One last thing before I go off on my “blog holiday.” An issue had been percolating in my head for several years and it hit me again full force yesterday. A comment on my previous post about the decline in my blog readership since 2017, and especially in the last year, got me thinking once more about my writing path. Author Laura Janis Thompson responded in part:
My two cents is that this has nothing to do with your lovely blog and everything to do with how wrapped up people are in the pandemic. … I don’t think it has anything to do with your posts. Just my two cents. Enjoy your break!
That reply led me to want to float this issue with you. I know I “changed” during 2017, and I realize I never asked readers, nor really even much wondered aloud on here, if you as a reader would be “happy” about that “shift.” I replied to Laura (in part):
Your two cents are MORE than appreciated. I had been thinking some people are wearying of looking at screens, amidst homeschooling, etc., so I’m glad you suggested that.
But I have also though noticed a longer term dip that the virus may have accelerated. Maybe some readers just PREFERRED my first three modern day travel novels and my more recent historical two are just not as popular, given the dip started in 2017. My peak was 2016.
So I have now and then since 2017 wondered about my “evolution.”
It is a question. And it is an important one (to me). Did my move away from the modern “twenty-somethings'” travel stories of my first three novels, cost me followers and readers?
It is I think a valid question. My best-selling book is still my first, late-2013’s Passports. Its two sequels did reasonably well too, and they all still do attract new readers.
In 2016, I decided on something of a “change of writing direction.” That led to 2017’s Conventions: The Garden At Paris – as I like to joke, My “Gone With The Wind,” LOL! That 18th century based tale was definitely a move away from my earlier books.
Given the nature of the book, I had been hoping I could carry my existing readers along in that move as well as win new ones. How many of my then readers actually stayed with me? And how many of them did not… and did the “did nots” have something to do with my diminishing blog readership since 2017?
Don’t get me wrong. Conventions did do, and does, well too. But as we also know not everyone likes “history”… even if it is wrapped up in a similar “travel romance.”
Its follow up, Tomorrow The Grace, is still too newly released to assess fairly. However, it has not matched Conventions‘ first eight or so months of sales. Although the virus hitting in March, just five months after Tomorrow’s publication, likely dented its sales too.
Recently that 2017 “change of direction” question hit home with me even more so. You may recall in April I published a current day travel free short story: “And Out Comes Her Phone.” It is in its way a distant sequel to my first three novels and written in much the same style.
And it has attracted lots of downloads.
But, then again, it was meant to attract lots of reads. It is FREE. I wanted it to be a gift to visitors and maybe a momentary little diversion in the pandemic.
Maybe I am the one “reading” too much into all of this?
Thus being an author. We write for ourselves, as well as in the hopes an audience similarly likes what we have written. After we come to think we had done “enough” of walking the well-worn trail, we hope with a new direction we are blazing a great new trail, but some long-time readers may just want more of what they had enjoyed on the old trail and are not interested in journeying down the newer one with us.
If we as writers venture too far from what that established audience wants and expects of us, naturally we may lose some of those earlier readers.
Then again, I also know I have gotten some new readers with the two historical novels who did not read my first three more “modern“ ones.
And all five books are available for any even newer readers.
I sure need that blogging holiday, and it starts now.😂
See you soon. 🙂