Monday, August 8, 2011

Page Views and Dead Gods

Blogging is a most curious thing. I have often thought of conducting some experiments to see if my chosen topics generate a difference in the popularity of a post. If I correlated popularity of a post to comments received I’d think that talking about my pets were my most popular. If the past is any indicator, then I would think that would make that a good topic for every post I ever do going forward.

On the other hand, if page views are my indicator, then I see something else. The most popular post I’ve ever done, which predates any crusading for followers or anything else I’ve ever participated in in hopes of gaining additional viewers for the blog, is nothing more than a YouTube video. (click to see) which is, admittedly, extremely awesome.

Weird. Also interesting to note I’ve never gotten a single comment on that post.

So, I’ve tinkered about and tried to notice things I do that turn folks off – I think my book reviews/reports have been less than stellar, as they seem to generate less interest than most anything else. My complaining about how much everything sucks seems to get a few views. I find the whole process mystifying. I’ve not learned anything. I think my next goal will be to spend a couple of weeks and post at different times, different days, and differing frequencies, just to see if anything stands out.

Of course that means I would have to get blogger to start posting my stuff when I tell it to. I mean, the scheduling feature is nice, but it would be a much more powerful tool if it actually posted the damn thing when I scheduled it, I think I would be a much happier camper if that were the case. I know, keep dreaming.

And then I wonder, what’s the point? By any objective standard I’m a pretty lousy blogger. I mean, my posts aren’t as well narratively pleasing as Andrew’s, I’m not as sociable as Alex (seriously, do you visit every blog on the internet?), I don’t rant as powerfully, or often, as Rogue, and I certainly don’t talk about anything compelling at all. Hell, I usually can’t be bothered to visit here sometimes, I don’t know why I would think anyone else would want to.

But then I remember, I’m doing this in support of my writing, ah, building a platform, you know synergy, cross media marketing, fan base stuff. Whatever. In fact, I caught myself the other day thinking that I should start a podcast. Then I thought. Maybe I should actually have something for someone to read. You know, since that’s the point.

So, I’m proud to announce that I’ve put up a short story on Kindle. Wait. Did I say proud? that's a strong word. I'll say I'm nervous enough about missing out on something that I went ahead and did it. I'll do Smashwords, B&N and all that later I suppose, but I'm lazy, and stayed up until 4 a.m. trying to get the formatting right. It also sucked because I intended to include a bunch of sketches and character notes, but, in what I'm sure is only the universe mocking me, having all that included at the end in a "extras" section screwed up the formatting for the whole story. Stupid computers. I can't even put a larger version of the cover that I worked so hard on into the book, so all anyone can see is that stupid little thumbnail. Dammit.

Regardless, I'll put up a link to it soon on one of the sidebars, and you may have noticed that I changed my background here into something blindingly tacky and in your face, you know, to promote myself. I'll leave it up for a week or so and switch it back to something a bit less... confrontational.

And the more I think about it, I really probably should have done one more full edit of that manuscript before I put it out there. Oh well, too late.

With that said, here's the link.

So, whatever. Give me money. Or don't. I have tentative plans to put something else out in the next month or so, when I do I'll probably drop the price of this one to free. Assuming of course, that I can.

No stock photos for me. All from scratch baby! Er, don't ask about the guns though.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hits and comments can be two totally different things. If you really want to confuse the issue, check your stats for what words generate the most hits. Or from what sites visitor come.
I need to add your book to my list of Awesome Authors!
And while I don't visit every blog, I did once see a sign that said "You have reached the end of the Internet - go away now."

julie fedderson said...

Congratulations on putting your short story out there! And as to why people comment or not--I suspect for many it's a matter of time and a little bit of exposure paranoia as opposed to not enjoying the subject material--who knows? Of course, if knowing the unknowable is crazy, I don't want to be sane.

Rogue Mutt said...

As soon as I get a Kindle--probably in a month or two--I'll have to buy that!

My most viewed entry was insulting a "book reviewer" so there you go.

Danette said...

Congrats on getting your short story "out there" Hope you get some hits on it. I don't have any short stories to sell publish epublish or otherwise. I'm too busy with my book(s). The blogging thing is somewhat mystifying. My most popular blog post ever is as review of The Civilization of Maxwell Bright. It seems a lot of people are googling seeing Patrick Warburton naked which brings up my blog, lol! Third most? Drinking Key West. That one I completely understand. Google getting drunk in Key West and find... my blog! Cheers!

Matthew MacNish said...

You need a whole web marketing department to truly understand what actually drives traffic. I wouldn't sweat it too much. Your story sounds cool, and the cover is bad as hell (as in good).

Laila Knight said...

And here I thought blogging was just about chatting with friends. Congrats on getting your story out in ebook form! I knew your blog looked different. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Congratulations on your book! :)

One of my most popular posts was on water for the A-Z Challenge. And recently Blogger has been telling me I get fewer pageviews on almost all posts than I do comments . . . which seems impossible. People have to view a page to comment, don't they?

(I need to get a copy of The Necronomicon.)

Michael Offutt said...

I will be buying your book tonight sir on my iPad. I love the cover art. Very nice. When I get done reading it, I shall pester you for an interview hehe :)

Tonja said...

I think it's easy to get caught up in blogging instead of polishing up the fiction - I feel the same compulsion to make sense of the stats.

Congrats on the book. But I got no Kindle. Let us know when it's available elsewhere.

I agree - Alex is everywhere.

Andrew said...

ooh... narratively pleasing! I'm all tingly now :)

I love the cover. Seriously. And you're making me have to download that Kindle app so I can read your book. Bother. One day, I will actually get a kindle, but that won't be soon, I'm sure. I've been trying to avoid downloading that app for months, now, and here you are forcing my hand.

My most viewed post is about the movie Hannah. I used a quote from the movie as the title of the post, and I get the most views on it because of that. It is the most searched phrase that leads to my blog.
Unfortunately, although I love page views, I'd rather have comments, and I haven't quite figured that one out yet. What I think of as my best post didn't lead to many comments, which surprised me.

Rusty Webb said...

Alex - Wow. You followed the internet all the way to the end? That sounds epic. And I do see some weirdness regarding originating websites. Never can make any sense out of that.

Julie - Only vistas, eh?

Rogue - Well, maybe you can review one of my reviews, then I can review your review of my review. We can keep it up until no one can resist.

Danette - Thanks for the well wishes, I don't mean to brag, but I already sold one... of course, I'm the one who bought it, but that's beside the point. I generally feel pretty wore out after a novel and try to write a short story or two in between. After this was rejected by the only market I sent it to I decided to just put this up.

Matthew - Thanks a ton, I do have an unhealthy need for validation in life, so feel free to compliment me all you want.

Laila - yeah, you did catch the change before this post went up. You kinda snuck in there on me. And thanks for the congrats. It was surprisingly simple to do, of course, it was also infuriatingly difficult.

Eagle - thank you, I don't know what to think about getting more comments than page views. That's a new one on me. And yes, I've tried to get my copy too, no luck for me. Turns out it's forbidden.

Michael - I'd be honored to have you read it. Although I reread it today after I purchased it and was stunned by how much different it was from what I remembered it to be when I wrote it. Weird how that works.

Tonja - Thanks, I will post something when it's available in other outlets, I don't think I'll wait too long.

Andrew - Thank you sir, downloading a whole app just for me seems like more trouble than it's worth. In some ways, I think putting this out there is just me saying I'm finished with it. Although I found a couple of typos in it and am already thinking of sneaking a newer version before too many copies get out... I don't know, we'll see. I agree with you I think, I'd really like it if posts turned into conversations from time to time. You can't get that if it's just page views.

Ellie Garratt said...

Congratulations on putting your novelette out there! The cover is stunning, and I'd love to know how you went about creating it.

Ellie Garratt said...

Maybe I could employ your services in creating mine?

Cindy said...

I bought a copy just now. Looking forward to reading it. :)

Rusty Webb said...

Ellie - Wow, thanks! I'd be happy to share my secrets. And I'm always up for trying to help other people get their covers, as long as you aren't in too much a hurry I'm game.

Cindy - For real? Awesome. I'm not sure what the lag time is in sales reporting, but you very well may be my very first customer.

Cindy said...

It lags sometimes for 2 or 3 hours. Then it lags even more for the rank to change. Amazon is just so busy.

Michael Offutt said...

The cover is stunning. I'm 60% through with it on my iPad. You're writing is fantastic. I shall finish it tonight. I love the western setting but oy, the horrible things they did to that poor woman. I also am intrigued about the wrist thing with the red blinking light. It reminds me of the wrist thing in Cowboys and Aliens. I bet it's not just a compass like Thomas suspects it might be (but one he's never seen). Again, you're writing is superb. I was cursing you last night as I kept reading and realized I needed to go to bed for work today.

Michael Offutt said...

Oh and when I finish I'll do a blog review on it :)

Andrew said...

It's not the downloading of the app that's complicated, it's the finding it and finding it from a trustworthy site and all of that. If only I was more tech savvy, it wouldn't be such a big deal.

I like that blogger gives you the ability to follow comments (although -you- don't have that enabled, so I have to actually remember to come back and check yours to see if you've added anything i need to respond to), so I know if there's anything that comes after my comment that I should respond to.

Rusty Webb said...

Cindy - Thanks for the info. I've tons to learn.

Michael - You've left me one of the most awesome comments I've ever read. Hope you still like it when you're done reading.

Andrew - I had no idea that was an option that I could enable/disable. I'll look into that. I've never tried the kindle for the pc before. Sorry it's troubling you. If I can I'll move on to Smashwords and B&N this weekend.

Andrew said...

Yeah, but I think you can only have that option, now, if you choose the pop up comment box. It changed back when blogger was having issues and they changed whatever they changed to fix those issues.