Blogress Report #1

Well, I’ve been doing the I Love My Kindle blog for four months now.  The first post was August 28, 2009.

You’ve been a part of that, so I thought you might be interested to know how things are going.  It will give you some insight into blogs as well.

I started the blog for a couple of reasons.  First, people asked me to do it.  :)  Second, I had people who didn’t know me from my forum posts or titles in the Kindle store who suggested it.  I was a little scared of it, because of the sense of responsiblity I knew I would feel towards it.  When I commit to something, I really commit: I tend to be very black and white.  I can’t cut back on something, I have to drop it altogether. 

I knew that once I had paid subscribers, I’d really want to put in the time and effort to give them something worthwhile.

After awhile, I settled on a goal of at least 1000 words a day.  That would be about four pages in a book, by the way, and it is really quite a bit of writing.   Why did I pick words a day as a measurement?  Partially because a word count shows up as I’m writing the post.  :)

I also wanted from the beginning to make it diverse.  I wanted to give tips, humor, fiction, news…keep it varied.

I’m satisfied on both of those.

A big question for me is whether I can justify the time and the energy.  It’s fun, absolutely, and I really try and do it where it doesn’t interfere with family stuff (which comes first) or work.  

 One measurement for that is the number of subscribers.  It was a lot of fun to watch it creep up to paid one thousand paid subscribers, which it hit on December 22.    That number has quite a bit of fluctuation, by the way, but it tells me that there are people enjoying the blog…otherwise, they’d drop it after the free trial.

Another measurement is page views, but I don’t think I get a really reliable number on that.  According to WordPress’ own reporting, my highest day was 308 views on December 1.  That number has been trending higher, but something big (like the release of the K2 international) can make it spike.

Another measurement is the money I get from it.  Does money matter?  Sure.  I don’t manipulate things deliberately to get more money, but I couldn’t justify the time if I didn’t get any.  I have a goal I’ve set for myself for February.  If I’m not hitting that goal, I’ll reevaluate my approach to the blog.  The money comes from two sources, really.  One is subscribers: at thirty cents apiece a month (roughly), that’s about $300 a month with 1000 people.  Another source is the referrer fees I get from Amazon.  I’m just not doing very much in that area.  I haven’t hit fifty dollars this month yet, and this should be a giant month.  I think it’s because people who read this blog probably already have Kindles, so I don’t get those purchases.  I’m not going to plug stuff just to get the money.  We also don’t get referrer fees for e-books, so that doesn’t help.

I also can see how it ranks at Amazon…it’s been as high as number one, and recently has been sitting around number four.  I was thrilled on the first day I beat The Onion and The Huffington Post!  I really didn’t think that would happen.

Yet another indicator is when other sites mention this blog.  I’m not trying to make a lot of media appearances (I used to do that more on a different topic, and it’s too much time away from the family).  Still, I’m excited when somebody mentions it.  I probably like it just as much when a somebody posts about ILMK on a forum (like the Disney Boards or QVC, both of which have happened).   I do think about it being mentioned in a more mainstream source, but not yet.  :)  I’m going to send out review copies of The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog, Volume 1.  If you have a public platform (you write a public blog, you write book reviews for Entertainment Weekly, that kind of thing), let me know.   Just tell me what that public platform is…I don’t want to send out a bunch of duplications to the same place…I want there to be a chance you’ll review it.  My fantasy is that sombebody at Enternainment Weekly mentions it, honestly. You know, in a review, or Stephen King in his column, or Diablo Cody in her column…dream big, right?  I’ve been a faithful subscriber to EW for years, in case they are listening.  ;)

I also kind of imagine people wanting to license the material, especially the fiction.  I’m proud of some of the fiction I’ve done here.   I actually looked into submitting Doctor Watson’s Blog for an Edgar Award, but I was too late in the year…and they don’t quite know what to do with self-published material like this.   I didn’t think I’d win, but it would have been fun to be listed.

Another really important thing for me is the comments.  I like to know I’ve helped people, and whether I get a comment on the blogsite, or in a forum…it’s nice.  I like it when people say I helped them solve a problem, or just that they enjoyed something I’ve written.  Helping people makes me feel good.  :)

I’m writing this ahead of time, and if I can update these figures, I will.  Here, though, are the top ten most popular posts as I write this:

Title Views  
What to do if your Kindle is lost or sto 282
A look at the nook 274
“Hear, hear!” Listening to your Kindle 215  
This time it’s personal…documents 214  
Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: speci 196  
Interesting and useful Amazon links 153  
To sleep, perchance to screen 125
Round up #3: cheap pre-orders, nook pric 117  
A hundred books for ten bucks! 109
How to love your Kindle 109

Yes, I know…none of those are the fiction ones.  :)  Maybe that’s more for me…but I’m not planning to cut them out at this point.

Top referrers

Here are some of the top people who have sent readers my way.

The Kindle Chronicles
Red Adept 
Stumble Upon 
I Reader Review 
KindleBoards 
Disney Boards 
QVC 
The Kindle Nation

So, generally, I’ve been very satisfied.  It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I for me, those two tend to go together.  I’m going to experiment more, but I expect to keep it varied and to shoot for that thousand words a day, at least until I assess it seriously in February. 

I want to thank you all for being a part of what has been a great experience, and I’m looking forward to ILMK in 2010!

This post by Bufo Calvin first appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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