not one. You’re just cutting your nose off to spite your face.

F: Those illustrious and celebrated magazines you’re talking about don’t know their nose from their arsehole. I’ve read so many things in them littered with elementary grammatical mistakes.

M: Well then, that should bring you to the top of the pile.

F: Not really, it just means the editors don’t have any discernment.

M: That’s a little arrogant if you don’t mind me saying.

F: Look do you want me to start following people indiscriminately just so they follow me back? People I have no interest in. I have no interest in following people in the first place. It’s false, it’s lies, it’s just so transparent.

M: Well if you want to get your name out there. Otherwise people will continue to have no idea who you are. It’s competitive, yes. I suppose it’s so much easier to put stuff out these days.

F: that’s what bothers me.

M: No agent is going to take you seriously until you have at least 5,000 followers, take it from me. You’ve got 15.

F: All those 5,000 are just quid pro quos. They’re people who have followed those people in return. Anyone can see that. They’re all desperate whoring mediocre writers in some fetid homogeneous bogwash slush pool.

M: That’s how it works, Franz. Give it time and people might start to see that you’re actually quite decent Also if you’re lucky you get slightly more followers than followees. And when you get the follows from people you follow, you surreptitiously unfollow so you can maintain your ratio.

F: Do you seriously believe I will ever go in for such ridiculous, transparently self-serving, juvenile behaviour? Just to get known?

M: We both know that’s what you want the most.

F: Well, with what I’ve written recently, I’d rather no one read it in the first place.

M: Not everything’s a masterpiece. Plus as you always persist in telling me, your best and truest pieces are the ones people ignore.

F: I’m starting to think that’s just another one of my excuses

M: I’m just trying to help you, that’s all. In the end, it’s your call.

Simon Barget: I adore cats and I live in London, England. I also love to play backgammon, I’m ranked #5 in the UK. Check my youtube.

Twitter: @bargetsimon.

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