I’ve spent the last six months or so reading a shit load of books. And with it, I’ve been writing reviews of them. One review a week, written as much for me as they were for anyone else.
But, in case anyone was interested, I published them on my blog – this blog – and I did all the correct social media stuff. I had a brand, a regular time, I tagged the authors, the publishers, the publicists and made as many references to pop culture (Justin Bieber, One Direction, etc) to try and boost the number of page hits.
It sort of worked, page views and visitors increased every month from July through to December, and while some of the numbers came from people directly clinking on the links I put on Twitter, I was starting to see a lot of traffic from search engines.
I can’t see what the search term was when people come through from Google (and perhaps unsurprisingly, that seems to be the search engine most people use), but I can from other search engines. So I plugged in some of the terms myself.
- The one that came up most was Jude St Francis – the main character of A Little Life (my favourite book of the year, and incidentally the post that had the most views across the year).
A Little Life was one of the big hits of 2015, one of the most talked about books of the year, so I was surprised to find that my post about it was getting traffic. Surely there must be a million posts out there just like mine?
When I typed Jude St Francis into Google – a link to my blog was the first result. Now a month or two later, it’s the second link. This was a huge surprise, I’m not sure how it happened, but it did.
Moving by Jenny Eclair is fast proving to be my second most popular post, and when I put that into Google, I discovered mine was the fifteenth link.
I’m not sure what I’m doing, but it seems to be working.
Last week, I was looking at my ‘Yearly Stats’ on WordPress and discovered I was only sixty views away from hitting two thousand for the year. I was excited to see how close I would come and so re-posted a few links.
I nearly made it. I was fifteen views short. One extra day would have done it.
And then I stopped to think. Two thousand views in a year, and I only started regularly posting in July. A little bit of quick maths tells me that I could hit four thousand views a year – or more – if I posted regularly.
Whether that’s an audience of one, reading things four thousand times, or four thousand individual people, I don’t know, but that’s a big number,. And some of them, I know, are reading more than one page at a time.
People are choosing to read what I write – and some of them, likely, even if it’s just that one maniac, are coming back to read more.
I’d considered self-publishing before, but it’s never really appealed to me, even in this world of self-made internet billionaires like EL James. I never thought I would have the energy or the presence to be able to sell an ebook online.
But a few things occurred to me last week:
- I have an established audience (even if it’s only one stalker)
- I write because I like to write, not because I want to make money (although if anyone offered me some, that would be great)
- I write well to deadlines.
And so I decided two things:
- I would publish my already written novel Memories of a Murder on my blog
- By the end of 2016, I would write the second novel, already largely planned – a sequel to Memories of a Murder.
The first part of Memories of a Murder will be published next week… just as soon as I’ve blown the cobwebs off of it.