Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thinking About the Future, Except...

Something weird is happening with Hero Go Home. I updated the Wordpress install, and now traffic has dropped to zero. It was never big, but there was always something.

It puts a crimp in my ideas for the next step. I had thought to abandon the serialization idea, since hardly anyone was reading the novel anyway. Almost all of my traffic was coming from the movie and comics articles, so I figured I would focus almost exclusively on those and just put up links to the ebooks.

But now I wonder if maybe I shouldn't give up on the story content. It occurs to me that people weren't reading the novel because...

1. The first chapter didn't have an effective enough hook

2. The chapters were too long.

3. Once a week wasn't a frequent enough release schedule to make it a habit to come back.

So how to fix it?

My thought is that instead of doing one big 2500~ word post a week, I emulate the old Adventures of Superman/Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar template and strip the chapters into five 500-word episodes a week. And I work harder (which I did starting about 10 chapters into the previous novel) to build in cliffhanger endings. With the short episode length, I couldn't waste any words. I would have to write punchier, funnier, and more aggressively.

And I wouldn't have to abandon the other features. I was previously writing other features while doing a 2500-word chapter a week, so the word counts are not impossible. I may have to get by with fewer frame-captures and scans though.

Although I want to keep as much of that as I can. I'm also contemplating changing the blog template to something splashier and more exciting, with a bolder approach to the graphics. This might stretch my GIMP abilities to the limit, but I want to do everything I can to make people want to come back to the site, and appealing graphics can do that.

I don't have a storyline yet, of course. My previous planned story idea, Digger's Big Con, probably wouldn't be exciting enough. It's got a murder mystery structure, which means a lot of setting up and introducing characters and not much happening until somebody dies. I need something that grabs from the first page. So as I prep Hero Go Home for ebook publication, I'll also be rolling ideas around in my head for a completely different type of turbo-charged Digger adventure.

Of course, first I need to make sure I haven't somehow broken my site. It still shows up for me, both from Favorites and from Google searches. But something's definitely wrong.


Marc Carlson said...

Have you been advertizing, or just assuming that the Google searching, word of mouth thing would pick it up? I'm not meaning to be obnox, I'm just curious about where to advertize the Super Hero genre, and have you been there doing that?

TheyStoleFrazier'sBrain said...

I advertised early, on Girl Genius, and got a couple of readers. Then my budget ran out. I have also plugged the work of several fellow writers in the hopes of reciprocation, but I don't think they ever got any traffic from me, and I think I only got one visitor from the interview I did on Alethea Kontis's blog.

I plan to advertise again when/if I get the new content rolling, both on Girl Genius or other Project Wonderful sites, and on Google Words (which I haven't tried before).

TheyStoleFrazier'sBrain said...

Oh yeah, I also got a couple of spikes in traffic when Naamah linked to me, but nobody stuck around. Several people have read the first chapter, a few have read beyond that, and only two (as far as I can tell, although there may be RSS subscribers who don't show up on Statcounter) have read the entire thing.

Frank Bielowicz said...

I fell behind on reading the story when I just got to busy to keep up. If memory serves, I made it to Chapter 18 before I was swamped. In the last 6 weeks, I've been pulling 12-14 hour days between work and family. At this point, I may just make it my first E-book buy, when available.

As a side note, Hero Go Home loads just fine when I go to it. The last post was Out of the Vault: Green Lantern.