The vicissitudes of blogging

Publishers and publicists often ask authors who their readers are. The one thing you’re not supposed to do is pick a famous author’s book and say, “People who liked Fire Ants in the Birdbath will love my book.” That’s usually considered arrogant.

If a writer is a blogger, s/he is often asked about the blog’s demographics. If it has a niche, then how many people stop by every day? If it’s more general, what subjects get the most readers and comments?

My answer to the first question usually includes Floridians and/or those who like fantasy, magical realism, and paranormal short stories and novels. My answer to the second is “I get the most hits on stuff I’m not writing about now.”

Currently, most of my visitors are looking at blogs that focus on conjure. I wrote a lot of these when my novel Conjure Woman’s Cat first came out. I wrote these because authors are advised to blog about themes and subject matter from their novels rather than promoting the novels over and over again.

People are searching and reading about graveyard dirt. Makes me wonder if there’s a graveyard dirt scandal going on and folks are looking it up.

When I was writing the conjure posts, they didn’t get as many hits as silly posts, satirical posts, occasional rants, or posts about things going on in my life. Now that I’m writing posts about other subjects–some about my life, some about writing and publishing–those are getting very few hits compared with the massive number of hits on the conjure posts.

Go figure.

This means when it comes to blogging, I have no idea who my readers are except for people who know me in “real life” or on Facebook.  I suppose I should have called this post “Clueless in Georgia.” I wonder if that title would have attracted people from Georgia. Since I’m clueless, I have no idea.

Malcolm

Occasionally, I write something that isn’t fantasy. Examples are the comical satire “Special Investigative Reporter” and the realistic Vietnam war novel “At Sea.”

 

The Paramecium Papers

Blog feedback from a feral study group in Dubuque indicates that my focus here on the Round Table has been insanely misguided for years. Or, perhaps it’s an insane study group and my posts have been too feral for everyday people.

Study group spokesperson Vixen Galore said, “Malcolm–I hope you don’t mind if I use your first name–you need a niche. You’re all over God’s multicolored earth here with your posts. After all, you’re writing this blog in hopes of attracting readers to your books, right?”

“Sort of, Vix, but I don’t have a niche because I don’t know who those prospective readers are.”

“You better find out. But first, find something fresh and new and write ground breaking posts about it day after bloody day until the cows come home. My feral advice is paramecia. You’ll have people kicking in your front door in nothing flat.”

Suddenly, perhaps because I’ve been watching tennis matches at Indian wells while drinking moonshine, that advice makes sense. If things go well, I might even change the name of the blog to The Paramecium Papers.

What is a Paramecium?

For those of you who haven’t thought about these cute little critters since your grade school biology class, here’s the definition from Wikipedia: “Paramecium (also Paramoecium) (/ˌpærəˈmʃəm, –ˈmʃiəm, –ˈmsiəm/ parr-ə-MEE-sh(ee-)əmparr-ə-MEE-see-əm) is a genus of unicellular ciliates, commonly studied as a representative of the ciliate group. Paramecia are widespread in freshwaterbrackish, and marine environments and are often very abundant in stagnant basins and ponds. Because some species are readily cultivated and easily induced to conjugate and divide, it has been widely used in classrooms and laboratories to study biological processesIts usefulness as a model organism has caused one ciliate researcher to characterize it as the “white rat” of the phylum Ciliophora.

Since there a billions of these suckers in water, chances are there are millions of them inside you. For all we know, there may even be more of them in your favorite bottled water than the microscopic chips of plastic that today’s news told us about.

The downside is this: we don’t really know what they want (the paramecia hordes, not the pieces of plastic). That being the case, my mission here–my new niche–will be to teach you how to develop your psychic powers so that you can communicate with the so-called white rats of the Ciliophora phylum. So far, it appears that they want most of us to stay more hydrated than we do and to stop killing them by boiling our water or adding chemicals to it.

The other downside is that early results are showing that these tiny specks of life are actually more intelligent than some humans. It’s a group mind kind of thing: they think like the BORG in Star Trek, a true collective where the rights of the individual (including you) don’t mean squat.

Some people tell us that if the planet gets wiped out by a nuclear war, cockroaches will be the primary survivors. Maybe so. But they have to drink the water, and what that means is that the thoughts roaches think they’re having are coming from paramecia.

The inner child people often speak of is really a BORG-like colony of paramecia. If this doesn’t disturb you, then you’re probably not the true niche-reader for this blog.

Upcoming topics for The Paramecium Papers are:

  1. How to ask a paramecium out on a date.
  2. Understanding the kinds of books paramecia like and what they do to you if your’re not reading those books.
  3. How much beer can you drink without out turning your colony of paramecia into a bunch of sots?
  4. Paramecia speak Russian, so they have been meddling in your decision making longer than Mueller suspects, and so far, he hasn’t subpoenaed any of them. (Of course, his colony might be blinding him to reality.)

So there it is, a niche that will lure readers into my magical, paranormal, and fantasy novels and short stories.

Malcolm, Vix, and Paramecia Colony J38