blogs / news

11 Hits and 10 Misses for 2010

Since I started this blog eighteen months ago, I’ve posted 341 articles on every corner of a writer’s world. I love exploring the art of

hits and misses

Where I went right; where I went wrong

writing, how to improve it and most importantly, how to make each author’s words unique amidst the clutter of thousands of competing authors.

As with most bloggers, I write what’s on my mind. It may be the craft of writing, maybe a problem I’ve encountered or simply how my latest book is progressing. Usually, I end up with 3-4 posts a week on a wide variety of topics. It always surprises what my readers find to be the most provocative. As surprising is what holds no interest for anyone but me! It’s usually a post I put heart and soul into, sure I was sharing Very Important Information, and I get three readers who slog their way through it. Talk about humility.

In that time, I’ve had almost 200,000 visitors (185,001), 6024 on my busiest day, visiting a gamut of my articles.  Here’s the top ten. See if you agree:

  1. Three Reasons Why I love Research–Yes, I am a nerd
  2. My Character is Sick–How to Show (Not Tell) Some Illnesses (if you click this link, beware of disgusting images of illnesses–thought they’re perfect for a writer)
  3. Do You Have a Character Who’s a First Lady? (Michelle Obama is very popular in the blogosphere)
  4. Ten Favorite Geek Words–Part I (this surprised me. I’m a geek, but didn’t know I had so many kindred spirits)
  5. How To Write Descriptions People Want to Read: Wild Animals
  6. How To Write Descriptions People Want to Read: Horses
  7. How to Tell if Someone is Lying: Body Language
  8. How to Show (Not Tell) an Emotion–A to D
  9. A Nose By Any Other Name
  10. Does Your Character Have a Cool Job?
  11. 178 Ways to Describe Women’s Clothing

More than half of these are from a series I have about how to describe everything from nature to emotions to clothing. It’s very popular.

Now for the misses. These are the ones almost no one read. I like to think it was bad timing, not bad writing:

  1. Faster editing--who wouldn’t want faster editing? Lots of people.
  2. Recognize the Early Warning Signs of a New Book Inside You
  3. How Do You Use Twitter–I guess Twitter’s so easy to use, no one needed to read about it
  4. Book Review: A Virtual Tour of Africa–I post quite a few book reviews. Africa wasn’t popular. Writing the Breakout Novel did much better.
  5. Does Your Plot Involve the Military?–The answer: No
  6. Pay Attention–this is Important–not many did
  7. Blogs Beat Out Mainstream Media Again–this is more for bloggers than writers. I can see why this got slammed
  8. A Writer’s Summer–I had more fun writing this than you-all had reading it!
  9. My Summer With Robert Parker
  10. Top Five Steps to Marketing your Books this Summer

Did you have a favorite I didn’t mention? Or is there something you’d like me to cover in future posts? Let me know. My mind is a tabula rasa–for about one more week.



12 thoughts on “11 Hits and 10 Misses for 2010

  1. Your reflection on your top and bottom articles reminds me to thank you for all the tips and feedback you give. It is a joy and honor to have you around.

    Best of luck in the new year!


  2. That’s an amazing amount of traffic! You should be very proud of that!

    These days, with re-tweets, facebook likes etc. page views are less important than other metrics.

    Take something like Digg or Redit – they have massive pages views, but it is the same small set of people visiting over and over again.

    It would be interesting to see what your “long tail” is. Is the majority of your traffic from Google? If so, have a look at what was so different / unique on your ~6,000 day.

    The posts where you thought would do better but didn’t, was that just really a bad post? Or does your titles need to be reworded? Were those posts longer or shorter?

    Either way, you’re obviously doing something right!


    • Good thoughts, Christian. I didn’t know that Digg and Redit had small but active members. Hunh. I don’t get much traffic from them.

      You inspired me to check my sources. The biggest is StumblUpon, followed by WordPress (love this blog interface). Google is next, but far behind, so I guess I don’t get ranked that well. Hmmm… Then comes Twitter, Facebook and all the others.

      As for my misses, I can see A Virtual Tour of Africa being a niche read (fascinating though it was), but who wouldn’t want to read Top 5 Steps to Marketing Your Books? OMG.

      Thanks for dropping by, Christian. You always have pithy comments.


  3. Hi, Jacqui! With the total number of visitors to your site, I’m not sure if I’d spend too much time worrying about what people do not read. (In the WordPress report on my blogging year, the meter read “Wow.” I can’t even imagine what yours said!) So, since your success rate on the blog speaks for itself, and your blog seems to have reached a self-sustaining quality at this point, maybe this would be a good time to shift your focus and energy (and borrow some time from the blog) to get that novel finished …? Just a thought, knowing that you’re struggling with priorities at the moment. –Cheri


    • I have four blogs of my own and three weekly columns (two are thrice weekly) so I am considering dropping one of my blogs. I struggle each week to write for it. If it’s not fun, what’m I doing?? I find blog writing completely different from fiction writing, so each becomes a break from the other. I’m thinking what will push things over the edge is marketing my book when it’s ready. What do you think? Listening to you, it seemed to be a massive uptick in time required.


  4. 341 articles! My how it adds up.

    I read your article with fascination today. It is hard to know what to write and I agree it certainly is surprising what you find interesting and how others may find that particular thing boring. Or perhaps they are reading your blogs, enjoying them but not posting ~ I’m very guilty of this one myself.

    I love to read every one of your posts, Jacqui, and often times I don’t bother to comment for a multitude of reasons and I bet you do that yourself too.

    As a writer, I find your posts on how your book is progressing or how you’ve struggled or overcome some writing dilemma the most interesting posts of all. Like your post above today, asking the questions: Why do people read my work or why don’t they?

    Keep up the good work, Jacqui.

    Good luck with your 2011 challenge to post every day. I’m sure you’ll give it a good nudge.



    • Thanks, Zak. You’re right about all of it. I wish I’d write more of the personal stuff, but I’m usually focusing on the craft–even though I’m aware people like the personal as much. Oh well. Thanks for being a faithful reader!


What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.