I’ve received this question a few times when I talk to people about my website. What should I read? Where should I start? I’m going to answer those questions somewhat now. What should you read? Read what you want. You might suspect that my answer would be “Read everything. It’s all fantastic. Even if it doesn’t interest you, read it”, but that answer isn’t very helpful.
Imagine that my website is a restaurant where I prepare equal amounts of every dish and ask people to take what they like. At the end of the night, I can look and go “Lots of people ate the roast beef, but not many people ate frog legs”. I can order more roast beef and fewer frog legs. Frog legs will still exist, they’ll just be a niche item with fewer orders. In the same vein, I can see how many people have navigated to the page for any particular piece. I can’t see how long they stayed or how much they read. I can just tell that they visited the page.
When I do a Facebook promotion I can see demographics and what sort of people engaged with the work. All of this arcane data is part of how I assess what works and what doesn’t. I share most of my Facebook posts to my personal Facebook because the reach is much wider with that. I do notice a slight bump that seems to be correlated with likes, but comments and shares on Facebook really help it get out there. So, if you really love a piece, share it on Facebook. It can often double the reach.
Another thing I’ve recently done is add more tags to my website. Under the title of the piece, it will have a list of categories (Current Writing, 2017, Literary, Short Stories (for example)). If one of those categories interests you, you can click it to take you to all the pieces that I’ve tagged in that category. Now I’ve added genre into the mix. So if you want my opinions on film you can filter that.
So, what are the most valuable things you can do as a reader?
- Read what you like.
- Comment on pieces (what you like, what you don’t).
- Share the piece if you really love it.
- If there’s something you’d be interested in me writing, let me know via social media.
Basically, read and interact. Any way you choose to engage with my work is valid. In fact, not reading my work might be an important component too. So long as you tell me why you’re not reading. It’s all important feedback.
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