1st Anniversary Post: Top Posts and the State of the Novel

1stanniversaryimage

I set up camp on Wordpress a year ago to connect with other readers and writers, and establish some internet presence while I tried to get my novel published. As far as publishing goes, I totally failed, but I’ll get to that later. First, some fun blogging anniversary stuff—

The Best of A.D. Martin Posts:

Sex definitely sells—well, according to my post statistics, anyway.

Without looking too closely at all the facts, the posts which garnered the most clicks over the life of my blog—by quite a large margin—has been:

1. Two Seasons of Arrow, Seven Women for Oliver Queen; and

2. Cool-ish Actors, Annoying Characters

Pointlessly Shirtless Men of Arrow: Slade Wilson, Oliver Queen, John Diggle, and Roy Harper

Yeah, people click on these guys.

For the post about Arrow, the post seemed to have built considerable SEO which helped it to show up in Google results somewhat prominently (as I write this, if you search for “Oliver Queen” and “Women,” the post will be in the first page or two). I also noticed that not long after I made the post, someone awesome linked to it on the IMDb discussion board for the show. Thanks, anonymous person!

Aimee Teegarden

I should probably watch Teegarden’s newer stuff.

The SEO of the Arrow post aside, there is one thing these two posts have in common: attractive people. By coincidence (not by design; I wish I were that clever), the images displayed on my “Top Post & Pages” are of shirtless vigilantes and Aimee Teegarden, for the Arrow and “Cool-ish Actors” posts, respectively. I think it’s fairly safe to say that most people find Oliver Queen, Mr. Diggle and Ms. Teegarden pleasant to look upon and this seems to have played a part in giving these posts a higher view-count than my other posts.

Oh, and I guess both posts involve television shows.

Overall, my view statistics are still rather modest. Don’t ask for the actual numbers (unless we meet in person and you buy me a drink).

Search Engine Optimized

Like the Arrow post, a few of my other posts have done their fair share of leading people to my blog through search engines.

Vincent Adultman Did a BusinessLots of folks have been searching for Vincent Adultman quotes which brought them to 9 Maybe-Important Quotes of Fictional Characters which, in retrospect is a very unrefined blog post. A third of the quotes are poignant, a third of them are funny, and the final third are obscure. There wasn’t a consistent theme. So, if anyone out there wants to write a post with a bunch of quotes, make sure there’s a theme.

Then there are people searching for writing advice on “dual protagonists” and coming to this post about rules for writing fiction. Now, I try not to give preachy writing advice on my blog because I don’t consider myself an expert and have no tangible proof of writing merit; I consider my writing craft posts to be musings rather than advice and I hope I haven’t led anyone astray. This particular post is one of my earlier posts, but I still believe its general message: Learn what the generally accepted rules are for writing and, after you come to understand its purpose, feel free to break it.

I was somewhat surprised to find my relatively sensitive post about Rape as a Plot Point had built some search engine relevance. This post was written while I was still heavily influenced by my time on a law journal; I was prone to finding outside sources and opinions on whatever topic was at hand.

The Director’s Picks

Setting the above posts aside, I have other posts which I’m particularly fond of despite the low number of lifetime views (somewhat ironically, they are listed in order of how many views they’ve gotten):

1. 10 Tips for Better Writing!:

I began writing this post as a joke in response to a certain Mr. John Guillen’s criticism of similar articles which purport to be sure-fire methods to success as an author. As my post indicates, I ended up providing my real opinions on what might help people with their writing based on my own humbling experiences—along with some jokes .

2. YA Characters Free-for-all Battle:

One of my earlier posts with a conclusion which, I think, most bibliophiles would enjoy even if they aren’t entirely familiar with these YA characters. Stay gold.

The roster.

The roster.

3. Ted Mosby Reacts to LeBron’s Return to Cleveland:

I wrote the original version of this post on July 11, 2014. At the time, NBA fans were making noise on facebook about LeBron’s return to the Cavaliers. Not being a big sports person, I couldn’t have cared less about the prodigal superstar’s move back to his original NBA team; that was, if not for my knowledge of How I Met Your Mother. My first thought was how the character Ted Mosby would have reacted had HIMYM not ended, and I wrote this short post about it.

As far as I can tell, I might have been the first person in the world to publicly lament that we didn’t get to see Ted’s response on the show. Currently, if you Google for “Ted Mosby’s response to Lebron’s return to the Cavaliers,” I’m at the end of page 2; not bad for an obscure author blog.

The original title of the post, as indicated by the permalink, was “Would’ve Been Fun to See Ted Mosby React to Lebron’s Return to Cleveland” (I didn’t properly capitalize LeBron’s name). Three days later, Josh Radnor and EW released a clip of Ted Mosby’s actual response and, being the blogging noob that I was, I updated my post to link to it rather than making a new post and linking back.

Notably, this was also my only post concerning sports to date.

P.S. Go Warriors! Sorry,Teddy Westside and King James (whose performance during the Finals, I’ve heard, was stellar). Full disclosure, I’m not a real fan of any sports team but I lazily root for Bay Area teams ’cause I grew up in the Silicon Valley.

4. The Good Guys: Square Bear Heroes: The post isn’t crafted all that well, but I still like it. It’s basically an homage to “goody two-shoes” characters. Captain America~! It’s a shame Chris Evans doesn’t seem to want to continue playing the iconic hero beyond his sixth film. I’m dreading the Civil War (but will definitely watch it).

The Good Guys: Captain America, Ned Stark, Cory Matthews, Harry Potter, Obi-wan Kenobi, Doug Funnie, Ross Geller, Rick Hunter, Superman

5. Be Insulted by a French Robot via Google Translate: For some reason, people actually got to this post by looking stuff up on search engines. I forget which keywords they used, but I thought it was pretty darn funny.

Moving on to writer stuff that’ll likely bore you (if the above hadn’t already done so)—

“Over and over and over . . . .”

On June 7, 2014, I began my blog while working on the “sixth” draft of my novel. Currently, I’m working on draft “17.1.” Like many writers, the way I number my drafts is specific to me; more or less, every numbered draft after the first is a tally mark for the number of times I’ve read my own manuscript. So when I finish up this edit-run and end up with draft 18, it would mean I’ve have read my own book seventeen times.

Now, the smart way to write and edit the novel generally goes like this: (1) outline, roughly or in detail; (2) write the first draft; (3) make structural edits (i.e., substantive and developmental edits); (3) make/get copy-edits; (4) proofread.

I did this: (1) outline very little; (2) copy-edit; (3) structural edit (based on beta reader feedback); (4) copy-edit; (5) more copy-editing; (5) structural edit; (6) copy-edit again; (7) structural edit; (8) copy-edit; (9) structural edit; (10) punch-self in face.

The sad thing is, aside from the punching, I’m not exaggerating. My approach to the editing and agent querying process was misguided. I wasted time copy-editing before making proper, comprehensive structural edits.

With the flawed MS, I crafted a query letter that got some agents to do double takes, requesting the full or partial MS, but every agent ultimately passed. I don’t blame them.

After a while, I concluded most of my beta readers were pulling too many punches, so I took a step back to look at my MS more critically. I wrote a more succinct summary which divided the book into three Acts, and drafted a timeline which presented the events of the novel in chronological order. With those, I assessed how each scene and chapter moved the plot forward and whether they carried enough of the tension, humor and pathos I wanted. Seeing major flaws, I began a carefully planned round of structural edits which likely has seen more changes than a number of my previous edit-runs combined (and I’m only two-thirds of the way through the MS).

Round One of my fight to get this MS published has been a struggle. Not only did agents reject me, but I decided my MS wasn’t good enough for me to feel comfortable about publishing as an indie author. However, with this current structural edit and the light copy-editing to follow, I believe the MS will finally be ready for the professional copy-editing phase (I know, I’ve probably said something similar before, but I mean it this time—meheheh).

So, here’s to the start of Round Two.

sapporonarita

Note: I wrote this two weeks in advance of the actual anniversary of my blog and it’s being posted a week early. 

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “1st Anniversary Post: Top Posts and the State of the Novel

  1. Happy 1 year anniversary! I always enjoy your posts because our writing processes over the past year have seemed really similar. The only difference is that I haven’t wasted time copy-editing, because I already know that will come when the manuscript is cooked and DONE, structurally and thematically. But, you know, I’m not even at that point yet – so maybe when I do think it’s done, I’ll still be rewriting the book!

    Also, the SEO stuff was really interesting. I find that my Gamora cosplay posts get the most return hits. From my days on Tumblr, I’ve found that people who make things for a fandom are the ones who collect most of the followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow – I think you’re doing great! After one year I think I had two followers and my most viewed post was “My Life in Tuna Noodle Casserole” which suggested that if you really wanted hits, put a food item in your title.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, and it’s good that you’re still following me. I have three manuscripts to work on, but I’ve been working on poetry and short stories more. You mentioned being a lawyer. Is that your other field?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s