I started writing this blog back in 2007 and there are currently 875 published posts. At the beginning I didn’t tell anyone I was blogging and the readership grew very slowly. Even now, although there are usually a few people who press the ‘like’ button each time I update, the posts don’t inspire many comments.
It’s difficult to guess whether a post will be popular: sometimes I’ll spend ages writing and re-writing until I have quite a polished article, only to have it sink without trace; sometimes a simple post – just a photo or fragment of poetry – achieves a satisfying level of success: Fortunes, for example, garnered more likes than it had words.
Of course WordPress keep their users up to date with all the statistics, and over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that the blog has been gaining followers: there have been one or two new followers every day since before Christmas. I am slightly surprised that very few of these have actually liked the posts and none of them have made any comments, but since I seldom engage with the content on other blogs, I should probably be grateful for any attention here, however limited.
That said, the numbers of followers and visitors are now sufficient that I genuinely feel I am not just talking to myself. And, having reached that point, I’m going to take advantage of the readership to mention two writing projects that I am currently associated with.
First, the University of Warwick MA in Writing annual anthology. Details of last year’s project can be found on the now closed Tinderbox2014 blog. This year’s book is still a work-in-progress; it is to be called Fractals and will include prose and poetry from current MA and MFA students.
Each year there is a new group of students and the teamwork process of compiling, editing and publishing a book is re-invented – or perhaps re-discovered, as there is a small degree of continuity due to part-time students and those who move on from MA to MFA. Despite this overlap, each anthology project has its own dynamic. (Ironically, the Fractals project seems less fragmentary and has more spark than Tinderbox managed.) This year, in addition to the blog, there’s a twitter feed and a very active organisational team.
It’s nice sometimes to watch rather than being in the middle of things, and for the Fractals project I’m mostly sitting on the sidelines and only occasionally adding my two penn’orth. I’m also not playing a central role in the second project I want to mention here. It’s a translation project for a science fiction anthology Castles in Spain which is being edited by Mariano Villareal for the 2016 European Science Fiction Convention, the EuroCon. The project aims to publish a bilingual collection of “science fiction stories that have served as milestones in Spain,” making these accessible to English-language readers.
Sadly, there has been a hiccup in the funding, which means there is a crowdfunding campaign to finance the translations. You can see a preview of the Indiegogo campaign which will be launched officially on Monday. Once it is live, this should be the Castles in Spain crowdfunding campaign link.
As I say, I’m not playing a central rôle in the organisation of the Castles in Spain project, but I do have a vested interest in the funding as I hope there will be money in the pot to pay for me to translate one of the stories. I’ve known Sue Burke, who is organising the team of translators, for many years. Some years ago we co-translated the poem Poe by Alfredo Álamo for the Magazine of Speculative Poetry. The Spanish original had won an Ignotus award (the Spanish equivalent of a Hugo) and the translation itself rated an honourable mention in the list of Best Horror of the Year; it was nice to be on a list that also featured Stephen King’s name and I’m looking forward to working with Sue again.
I wonder how many of the hundreds of followers of this blog have read right down to the end of this post. I wonder how many of you are interested in science fiction or in young, up-coming writers. I wonder how many will click through to the projects I’ve mentioned and show some interest – or even offer financial support. How many of you will add a comment? Will you like the post? Or will it get the frosty reception foreshadowed by the photo?