But do you have any readers?

blog readersI got a birthday call from my oldest friend yesterday.  Not that he’s my oldest friend, he’s just my oldest friend.

Staying friends that long usually means you have a few things in common and a decent amount of real care about the person.  We are unmerciful with our sarcastic pitchforks that we poke at each other, but beneath that is a lasting friendship.  He is the first person I go to when bouncing creative ideas about my writing and blogging.  His is the voice I listen to most when critiquing (how much I act on his critique is irrelevant).

So when our conversation passed the normal well wishing and barbing, he began talking about my blog.  First he complimented me on the vast quantity of good material.  He then mentioned it was tough to find the things he was looking for.  Finally, he asked me if I knew how many readers I had.  Our conversation was relatively brief, so I’ll try to keep the post the same.

On the point of the quantity of blog posts, his comments were coincidental.  I had just noticed I had passed the point that if a new reader read just one post a day, it would now take them more than a year to get through everything on the blog.  Whew!  No wonder my fingers ache!

The above fact made his second point more compelling.  Last year, I had worked very hard to categorize all the existing posts to allow for easier access to the “library” of blogs.  That was a whole bunch of posts ago and it made me aware how clunky navigation is within the blog.  I’ll be researching some plugins to help me make that easier for you.

His last point tempted me to respond humorously, but I resisted the urge and addressed it directly.  I have a couple of reporting tools that collect reader and visitor statistics (nothing personal, mind you, no names and addresses), so I have a reasonable idea how many regular readers I have.  But the issue is really deeper than that.

Most blogs are topical.  You know where to go if you want to read about Fantasy and Science Fiction or Home Improvement or Sports.  There are hundreds of blogs, many fascinating, about these subjects and more.  You know what you get when you go there and that’s why you go there.

Stream of consciousness blogs are rare.  Regular readers of such are usually regulated to famous personages, not relative unknown small press authors.  It’s the peculiar nature of celebrity that people think they gain more from those celebrities’ random thoughts than from their own (or their personal social network).

When you come to my blog, you may be reading about cooking, or BBQ’s or sports or writing but, except on rare occasions when I run a topical “week”, you don’t get the same subject two days in a row.  In the blogosphere, that’s not how you build regular readers.

But I don’t have any interest in writing a Sports or Home Improvement blog.  Frankly, I don’t have the knowledge.  The only way I can write true, write honestly, is to just write.  Some of it will amuse you, some of it will bore you.  But that’s the blessing, not the curse, because if you didn’t like today’s blog you can come back tomorrow for something completely different!

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