Name of the Game

In which RVA talks about his offspring…

Figuring out what to write is sometimes really tricky.  I’m a fiction writer by disposition but a journalist by training and a science writer by occupation.  Sadly, nowhere in there is promotional writer.  So I often struggle with knowing what will generate ‘hits’ to this site (or garner the attention of one of the dozen other sites where these blog posts appear).  I often use these fun little blog entries to muse on different ideas, rant about different social issues, and to generally just chat.  Mostly, though, these blogs are just to show that I’m alive.

Long ago, when I wrote a daily serial, the serial entries themselves sufficed as daily content.  But these days, metrics and algorithms run the lives of content creators.  It was determined (I’m not sure by who, but I’ve seen the figures quote often enough so I guess it must be true) that daily content proved to actually be counterproductive.  Twice and thrice-a-week updates seemed to be the sweet spot for content.

Cool, I suppose.  Less work, right?  Well, what if you no longer produce daily content.  What do you do?

Well, there are apparently some debates about whether thrice-weekly content generates as much attendance as weekly content.  Some do argue that, just that, weekly content is the way to go.

Monthly, however, is unacceptable.  Monthly content is too infrequent and people forget you exist.  So if you produce, say, a short story every month, you need to provide some kind of content weekly.

Like, say, a blog post.

So while I do speak my mind and speak honestly, I’d be lying if I said my heart was always in this.  Sometimes, I’m writing these posts just because a few different promotion articles online said I should.

The length of the content, too, is based on algorithmic evaluations.  1600 words seems to be some sort of sweet spot for content consumption.  Shorter than that and people tend to ignore the post.  Longer and they don’t finish it, or get dissuaded from starting it.  Not sure why or how 1600 words, but sure.

Timing is likewise critical.  10am was determined to be an ideal time for releasing content.  Tuesdays!  Somehow, Tuesdays are the best day for releasing stuff.

Thus, 10am every Tuesday, a 1600 word blogpost hits.

All so routine.  All so regular.  And all for the purposes of getting readers to say ‘hey, let’s check out his site’.  All in the hopes of getting them to read a short story.  Because if they read a short story, maybe they’ll check out a book.  And if they check out a book, maybe they’ll tell somebody else about the book.

See all of this is about building popularity.  Oh sure, you can use business buzzwords about ‘brand awareness’ and ‘media engagement’.  At a certain point, you pull all those ten-dollar words back and you’re just trying to be more popular than the next guy.

Why?  Because if you get popular enough, then you get comic books.  You get movies and TV shows.  And suddenly, your characters take off on their own.  Other writers want to work with them.  Other creators want to utilize them.

And then, the intellectual children you’ve created take on a life of their own.

The goal of all of this isn’t money (if you became a writer for money, boy have you made a mistake!).  It’s not about accessibility or celebrity status.  It’s about your creations standing on their own without you pushing them out into the world.

So we writers do everything we can to promote our work, to get the universe’s attention, just so one additional reader will go ‘hey, this is pretty good’.  Rinse and repeat.  Do it enough times until people start doing it on their own.

Until then, 1600 words, every Tuesday at 10am.  Maybe a few words less if there’s a global pandemic and you’re running a bit low on damns to give.

Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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