The heart is a lonely blogger* (Cont’d)

Previously on Equinoxio: why on Earth do we blog? (Reflections in a blogger’s eye**)

Now back to the original objective. As I mentioned, I wanted some “distribution” for my writing. How have I fared? Having worked in Marketing and Market research for most of my professional life, I do take a hard look at my stats. The following graph illustrates the accumulated number of views of the main categories I post on:

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Oh. I have a travel blog. Are you serious? I’m a (wannabe) writer! Well, sort of a travel blog. I have slowly developed those posts because a) they’re more visual. Ain’t not many folks readin’ no more. b) I have pleeeenty of photography material from my travels. c) they’re relatively short to “write”. An hour, hour and a half or so.

Additionally the “travel” category (As I define it) includes “Paris Time Patrol” where I mix old ’64 Paris photos with some of my own, and those are fun posts to write.

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“Auto-tamponneuses.” Paris 1964. For credits go to any Paris Time Patrol post.

One the highest-ranking posts in the Travel category is “Je reviens”, a mix between lyrics of an old French song (complete with English translation) and pix of Chile by Daughter #2. (Hmmm. Not even my pix…) 🙂

https://equinoxio21.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/je-reviens-im-coming-home/

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Chile 2016, (c)ourtesy Gini.

Looking at the stats on Travel, I realize there are only few posts on Africa. I will work on that. “Smiles from Africa” is actually the post with most views in the travel category. Not my pictures either… 🙂 Maybe I should become an editor? Or publish a book on street art?

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(c)ourtesy C.Heurtebise

INDOCHINA is the second next category in terms of views. A really amazing result. Only six posts based on an old photo album from the beginning of the 20th century. It has generated massive – and silent – traffic from Cambodia and Vietnam. 3 years after the first posts it still generates traffic. And I can proudly say that I am on the very first page of Google’s search results on “ancient Indochina”. Insight: I will scout the flea markets in Paris this summer for old photo albums. Vintage, time and travel make a good combination. Right, Scotty?

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This is my single most visited post, over 1200 times:

https://equinoxio21.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/indochine-where-india-met-china/

Pot-Pourri is the third viewed category. The concept came to me as I was looking at some competitors’ blogs. (Friends’ blogs I mean). It seems to me that more than ten photos on the same subject may make the reader wary. So, I mix places and times drawing on my own and my family archives. For scope: I have pictures of my great-grandmother as a child back in India, mid 19th century (to be posted). The resulting effect feels nice: jumping around in time and space keeps the reader alert. I hope. What say you? Pot-pourris are also great posts to write. Fun. Did I mention Fun as one of blogging’s rewards? If you’re not having FUN posting, forget about it.

The winner in the Pot-pourri category is: Number 19. (Why? Beats me)

https://equinoxio21.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/pot-pourri-dix-neuf-nineteen-neunzehn/

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Writing? Writing? Writing? Well, much to my dismay, my writing, and non-fiction at that, is ranked 5. Those posts are mostly “political” in nature: protest against the hapless killings in Europe and elsewhere by self-inspired morons, or Brexit – the world class stupidity of the 21st century, or the recent French elections, or family photos from 1916, during WWI. I am very pleased to say that the most visited post in the non-fiction category is “Who are those children?”

https://equinoxio21.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/who-are-those-children/

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This post was about a project led by my former High School buddies at the French Lycée in Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia. A simple project: one school. No toilets to speak of, no drinking water. They launched a crowd funding, collected the money and gave those kids decent toilets AND drinking water. A great project. See the above picture: as simple as opening the water tap.

FICTION. At long last, some views for my fiction. English fiction. Where I also include “dramatized” bits and pieces from an exotic childhood. It amounts to only 34% of my Travel views. Now, to be fair, it is easier and faster to post on travel than to write even a short story. The winner in English fiction category is “A night in Penang”. The second story inspired by my friend Tiffany Choong’s charming, delightful sketches. Do visit her at Bulanlifestyle:

https://bulanlifestyle.wordpress.com/

And the link to “A night in Penang” is here:

https://equinoxio21.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/a-night-in-penang-by-brian-martin-onraet-and-tiffany-choong/

A night in Penang is one of my favourite stories, particularly because it is the result of collaboration between two bloggers. Without Tiffany’s drawings there would be no story. Another thing I have learned about blogging: It is easy to initiate joint projects. And rewarding.

Tiger

Tony the tiger (c)courtesy Tiffany Choong at BulanLifeStyle

SPANISH FICTION. That is a sorry category for me. After all it’s where I began: writing. And writing in Spanish at that. Views for Spanish Fiction are below re-blogs – which really don’t work – and barely above a few “Tributes” here and there – including one tribute to beloved Leonard Cohen. Obviously Spanish fiction is not working. True, this blog is mainly in English. The US alone accounts for 28% of views; add Europe, 38%, and Asia, 20%, I would suspect my readership is 90% English-speakers. So what should I do? Translate my 20-something Spanish short stories into English? That would be a  bore. Basically amounts to writing them again. Or post them in Spanish, and let you guys stumble through Google translate? What do you think? Pray speak out. 🙂

Regardless, there is one story in Spanish that has worked reasonably well: Amate. A story of love and obsession in central Mexico:

https://equinoxio21.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/amate-por-bruno-martinez/

Amate1-1

Traditional painting on bark (amate) BMO’s private collection.

WHAT FUTURE? I have mentioned before – in “Au revoir” – that it might be difficult for me to keep posting on “mundane” subjects. Travel would be one. Not to say that I don’t enjoy producing this type of post, and I might just as well do it again. That or “Pot-pourri” which I find very pleasant. But. But. Something is nagging at me. Two or three different topics are calling my attention:

  1. I have a novel in the works. About 60% completed. Should I take the time (out of blogging) to finish it? But then it is in Spanish! And it has to be in Spanish, because the action is set in Latin America. I have at least half a dozen short stories in English, all wrapped up in my head, only waiting to be written… And to mess up things further, I have another novel, also written in my head, which I could probably write on paper in a few weeks or months… But it is in French! Help me out there. Any suggestion? I just thought about writing a schedule. An A4 calendar sheet. And place the stories to write in a time-line. Or should I do another blog? In Spanish? This multicultural thing is not really working. For blogs or anything… What do you think? Has anyone experience in running several blogs at the same time?
  2. Non-fiction. Two projects. One is to redo an exercise I completed a few years ago on factors for development. Yes, Development. A long way from my usual stuff. It is fairly easy to access international data on all 200+ countries in the world and start looking for correlations. Build a model. And believe me the results are startling. Only two or three major variables really correlate with development. One of them? Corruption. Or the absence thereof. Last time I did the exercise it took me 3 months… Given the current sorry state of Excell graphs, it might take me another 5-6 months to re-do the exercise… I need an assistant. 🙂 Any graduate student across the world want to help me out? 😉

Two: the other non-fiction project is to analyse one country, France, and identify strategic avenues for the country’s next five or ten years. Methodology is relatively easy. And, above all, can eventually be applied to any country. Time: another 3 months maybe? But then again, what language? French or English? And the question remains, is Equinoxio the right media? Should I open another blog? That is a lot of blogs to handle… An English, a Spanish and a French blog? 😦

What do y’all think? Any suggestion?

To complicate things further, the Captain and crew are flying to Paris on Saturday. Past history shows that it is practically impossible to travel and post at the same time. (At least for me).

Have a lovely summer. (* to Carson McCullers again)

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From Mexico’s Catarina and the Chronicles of the Demon Bird:

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To the Café de Flore:

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Jean-Loup Sieff, c.1970.

 

25 thoughts on “The heart is a lonely blogger* (Cont’d)

  1. I like it as it is, mixture of any kind doesn’t bother me at all – on the contrary. And forget statistics, let your heart be your guide. 😉

    Enjoy your Paris summer, may it be quiet and pleasant! 🙂

  2. I love looking at your images, especially anything old in sepia tones and black and white that chronicle your youth, and the street art. I do read, just not in spanish, haha….have fun in Paris, rewrite the spanish into English and repost anew 🙂 peace and love and we will be waiting when you come down off the cloud into the sphere of bloggerville and rejoin with your feet on the ground 🙂 peace out, K

    • Thank you Kim. Yes, the old images have a particular flavour to it. When I look at them, ‘makes me think we are just specks of light, photons racing away, that a camera can capture those moments. I think of people long gone, some I did not even know, and there is the proof that they were here at one time. Fleeting photons is what we are. Tahnk you for your wishes. I will try to find a way to ease the translation process. And we’ll make our best of Paris. Enjoy the sun and warmth. ❤

    • To everyone his own. 🙂 I look at stats (once a year) as a feedback to what posts were “best” received. Though I already have a qualitative feeling by the end of the year. Cheers

  3. I am totally with the ‘F’ the stats camp! Let your heart be your guide. I have considered doing multiple blogs but find they become a nightmare for the owner and a challenge for an audience that wants to follow you everywhere. You might want to consider a self-hosted blog (WordPress.org) and design something that lets you be all the Brians you are in one site. I’ve also seen multi-lingual bloggers that will post one post in three languages which can be nice. But really, in the day of Google translate, you can post in any language you want and people can figure it out. I follow French bloggers and German bloggers without issue. Yes, it is not perfect, but I get the gist of what they are trying to say and enjoy following their adventures.

    • It’s a balance, like facts and opinion in (old) journalism. I like to get my facts straight first. made a living on that for quite a while, but then comes the opinion: what strategy do you recommend to the client, based on the facts. I think I’m seeing clearer now. Need to write my “strategy” down, and move on. It really is a matter of prioritizing. Will let you know. Bons vents. (How do you say that in Italian? Venti buoni?) 😉

  4. The thing about you is that the things your heart is veering towards are not an easy sell…in blogland. I’m sure you know that? The reason I’M here is because of YOU. We have got to know one another therefore anything you put up I’m willing to look at, as with the rest of your regulars. What I’m saying is yes, you CAN ‘sell’ ‘difficult’ things but you have to build a bigger audience of me’s (and your other pals) to sell it to first. Without a PR budget you can’t go direct to a wide audience on hard sells. (Okay, never say ‘can’t’ – let’s say my experience has taught me that it is very difficult to go direct – lets put it that way instead!)

    The other things are a much easier sell as you pointed out; ‘Oooogh look piccies!’ Everyone can respond to pictures – especially when they are great. Pot Pourri only does slightly less better because despite also being picture based, passers by don’t know what it is about, the title doesn’t tell them, so in a world of attention deficit people your title can act as a barrier to one of my favourite style posts of yours. And I’m not saying change it I’m just saying what I see.

    On the whole I’m with the others. I don’t look at stats either because I’m not actively trying to grow my blog right now, I’m just enjoying it whilst being very occupied elsewhere. I would behave very differently if I wanted a growth spurt. For eg as in the case of ‘Pot Pourris’ I would be titling my posts differently for SEO, I would bear in mind that writing for pleasure is not the same as writing for a specific end goal of say a book sale or audience growth (although the two aims are not mutually exclusive).

    Plus on top of the restrictions a niche direction imposes you have to bear in mind that even your regulars might not be into the non fiction you are choosing to write – as your stats might suggest to you what they prefer. Remember that I skipped a poem (which was actually rather good) just because poems in general aren’t my thing? And this isn’t just a realisation for Equinoxio, all bloggers / writers have to be realistic about what we can achieve with the subjects we choose to pursue. When it’s the recognised easy sells the job is easier, when it’s niche it is going to be a longer, harder slog.

    Of course you must know that if you choose not to speak English you immediately limit your audience for any topic.
    One thing I flat out cannot agree with (and you know your ole pal does not BS) is your assertion about your novel ‘And it has to be in Spanish, because the action is set in Latin America’ – nope, sorry. It’s YOUR novel and it can be in any language you choose it to be.

    Yes, I have experience in running about 10 projects (including multiple blogs) at a time – but then I’m an idiot! 🙂 No, it CAN be done you just have to schedule things out so say do the Spanish one Mon and Tues and the Frenchie on Sundays.

    If you are asking your ole ED what to do (which you weren’t necessarily), when you go to Paris, sit down with a choc ice (or indeed, le choc ice) by yourself and ask which project – or 2 projects do I want completed or near completion by this time next year?
    What would I REALLY be disappointed to not have done when I’m 70 in a rocking chair?
    What do I want to gain from them?
    Is it the simple pleasure of doing them or is there a business or financial aspect to it? i.e would I like to get (mainstream) published?
    What changes do I have to make in what I am doing now to make that a reality?
    The most important question of course is Will The Ed miss me if I selfishly abandon blogging and go off to do what I want to do? – I’m not influencing you here …you know…just…erm…do what you think is best with the last question.

    • Dear Ed(ith) Thank you so much for taking the time to set out a – quasi – Marketing plan for me. Seriously, I love your approach. (I’ve actually copied it to a Word file to mull on it. Yours is a very thorough analysis, for which I am immensely grateful. Would you be my campaign manager/Chief of staff when I run for President of the world? Or the other way round? 😉

  5. Interesting points Brian. I can judge from the comments on my posts that few people read the wordy ones. But then mine almost always come with images. Regardless, I have realised stats are mere ego boosters if you do not intend to monetise your blog. You would do well to follow your friend ‘Ed’s advice….geez, you need to hire her as your consultant 🙂

    • Consultant? Definitely. The lady is a pro. Thus she is probably veeeery expensive. I have printed her comments and plan to work on a strategy. Not necessarily to monetize but to increase reach. And I use the stats only in a relative, comparative way: which categories of posts reach out to more? And then “shift” my content accordingly. Be good my friend. Lovely to see you here.

  6. i have only been ‘blogging’ (the word is not my favourite) for a year, having recently experienced a dip in confidence to publish, I think this kind of self-reflection is needed. Experiment with styles and formats, see what gets more feedback and so on is what every experienced blogger seem to be doing. I am torn btw travel and poetry – the poetry always gets more attention yet, it’s not what I often set out to achieve or even publish. Thanks for these tips – much appreciated

    • My pleasure. I’m not such an experienced “blogger”. 🙂 But I would say this: Don’t be torn. Post both. Many bloggers specialize. They do one thing. And that is fine. personally I like variety. So if you like Travel and poetry, alternate. I try to do that and at least it works for me. Avoids monotony. B. good. (Or bad if such is your fancy)

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