like it or not

frosted plant
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?

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

9 thoughts on “like it or not”

  1. I’ve noticed that more often than not, engaging with other people’s blogs will result in responses on your own. I tend to follow back comments and see the blog of the commenter.

    Sometimes it can be frustrating that a good post gets passed by and nobody notices.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to write a few words here; I do realise there’s a reciprocal aspect to it all. I always check the blogs of those who comment, and almost always check out who new followers are. I reply to comments, too… even from Arsenal fans(!). (Don’t think I’ve been to a football match since I saw Wimbledon beat Liverpool at Wembley – a “ludicrous display” in its own right.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The fact you noted I’m an Arsenal fan more than anything else is quiet interesting. I think blogging should be about community and reading each other’s work. Hence why I started visiting different blogs and leaving comments if anything catches my eye.


      2. I also noted the anime, manga and gaming, but I can’t geek about them. (I couldn’t explain the offside rule, either, but I’m British and not so far out of my depth in football.)

        You’re right, of course: I should comment on other blogs.

        But I still don’t understand the lack of correlation between likes, comments and followers. This post has attracted four new followers and yet three of them have neither liked nor commented on anything. *Thank you* for engaging.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s a complicated love affair between the three. Those that like a post, may just want to encourage you. They may just want to just give a shout-out.

        Those that follow are also encouraging you but may also feel your blog is good or has potential. The comments are made by those that want to interact. They’re the ones I appreciate the most. I try to leave comments on posts that I enjoy reading because I know that is what I like. So you’ll notice, you get 5 likes to every 2 follows or so but the comments only come once in a while. It is strange but that’s how I see it.

        It is weird that you attracted four followers but no likes following this post.


      4. Yeah. There have been likes on the post from followers and from non-followers, but not on this or any other post from the new followers.

        It’s this recent spate of new followers – ~30 in a fortnight – who are not engaging in any other way that prompted me to write the post and watch the reaction. I understand the logic behind spam comments, but am not sure what use spam follows would be, or I’d just assume that was what most of them were. Perhaps it’s what we said – that if someone follows our blog we go and check them out – but it seems an inefficient technique for increasing readership.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Unfortunately it seems that way. I sometimes follow blogs just so that they appear on my feed and a post or two might catch my attention but some people would follow just to get a follow back or someone to check out their blog. I’ve had posts where I’ve had more likes than views. This is what disturbed me the most. How is that even possible?


      6. “likes > views” used to bother me lots, but then I decided it was possible the likes were from followers who never actually got onto the site – read it in email and liked it there, perhaps?

        It’s that first visitor of the day who shows up on the stats as “visitors: 1; views: 3; countries: India, USA and Japan” that really worries me. I suspect the truth may be that WordPress stats are only worth what I pay for them.


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