As you may know, on Monday I set something loose on the world. Here are some notes, thoughts, and numbers, in no particular order.
By Thursday, 3NJ had nearly 12,000 unique visitors (not including those blocking Google Analytics, which I would never criticise anyone for since I do it myself). 9,000 of that was on the first day, though; since the initial surge numbers have stabilised.
Time and pages per visit are hard to judge by since content was so thin at launch. Notably though, both have been rising steadily.
While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, the idea/execution seems to have been very popular with a lot of people. It seems to have really hit a spot.
At launch, there were just the 10 beta test entries on 3NJ. As I type this, there are 134 published posts, 86 scheduled, and 25 waiting for me to check. (I’ve not checked them because they’re all from one publisher who has uploaded samples from what must be most of their catalogue and since I’ve OKed probably 50-60 today already, spread over a couple of days of schedule, I figure the rest can space out a little.) (Sunday, if I’m remembering the queue right, may be gay erotica day on 3NJ, boys.) There are a couple of dozen waiting for formatting issues to be fixed.
The majority of users submit with no format issues at all. Since I tidied up one piece of admin UI on Monday evening (making a proper, clear ‘Source Link’ box instead of the WordPress default ‘Custom Fields’ on) the most common issue is including ‘Chapter One’ and the like. Where that’s the only issue, I just delete the header and publish.
There are 183 registered users on 3NJ at the moment.
Launching with limited content and near-zero existing users seems to have worked nicely.
Clearing the post queue twice a day, one of the main worries from Test Monkey feedback, has turned out to be pretty straightforward. Answering email has taken up more time.
A surprising number of people seem to assume the 3NJ set up is a lot more pro and web startup-y than it is. It’s just me. It runs on a very hacky WordPress install. There was no seed money and it generates no revenue.
There are some rough edges to smooth out. Chief amongst them are (1) changing or removing the next post/previous post nav links from posts reached via the randomiser and (2) giving myself the ability to email a user direct from the post screen to say that a submission has issues.
On launch day I had an email from a digital content manager for one of the Big Six, asking if the site took an ONIX feed that’d allow them to pipe their catalogue over direct. (I had to google ‘ONIX’.) Which is nice, though obviously not possible given how low-tech the back end is. He certainly seemed very keen on the concept.
I’ve had email from people in France and Germany asking about either the likelihood of setting up localised variants there, or asking advice on setting up a variant themselves. Which is awesome. I don’t have the time to do it myself, but I’d be very happy to see it spread and I’m happy to help out, share code (or, given my PHP skillz, “code”).
Entirely expectedly, much of the content on 3NJ is self-published (I think; it’s not like I’ve checked each entry). Self-published authors are probably more of a mindset to seize opportunities for discovery themselves, as quickly as possible.
I’ve seen maybe one submission that on first glance (I skim through looking for links or formatting oddness, so I don’t read per se; take that as you will) would fall foul of any filtering for basic technical accuracy. (Meaning “reasonable grammar” rather than “perfect grammar”.)
Next week I aim to get to emailing publisher PRs, hoping to see more traditionally-published content appear on 3NJ, because it’d be nice to have a good mixture.
Numerous people have tweeted about 3NJ/shared it on Facebook, and that’s been great. Anything that helps bring readers in is sweet.