NEWS: TRBS is on Discord, Plus an Update on the Future of Covering Thrillers

If you’re looking to connect with other readers, partake in thriller discussions, and see all the breaking news before it hits The Real Book Spy website, then come join our (free) growing Discord server for breaking news, exclusive content, and monthly giveaways!

I know not everyone is up to speed on Discord, so I put together this quick Q&A to explain below, touching on why this matters for the longevity of reporting on books, etc.

Why make a Discord Server?

Back in 2014, when I launched The Real Book Spy, I did so because I saw a hole in the market. There were a lot of review sites at the time, but none that were 100% dedicated to covering thrillers. So, I went for it. We had a million visitors within three years. In 2018, we cleared 2 million unique impressions just that year alone. So, I knew for sure that people love these books as much as I do, and I wanted to create a place where they could come to stay up to speed on all things thrillers.

Call it COVID fatigue or burnout, but as many people know, I went down hard with the virus and took a long time to get back on my feet. To get healthy, I stepped back from TRBS, along with everything else, and during that time, I saw a number of new trends emerging. One was the emergence of content creation, and the other was networking on Discord. More on that in a second.

Another way to look at this, though, is that we have a large Book Spy community, but we’re scattered across various social media platforms. With this move, I’m hoping to bring everyone together in one place so we can hang out, get to know each other, and talk about books.

What is Discord?

In a lot of ways, Discord is like its own website. You can download the app on your phone, tablet, or computer. And each “server” functions like its own separate site. Within The Real Book Spy Discord server, you’ll find different threads of conversation, along with actual discussion forums with topics ranging from best books of the year to TBR piles to favorite authors.

How is it different than the actual website?

The Discord server is its own thing, designed to inspire and promote conversation. Think of it like its own little Facebook group, but independent of any social media platform.

Why should I join?

Let me just say that I am really excited about embracing Discord and, as some of you have noticed, Twitch. Why? Because we have to get younger people reading. The numbers are concerning, and the fact is, the younger generation doesn’t seem to be reading at nearly the pace that previous generations have. There is a stigma that it’s not “cool” to read and that doing so makes you a “nerd.” But here’s the thing, it wasn’t too long ago that the same could be said for making Youtube videos. Or playing video games. Or posting photos online. And yet now titles like “Youtube star,” “Instagram model,” and “pro gamer” aren’t just considered cool by the younger generation, they’re seen as viable career choices too. I believe that can happen with reading, and introducing more people to books (thrillers, in this case), is the first step. But I need YOUR help.

What’s Next?

Hopefully, many of you will join our Discord server and find a ton of new books, plus meet other readers. To incentivize those who really don’t want to create an account, download Discord, and learn a new platform, I’m upping the ante. Join now and you can see the first Discord-exclusive cover reveal for Lethal Range, my second book starring Matthew Redd, and the sequel to Fields of Fire. Additionally, I’ll be posting monthly giveaways exclusive to Discord, and dropping news in there first, before it shows up here on the main site. Why? Because Discord allows me to offer more thoughts in real-time, on far more subjects or books, than simply posting here. Additionally, it allows you to ask me something, or even other members of our community. Can’t remember the name of a book you want to read, they can help! Need a new book to dive into? Ask the community for suggestions! So come join us, please.

What about Twitch?

Ah, I’ve been meaning to address this. Yes, I’m on Twitch, and yes, I’ve been promoting it regularly. Why? Because, like Discord, I see that trending up in a big way. Look, it’s a digital age we’re living in. But honestly, that platform is more about having fun and letting people get to know me as an author. Back in the early 2000s, when two of my literary idols—Vince Flynn and Brad Thor—were coming up, they both had really active forums (The Third Option and The Thorum) where readers got to know them on a personal level. I see Twitch as the equivalent of that but in 2022. Yeah, I play video games on there for the most part, but we still talk books. The goal isn’t so much to break news or do reporting on Twitch, though I’ll touch on that next, but rather to laugh and have fun together. And we do that almost every night.

Moving forward, I’ll be doing a lot more “just chatting” streams, where I’m talking to people who are watching and hanging out. That’s your chance to ask me questions about books, authors, or anything else you might have in mind. I’ll also very soon be announcing a weekly stream where we ONLY talk books, and I run down the latest book news and announcements. I’ll also be bringing on guests, mostly authors, and conducting live interviews too. So if you don’t want to miss that, follow me on Twitch here.

(Fun fact: In my series, starting with Fields of Fire, Matthew Redd is the hero, but starting in the second book, Lethal Range, Redd’s best friend, Mikey Derhammer, is cemented as a fundamental part of the series moving forward. Well, Mikey is actually my real-life best friend, who I wrote into my books to give Redd someone he can count on. And guess what? Mikey—the real one—streams with me on Twitch. So, by tuning in, you can get to know the man behind the character, who you’ll meet next August in book 2.)





In closing, I strongly believe that in order to reach a younger audience, we need to branch out and find them. That’s what this is about. And, hey, if you have zero interest in Twitch and Discord, don’t worry—this website will still be here, and I have a lot of stuff coming. Either way, I’m all about promoting books, and at the end of the day, this is about expanding and growing and introducing new things to make our community of readers closer and stronger.

See you there!


Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and co-hosts the ThrillerTalk podcast when he’s not streaming and hanging out with his growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” comes out on September 6, 2022. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


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