a behind-the-scenes look at the analytics of an unknown writer’s website
February of next year will mark the ten year anniversary of this website. For ten years I have been posting dumb stories for strangers to read. In that time I have also released ten collections of my flash fiction. There are many writers would assume that this type of dedication would be rewarded with some miniscule measure of fame and fortune.
I do not harbor such illusions.
I’ve known from day one that there is no market for dumb stories.
To support this contention (and to answer an email question from the 22nd), I have posted the March 23rd analytics for this page. I thought you might find it interesting. Ten years of posting stories and there isn’t a publisher in the world who could find a way to monetize it. On the other hand, over those same years I have spent $0.00 on marketing the website so perhaps I’ve tipped the cosmic scales towards balance.
340 people visited the site, (And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I get about 15-40 visitors a day from an old post entitled Dear Penthouse Forum; that I’m sure are only there because they put that in the search field of Google. Imagine their disappointment), but only 70 of them from the United States. I can’t even develop a fanbase in my own country.
What’s worse, those 340 visitors came from 79 different countries. 79! How does that even happen? 23 separate countries had a single person come to the site. Maybe they have a lottery to find out who the unfortunate one will be.
Ireland is an English-speaking country and yet only one person came. I’m part Irish for fuck’s sake and only one of those drunk bastards bothered to check in. On the other hand, 17 Chinese showed up, 7 Iranians took a look and 6 Nigerians stopped by.
How could I possibly in good conscience sell that data to a publisher as a valid reason to put out my next book? Note that even the word conscience is made up of con and science… which I’m not sure helps support my argument but is interesting nonetheless.
As an aside, sometimes you see writers list all of the places that their ‘work’ has been published. I long ago lost track of the number of magazines, periodicals, literary websites and webzines that have included one of my stories. Maybe 60? 70? I’ve also had over a dozen anthologies include something of mine. You know what it’s gotten me?
Nothing. That’s the dirty little secret about all of these obscure magazines and journals with the dopey-sounding names; nobody reads them. Nobody. Not even the editor’s friends. Especially not the other authors. When they accept your story and include it in their ‘publication’ you will see zero increase in either web traffic or book sales. Zero.
And that’s rounding up.
Maybe that’s why I never bother to read their laundry list of submittal rules. They really need to get over themselves. So why even bother to submit to them in the first place?
For the same reason that I post on this website, knowing that on the average day I will get more readers from India than I get from Canada; because why not?
This website, the seemingly endless stream of pointless stories and observations, are all about why not? They are fueled by it.
Why admit that after 10 long years only 70 Americans bothered to read what I’d posted two days ago?
Because on March 23, 2021 8 readers from Malaysia did. 8 people I will never meet or interact with. 8 people that logged onto the internet with the hopes of reading something odd or meaningless and somebody has to be there to deliver it.
If you think I’m trying to talk you out of starting your own webpage, you couldn’t be more wrong. I won’t read it, of course, but someone somewhere will. Probably in Malaysia.
“You see, I’m a guy of simple taste. I enjoy profanity, and metaphors, and double-entendres! And do you know what they all have in common? They’re cheap.”
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