Tuesday, December 11, 2018

16 Week Update

image from openclipart.org by bocian

It’s been sixteen weeks since I started my: “Jess Donegan is Here” Campaign.  Time to see where I hit the mark and where I need to adjust.  Check out my weekly updates starting with 12/10 numbers, 12/3 numbers,  11/19 numbers, 11/12 numbers, 11/5 numbers, 10/22 numbers, 10/15 numbers, 10/9 numbers, 10/1 numbers,  9/24 numbers, 9/17 numbers9/10 numbers9/4 numbers/evaluation, 8/29 numbers/evaluation, and 8/21 numbers/evaluation.

I enjoy my Monday Metrics post.  The format is a copy/paste each week where I update numbers and the “featured posts."  One thing I have to do now that my day job is busier, is I will have to prepare “Monday Metrics” in advance.  The numbers won‘t be as accurate, but I won’t miss a week as I have in the past.  

This December I’m going to run a test on #TellAllTuesday.  This is a blog/twitter idea I had that fizzled early.  I want to bring back a featured post each Tuesday with this # that either shares an element of my plans in detail or reveals something I’m not moving on.

Overall growth on Twitter is good.  I wrote an updated 6 step plan that more aligns with my actions I’m experimenting with audience building through less intense work on the platform.  In October I had 358 Tweets with 70K views and 102 new follows.  In November I had 248 Tweets with 54.9K views, and 88 new follows.  While my views and follows dropped, it wasn‘t proportional.  For every October post I had 195 views and “earned” .28 of a follow.  In November each post recieved 221 views and “earned” .35 of a follower.  I’m spending less time on the platform and increasing views.  Now, I might have needed the rapid heavy involvement in the first two-and-a-half months to bring my “following” high enough I can step back.  Now my goal is to have 3-5 meaningful conversations in the Twitter world every two days (about 9-15 convos a week), to stick to my current post schedule and include one blog link a day, to follow about 5-15 new interesting people a week, and to earn about 20 new follows a week.  I want to do this while only putting in only 25min a day.

This Blog 

1. Added a featured post to highlight what showcases the blog.  This way when people land on my blog during a Metrics Post or an experimental post, they can see other “guaranteed” quality content.
2. Added a “Best of” page at the top of the page and organized all my posts across the blogs into categories from the most interesting to least interesting and I keep it up to date.  This helps viewers find posts on topics that interest them but it also helps me find posts to retweet more.
3. Created an "Ongoing Submissions" page organized by the kind of submission the venue is looking for.
4. Created a "Resources" page it currently links to a list of other writing/publishing bloggers I follow.  In the future there will be more resources.
5. Started a few series in this blog and at NAWG that interest me and I feel will generate conversation long term.
6. I’m more curious and have more ideas than ever to explore and expand blog traffic.
7. I have consistent traffic and it’s a larger audience than I expected

Needs Improvement:
1. Traffic.  Seeing the increase in traffic lets me know I could further push my traffic.  I read an article that suggests “rapid growth” daily bloggers see comes from their ability to reach 100 posts quickly.  I can‘t increase my post rate and I can’t merge my two blogging homes to one, but I can know it will take at least 100 posts with sources, links, pics, and promotion before I see my full growth potential.  We are speaking of   another 60-ish posts to this blog and  60 to my other blog.  I have a year before I see true gains.
2. Self promotion.  I headed in the right direction by increasing links to Twitter, posting to Google+, and sharing on Facebook, but I need to do this more AND I need to interact on some Facebook Groups and Google+ groups.  This will be a slow process.  Twitter time has to come down and then I can explore one of these outlets.
3.  Actual writing.  I have a HUGE list of blog topics.  This update for example, is about 6 weeks overdue I wanted a 10 week update, but ideas and scheduling just keep getting the way.  On one side, it‘s comforting to know I have a mountain of content to cover.  On the other side, it‘s discouraging I have more stuff to pile on and write than I know what to do with.

What I’m Doing:
1. Going through my list of blogging topics and writing them. Special focus on keeping my series alive this includes “Best of Kindle Unlimited”, “Bells and Whistles”, “Be Bold”(only has three installments, two are written and scheduled), “Monday Metrics”, “Tell All Tuesday”,  and “Let’s Get Organized” (Series I haven‘t even started).  I’m looking to touch base with each of these projects once a month until the series reach their natural conclusion.  
2. I’m mapping a series called “Writing Cliches” or “Writing Sins” I want to look at it both from a writing and reading perspective.  Why do these things exist, when do they work, when they don’t work, and what to do instead?  The series would tie in with #writetip and #HorribleWriteTip on Twitter.  
3. Playing with a “Story Time” or “Reflections" style post where I write about different writing tools, phases, and so on I went through.  My Niche Blogging post falls into this category and I wrote a “what softwares I‘ve used to write a novel” that fits here too.  I’m just considering what else I‘d share in this series/title and if it has cross over potential to the NAWG blog.
3. Have shorter posts.  Blogs should be 300-1,000 words.  I fail at this and need to break posts up.  

The North Alabama Writer’s Group blog 

1. Our October flashes were huge successes. please see "The Ghost Strikes at Midnight" and "Halloween Spirit"
2. Getting Chris to take part more on the blog is going well, and he‘s sharing our work. His audience appears more interactive than mine so we‘re gaining more views.
3. My goal with the blog this year was to post once a week.  I managed this goal for 8 of 12 months.  If I can post on my own through December (and I have posts stacked through the 22nd) then I can write all next year.
4. Our audience is more consistent.  Where we would go days without views, most days the blog gets 3ish views.  That’s huge from where it started.

Needs Improvement:
1. More group stories.  Oct’s flash success shows me we need more group writing exercises on our page.  Imagine what a bi-weekly group story could do for our traffic.  Or even imagine if I’d had one more Halloween Flash to share?
2. Group participation.  While I’ve got Chris on board, I want to reel in two more group members.  
3. Sharing, I want to see if I can get our members to send out our blog on their media and in real life when it applies.  I’ve taken first steps (which I am enhancing) but I need more group support/consistency.  

What I’m Doing: 
1. Nagging the group and doing my best to remember what they do is outside my immediate sphere of influence.
2. Posting more on social media
3. Continuing to pump out quality content.  A lot of it evergreen in nature. 

Creative Writing

 I am working on edits to my novel “Follow Me: Tattered Veils”.  I am frustrated because I would like more feedback as I go through this process and no one seems to want to help me.  In pursuit of this feedback, I took a writing class, but it didn‘t work.  

At my writing group‘s request, I’ve posted Chapters 1-3 but only Ashley reads.  Ashley has been thoughtful and intentional in her feedback, but I am looking to poll the audience and there‘s no audience to poll.  Feeling a little jilted here both with where the editing process stands and with the response I’m getting from my writing resources.  I want to consider a beta reader, even if I have to pay for the service, but I’m not far enough along in edits for me to feel like I could produce as fast as they would read.

I’m discouarged because I feel more like a blogger than a creative writer right now.  The need to balance the two kinds of writing is strong, but I don’t see how I can stop writing the blogs and remain consistent.  Maybe as I write more posts, my speed will increase and I’ll be able to make room for both?

Talk to me.  Tell me about your own plans, how are they going?  Is there something key I’ve forgotten or HAVE to try?  What’s the most important part of your routine?  Do you have success on a social media platform I’m not using/considering right now?


  1. Frustration is part of a writer's makeup. I enjoy your blog posts and hope you keep 'em coming. I find mnyself getting more views when I interview other authors (because they share with their audience) and write reviews on books and movies. As for reading other blogs, I tend to read reviews and interviews more, but I also enjoy a fun take on the writing life. Just my two cents.

    1. I think you're right. Us writers are always chasing more. I enjoy your blogs too. What I prefer are funny stories, like your post on how you learned the name of the song that haunted you for 30 years. I like writing updates and I'm a huge numbers geek. Break that success or failure down into data chunks and I'm all about reading through every last detail.

      Style wise I like upbeat, funny, reflective, and people who get to the point.

      I enjoy reviews once I know the writer's tastes. Interviews rarely interest me. They tend to bore me, and I think video is a far better format for that kind of back and forth (though I totally see the metrics appeal in hosting interviews).