Sunday, April 3, 2011

Crunching Numbers

I’m doing a little experiment here. I first posted this as a “note” on Facebook. If you actually read it there first and choose to comment, would you mention that, please? I’m trying to figure out how people find stuff I post.

This is yet another comparison in the vein of why I’m writing fanfiction instead of original. Sick of this topic from me? Don’t read this post. (Somehow missed the deeper, more philosophical “Why I write fanfiction” and actually care? Click here.)

First, let us catalog what I have done in original. I wrote two full novels, self-published them first and later polished and had them re-published by an independent publisher. I spent a HUGE amount of time and money collecting rejections, attending writer’s conferences to try to “network”, and paying for false promises like “custom” covers and bookstore distribution (Xulon, not Splashdown). I also spent a HUGE amount of time and money on advertising. Take my website, for example.

I spent money to subscribe to the flash tools to make the fancy flash introduction. I’m sorry it still has the old TDH cover still in it, but I don’t feel the need to pay more money, plus a lot of time to fix it, as I will explain.

I spend money annually on the custom domain and the hosting. I have advertised my website on Google adWords. I have put the web address on business cards, online signatures, social media, blog interviews, author bios, and every other conceivable place I could find. This is what I have to show for OVER TEN YEARS of paying (money, time, sweat, tears):

So let’s look at fanfiction. I use a free website for distribution. Yes, I mirror my stories on a separate domain, but I don’t pay for the hosting on that; I accept the GoDaddy ad instead. And the stats I am about to show have nothing to do with my domain, in fact, my efforts there probably detract from these numbers, since it is just a duplication. I have not spent a dime on advertising this. I have mentioned the fact that I post fanfiction on my social media, but I honestly have seen almost zero evidence of anyone finding me that way. So what do I have to show for my foray into fanfiction?

For those who are math challenged, I have tallied the “hits” and I get a total of 49,342. These are not 11-12 years worth of hits, like the first example. This is LESS THAN TWO YEARS worth of hits. So taking time into factor, this is GREATER THAN 5000% more hits per year.

True, I’m not making any money this way, but since I’m also not spending any, I’m coming out pretty far ahead. Suddenly, I don’t feel so black sheep anymore.


  1. Mentioning that I did NOT see this on FB. Key word being "see." Had I seen it, I probably would have read it. But FB being what it is, not every post makes it friends' newsfeeds. No rhyme or reason that I can figure out.

    Cool about the stats. Since the hits don't seem to be coming from social media, do you know where they *do* come from?

  2. The numbers from I don't think *I* generated them at all! I think they were people who already came to the site either to read or to write and they stumbled upon my story(ies) and liked them enough that they kept coming back for more. I know I'm definitely NOT looking at 49,000 unique visitors. With 147 chapters, there would be 147 hits per person just to read what is posted, but the point to me, is that they DO keep clicking, they do come back for more. I haven't been able to generate traffic like that anywhere else, website, blog, facebook, whatever. If I could figure out how to "drive" traffic or to "convert" the freebie readers into paying ones, then I'd really be onto something. Thanks for checking my blog!