Another stats post

Because someone else did it and I don't want them to feel lonely. Either that, or I'm a poser who has to do what the cool kids are doing. Pick your poison.

September 2015: The first month I had a website to call my own. Before then I was hosting the story on a couple fiction forums- Notably Questionable Questing (it mostly caters to -very- adult writing... but it has a great safe-for-work section and the best mods I've ever dealt with ever) and Myth-Weavers (a site for PbP tabletop games, mainly, that I've been a part of for years now).

I'd been writing my first webnovel on those for roughly a month before I got a wordpress.

It was something like Sept 15 when my wordpress went up and I stopped posting the story elsewhere.

2366 total views. 373 visitors (however Wordpress calculates these stats). In half a month.

Oct 2015- 5066 views, 702 visitors. Seems more or less like my numbers stayed even these months, given the first was a half month.

Nov 2015- 15088 views, 1791 visitors. This was where my submission to this site was accepted and I went up on the voting board. That pre-existing user base did miracles for me and put me in the top 20 list before my first week was out, and has been keeping me in or near the top 15 ever since.

Dec 2015- 24003 visitors, 2678 visitors. This was actually my biggest month thus far, for reasons that I'll go into when discussing later months.

Jan 2016- 22664 visitors, 2537 visitors. Things drop here, not much but it is the month in which I closed up my first book. Thing is, and I knew this would happen, I didn't start the next book with the same characters... in fact, I didn't start the next book in the same *state* as the first book.

It cost me a hefty chunk of readers in one fell swoop. As I knew it would (as I've said before, Terry Pratchett caught some flack for doing the exact same thing, and I'm not Pratchett). I did, however, underestimate how much I'd lose.

Feb 2016- 16482 views, 2153 visitors. The first full month of my second novel. I lost a full third of my views from my peak, and a fifth of my viewers. Ouch. Not gonna lie, that was a dark point for me (first world f-ing problems, I know, especially given that even my low numbers are charmed compared to a lot of people who've been at this years longer... but it still stung).

Mar 2016- 17693 views, 2531 visitors. Numbers climbing back up. Felt good. Still feels good. The new story had a chance to gain approval of my remaining readers, and others either joined or came back. I've had a few people come back and apologize for leaving in the first place.

Apr 2016- 20190 views, 2398 visitors. A drop of readers because near the middle of the month I finished by second book, and went on to a third with yet another set of characters and a new setting (The Moon! And Vancouver!). I took another readership hit (as expected), but not nearly the blow that I took from December's peak (also as expected). Much love and support from readers who said "I don't care what you do next, I'll be here because I know it will be amazing".

May 2016- 20511 views, 2296 visitors. Still recovering from the book change, but somehow I got a spike in readers who appear to have binged my entire story. Helps that there's now something to binge, at over a hundred total chapters spread across three books, plus dozens of bonus chapters and setting details.

June 2016- As of right now, 5 days and 2 hours in, I have 3578 views and 518 visitors. I like using the "first week" measure, because those are generally the truly reliable views that come by and look every day, rather than the bingers and browsers who aren't likely to stick around. My numbers for a single week now aren't that much worse than they were for my first full month. Which is an amazing feeling to have.

So... my advice? Get a viewer base from somewhere other than here *first*. Then bring them with you. It's worked for those Royal Road guys, and it worked for me.

And don't change books unless you're ready to take a kick in the teeth for it. Even if you are ready for it, have some damn thick skin, because it stings to lose so many people just because you want to do something other than repeat the same formula for the rest of your career.

My heart goes out to Akira Toriyama... then I realize he's far more wealthy and famous than I'll likely ever have a hope of being. I've never felt both pity and jealousy at the same time before. It's a truly bizarre experience.

Anywho- enough of my ramblings. Now Billy Higgins Peery is no longer alone in posting his stats for all to see.

Where did you get your starter audience from? I know you listed two forums above, but were there any other forums you frequented? 2633 views in the first half-month would be amazing; I've been fighting for views in the tens since I started my serial, but I'm admittedly terrible at self-promotion.

Interesting numbers, TanaNari. Just wanted to explore the "transferring your serial from someone else's site to your own" thing. Basically the day your Wordpress went up, you stopped posting it elsewhere. At what point in the story did you do that? Was it a natural drop-off point, or something cliffhanger-ish?

None of your readers were upset by the move?

I'm also wondering about the reasoning for the move. Was there a time when you knew the move was right, when you'd reached a certain number of readers?

Thanks for inspiring so many questions!

Thanks for sharing man. Those are some good numbers!

I'd post mine, but the past five months have all been around 4500 views and 500 visitors mark without the slightest hint of change. In fact, March and April were actually identical!

Also, I can't get my head around these people who drop a story just because the viewpoint/formula changed.

@Gloomy- Pretty much those two sites. Since then, readers have recommended me on reddit and what have you... but I've been little if any effort into self promotion. I feel incredibly weird about it, so I'd rather not do it.

@BHP- I kept posting on the old sites for a week or so after the blog went up. It's been several months, I don't recall exactly how long I kept going. There was no particular natural dropoff point.

Really, I just waited until I was confident I was going to keep the story going for the long haul. I'm one of those people who doesn't do well with monolithic goals. If I think I'm going to have to produce a 50-100,000 word novel, I choke up and the story dies. If I think I'm just going to write 2-3k word chapters three times a week until I'm done (I generally do between 1k and 1500 words a day), that is a nice, bite-sized chunk I can live with.

Making my own site early would have made me think in "big picture" before the process had become a habit. But I always knew at some point I would need my own hosting site... for starters, it's nice not having modly pissing contests and forum politics to deal with. Plus I can do a lot more with a full site than I can do with just the one thread for showing off my story. So having my own site was inevitable if I wanted to be remotely professional with my story.

If any readers were upset by the move, then they didn't say so. They may not have followed me over (I have no way of knowing retention- after all, it's someone else's site so I don't have access to the stats, another reason to get my own going)... which is sad, but I kept enough, it seems.

@Dary- Huh. That is weird. And I can get my head around it because they're not dropping the story- the story finished, and a new one began. They share a setting (much as the Discworld books all do), but I'm not writing about the same people and they're not dealing with the same issues, so I grok why people would stop reading.

Don't have to like, especially it when it gnaws on my proverbial ass, but it makes sense.

What the hell. For the benefit of anyone looking at the latest statistics posts who is feeling jealous or below average, let me show you something from the far left side of the normal distribution (where I am). I don't track visitors, I tend to be happy simply to get the views. I started my WordPress site right at the end of August 2014, after wrapping up 3 years of serializing "personified math" on my blogger site the previous May. I know at least two people followed me over.


Sep 2014: 156 (views, not visitors, that's 156 total hits)

Oct 2014: 100

Nov 2014: 118

SECOND SERIAL (one crossover character but she rarely appeared):

Dec 2014: 119

Jan 2015: 119

Feb 2015: 133 views (That's the month I got listed at WFG)

Mar 2015: 108

THIRD SERIAL (a different crossover char but not seen until July):

Apr 2015: 282

May 2015: 359

June 2015: 355

July 2015: 147

Aug 2015: 144

Sept 2015: 90 views total. 48 visitors.

(on 80 total posts... so THAT'S a one year anniversary for you. The jump from "April Fools 2015" and Billy Higgins' review did not last)

Oct 2015: 151

Nov 2015: 129

Dec 2015: 190

Jan 2016: 190

Feb 2016: 273. Shelved this at a natural breakpoint, to return July 2016.

FOURTH SERIAL (many characters from Serial One are back):

Mar 2016: 373 views, 103 visitors (perhaps the first time over 100)

Apr 2016: 326

May 2016: 325 (BUT I also went the ENTIRE month without a zero hit day, first time ever!)

June 2016: ???? (On June 4th, I had a single view, across 127 posts)

And lest you think, "Well, this guy's writing probably sucks", I don't think I've had less than a 3 star review on this site, and I used to win fanfiction awards 15 years ago (heck, I used to help judge fanfiction contests 10 years ago). Actually, about 5 years ago, I got a fan email from someone who'd read one of my "Sailor Moon" fics. That was a bit surreal.

All this to say, I am PRETTY sure there's some kind of tipping point that I have NOT reached yet - and I know it's largely on me, because aside from Facebook, Twitter, business cards, and being listed on both Jim Z and Kaleidofish's sites (thanks by the way), I haven't really gotten to publicizing. Wattpad went nowhere, FWIW. But it's a marathon, not a sprint. We all start somewhere. Ideally to the right of me. :)

Hm. Did I totally kill the discussion on this thread? Oopsie? Not my intent. I suppose something I could point out is that from serial 1 to 2, I didn't lose any views? Despite changing the cast? I mean, I think it's because I only have a core of about 5 regular readers, and no one else who is really 'in and out'... not sure what else it could be. Which is something that might be easier to see when your stats are lower.

Nah. Peery's thread didn't get much activity, either. I don't think these types of threads get a lot of attention in the first place.

I read everything and I liked it. I just don't have anything to add. These threads are still a fantastic idea.

I've been making some observations about the difference between webserial and webcomic referrals (and how my serials always seem to have the opposite patterns to what you'd expect), but i don't really want to start another "my stats" thread, nor do I want to commandeer another person's. Maybe we need a general "stats and observations" thread? Although that sounds awfully pompous...

If you think it's worth a thread, make the thread. If you don't, then don't. We're writers. That's all the permission we should ever need to write anything.

Yeah, it's not a competition, lol. I believe that the more accurate information and honest analysis we have on here, the better. Some of my favorite threads have just been the ones with a couple respondents -- the OP will give me a lot of food for thought, and then the responses will show some different perspectives on that thought. The long threads are fun too, but a lot of them are goofier (or SUPER pragmatic, like "Should I Do A Thing?" Those are good, but I wouldn't want JUST those threads.)

@Dary: I agree with Tartra, you should totally do what you want. And for my money, "General Stats and Information" sounds like a great idea. Just let everyone throw whatever they want up. Even if you don't get many responses, it's not a big deal. It's just good to get conversations going. Good for us all to share information and thus make us better serialists!

@Tartra: I missed you so much I'm so glad you're back you're one of my favorite people.

@Mathans: It's really hard to grab any sort of audience, and I know I had to work HARD to get the audience I have. Ever considered posting to one of the sites that already have a bunch of readers? If you posted stuff from your logs a couple times a day, I can't promise what sort of viewership you would get. But I imagine you would learn something from being exposed to a new community. (I've learned a lot just by looking at communities like Jukepop) Just a thought.

@TanaNari: Interesting info, thanks for the answer.

Whew, okay then. Felt like a bad note to leave the thread on, I thought maybe everyone was staring uncomfortably, like at Marty McFly after he goes at it during the dance in BTTF.

@Billy: Thanks for the suggestion; part of the "elsewhere posting" issue is I'd want to do it right. And not merely as a perfectionist thing - if I were to screw things up, I could tarnish my whole alias. (I'm 'mathtans' almost everywhere.) I actually lurked in the forums here for close to a year on and off before listing myself. I did try Wattpad... first with "Personified Math", which got me a remark or two, and then with "Time & Tied", which got me absolutely nothing, no one even followed from "Math". Still, I might try another place eventually, once I've had time for the proper research. It's likely me. My webcomic suffers from pretty much the same fate.

I'll bite!

I've got between 1 and 10 visitors a day for the last month. Wordpress doesn't tell me which are the same person day to day, but it woudn't stun me to learn that some are. I update twice weekly, so my guess is that I have ~5 regular readers.

Every once in a while I'll have a day where it is like "1 vistor, 85 views", which is either someone reading the whole story up to present, or someone's phone connecting and reconnecting all day.