Confession: I've been a slap-dash blogger. Sure, I've been blogging since 2012, and the National Library of Australia are archiving Out of print writing, but it's been like my stories - I make it up as I go along. I'm a big time pantser, not a plotter.
But I've been listening to Kirsten Oliphant's Create If Writing podcasts and she talks about intentional blogging - like, having a plan for things!
I signed up to her newsletter and got her The Epic Blog Planner & Strategic Goals Guide. The Guide asks you to look at blog and social media stats for the past year, to see what worked and what didn't and then to set goals for the coming year.
It was a great way to reflect on what I've been doing for the last few years with my blogging and social media and to plan better for 2017. Many things have surprised me.
Firstly, according to Google analytics, my blog audience is younger than I would've thought (25-34), and more males than females (55% male, 45% female).
My most popular blog posts have been on topics like how to do #bookstagram on Instagram, best poets on Instagram, publishers publishing novellas.
Going through this process has reminded me that Wattpad has been my most successful platform by far. Shamefully, I've really neglected Wattpad this past year. Perhaps I was receiving sooooo many comments, I began to feel overwhelmed. It was hard keeping up that level of engagement. But now I've realised I'm crazy! I'm hoping to find a home for my YA novels, and where's that YA audience? On Wattpad.
I've recently returned to Wattpad and started engaging again and I've discovered that even though I've neglected that platform, people have still been there reading my stories quietly. Those readers are dedicated, even though I've been a lousy friend.
One of the best things about doing this guide was Kirsten prompts us at the beginning to outline our long-term goal, yearly goal and specific tasks for the yearly goal.
For me, my long-term goal is to write meaningful books that are purchased by a wide audience.
My yearly goal is to prepare two already written books for publication, write a new YA novel, continue to build my author platform, sell more copies of The Replacement Wife, find homes for older stories and develop my youth audience for YA novels. I've further written down specific tasks for how to achieve this.
And then, importantly, at the end of the plan, Kirsten suggests that one does a pie chart. Luckily, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to Excel and I love a visual overview. So here's what I've come up with for the year ...
When someone has so many tasks to complete it's easy to get sidetracked ... but the blue portion of the pie chart reminds me my main goal is to write stories ...
Sign up for Kirsten Oliphant's newsletter and receive The Epic Blog Planner & Strategic Goals Guide