It occurs to me that, about a year ago (give or take a week), I began writing this blog. This seems as good a time as any to reflect upon it, so here we go:
For one thing, traffic has gone up a lot. Last time I did this (about four months in or so), I was averaging 40 views a day. Now I average between 70-100 and I had a stretch or two there where I was between 300-1000. I don’t think these are necessarily unique page views and, in the scheme of blog-dom, this is really small potatoes, but more is more. Traffic has lagged a bit the last few weeks, but I think that has something to do with the Publicize feature not working right and me not noticing for a while.
Anyway, more views, more followers, and it seems to be more-or-less sustaining itself. Good.
I’ve largely eliminated my fiction contributions to this blog. I still write a little bitty scene here or there, but that’s about it. They do not seem to be missed, by and large, and those posts always got the fewest views, anyway. I try not to take this personally and tell myself that much of the blog-reading world is pretty firmly in the ‘tl;dr’ camp. Anything I post over a thousand words gets fewer hits; attention spans ain’t what they used to be.
In writing news, I didn’t wind up winning the Writers of the Future contest this time around. Though most rejections roll off my back, this hasn’t. This is much because it wasn’t a rejection–I placed as a finalist, which is good. It also means I didn’t win, which my hyper-competitive nature inherently interprets as ‘losing’, even though it isn’t. Finishing as a finalist is a great honor and good for my career…
I’ve landed another story, this time with Stupefying Stories, which is also good. I can now send out all that stuff I was holding back from submission while I was waiting for the contest results, this time with the moniker ‘Writers of the Future Finalist’ attached to the queries, which should help. Onward and upward, though I’m getting very tired of finishing second-tier in my writing career. My novel queries make it past the initial round of readers, make their way to editors’ desks…and then ‘aren’t right for them’. My stories make it through the first round of cuts and I get wonderful, personalized rejection letters. These are good signs, ultimately, but they are uniquely frustrating. I’d almost prefer the form, pat rejections, since then I don’t have to live with the knowledge of just how close I came.
(Actually, no, I wouldn’t prefer that. This frustration in my guts is a good motivator.)
In between my bouts of ‘almost getting there,’ though, there is this blog here, wherein I can publish things and pontificate about stuff my wife would never want to listen to and people read it. That, as it happens, helps a bit and also keeps me in the writing zone, which is important. The semester is looming, and I’m sure my classes will be packed full of students–staying in the zone is very, very difficult, believe me.
Anyway, thank you all for reading. I hope you have enjoyed the blog, and I’m interested to hear your feedback overall or about anything in particular. Thanks again!
Okay, so I’ve been doing this blog thing for about 5 months now, and I suppose it’s time for some self-reflection. When I started this blog, I swore to myself that it wouldn’t do or be about a couple things.
- No Navel-gazing: That is to say, the blog won’t be about me, my personal life, my problems, or anything like that.
- No Politics: I’m not interested in starting political arguments, I’m not interested if people think my opinions regarding the state of the world are right or wrong, and I don’t want to be tempted into debating things with people who don’t agree with me.
- No Random Spam: If I’m putting something on the blog, it’s mostly going to be my own thoughts or reactions to some idea I’ve had or been inspired to discuss by others. I’m not just going to, say, post a picture of a thinking monkey I found on the internet somewhere and go ‘LOL!’
Now, with the exception of #3, I’ve avoided this stuff (I had a post at some point just linking to the Straight Dope wherein they discussed the practicalities of a cube-world. It was awesome; forgive me). I intend to keep sticking to my rules; I like them.
What I have been putting on the blog is a fairly even mix of critiques about sci-fi or fantasy topics, random ideas and observations or even analyses of spec fic topics, and finally my own fiction. Of it all, the stuff that I’ve liked the most has been my fiction, but the stuff that everybody else has liked the most has been the other stuff. As it is my intent to become a successful, published author, I’m not sure what to make of that. Furthermore, friends of mine have drawn my attention to this blog post entitled “How Not To Blog,” wherein the author tells me that posting unpublished fiction on a blog is a Bad Idea.
If I may digress on this point for a second: Why not? Well, yeah, I guess people don’t read it all that often (I average 30-ish hits for non-fiction posts and only 20-ish for fiction, both of which are tiny), and obviously if I were to post an entire story here, I’ve given up or decided not to publish it professionally, but I really can’t understand how it hurts my chances of getting an agent. First off, the stories I publish up here are usually pretty damned good, if I may say so myself. Are they my best stuff? Well, no–that stuff I’m sending off to sell. The excerpts of novels I’m trying to sell, well, I guess I can see it as being a bad idea to post stuff I hope to publish, but those instances are really only the barest fraction of what the work entails. I’m not serializing it, and it isn’t like I’m not querying through the normal channels in the meantime.
Furthermore, if I’m a fiction writer and I’m not supposed to post fiction, then…why am I here again? Are folks really tuning in to read my opinions on why Avatar sucks, but repulsed by my own stories? WTF, internet. Is that what blogging is about? It’s okay for me to bitch and moan about my personal problems or go all glassy-eyed about that one time I saw that really pretty rainbow or rip apart somebody else’s creative work, but when I try to create something myself, it’s not okay? Hmph. Sounds a lot like academia, to me–yeah, get your PhD in How To Read Everybody Else’s Stuff and you’re the toast of the town, but get your MFA in Making My Own Stuff and you’re a second-class citizen. Bull and Shit. If this is how the Publishing Industry works or some facet of Self Promotion I don’t understand, then that goes to show that I really ought not self-publish, since I clearly don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
Alright, rant over. Back to reflection. Cue the soothing music. Light up the incense (let me get my inhaler…pfft…okay, yeah, light it now).
Anyway, traffic around here has steadily increased, so that means I’m doing something right. I have more followers than when I started, which is also a good sign. I think for the future I’m going to focus more on posting fewer longer stories and cut the novel excerpts out entirely (better safe than sorry). That won’t stop me from posting the occasional vigniette or short-short–stuff I wouldn’t sell anyway. I will probably up the amount of RPG posts I’ll make, since those seem to be popular. I’m currently posting 2-4 posts a week, which seems a manageable pace. Furthermore, and against my original predictions, I have enjoyed posting here. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too, since I’m going to keep doing it. Tough luck, Facebook.
I’m very open to suggestions or comments regarding my blog thus far. If you have an opinion of what I’ve been doing, good or bad, let me know. Oh, and thanks ever so much for reading!