Friday, August 19, 2011

Rolling Up the Scroll

If you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance that you're my mom. Hi Mom.

Kidding aside, I haven't updated Virtual Vellum in quite some time, and at this point I'm planning to go on a long-term hiatus. I don't imagine that this will upset too many people, because so far as I could tell very few people ever read this blog. That's my fault, of course - if it were better, it would have soared to great heights.

Part of it, though, was also the unfocused nature of this blog. I have a lot of interests, but I'm not expert enough or knowledgeable enough about any of them to write 3-5 blog entries a week. The result is that anyone who shares one of my interests would have to slog through lots of posts on things that didn't interest them at all - my family, my writing, the guitar, martial arts, business, renaissance faires, politics, or whatever other nonsense I'd decided to write about. I would certainly find this deeply unsatisfying, and I've stopped reading blogs myself for the exact same reason.

This is all John Scalzi's fault, really. I read one of his books about writing, and part of his advice was that all new writers should harness the power of social media. It had worked well for him, after all. Well, yeah, but not necessarily in a way that would work for others. Scalzi got a big boost by being a writer for AOL, gaining regular followers that way. When he expanded onto the real Internet, that surely gave him a boost. Starting from scratch is hard, and I wasn't successful at it. Plus, I've since heard from other authors that having a devoted internet following can actually be a liability when dealing with publishers, as they may (and sometimes have) take the position that since you already have a loyal following, they don't need to invest money or effort in marketing your work.

And I won't lie - it's pretty disheartening to check your numbers and see that the same 20 or 30 people (tops) who were reading your blog a year ago are the same ones still reading it. On any given day, I was lucky to get a couple of dozen hits. That's paltry, and in the end it just doesn't inspire me to keep on going. It's understandable (see above), but it's not sustainable unless I'm getting some personal gratification out of doing it. Once it started to feel like a chore to put up a blog post that hardly anyone was going to read, I decided to call the whole thing off. For a while, anyway. Perhaps at some point I'll feel compelled to raise this blog from the dead, breathing life back into it and sending it forth once more to do my bidding. Until then, I want to thank my very small cadre of loyal readers who have read, enjoyed and sometimes even commented on my posts here over the last couple of years. Thanks for coming along for the ride!