What does one make of this? I broke my most-new-followers-in-a-day record by fifty per cent, on the day when I wrote a sorta lame New Years post after being out sick two weeks and out sick two weeks, two weeks before that.
I have long preached regularity as a key to success, on my blog. I have made a commitment to consistency in various areas of my writing and publishing. For example, I work regular hours on weekdays, I maintain various websites and social media pages, I keep a ledger and a work calendar, I blog twice every week (and managed not to miss a single week in 2014 until I was super sick at the end). It’s supposed to be solid advice. And judging by all the started-and-never-finished projects of most onliners, I would say it makes intuitive sense.
So what could be the explanation? What are the possibilities?
- It’s a fluke. Ninety-nine times out of ten, being consistent and regular will bring success. The other one per cent is just a happy accident. Like in all fields, there are exceptions to the rule, but if you want to set yourself up for success, the rules are the best place to start.
- The advice is wrong, wrong, wrong. I have been wasting my time. I should have been flashing in and out of the blog and popping up wherever I darn well pleased on the internet and off, because success in this business is always a happy accident, a crap shoot, a random discovery.
- The numbers are skewed. Since I have more followers than I did a year ago–and get more followers every week–I am bound to break all my records, eventually. And since growth tends to be closer to exponential than additional, I am bound to break all my records at an increasing rate.
- Reactions are time-delayed. All those twice-a-week blogs for more than forty weeks were still rippling out by the time I was comatose on the couch. As for my lapse in energy, it too will ripple outward and, eventually, lay waste to much of the work I have toiled to build up.
- The world allows for bad days. Don’t make me laugh! Alright, then, the world is sort of forced to allow for bad days. In other words, the system, and most systems, are forgiving to a point. As along as I mostly keep consistently posting blogs about twice a week, one flu or family emergency (once in awhile) is not going to shatter everything. But in order to get to that forgiving point, I have to put in a lot of consistent work to earn my PTO.
- I just don’t understand SEO and the intricacies of the internet. Or publicity, at all. Turns out, writing about “New Years” on New Years day brings a whole lot more people than tagging “self-publishing” every other day of the year.
To be honest, I think every single one of these possibilities is true. Maybe some more than others. And probably the last one, most of all. The point is, the advice to keep your work consistent so that people learn to depend on you and even take you for granted does create an infrastructure that your authorial career can stand on and be presented as utterly professional. However, luck in art is oftentimes just that: luck. But great and supported art is more likely to stumble upon this elusive luck. Keep your goals reasonable. Know that online stats can be misleading, that results take time, and that yes–if you work hard and produce quality work–you can get the flu and your world will not fall apart. Not usually.
And on the last point, sure, I am not an SEO expert. In fact, I’m probably not even using that term correctly. If I was some sort of hot shot, I would pay someone to tag my sites and all that jazz. But if I was a hot shot, people would mostly find me, not the other way ’round. Tagging is an ever-changing business–or art–so I prefer to tag as much as possible, using my little brain to imagine what people are searching. And I don’t like lying, either. If the post isn’t about Kim Kardashian (and it never is), then I won’t tag it that way. Call me old fashioned.
For me, I plan on blogging twice a week till kingdom come, building an ever larger, specialized, and quality blogsite in preparation of the great deluge of fans some one or fifteen years from now. I foresee more followers by next Christmas, and growth all year that will take me over the 1000 mark in not much time from now. I will accept that absence may put a little bump or blip on my screen, but I am not perfect and I will work only as hard as I can. Which is pretty darn hard.