Regardless, before I posted the advice and suggestions which I'd sent as a string of DMs, I first sent the entire blog post (HTML and all) to Barack, with an invitation to write a guest post in response. Part of the deal was that I would post it unedited for content.
I'm now prepared to reveal "Barack"'s true identity as...
Janet Aldrich, aka tec4_cleveland on Twitter.
As promised, here is Janet's response to my advice:
This weekend, I watched my SiteMeter on my writing blog not move much (and after I wrote a Friday Flash story I was pretty happy with). It was particularly frustrating because I knocked out an ok haiku for Three Word Wednesday and got quite a few hits and comments.
In desperation, I sought out Tony Noland, who had been kind enough to Follow me on Twitter and who is a ‘friend’ on Facebook. I’d seen that Tony had success with getting people to read and comment on his work. I went ‘a-supplicating’ for advice, ideas, suggestion, even pity. I’m not proud.
Tony responded by sending me a series of DMs on Twitter explaining some of what he felt helped drive traffic to his site. His messages boiled down to expertise, duration and familiarity. There’s not much I can do about that in the short term; I’ve only begun writing again after a VERY long hiatus, just discovered #FridayFlash a little over a month ago and haven’t had the opportunity to get to know people in the writing community – although that has begun to change.
When it came down to writing and getting people to read my stuff, Tony gave me some good advice that would apply to any writer’s situation, namely to be personable in social media settings, to be sure that the product I was posting was good and to keep working to improve as a writer. I think his comments made me realize one of my weaknesses – maybe common to everyone who writes? – I’m not sure if I’m a good judge of the quality of my product. Perhaps that’s something time will cure as well, but I wonder how to get better if I’m not sure I’m any good in the first place.
I also speculate sometimes how much my personality will hinder me if I keep on writing well enough to try to publish. I’m not altogether comfortable with the self-promotion that Tony, for one, is good at and seems to take in his stride. Somewhere over the last 20 years, I turned into the person at the party who’s over in the corner scanning the bookshelves and having a conversation with the host’s cat. I can only do so much before I wind up saying “Heck with it. I’m not going to beg.” I think it’s why I was never any good at selling Tupperware.
I do want to thank Tony for answering my cry for help. That’s one thing I’ve discovered about the people I’ve met in the writing community as time goes by; many of you have offered help, advice and support when called upon, and I’m grateful for every follow, Tweet, FB post and comment on my blog and website. I’m not sure what I have to offer in return, but if nothing else, I’m a good listener. Just ask my cat.
You're quite welcome, Janet. I'm planning on responding in more detail to some of the topics you raise. Look for it in future blog posts here.
What do you think, folks? Aside from "practice, practice, practice", any other words of advice or encouragement?
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