2015 In Review

Everyone does their year-end review and goals for the upcoming year blog posts in January. But my January was a tad hectic so I thought I would wait a month and do my review at the beginning of February instead.

It’s been one year since I started this blog, and, for the most part, I have enjoyed it. I’ve especially enjoyed getting to connect with some of you readers. It’s been a real blessing to reach out across the inter-web and shake hands, so to speak.

It has mostly been fun writing something new each week, although, to be honest, there have been times where I have struggled somewhat on what to write about. It’s hard for a fiction writer to write about their books when they haven’t been published yet. I have tried to keep circling back to my own work on a regular basis, however, just to remind people that “someday” I will have a book out there for them to actually read. Hopefully.

But to be honest I think this space flounders a bit, here and there. I have a wide range of topics – maybe too wide? Maybe I should narrow my focus a bit? But to what?

I really enjoyed my series last year, and I think I got some traction with that. I was a bit nervous about stepping away from C.S. Lewis – I think there were a few people reading along who just liked the Lewis stuff, so I might lose some readers with the new series. But maybe gain some, too.

And speaking of losing/gaining, WordPress ever so helpfully sent me a year-end review of all the stats about my blog I could ever want to know. To tell you the truth, it’s not the most encouraging reading. I found out:

  • the most popular post on my blog was January 9, 2015. Which was my first post. So, yup, pretty much downhill from there. Heh.
  • the most-read post was October’s post on Halloween in the Dark Ages
  • the majority of my visitors have come from the U.S. – big shout-out to my neighbours south of the 49th!
  • the most views I’ve had on my site is 41 (home page/archive). The most views I’ve had on one post is 23, for the “What’s It All About, Then?” re-post. These are pretty dismal stats. Especially when I see that many posts only had 1 viewer. Erp.
  • All together I have had 2,199 views on my blog this year. Not sure if that counts my own views or not.
  • a bit shout-out to my top commenter, sdorman2014 who blogs over at thegreenandbluehouse. It is so encouraging to see your comments! To know someone is reading along really makes a difference. I apologize that I don’t get over to your blog very often, I will strive to be more reciprocal this year!
  • the other 4 commenters out of the top 5 are: Lesley Ferguson (thanks, sis!), bookheathen, Brenton Dickieson, and writefitz. Thanks so much to all of you. I would encourage you all to check out their blogs as well!

So…you can see this blog is not exactly the darling of the internet. It’s good to have this snapshot, however, it gives me some food for thought and forces me to try to figure out how to improve.

I think part of the problem I have had this year is that I basically suck at social media. My blog is supposedly linked to my author page on Facebook and to my twitter account, but for some reason, it never is posted on those sites when I put a new post up. So many of my posts this year did not get exposure on my FB or Twitter feed.  I have yet to figure this out but it is going to have to be top priority this year. I can’t expect that people will come to read my words if they don’t get prompts directing them here.

I need to be more intentional about posting on my author page. And Twitter…sigh. It’s all so very time-consuming, and I am constantly trying to figure out what is ultimately the best for me in terms of achieving my ultimate goal of publication of my novel. Spending a certain amount of time writing these posts takes away time that I could be preparing submissions to agents/editors. Or revising Book 2. Or writing and submitting short stories, in hopes that I will finally get published in a SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) market and up my writing cred a bit. Plus, professional pay, yay. But the blog is a good place to connect with readers, and allow agents/editors a chance to see a little of your work, and it has allowed me to connect with other writers too. Connection, connections, that’s what it’s all about, right?

I have made myself a weekly schedule in which I have blocked out a certain amount of time each week to do all these things, plus my part-time job plus my fairly heavy volunteer commitments. The unfortunate part that my writing usually gets to be #3 on my daily lists, even with my schedule. Everything else seems more important. The schedule has helped, but I still find myself struggling to fit as much in as I would like.

Next fall I will be finished the heaviest volunteer commitment, which is good. That will free up quite a bit more time for my writing. I’m looking forward to that.

My goals for 2016 are: 

  • go hard on the agent search. My number one wish on my list would be to get an agent. I hope to be traditionally published, and having an agent is the best way to do that, I think.
  • write at least 2 new short stories with an eye to getting them into a SWFA market.
  • write at least 2 new stories to be published in any semi-pro or other market
  • while I am hoping for a traditional publishing deal, I am realistic to know that my best bet is probably going to be self-publishing. I need to research all the ins and outs of this, and get my ducks in a row if Plan A doesn’t work out. If I don’t see some significant traction on Plan A my focus will turn to Plan B (self-publishing) in the fall.
  • attending a couple writing conferences. I’ve registered for When Words Collide once again, and am thinking I should probably attend Realm Makers this year. And then there is Hutchmoot, which, although not specifically a writers conference, would be just about the most fabulous conference I could possibly imagine attending. Time and finances might intrude, however….we’ll see what I actually end up attending. But conferences are excellent places to learn and give writers awesome opportunities to get face-to-face with agents, editors, and readers, so I hope to get to as many of these as I can.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store. Hopefully, more good news than bad!

Photo by kazeund via unsplash

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10 thoughts on “2015 In Review

  1. Arantza Rementeria says:

    Well, I read you too. I am not from USA, but from EU and I really enjoy your opinions and works about English authors, for example. Thanks a lot.
    Arantza.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl says:

    Aw Lisa don’t despair every new reader turns into a fan, I bet Diana started off slow too.:) 🙂 I do love your blogs and always look forward to reading them. 2016 may be your year! I will be there supporting you with every success you have and cannot wait for WWC again this year! I love hearing other people read your stories and am always excited to see the reaction of the panel…they love your words!! Come on AGENT! Where are you???

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sdorman2014 says:

    Hopeful goals! If I remember right I came to you blog after reading your comment on Steve Laube’s blog entry about focus, about creating a blog/web page with focus. I had a sense of confirmation because that is what I had started doing the year before. The focus implied limits which actually made me more creative in thinking up entries. The traveller’s path was interesting so I came back.

    The Green and Blue House is dual posting, posts by either my husband (rdorman2014) or myself–as he does photography of Maine subjects. Also, he is the wind beneath my traveler’s wings.

    I’ve got a couple of nonpaying ideas for submissions but I won’t go into that unless it interests you. Thank you so much, neighbor, 🙂 for the shout-out. Encouraging to know I’m welcome here! The traveller’s path is good walking for this pilgrim.

    PS Sometimes I comment in lowercase because of bad wrists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • L.A. Smith says:

      Definitely interested in non-paying writing opportunities. I find I work best with a goal in mind, so it’s good to have deadlines and other incentives, even if I don’t get paid. You can email me about those opportunities, I’d be glad to have a look. Glad to have you with me along the journey!

      Like

  4. Hey Lisa, Always happy to read your blog. Some times the subject would not be in my range of interest, but would find myself drawn into your story/topic despite my initial doubts. They are always articulate, and interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done. The stats look low, but blogs build slowly. I had bumps by guest blogging for others. I was also Freshly Pressed–wish that would happen again! My twitter and facebook community have also slowly grown. And conferences do help. Did you hear there is an Inklings conference near Vancouver later this year? And the academic conference is in Calgary at the end of May.
    Best wishes on the Agent. I’ve not succeeded there. But you have good goals ahead.
    Brenton

    Like

  6. bookheathen says:

    I felt very much the same about WordPress’s review of my blog. I’ll just have to work harder.[

    Like

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