Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why Don't You Come Back? (ISWG)

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post! Find out more (and join the group) by clicking this link!

I was GOING to do a post on how writers don't seem to want to get paid, or perhaps on how hard it is to start up a publishing business or perhaps combine both of those, because I recently (two months ago) announced (on several forums) that I, as publisher here on lit, a place for stories, was going to PAY WRITERS FOR STORIES, and yet in that time I have had fewer submissions than I expected, given that I was offering to PAY WRITERS FOR WRITING, which I understood to be the whole point of WRITING, or at least 53%of the point of writing, but then I realized that such a post would not be about my insecurities, as such, and would not be about writing so much as publishing, so I decided that under no circumstances would I mention that lit, a place for stories will PAY WRITERS FOR WRITING, and I especially was not going to mention that the details can be found on the "We Pay For Stories" tab.

I take this stuff seriously, after all, so let me instead focus on a different topic entirely, the topic of






Or: Why Don't You Come Back?

What makes a person come to a blog, and then come back?  And keep coming back? Because whatever it is, I seem to lack it.

Is it riboflavin?
Should I be eating more riboflavin?
What is riboflavin?
Is it what they use to artificially color McRibs?

Here is why I started thinking about how much people don't like me probably do like me and were totally going to keep reading my blog but were kidnapped by Ice People From Pluto: A few people have submitted stories to lit (which is the blog you're reading now but probably never will again) and those people have drawn some comments on the blog -- Tina's story, for example, got 26 (and counting) which is

(A) way more comments than any of MY stories have ever gotten, and

(B) way WAY more comments than any of my stories have ever gotten, and

(C) all of the above.

Which is GREAT, for Tina as a first-time writer and me as a third-time publisher, that being the third story I ever published on the blog, but then, the other day, I put up one of my own stories (because it'd been a week, which was how long I'd agreed to run Tina's story as the top one) and I while I didn't expect 26 comments* (*secretly I did) I expected more than three...

... one of which was mine.

...And the other two of which were from Andrew Leon, the second probably being a pity comment to bump up stats, which, don't get me wrong: I will take pity.  It got me my first prom date, it got me my present job, it got me my present wife, but the larger point is:

What happened to those 26-or-so people who came here to check out Tina's story and then didn't come back?

Blogger lets me track pageviews, and for Tina's story, the total pageviews were, quite frankly, phenomenal:  Tina's gotten 143 pageviews since 12/30/13, which puts her up there with Tebow-related posts (this used to be a sports blog, so there are old posts hidden in the history about Tebow and stuff), so Tina got about 7 comments per page view.

(For another day: Who views a page and doesn't leave a comment?  With 143 page views, shouldn't there be more than 26 comments?)

But my own story, posted on January 5 (It's the one RIGHT BELOW THIS, in case you were thinking about giving me a pity page-view.  You should read Tina's, too, but not out of pity) got only 16 page views in the past 2 1/2 days, and only those 3 comments.

So where did the 143 people, or the 26 commenting-people, go? Did none of them think "Hmmm! This blog seems interesting, what with it's letters and words arranged into narrative form!" and bookmark it to come back?

Those are individual post hits, which may only count if someone actually reads just that post, as opposed to coming to the website and reading everything, so I also looked at:

The ICE MOUNTAINS OF PLUTO, from whence Earth's doom came!
a graph of hits I had per day on the blog for the past week, which roughly encompasses the length of Tina's story being up and my own.

It's remarkably consistent, isn't it, with the same page views more or less each day (I can't explain that spike last night, tripling the average blog viewership for no reason late on January 7? Did something happen last evening, when I was playing Teddy Attack with Mr Bunches [long story] that caused people to rush to their laptops and try desperately to find short stories?)

Was it the ice monsters?
Were they trying to get our riboflavin?

What the graph shows, though, is that while lots of people checked out Tina's story (she told me she posted a link on Facebook, and on her blog), and lots of people (relatively speaking) commented on it, overall, readership (?) of my blog remained relatively steady, and has been for a month:

With again, the spikes coming around Tina's story.

So the question again, is, why don't those people come back? Or at least some portion of them?

Or did they come back? Is that spike on January 7 the readers who saw Tina's story and came back to see what was posted here now? If so, why did none of them leave a comment?

(And, we're back to why read a blog post and not leave a comment? But that's for another day.)

I have a system myself: if I notice a blog, however I notice it (someone comments on mine, someone links to it, or something) I will bookmark it.  There are a few blogs I check out every day, or at least every day that I read blogs: those are the blogs that I have found consistently entertaining and well-written, and I read them as often as I can.

There are other blogs that post inconsistently or which I haven't found as entertaining; that's not a knock on them, because after all, I don't like every movie or book or song I hear, and even movies/books/songs that seem like they would appeal to me I don't always like equally.  Who does? One of my favorite groups right now is New Politics, and while I like many of their songs, I listen to Harlem

way more often than I listen to their other songs -- so if I don't come to your blog all the time, that's not necessarily a knock on you, it just means that even if you have a blog I like, there are others I like better, which with limited time means that I'm not going to get to read every blog I want to every time I want to, anymore than I will get to read every book I see is getting published.

So I get that.  But with that said,

Why didn't anyone come back?

I've come across blogs that instantly vaulted to the top of my must-read list, blogs like A Beer For The Shower, which is very high on my list of blogs I go to as often as I can, and other people's blogs, too.  Again, I don't necessarily get to every post they put up, but I get to a lot of them, because what I saw made me like them and I wanted to read more.

So that's what I'm left with: As many as 400 people clicked on my blog and read Tina's story, and 26 or so of them felt strongly enough about it to leave a comment, and of all those people, one decided to come on back and see what the next post was.

So Andrew, I welcome your pity. The rest of you, at least tell me the truth: was it my breath?

Because I've heard riboflavin can fix that.

Check out Tina's great story "Sippy Cups, Earbuds, and Something That Surely Isn't Wine," by clicking that link.  I've also published stories by Brian Miller; click this link for both of them, and if you want to submit your own, check out the "We Pay For Stories" tab.

Also, I'm part of a new group of speculative fiction writers gearing up a website and monthly magazine, so if you like scifi, fantasy, and other related stuff, go to "Indie Writers Monthly" and find publishing ideas, reviews, writing tips, and more!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What brings me back?
First, interaction and friendship. I follow an eclectic mix of blogs because of that interaction, which I like.
I will also admit time is a factor. I try to return all comments, which can take a long time some days. And today will be one of those days as i attempt to visit as many buddies and IWSG posters as possible.

Pat Dilloway said...

Now you can see why I shut my blog down.

Andrew Leon said...

Did you get the email I sent you about the story?
Although it's not important at the moment seeing as the cover for Coll 4 is still not ready.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, as for comments, etc:
Most people don't comment. That's just the way it is.
And I'm not sure why people don't come back other than that they're people, and that's, also, the way it is.
No, I'm not very positive about all of this, but I'm distracted, today, about figuring out how this other writer I know sold 10,000 units of her books this past year and I didn't even hit 1% of that.

Briane P said...



I sold, in December...


Or: "None Percent Of That."

I did get the email and thought I responded but I guess I did not.

Andrew Leon said...

No problem; I just wanted to make sure you got it.

Leanne Ross said...

I am glad to see that you didn't harp on the fact that you are PAYING WRITERS. Subtly is a nice attribute. HA. As for why people came to read Tina's story (which I must admit I did not), she advertised the @#*& out of it. She praised you quick soundly in her own blog. Also, it seems you have to jump a few hoops to post here. I usually respond to blogs using my own blog handle ( ), but here I have to sign in with a Google account. What if I don't have a Google account? Should I set one up just to comment? In any regard, I find you amusing (hoping that was part of the point) and will add you to the list of blogs I follow.

Rusty Carl said...

Look, I'm here!

I will tell you how I decide on blogs. One, I'm way more interested in a bit of back and forth than I think I ever realized I was. Alex is right, I've recently tried to start answering comments on my own posts because I've discovered that I'm actually interested in finding out if someone noted what I said on their blog.

Also, I only have x amount of time (see, X is important) to spend, I do remember that the goal, I guess, of me blogging is getting people to notice me. So, knowing that it's usually a tit for tat regarding blog visitation, I can either visit one of your blogs, read a 20,000 word essay on how bubble gum saved your cat from herpes, which might make me cry, and then ask my wife to read it, then have us talk about it for a few minutes before going to bed... OR, I can visit 19 other blogs and actually do something (possibly) that feels like it might bring a slight bit more attention to me.

I should probably post a bit more often. My point being, I find your posts to be deep, layered with subtlety, and requiring quite a bit from me, the reader. I enjoy them, cherish them even, but sometimes, I can be gone for a bit before I come back.

It's not personal, it's business.

Sorry, I've been under the gun of being laid off from work for a while now, I've been hearing stuff like that a lot.

But if I do get laid off, I'd like to make writing my single source of income, which means I may have to send you, at a minimum, of 25 stories per hour, 40 hours a week, in order to make ends meet. So, be prepared.

Crap, was I talking about something. Oh yes, so, the point being, I cherish my time visiting you, and intend to do it more (I just added Lit to my blog roll, which is what I use to determine who to visit).

I really wish I remembered what I started typing earlier. Have I talked about why Hamburgers are better than pizza yet? I forget.

Andrew Leon said...

Wait, what's this about being laid off?
The only advantage hamburgers have over pizza is portability. I mean, you can get a hamburger pizza, but I don't think a pizza hamburger would work out well.

Rusty Carl said...

Andrew - nothing worth talking about, really, just that the super-mega-fortune 500 company I work for, the one that gobbles up smaller businesses and makes billion dollar deals over breakfast, has decided to spin of my entire business. So me and a few thousand of my dearest friends are in flux, possibly for as long as a few years. Until the dust settles. I *could* be laid off, or transferred to a diff department, or go with the spin off business, or possibly one of tons of other things...

In the end, though, I won't be doing what I do today for that much longer.

Andrew Leon said...

@Rusty: You know, I don't think I've ever known what it is you actually do.

Rusty Carl said...

Andrew - Me neither, which might be why I'm in this predicament.

Andrew Leon said...

Well, I have no good response to that.

Briane P said...

Well if THAT wasn't poetic justice:

I tried to sign in and post a comment sympathetic to Rusty and telling Leanne I'd fix the sign in but the sign-in wouldn't let me and I lost my comment.

For the record:

I am sympathetic to you, Rusty. Seriously. That's awful. If you lose your job, send me any old story you have and I'll see what I can do.

Leanne: I'm changing it, I swear. I didn't know you could only use a Google account. I aim to please around here.

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