The Silent Statistics

The last month has been a little crazy. On Sunday, June 26th, I wrote a “Time & Tied” guest post at Jim’s serial site, “Legion of Nothing”. Then on Saturday, July 9th, my third Epsilon story appeared at the top of “Web Fiction Guide”’s main page (it’s still there, towards the bottom). I’ve also had a few votes giving me pings from the “Top Web Fiction” fantasy page (feel free to vote in the above menu).

Having been curious in advance about any possible effect, I’ve been grabbing daily stats screen captures, in the name of research. At this point, we seem to be back to “normal”: less than 15 views per day here, since Monday. So here’s the month (June 25-July 24) in a nutshell.

Chapter22a

There, there. It could always be worse.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Zero comments. Nothing, nada, zero, zip. Arc 3.1 done, and nothing on the blog in the last 30 days. Unless you count the spam remark that got through, which I deleted. Maybe people need to sign up for a WordPress account, and don’t want to? Though no emails either. No idea why people are staying, or aren’t staying. All I have is my statistics captures.

Okay, there has been some external feedback, which I will get to, but if people aren’t saying anything here, what HAVE they been doing on this site? Let’s get into it.

INTERPRETING THE HITS

It looks like I might have FOUR readers who archive binged. Hello! Feel free to introduce yourselves. One person caught up on June 28th, the next on July 4th (though they may have only read Books 1&2 and not continued), the next on July 7th, and the latest on July 16th. In all cases it seemed to take only two days. June 28th is a curious one – someone might have read the entire T&T archive then, or they might have read to Part 27 even as the person who got that far on the 26th continued reading.

This brings up the question of where people are cutting OUT, and not reading any more. Someone cut out around Part 27, implying they read Book 1, peeked into Book 2, and decided this wasn’t for them. (The June 26/28 case above.) Someone who started on June 30th got as far as Part 34 a few days later, and dropped it. I can’t figure that one out, it’s not a natural stopping point, maybe the Julie family thing was a trigger?

Two people dropped the story at Part 10. One person at Part 8, another at Part 7, four people at Part 4, and everybody else gave up after 1 or 2 parts. “Everybody else” being the 77 other hits that Part 1 received since June 26th.

It’s a bit tricky to tell if anyone simply picked up at “Book 3” (Part 48) with no backstory, but “The Visionaries”, Part 51 from over a week ago, has only 9 views. So between the 4 new readers (above), the 4-5 I think I already had, and past experience, I’m going with “no”.

As far as my “Epsilon” interactive fiction is concerned, forget about it. Out of 55 views this month, only ONE person read past Part 1, and they only went to Part 4. Granted, they’re the ones coming from “WebFictionGuide”, who haven’t seen a prior sample of my writing like Jim’s group did. Before I get deep into referrals, here’s an amusing screen capture from late in the afternoon on Sat. July 9th, where you can see exactly who came from where.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 4.08.05 PM

INTERPRETING THE REFERRALS

At noon on June 26th, when my post went live on Jim’s site, I had zero views for the prior 12 hours, and my June 2016 total was clawing its way to 200, which would have made it the second worst month of the year. Instead, June would finish with 486 views, my best month ever, and July has already pushed past 600.

Note I’m talking views there, not visitors. My June visitors was 149, thirty better than my previous record (119 in April). July is at roughly the same number right now. The surge from Jim’s site in late June was likely duplicated by the WFG entry earlier this month. The highest visitor counts were: 21 on Mon June 27, then 20 on Tue June 28, then 18 on July 10th (after I went up on WFG). All other daily visitor counts are below 15.

Jim’s site, “Legion of Nothing”, gave me 47 referrals in just the first week. The second week had 9 referrals, and by July 13th I was starting to see consecutive days with no arrivals from his site. At present, we’re looking at a total of 68 people (possibly double counting any who clicked in twice). At least two of the new readers must be from his site.

Web Fiction Guide” listings gave me a total of 57 referrals over the month, four of them “Time & Tied”, the rest “Full Scale Invasion” links (that, as said, no one continued with beyond Part 4). So nothing stuck there, nor with the 10 referrals from various “WFG” forum posts.

I also got 9 referrals from “Top Web Fiction: Fantasy” which is kind of exciting. At one point “Time & Tied” had 4 votes there (well, 3 + 1 was mine) which allowed it to be visible (near the bottom). It’s theoretically possible that the complete archive readers July 3rd and July 15th came from TWP and not Jim’s site, but I have no way of knowing.

In the “Miscellaneous” category, I got 3 referrals from Graves’ serial; I hadn’t realized L.E. Erickson had linked me, so go check that serial out. Also 1 referral from RedWood Crossing, and 1 from one of my other blogs. Then 12 from Twitter, 9 from Facebook (T&T has a page with 9 likes), 6 referrals from random Google Searches (most unknown, one was “principal tt2”), 4 from WordPress dashboards/readers, 1 from “mail” (the link is in my .sig) and 1 from “feedreader”.

Here’s a screen capture of views over the last month:

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.56.18 PM

“All Time” comprises almost 23 months (693 days)

INTERPRETING THE FEEDBACK

While there’s nothing “on site”, I have heard things. Like a friend at the math camp I went to last week said that if someone is subscribed in a reader (like feedly), I’ll get no notifications here at all. I also have 7 WordPress followers (wait, 8 – hello chryskelly!), two of which joined in the last 30 days (plus one in the last 24 hours). I admit I have no idea how any of that factors into anything.

Of interest, I also discovered at that math camp that Hedge had been reading my interactive fiction, and doing her own personal vote considerations, which blew me away. Also Justin Aion said that my T&T story was interesting, another a pleasant surprise. And I had a conversation with John Golden, who has been with me for a while. He’s fond of Chartreuse, like me, also likes Frank (though noted he wasn’t around as much later), and as to Carrie he’s warming up to her though didn’t like her initially. Which John feels was part of the point, and yes. I’m big on redemption arcs.

Outside of those 3 “in person” talks, ChrysKelly made a comment over on Jim’s site at my guest post. Seemingly another Chartreuse-style fan, she noted the entry was confusing until you really get that it’s a time travel story. Valid. Elsewhere, on the WFG forums in the thread “Clever/Funny Lines?” I posted an excerpt from “The Visionaries” (the Queue & Eh session), to which Walter said “That’s hilarious”. So that’s good. And Scott Delahunt (my beta) has continued to campaign for me, sharing my FB posts and RTing my updates.

That’s it. To date, of 52 entries, the only T&T posts with actual comments (not counting Commentaries like this one) are Part 21, Part 36 and Part 37, all by John Golden last year. Which makes this serial a massive failure as compared to “Full Scale Invasion” where TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE actually commented on ONE post (I know, right?!) within the first month. On the other hand, no one who started “FSI” this month actually continued with it, whereas four who started “T&T” caught up.

A good question that Sonal raised with me on my personal blog is why “feedback” on something already published in a post is of any use. Just to give a sense of that, there’s two relatively major changes I’ve made thanks to two reviews I got at WFG. The first review was by Billy Higgins Peery VERY early on, mentioning the main character was a horrible, selfish person. So, despite me already losing him, going forwards I muted some of Carrie’s edges and bumped her ‘redemption’ arc back from Part 23 (end of Book 1) into Part 21. The other review was by MaddiRose, which indirectly convinced me to put better ‘breaks’ into earlier chapters, so it’s more clear when I’m changing Point Of View.

I… don’t know what else to do. I mean, the majority of this thing is written, so it’s mostly editorial tweaks like that which are at stake, but even Mark Dittmer’s tweet from reading Part 42 stand-alone and wondering about there being a “Carrie” and a “Corry” was illuminating. Are the names too similar? ARE THEY? Or if you’ve read from the start, is it okay? Does any of it matter??

Maybe I just need to stop going to other serial sites where there are occasional comments, it’s depressing.

Chapter4a1

It’s all YOUR fault, alternate Carrie!

WRAPUP

In summary, Jim said LoN gets 2000-4000 page views and 300-600 users most days. So at best, I pulled in maybe 5% of his viewers, and maybe 5% of those I got stuck around. (5% of 5% being 0.3%, or about 2 people. It presumes the same 600 users each day, but then again maybe all 4 readers came from Jim over two days.) In the past, I’ve picked up a single reader from Maddirose’s review (my previous best day before June 27/28), and that’s about it.

I guess, all I can think is, if you have been enjoying this thing, maybe tell someone?? I suspect comments beget more comments, but that’s supposition. It’s also possible I’m being too self conscious, or have self esteem issues. I’m still KINDA planning to write a T&T Book 5 with a bunch of new characters, but maybe I should write something else instead? Time travel doesn’t seem to fly. That said, we’re stuck with it for at least the rest of this year, I’m no quitter. Plus I need to keep 9 people entertained.

Thanks for reading! Oh, I now have two 2016 dimes to go with my loonie and quarter, and hey, the fact that such an event still makes me grin means something.

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8 comments

  1. I just don’t understand commenting. I don’t have a fiction blog, but I get very few comments on my mathhombre blog. I’m jealous if I think about it about the blogs that engender on post discussion, but wouldn’t know what to do to encourage it. I sometimes close with a question, and am always asking for feedback or suggestions… eh. So I have to be careful about why I write.

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    1. I followed to remind me to start reading, but with flat hunting and everything I’m barely keeping up with posting my web schedule. I guess I’ll be looking to read it in around a month or so, and I promise I’ll comment when I do (only fair, you leave some lovely comments on mine).

      I launched my blog from the guest post at League of Nothing and gained 107 views from it, but I write the same genre as League of Nothing.

      My biggest referrer is Twitter, League was next and the forums at WFG were third.

      Some suggestions, identify you’re target audience. Build a few audience profiles. Identify where they are online, and go there.

      (ie, I write about superheroes, I need to go to pen and cape forums. Is there a time travel fiction forum?)

      If nothing else, make sure you spend November in the nano forums.

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      1. All the best with the flats, CK! No rush, in a month I’ll still be setting up the dominoes, as tends to be my style – they’ll start to crash into each other at summer’s end. Appreciate the information on your end, I’ve been a little curious. Twitter is almost always my biggest referral, at about 20 per month on average – this has been an odd one.

        I swear, I’ve spent years trying to figure out who I’m writing for. Maybe I’ll be able to do some searching and promoting in the coming months. And yeah, I’m hoping to try some NaNo, it’s literally the fourth busiest/worst month of the year (because it’s a report card month) – but I won’t have that to deal with this year. Thanks for chiming in!

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    2. That’s fair. I’m in a weird position in that sometimes I’m jealous of myself, given the three blogs… and a lot of my non-fiction I don’t care as much about in terms of comments, because that’s the feedback I tend to get in person. I need to find a writing group. I also need to read your blog more, John. Thanks for popping in here, and for being in the top 3 of commenters on this site.

      Like

  2. I came from League of Nothing, and have read all of Time and Tied. I couldn’t tell you how long it took me to do so; sorry. I’m now subscribed through Feedly, so if it’s true that that doesn’t give you notifications, I guess you won’t see me. (Except I tend to click out of Feedly and read at the site directly, so you might get a notification for that. I’m guessing you might not if people read the entire chapter in the reader. I don’t know how to do it, but it seems to be possible to configure RSS feeds to only contain the first paragraph or two of the chapter, so that reading the rest requires visiting the original site.)

    As for commenting . . . I read a lot of webserials, and almost never comment. Sorry?

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    1. No need to apologize! Thank you for deciding to say something… it wouldn’t surprise me to learn I’m more needy than other writers. >.< I think part of it here is how my last "Epsilon" story on this site did garner comments, with less views. It is a bit different in tone though, so perhaps that's to be expected.

      At any rate, I'm glad that you were interested enough to not only read, but keep reading – and whether people click out of their "readers" or not, I at least know about it now. So that's good. I do hope you enjoy what's to come, and again thanks for speaking up and letting me know!

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  3. I just got to this point, after finding out about your story from your post on LoN, so I’m possibly one of your four? As you might be able to tell from your stats tracker, I’ll get on and read a few posts, but it’s been spread out so I might not come back for a few days. This is nothing against you; it’s just how I read and how it works out with my time schedule.

    I also read a LOT of other web serial fiction (started with Worm), so I think I have a pretty good basis for comparison. I like your story. When I read that you were going to have a main cast of ten characters, I wondered if you would be able to keep them separate, or if they would kind of blur together with the same or too similar personalities. I can say that you surprised me. I can easily keep track of which character is which. I have read other stories that have a lot of characters, but I can’t really tell who’s who if I’ve been gone for a while. I don’t think I’d have that problem with T&T. (I do like your method for keeping who’s out of their “proper” timeline by using middle names/nicknames.)

    Another plus is the extent of the planning with your time travel “webs”, e.g. Luci’s “missing day”, or the weird causality loops/paradoxes (Carrie’s apple).

    One more point, and this is kind of nice to see (you can call me old-fashioned if you like), is that you don’t use “hard” language. Yes, a lot of people today use four-letter words in their every-day speech, and a lot of authors write in a lot of cussing for their characters, but I think your story is classier because it doesn’t have that.

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    1. Possibly you’re one of the four, but you’ve now managed to post comments where WP stats assure me no one has viewed in the last 24 hours… so there’s obviously more to this web stuff than I actually understand. And that reading method is totally fine! I have a habit of regrouping when I have time too.

      Thank you for the character remarks, that’s something I hadn’t considered… but in retrospect is HUGELY important given my tendency to change point-of-view. Things were also a lot more “omniscient” in the original 2001 draft, so maybe my efforts to narrow the focus to individuals between *** breaks is helping. I’m also going to interpret that as Carrie/Corry aren’t too similar looking. ^.^ (Thanks, it felt more organic than Carrie2 or Future-Me.)

      Ooh, yay, and the twists and loops are part of the reason I feel the majority of this has to be pre-written, as compared to my “Epsilon Project” serials, so I’m glad that’s also a plus. And it’s surely the high school teacher in me that wants to keep the language “classy” (I’m also a fan of the reviewer Linkara, and for that matter Jim at LoN), but it’s nice for that to be acknowledged. Fun fact, one piece of Corry’s dialogue in the original 2001 write was ‘F*ck!’ complete with the star… when I started edits, I looked at that, and thought ‘Well, if I’m not going to commit, he’s going to say something else’.

      Huh, this is now the most commented post ever. So comments do beget more comments? Thanks everyone, I’m feeling better about the story now.

      Like

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