So I’ve been doing this blog for six months as of today. And I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’ve learned a lot from it, about structure and marketing myself and all sorts. So here are a few things I’ve pulled out of my experiences:
What I’ve enjoyed the most
The posts I’ve enjoyed the most are those where I’ve had the opportunity to analyse a topic and bring in my experiences and observations. If you look at my Archives page, I’ve listed three poss as “Promoted” – the three I am most happy with, that I like the best. They are Inspiration, Archaeology and the One Ring, Building Worlds Alongside Stories and What’s With all the Kings and Queens in Fantasy? Overall, the posts I’m most happy with are those that I felt driven to produce; the more generic posts like the Best Fantasy Films posts, and the posts where I was wondering what I would post next, didn’t come out so well, I think.
What I’ve learned about promotion
There are a few posts I’ve linked on Reddit – generally /r/writing or /r/fantasy – and each time I got a fair few hits, a real spike of them. But each time it was generally only hits, maybe a like, never comments. Now, maybe I was doing it wrong, but it’s clear posting links all over the place, even if they’re relevant, is not as effective at gaining engaged readers as I’d hoped – and neither is it as fulfilling as the other means by which I have seen spikes in hits: other people linking a post on their Facebook profile, Google plus page or blog. It’s when that happens I know that someone who read what I posted as interested in it (and thanks to those of you who have done that), and it is therefore those posts I know work. Incidentally, it is also usually those posts which I enjoyed writing the most. So my promotion efforts will remain low key for now – the usual tweet, changing my forum signatures and so on – and I’ll focus on producing more interesting posts.
The reviews I’ve been posting have been popular, and I enjoy doing them. If nothing else, it keeps me reading when it’s so much easier to get a TV show up on Netflix and play Minecraft. I don’t want this to be a review site first and foremost, though; I want to talk about things in fantasy and writing that interest me as well. But I’ve got quite a reading list of new and recent books, some self-published, that I have either committed to review following discussion with the author, or want to read and review because it looks good and is recent. So I’ll definitely keep going with book reviews.
Film and TV reviews will take second fiddle to that, and even if I’ve seen a film or TV show I could review, if the timing is off – I don’t want to post two reviews in succession as that gives reviews more of a focus than I like. So while I recently saw Jack the Giant Slayer, I won’t be reviewing it because my next post will be a book review (though, for the record, enjoyable, funny, good cinematography, Ewan McGregor fantastic while not outshining other actors, a bit predictable, many characters archetypal, overall 7/10).
All that above is based on what I think and feel about this blog, but as with any endeavour, a different perspective can be very useful in making improvements. So what do you think? What posts have been your favourite? What do you want to see more of – and what do you not like so much? How do you think I could improve what I am putting out? Let me know. I’d appreciate it.