This year I’ve run two surveys to help me analyze my readers and how best to serve them. The reason I did that was simple: I’d like to be sure I’m providing you, my reader, with posts that meet your needs. I’d also like to find ways to continuously improve this blog. At this time, I’d want to share with you the results of those surveys and how they will affect this blog going forward. This also gives you one last opportunity to provide me with feedback (by leaving me a comment on this post).
Who are the Readers of This Blog?
The first survey, which I ran in January, allowed me to get a better idea of who you are.
Based on those responses, I now know that the majority of you are female (77%), aged 35-64 (74%) with a college degree (29%), many with an advanced degree (47%). About half of you (51%) are aspiring authors and a little more than a quarter of you (27%) are published authors. Also, a quarter of you are bloggers (27%). Also, 29% are business owners or solo entrepreneurs, which makes sense, since a nonfiction book provides a fabulous way to build a business.
Changes You Would Like
The three most important bits of feedback I received from the survey I ran last Friday were:
- You would prefer that I published posts just twice a week, rather than three times a week. (55%) The readers who preferred three posts per week or one post per week were equally divided—23% respectively.
- Subscribers would like an email that compiles links to posts from the past month (85%).
- You would like me to continue providing relevant nonfiction writing prompts (73%).
Topics that Interest You
These two surveys have provided me with a long list of topics and issues you’d like me to cover over the next six months (or longer). I began focusing on these back in February after the conclusion of my first survey. However, given that this blog focuses on all types of nonfiction, the posts will likely continue to vary to a large degree. Here’s why:
While 68% of you want to write nonfiction books, 55% of you are focused on writing for publication. More of you want to self-publish (50%) than traditionally publish (34%), yet almost half of you want to know how to write query letters and book proposals (48%). And 43% of you would like to become authorpreneurs and build a business around your books. Additionally, many of you struggle with motivation, time management and generally dealing with the many hats you must wear (48%) and seek inspiration and tips and tools to simply get your writing done and meet the demands of being a writer and authorpreneur in today’s publishing world.
That basically means you have a lot of interests. You want to know about platform, business, marketing, publishing, queries, proposals, craft, motivation, time management, markets, essay writing, pushing yourself through fear, interviewing, and so, so, so much more!
I wasn’t surprised by the request to publish less frequently. We are all overwhelmed with the amount of content on the Internet and in our email boxes.
I also wasn’t surprised that readers wanted a compilation of posts. This make it easy to catch up on those you miss or to save the emails for later reading or as a resource.
I was, however, surprised to discover that you enjoy the prompts! Honestly, I was about to stop providing the Friday nonfiction writing prompts because they rarely get comments and seemed to get less traffic than other types of posts. I figured no one really used them. Survey respondents did have some mixed feeling about having them on Fridays or on another day of the week, though. Some liked Fridays, while others felt another day of the week would give them more time to use them.
I was fascinated by the range of your interests and touched by the issues with which you struggle. Knowing this, I recommitted myself to covering them all. That means I have a new blog plan that includes all the topics mentioned and that focuses on the most common subject areas and pain points in particular.
My New Plan for this Blog
Based on the results of these two surveys, I will be making three changes starting this month—unless I get some very different responses to the survey very soon or you write my some very angry or persuasive comments below!
- I will publish posts here on Write Nonfiction NOW! twice per week, Monday and Wednesday, rather than three times per week. One will be a regular post and one will be a prompt. That means this is the last Friday post you will read here.
- Nonfiction Prompts will continue but will be published on Wednesdays. I hope that means more people will find time to use them.
- I will rotate subjects to ensure I frequently touch on the issues and pain points of all my readers. I can’t promise to write a post that will be of interest to you every week, especially if your focus is on writing for publication rather than on writing books, but I can promise to write a post that interests you every other week.
Personally, I will admit that I am a bit relieved to drop the Friday posts. Doing so allows me to do three things:
- Focus more attention on the posts I write for Write Nonfiction NOW! With less posts to write per week, I can spend more time on them, thus improving their quality.
- Start a video podcast. I’ve been toying with the idea of a podcast for several years, and I even did one or two episodes of an audio podcast a few years ago, but gave up when I had technical difficulties. I now would like to use the current Google Hangout technology to produce a video and an audio podcast. I haven’t decided if I will do an inspirational show that just features me offering tips and tools, or one that is interview based, or a combination of both. (I’d love to know if you’d like a podcast from me and on what types of topics! Leave me a comment.) My thought was to add this into the mix about once a month, but I’m not sure exactly when this will happen.
- Focus attention on my As the Spirit Moves Me blog. For the last three years this blog has not received the attention I would like to give it, and as a result it’s traffic has declined. It used to be one of my most popular blogs. The topics I cover on that blog—human potential, personal development, inspiration, creativity, practical spirituality, and mysticism—are my passions! I would like to publish a weekly post there. (I’d also like to post more frequently to my blog, My Son Can Dance, which doesn’t get much attention.) Most of you know I also blog twice a week at How to Blog a Book. So, with five writing/blogging posts to produce per week, and posts for other blogs as well, I haven’t had much time for my other blogs (or books). I will publish posts on Friday’s at As the Spirit Moves Me.
I’m a huge advocate of frequent and consistent blogging. So I don’t make these changes without much thought and a great bit of reserve. I’ve been blogging three days a week here for 39 months—since April 2011. Prior to that, I published posts here five days a week for 15 months before I reduced my publication schedule to three times a week. I started the blog in December 2010 at the end of the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge (National Nonfiction Writing Month) as a way to keep the blog I had started for that event alive. This year, I combined those two blogs into one. I’ve worked hard to build this blog. Change must be good for you, the reader, and for me. I hope that’s what these changes will be.
I’d love to hear your feedback now and as time goes on. And as I move forward with the changes, if I discover that any of it isn’t working I’ll make alterations! But for now, that’s the plan.