Guest Post, Benjamin Vogt: Social Media for Authors

benjaminvogtWhen SR informed me that my creative nonfiction piece “Across the Flats” was receiving the most hits of any for its issue, I was shocked. Who was reading it? I’m always thrilled to have work accepted for publication, but I pretty much just assume that no one will read the work. There’s a lot out there in the world.

I did publicize the piece on my Twitter account and three Facebook pages I have (personal, blog, business). That’s all I did. Nothing magical. Unless you take into account a few big things:

1) I’ve had a writing and gardening blog http://deepmiddle.blogspot.com for nearly five years now. In that time I’ve amassed a modest set of readers. And though I see only 80-100 visits a day on the blog or on its Facebook page, it serves me well by creating a long term audience. Since my essay was both a piece of creative writing and garden-themed, I could hook up to my two main audiences. I’m two-faced that way.

2) The garden theme carried over much more to Twitter http://twitter.com/brvogt, where a vast majority of my followers are gardeners and garden writers. I’ve only been on Twitter for eight months, but I posted the link to the essay twice a day for a day or two, then a few times over the course of a week. That’s the beast of Twitter, redundancy. More beasty yet is that Twitter is both a link happy place AND a relationship-heavy place (although the two don’t really go together in my mind). Twitter is constant work like having pet fish. Twitter is interaction-heavy—quick glib and jokey comments or heartfelt and interested comments, anything to make a split-second connection like flirting with someone across the room. Once you catch someone’s fancy (and creative tweets can help), it takes a split second for them to share your tweet to their followers, who share it to their followers. My approach with posting the link on Facebook was different. Facebook feels more intimate, which is why I posted just once on each of my three pages.

3) What I’m getting at is this: people visited SR to read my work, (and hopefully others), because I’ve spent part of each day working for free online. Some days it’s a major chore and distraction. Some days it’s a natural extension of myself. But it takes time—and you have to be constantly interesting and authentic on any media platform. By this I mean not narcissistic or whiney, and not a promotional machine. I’d say that 90% of tweets and 50% of Facebook interactions should have nothing to do with you—talk to people, share interesting links and photos, pretend you aren’t being archived and sold and stalked by company platforms to third parties. And something else I’ve discovered: Facebook is much more active M-Th during the day (people at work goofing off?). Twitter is pretty much 24/7.

Does any of this social media “pay off?” Eh. I once had an editor contact me out of the blue via my blog to look at a memoir, but they decided against it (it’s still available by the way, ahem). http://www.scribd.com/bvogt/d/60742810-Morning-Glory-A-Story-of-Family-Culture-in-the-Garden-unpublished But that’s not what this is all about—it’s about making friends, being personable, being human. And for this grade A introvert, I can be social on my own time in my own way. Now leave me alone so I can write.

Google Analytic Stats for "Across the Flats"

Analytics: Who’s Reading the Review

 

When it comes to maintaining websites, knowing who is on the other end is a useful tool. Google Analytics provides us up to date information on who is visiting, where they’re coming from, where they’re going, and what they’re using to get there.

 

  • In 2012 Superstition Review has already welcomed 6,940 visits and 5,092 unique visitors.
  • Over 68.18% of those visiting the site have never visited SR before.
  • Superstition Review has been host to 20,747 page views since January of 2012.
  • The average visitor spends 2 minutes and 10 seconds browsing our site and visit an average of 3 pages per visit.
  • Our busiest day was January 13th with 363 visits. January 31st came in a close second with 348 views.
  • Our most popular page is our Issue 8 Poetry page, followed by our blog.
  • Our readers primarily come from the United States, but we have visitors from India, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Philippines, Spain and more.
  • Since 2011, our mobile presence has grown tremendously. Nearly 6.55% of our visitors are accessing SR from a mobile device, with over 300 of those devices being Apple iPhones and iPads.

Thank you to our returning visitors and we’d like to welcome our new readers. We invite you to browse our blog and our archives of past issues. Come back and join us for the launch of Issue 9 April 1st.

Issue 8: We’re Big in Japan

Issue 8: We’re Big in Japan

Now that Issue 8 has launched, we’ve started looking at our Google Analytics to learn more about our readers. Already this has revealed some surprising facts about who visits our site and how they find it. For example, between November 6th and December 6th, 2011, 67% of our viewers visited Superstition Review for the first time. It’s great to know that we’re attracting so many newcomers.

In that same span of time, there were 4,279 unique visits to our site for a total of 13,230 page views. Our readers visited an average of 3 pages per visit, and our most popular section this month was poetry, with a total of 677 views.

41% of viewers visiting our site found us through referring websites, while only 31% found us using a search engine. This statistic shows that we are increasing our affiliations with other like-minded organizations. Not surprisingly, our traffic skyrocketed on December 1st, the day of our launch, with a total of 1,157 unique visitors to our page on that day alone.

Our most frequently viewed contributors from Issue 8 were: Ashley Caveda with 405 views, Eugenio Volpe with 185 views, Nelly Rosario with 166 views, and Steve Yarbrough with 157 views.

We got the most visits from the United States. In the last month, the top 10 cities to view SR were: Phoenix, Tempe, New York, Columbus, Chandler, Scottsdale, Chicago, Ithaca, Indianapolis, and Gilbert.

Google Analytics shows that we are growing internationally as well. Our visitors came from 75 different countries, with the second highest number of hits coming from Japan. Superstition Review was viewed in 34 languages, with the three most popular being American English, British English, and Japanese.

We had a few visitors from some unexpected places. Google Analytics shows that between November 6th and December 6th, we had visitors from Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Latvia, Lithuania, Haiti, Laos, Kuwait, Thailand, and Iceland.

These statistics help us get a sense of who is reading Superstition Review, what sections of our site are most popular, and how our readers find their way to our magazine. It really is exciting to see the data behind our growth as a publication. Thanks to all of our readers for visiting.