Statistics may not always be accurate, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to certain things. I’m not talking about election results here. I’m talking about a writer’s personal stats.
Many of our writing avenues are going through some drastic changes. We have each heard about the changes that were made or are going to be made to most of them. Think Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn, Medium, Newsbreak, Substack, and Hubpages, to quote but a few.
I’ve done a bit of analysis of the articles I have written (currently 98), and I have noticed a sparsity of viewers in nearly all of them, save for four or five popular stories. That led me to question the possible cause(s) of this problem:
To Kicker, or Not
Many well-known writers are suggesting this is a good idea. One author says “Use Nonfiction as a kicker” in each article. Another says, “Use Write Here” as a kicker, while a third suggests using “This Happened To Me” to draw attention to your story, and on, and on.
Hmm… I think not!
Why? Because, in one sense, you will draw some attention to your story, that’s true! In another sense, using a kicker may lessen your article’s appeal to a wider range of readers. People may look at the kicker and not find the value that lies within the article.
Self-Publish rather than use a publisher
This one is a bit trickier! Publishers are good for bringing attention to your story. You may think “I’m going to publish all my works with the largest publishers I can find.” That may help your story’s circulation a little. But, there’s a catch!
When a story is used in a publication, that’s the end of their help to you! They don’t market your story, they market their publication. Frankly, you are helping the publisher build their business and their network, not yours.
All they have done for you is put your story on their front page until more submissions knock your story to the back of the class. You’re yesterday’s news!
We have grown used to living in a society that doesn’t want to wait for their wants. Instagram’s photos disappear after 24 hours, and Facebook’s stories features have that disappearing quality about them, too. We have been well-groomed.
Time for us to take control
One thing is for sure: Change will always happen! No matter where you work — big, small, non-profit, wherever — you will be subjected to change. Medium, Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Vocal (and I’m sure there are many more), are all copying each other in a race to grab our attention, a slice of our cheese for their own personal gratification. We help them by attracting more readers. They provide the bully pulpit for us to spread our works.
They realize the futility of us writing for publications and helping them build a thriving business at our expense. Now, these distributors are flipping the tables. They want us to develop our own following, sans the publication.
I agree with them! When I look at my earnings graphs, I can see a pattern. I am not talking about my earnings here. Most of my articles will get less than 20 reads, regardless of whether or not they were submitted to a publisher.
This begs the question: What do I gain from using a publication? It doesn’t seem to be wider distribution, which is my primary reason for using them in the first place.
Besides, with incentives for growing my own audience, it makes it more worthwhile to advertise for myself than have the publishers use my stories to further their own cause.
Thanks for reading this!
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