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Continually trying to answer the question...can a man of few words write a successful novel?

I'm a Mystery/Thriller/Suspense writer from small town USA who struggles everyday to balance my passion for prose against the need to be a full-time bread winner. Finding ways to devote more time to my writing is the challenge, but for now all I can do is follow this tug at my heart to wherever it leads. I'm here primarily to soak up all the knowledge I can from the writing-centric blogosphere, but I'll do my best to contribute by thinking of new and innovative ways to churn the writing pot.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WRiTE CLUB 2013 – Wrap Up



I’d love to report that the third year of WRiTE CLUB was another rousing success, but that would be only partially true.  Although I believe everyone agrees that the level of competition was definitely higher this year, the number of people who participated didn’t reflect that.  There were a number of changes to the contest that could have influenced involvement, combined with the fact that I was unable to spend as much time promoting the contest on Twitter and Facebook, but it is what it is.  Here are some numbers:

Average number of votes during the preliminary rounds over the last three years:

2011 = 32.75
2012 = 63.75
2013 = 46.12

The number of people voting can be deceiving, so I looked into site hits during comparable times and those were down 15% in 2013 as well. 

Obviously my plan to offer a random draw gift certificate to anyone who voted didn’t do much to drive up participation, but you’ll never know success unless you experiment every now and then.  During the preliminary rounds we had 98 different people cast at least one vote.  Round one of the play-offs saw that number cut in half to 49.  Round two dropped even further to 38, and then the quarterfinals and semi-finals came in at 37 and 35 respectively.  Unfortunately, 36 voters failed to sign up on the Linky List, rendering them null & void.  Overall, there were 1178 name/vote combinations thrown into the proverbial hat for the gift certificate drawing.

*Note – Because they were celebrity judges I excluded Tiana Smith and Alex J. Cavanaugh from the contest.  Sorry guys.

The random number generator spit out the number 735, which it turns out was associated with the name R.T.Freeman.  Congratulations on winning the $75 Amazon gift card!

As I close things out this year, I must let you know that the future of WRiTE CLUB is tenuous.  Most of you are aware that I’m shutting down my blog to concentrate on writing and publishing pursuits and my return date is open-ended based upon the outcome of those efforts.  There is a chance I won’t be around when WRiTE CLUB is due to return in 2014…but I remain optimistic.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Hope to see you again next year! 

39 comments:

  1. Look forward to your return and hope your writing goes well for you.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Even if votes/view counts were down, it was still a fantastic contest and taught so much to everyone who participated, either as a writer or a voter/spectator. Thanks for all you do! Congrats to R.T. on winning the gift card!

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  3. I've been absent for several months, but I understand why you'll be concentrating on your writing. You'll be sorely missed.

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  4. You did an incredible job, DL, though I can see why the numbers might be disappointing. It's impossible to pin down one reason, though, so don't be discouraged. We'll miss you when you're away from the blogosphere, but writing itself should always come first and I think blogging can be a distraction for many writers. So I look forward to hearing news of your publication sometime in the near future!

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  5. Don, I just want to thank you for all the effort you put into WRiTE Club. For the third year in a row, it was an awesome contest and I enjoyed each and every round. Last year I was a contestant, so every round for me had a competitive, uncertain, nervous, and emotional impact, right up to the finals where I lost to Mark. But this year, I was able to simply read and enjoy each and every entry without any of those undercurrents.

    I also think the level of writing this year was very high and the competition very tight, so that is definitely a positive sign as to the draw of WRiTE Club. But as you say, it always surprises me that the number of voters is so low. I think it touches on a lot of things related to the whole act of "blogging" -- even for someone who has over 1200 "followers", there is still the need to constantly "advertise" and promote your blog. It also seems to take a LOT of "I'll-comment-on-yours-if-you-comment-on-mine" exchanges to keep a blog active, even when there's a fun and interesting contest going on.

    I don't think that means that bloggers are shallow and self-centered, more that they're pressed for time and are just pulled in so many directions at once. It's hard to stay focused. Most of the followers you have are other writers, and most of us are using our limited free time to also try and promote our own blogs as part of developing a 'platform' and a 'web-presence' and all that hoo-hah, plus trying to be supportive and present for all the other writers out there who are writing and having cover reveals and blog tours and self-publishing and being interviewed, PLUS while also taking some time to -- you know -- actually write.

    I can absolutely see why you want to take a break from blogging. Blogging can be a lot of fun, informative, entertaining, supportive, and lead to some positive relationships. But it can also be a huge time-sink and a distraction. Does it help build readership? At some level, I'm sure it does, but if that's a big part of why you blog, and it ends up detracting from the actual writing, then what's the point, really?

    I wish you nothing but the best, Don! I hope your blogging lull enables you to have a tremendously productive and creative period, and that it results in publishing success for you!!!

    But I also hope to see you return to the blogosphere at some point with "Cruising Altitude 3.0", and also a WRiTE Club 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017... But that's just my own selfish wants. ;)

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  6. Let me get the selfish, "me-orientated" stuff out of the way ... THANK YOU, HAMMONSES! I never win anything except the occasional $2 scratch ticket. A $75 gift card for Amazon ... WOW! This is thrilling!

    And as far as your WRiTE CLUB stats are concerned—I know a downward trend is dispiriting. Remember, though, every year, there are more and more writers in the blogosphere, but there are also more sites that try to do things like WRiTE CLUB. I would also suspect that when the list of combatants came out and some of the submitters did not see their names there, they stopped following. Perhaps WRiTE CLUB 2013 may have been more of a success than appears at first glance (by the way, I love the graphic at the top of this post. It's my favorite way of counting biggish numbers.)

    And the others are right. If anything is throwing dirt in the face of your WIPs, even a successful blog, then it needs to be put aside for as long as you need if you can't find a way to make it work as a writing aid ... for yourself! As others have commented above, your writing must come first. And if you want to do WRiTE CLUB next year, and you need help, do not hesitate to ask.

    WRiTE on, DL! And once again, thanks for everything.

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  7. No worries I couldn't vote in the final rounds. It was an honor to be a judge.
    I think Write Club's numbers reflect blogging overall rather than the quality of Write Club.
    Hopefully you'll be back again next year, DL!

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  8. No worries for not including me :) I figured it'd be that way. As for the votes, that's a little disheartening. I still think it might be because the people knew at the beginning whether they had made it into the competition or not - if they didn't make it in, they might not have felt the need to keep coming back to check... But you never know! I think it was a great competition. And I'm wishing you the best of luck with getting everything ready for querying, etc! Let me know if/when you need a beta!

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  9. It was a wonderful contest!
    Hopefully it will be back in 2014.
    Good luck with your writing DL.

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  10. I agree with Alex. I know the numbers are disappointing, but WRiTE CLUB is still a great thing!

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  11. We'll miss you while you're gone. Blogging does suck the time.

    I'd forgotten to register to vote, which is why I didn't vote this year. I kept seeing the posts and tried to catch any days you didn't post about Write Club. If you continue, I promise to remember to add my name to the list next year.

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  12. Sad to see you go! Blogging take a lot of time, but it saves my sanity. Write Club is a great idea, I hope it's back next year. Best of luck on the writing!

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  13. I was very disappointed that my six weeks off line (health problem) fell right in the middle of this year's competition and I missed so many votes. I think the Write Club is wonderful, in concept and execution.

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  14. Shutting down? Now I want to cry. What will we do without your amazing attitude and supportive nudges on the blogosphere? *sigh* But you have to write. And you'll still be around, right? Not completely disapear-a-dated?

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  15. I hope you'll be back next year, but your own work has to come first. Good luck with it! I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for any news so I can be there to cheer you on.

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  16. Best of luck, DL!! I think a lot of bloggers are reanalyzing exactly this same thing lately. I'm confident it won't be the last we hear of you or WRiTE CLUB. Maybe the next time will even be on a shelf somewhere!!! ;)

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  17. I haven't participated as an author in the WriteClubs but I've enjoyed reading and voting! It's been a great idea. I wish you well with whatever you do DL - I'll keep you and your wife in my thoughts. Take care :)

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  18. You've got to do what's best for you and we all understand and support that. If you do come back for write club next year I have hopes of making it past the second round (Participated twice, voted down in the second round both times) Best of everything to you and your wife!

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  19. Congrats to R.T. Freeman!

    Don, thanks to you and Mrs H for all you both did to make this work. I totally understand why you need a break from blogging (and I really do suspect that the era of personal blogs is winding down, and Twitter, or something still to come, will take over), but I hope you'll be back in some capacity. Good luck with the writing! That's what it's all about.

    If you do bring back Write Club, please bring back hope for authors! When you listed the names of the "chosen" in the beginning, the rest of us realized we hadn't made the cut. It's hard to come back week after week to cheer on everyone else, after being cut from the team, so to speak. If you hadn't revealed those names, there'd still have been hope in our hearts.

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  20. Thanks for all your effort, Mr. & Mrs. DL, in making Write Club a reality. This was my first time participating, and I really enjoyed it. I understand, though, that it's a huge amount of work, and trying to juggle that plus blogging plus writing a novel... well, when do you sleep?

    Best of luck with your novel and hope you'll let us know when your masterpiece hits bookshelves.

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  21. Write club helped changed my views in writin DUE to the comments being like little beta readers for my submissions. Due to that I am forever grateful and beg for you to return next year with another go. Best if luck with your writing!!!

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  22. It was a lot of fun, but definitely a challenge to read and offer feedback so consistently. This has been an epic even, and the love and hard work you put into it shows.

    I hope you accomplish all you hope for with your break. It is always good to remember there is life beyond writing. Thank the Missus for me for all her help.

    .......dhole

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  23. Best wishes for all of your pursuits, D.L. Thanks for all the fun & education you provide for us here in the blogosphere. :)

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  24. Okay love, here is the deal...you can take a break and work your magic - because I've read your work before and it IS magic - but be sure to shout out to the Southern Princess from "Bama every now and then. I plan to check in on you, see how things are going and to always let you know that I will be your Alpha, Beta, -whenever you need me- reader, blogger, friend. There is so much that I have learned through you and I cannot imagine your blog not popping up on my blogroll with a new post, but I also am counting down the days for when I get to run into my local bookstore and grab the spine of YOUR book. hopefully we both will have 'spines' to smile at one day soon....

    I wish you fun, happiness, writing-geniosity (oh yeah I made that one up, sure did), a love for all things plotting and good ideas and last but not least, I wish you great joy in the gift you have. :o) Catch you on the flip side, sweetie...stay funny...I'll see you on the sidelines 11/9/13 RTR!

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  25. You are a great blogger and I'll miss your posts but...I really want to read your book and if this is what it takes, I fully support your decision and look forward to your return and your published novel.

    Come by anytime to visit!

    Heather

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  26. It's my humble opinion that WRITE CLUB this year was awesome. the quantity might not have been there but the quality of both the writing and the comments was unbelievable. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even though I was not a participating writer. The opportunity you created for the participants was superb. Thank you for all of your efforts. I know they were monumental.

    NOW, onto something else. First I apologize for taking a week to get back to this, but I have been experiencing Interned difficulties. I cannot express my deepest and most sincere appreciation for your concept of the BLOG BLITZ. As you know, last Friday I was BLITZED. There are no words for what I felt when the comments started flowing int. I was touched to see that so many people not only read the whole post, but participated in my Battle of the Bands. How could you have known how much I need that at this particular point in time. I fully understand the concept, and don't expect that all of those folks will be back for every post or even 10% of them, but last Friday it was truly magical. Since you started the Blitz, I believe that I have only missed one, but after this I will be even more diligent, knowing what it meant to me. A thousand and one thanks yous for the concept, the opportunity, and you're truly being one of the GOOD GUYS.

    I hope your hiatus is productive and enjoyable. I hope you return to blogging soon. You will definitely be missed.

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  27. Stopping in as part of my blitz rounds and really glad I did. Wishing you every success with your writing and hoping that all your dreams come true. Best of the weekend to you and yours.

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  28. Thanks for another great year! I can tell you I participated in spurts. That was no reflection on the contest, just on where I am in my life right now. Best of luck to you and your writing! We'll see what next year brings. :)

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  29. Hi Don .. I understand your wish to write and not worry about the blog ... still you've set an example through your iWrite club - someone may well pick the ball up and run with it ..

    Good luck to you and your family for the coming year ... and to those latent books waiting to be written .. cheers Hilary

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  30. I really had a great time, even if i was knocked out in the second round (I was knocked out by the person who won the whole thing, and only by like 3 votes, too, so that made it easier to stomach ;) )
    I thought it was awesome

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  31. Interesting stats. Who knows all the factors that come into play. Still I think you ran a successful and interesting competition. It was fun to participate. Here's to time away for writing. Good luck with that.

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  32. Hey DL, hope your writing time pans out. I'm sure it will be awesome. I just came by because I realized I changed my email and haven't been getting the blitz notices. Are you still doing that?

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  37. Sad to hear, sad you're shutting down (but totally understand!)! Was a super fun year in Write Club, tho! Thank you and everyone behind the scenes for all your hard work!

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  38. Hello! Posting late here. I know I can say personally that I only blog and hop to blogs about once a month now, and I think blogging is fading a bit with Twitter being probably the biggest social media network now. I've heard a ton of people say they are blogging less and less, so I think your numbers are merely a reflection of that. I know Write Club is certainly just as awesome as it was last year! Have fun focusing on your writing, and hope all is well with you and your wife.

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  39. Hey DL. I saw something about Write Club during April but never got back to learn more. Can you tell me the nitty gritty and who if anyone might helm it in 2014? I hate to hear you are stepping away, but totally understand how time is so limited for pursuing writing and publishing options.

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