103. Two steps forward, one step back

step in sand

Last month I talked about some ways to drive more traffic to your site, and said I was going to experiment with some of the ideas.

  • Guest posts on other blogs
  • Building an e-mail list
  • Joining an online writing community

The guest post is still scheduled. I can now report on the other two.

Building an e-mail list

I used MailChimp to mail a newsletter to a list of 158 people who follow my blog and/or who have commented regularly and thoughtfully on my writing. The draft newsletter was pilot tested with nine people.

The mailing didn’t go hugely well.  Yes, on the one hand the response was well above industry benchmarks. On average, 22% of e-mails in the media and publishing industry are opened. My open-rate was 42.7%. Again, the industry benchmark for “click rate” (clicking on “subscribe”) is 4.66%, while in my case it was 14.6%.

But something went horribly wrong. I should have received 23 subscription notifications. But I only got three. Some people told me independently that they had signed up, bringing my e-mail list to eight. So, I’m missing 15 subscriptions. I guess I made some mistake with MailChimp.



The Scribophile writing community

Scribophile is a large members-only community of writers, and claims 858,776 critiques for 145,608 works, an average of just under six responses per work. Being a closed group, it has the advantage that it shouldn’t prevent you submitting your work elsewhere. I joined it last month, and I’m pretty impressed.

It runs, like any successful community, on the basis of reciprocity. You can’t post your own writing without first contributing, most particularly by critiquing others’ work. There are groups for people with particular interests, bulletin boards, competitions. And, of course, posting your writing for critique. I’ve used it to test out whether readers will tolerate breaking some pretty fundamental rules about first chapters.

I’m a newbie on the site – you start with the rank of “Scribbler” and can rise to “Scribomaster”; I have reached the dizzying heights of Typesetter. Despite that, I can track 16 visits to my blog originating from Scribophile. I also have 13 followers on the site.

4 thoughts on “103. Two steps forward, one step back

  1. Hi Neil. I’m on Scribophile too, but not actively; about sixteen months ago it was one critique-venues I was considering and enjoyed interacting there briefly. I chose a very small critique group to devote my time and energy to, instead but would consider participating in Scribophile again should my spare time become plentiful. I like the critique engine they use (it’s straight-forward and easy to use) and the layout of the site. It’s easy to get lost in the forum discussion, though, so beware! Another thing I like about ‘Scrib’ is the variety of stories available to read and critique—it’s a great place to stretch oneself into new genres of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Neil,
    I have joined Scribophile since reading this post. I just left my first critique, which was a challenge. It is bad enough to critique our own work let alone others’, and I think I will have to rely on ‘medals and missions’ or the ‘feedback sandwich’ to make sure I provide something useful.
    What user name are you using? I’ve searched but haven’t been able to find you and would like to read more of your writing.


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