Some quick(ish) deeper noodlings on the first month stats for 3NJ I posted earlier today:
The tail-off in visitor numbers is expected (and entirely normal for this sort of venture). Launch day traffic was far, far higher than I’d expected. The downside to launching with next to no content on board already was that people were mostly checking out the concept. (The upside was that no one’s been coerced into contributing and I’ve not had to go touting for content; I hate cold-asking people.) It might have been better to have more authors on board pre-launch in order to retain readership rather than the ‘IF I BUILD IT THEY WILL COME’ totally haphazard launch approach (Suw, the weekend before it went live: “What’ll the launch strategy be?” / Me: “If nothing’s broken or missing come Monday I’ll write an announcement and post it to Twitter. Then we’re live.”). OTOH, there’d be no guarantee it would’ve worked even if I had wanted to do it, which I didn’t, and to be frank it’s not like I can complain about the numbers. I linked to the announcement twice, as did Steve and Suw. And that was it. The rest was from people, whole viral chains of them, sharing it because they liked it, and that’s cool. Next month will be the thing, seeing how it goes.
500 submissions in a month out of nothing is awesome. As is the fact that dealing with them hasn’t been terribly taxing. Most people seem to have no trouble with the formatting instructions and all I have to do is skim and hit ‘go’.
That said, I wish I had a notification system for problem subs. It’s on a to-do, though I suspect I can’t do it without hacking WP in a way that’s probably beyond me.
Outbound link tracking is also to-do. That’s very annoying.
I’ve emailed… ooh… half a dozen publishers, maybe a couple more. Directly for the smaller ones, to PR for a couple of larger ones. I’m genuinely surprised not to have had any response at all (not even “Never contact us again, you maniac.”). My experience of publisher publicity in the past has been that if there’s a tool - a free one at that - that writers can use to gain audience, you jump on it. Wrong department? Wrong approach? I dunno. There are plenty of others I can try as I get the time.
Getting regular readership seems to be the thing that’ll make or break 3NJ in the long run. Content, so far at least, it seems good for, which is cool.