Writing Journey

Growing Your Audience

This is a subject many have brought up. I guess… the first thing people do, when they visit my blog, is check out the subscriber count. And a four-digit number is pretty big for most blogs. However, that number doesn’t actually equate to active readers. Having gained a following over time, I cannot confidently say that everyone reads. People come, people go – some stay and lurk – and I don’t have control over my audience. But, I can most certainly grow it. How? Well…

#1 Know Your Audience

The first thing you have to ask yourself is ‘who’ – who’s your audience? Is your audience children, potterheads, Japanese, fitness junkies – who are the people you want reading your blog? This is one of the most important questions you’ll have to ask. Establishing your target audience is of top priority, whether you’re running a blog or writing a book. It’s crucial, because the people who read matter as much as the content you publish. If one is without the other, your blog will just be your blog.

#2 Find Your Audience

Now that you know your audience, the next step is to find them. When I first started this blog, I went on a hunt for readers. Since my initial target audience was potterheads, I scoured the internet for Harry Potter related blogposts. Once found, I’d read them and leave an opinion in the comment section. Doing so helped me build an initial following of Harry Potter fans, who read and supported my fan fictions.

This isn’t something I do anymore – with the amount of writing I need to get done, I don’t have the time to go on a manhunt. However, I can safely say that this is the quickest way to grow your audience. You have to first go to people, before people come to you.

#3 Study Your Audience

Do you know your audience? Yes. Have you found them? Some. Great! Now study them.

Your blog will evolve over time, and along with it… your audience. As mentioned above, you have no control over who reads your blog. You cannot beg readers to stay, nor can you shoo them away (even if you wanted to). They have their own desires – their own needs and wants. So how do you keep them engaged? You study them.

Head over to your stats page and you’ll know where your readers are coming from, and which post grabs their attention. Put two and two together, and you’ll learn what your readers are looking for – you’ll discover what piques their interest. But of course, we don’t just blog for our readers. We blog for our own personal reasons too. And with that said, we’re not obligated to accommodate to their wants. However, knowing what they want, will help you find a middle ground – where you can meet your need, while meeting theirs.

Growing your audience takes time – some people take longer, some people take shorter. So build your empire at your own pace. You’re not in a competition with that other blog. You don’t need a million subscribers by midnight. Racing against a non-existent clock will only result in a burnout. And you don’t want to risk your passion for a follower count that isn’t constant. Just do what you can, while focusing on what’s important: your craft.

At the end of the day, your craft is more powerful than your comment on Draco Malfoy’s hair. Your craft is what keeps people reading. Your craft is you. And the worst thing you can do, is lose yourself in your quest for numbers.

Writing Journey

Does Blogging Help?

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If you’ve been on the blogosphere for a while, you’ve probably asked yourself this question. Heck, if you’re new, you’ve probably asked this question as well. More so if you’re a creative individual who’ve been told over and over again that blogging will help in your pursuits. And even more so if you’re a writer, as it’s been advised and advocated by writers everywhere.

Well today, I just want to tell you that blogging does help. This is my fifth year on WordPress and I wouldn’t have stuck around if it didn’t. So as a personal testimony (and hopefully as an encouragement for you to keep on blogging), I’ll share how blogging has helped me over the years.

*These lessons are what I learnt as a writer, but I’m sure they’re applicable to any form of creative work.

#1 Becoming A Serious Writer

You know what they say: if you want to be a serious writer, you gotta have a blog. Well, let’s just say I started blogging without this in mind. In fact, I started this blog for two reasons. One: to post the first chapter of my first novel, and two: to deal with my Post Potter Depression (PPD is real, guys).

If you’ve been here since the very beginning, you’ll know that all I wrote back then were Harry Potter fan fictions. It was my first time diving into the fanfic world and I was a complete newbie. But because I was upset Harry Potter was officially over, I needed to write to make myself feel better. And while I wrote, I was taught to take writing seriously.

Back in my fan fictions days, i had a habit of not capitalizing my ‘i’s’. It was me being a lazy writer and i was awakened by the fact through the comments i received on my stories. After the revelation, I began taking writing a little more seriously and started capitalizing. It wasn’t so hard holding down SHIFT, to be honest. But if it weren’t for those comments, i would still be typing like this.

Those early days of writing snapped me out of my delusion of being a good enough writer and forced me to see how naive and immature I was. Simply put, blogging forced me to grow up.

#2 Becoming A Better Writer

The desire to become better naturally came after deciding to take writing seriously. Blogging itself helped with the process.

The comments I received during my fan fiction days kickstarted this learning journey. With more people reading my stories and more comments pouring in, I knew I needed to improve. So I took every advice and polished my works as best as I could. When I ultimately transitioned to posting original works, I paid closer attention to my writing style and attempted different genres.

I wanted to be a better writer for myself and for you. And because of this blog and its readers, I’ll always endeavour to outdo myself and be the best writer I can be. Without this platform, I wouldn’t put much effort into writing. And without the much needed practice, I wouldn’t have improved over the years (or at least, I’d like to think I’ve improved. Haha!).

#3 Accepting Criticism

Oh, how we hate it when a stranger trashes our precious piece of work. What do they know, right? Sadly that’s reality, and it isn’t something we can escape.

I’ve had my fair share of criticisms – some harsh, some kind, some insulting, some gentle – and they all started on this blog. Though I must say, bloggers are generally nice. There is rarely any hate on the blogosphere, except for a tactless few. Dealing with different comments taught me to accept that there’s still room for improvement, that not everyone will like what I write, and that some people should be forgiven. It has taught me to embrace constructive and thoughtful criticism, and ignore those that leave nothing but heartache.

Unfortunately, this lesson has yet to end (and I doubt it ever will). There are times where I still struggle in facing harsh reviews on Goodreads, but my blog has prepped me in advance and for that I’m grateful.

#4 Believing In Myself

I won’t lie, I still doubt myself these days. But when I receive personal emails and read wonderful comments, I’m encouraged. Those words are like nitro to a car running dry. And without the faith of readers I’ve never met, I wouldn’t have shifted gears and started writing and posting original stories.

It it because of you that I braved myself and put up my own short stories and blog series’. It is because of you I stopped fearing being plagiarized (as though my writing was so awesome to begin with) and hit publish. It was because of you I stepped out of my comfort zone and attempted different genres.

The shift from fan fiction to original works was the biggest move I made on this blog. I was nervous because the readers then were mostly subscribed for my fan fictions. There was a probability that many would unsubscribe when I made the switch. Thankfully, no one did. And that itself made me believe in myself.

Yes, I still have doubtful days. Yes, I still question if I have what it takes. But your emails, comments, likes, and reblogs, have the power to turn those days around. Don’t think your comments are worthless. Your comments mean a lot to me and they make a big difference in this writing journey. So… would you like to leave a comment now? Oh, please do!

#5 Receiving Support

When I started the crowd-funding campaign for The Battle for Oz in October 2014 (wow, time really flies), I reached out to you on this platform. Though not everyone responded, some of you did. Now if you didn’t respond, please know I don’t hate you. I was a nobody… I still am. And I didn’t expect to receive an overwhelming support. But to the few that responded, supported the project, shared it with your family and friends, gave a shout out on your own blog, I am extremely grateful.

If it weren’t for this blog and the readers who were willing to back an unknown writer, The Battle for Oz wouldn’t be published. I’m hoping that one day, should I attempt another crowd-funding campaign, more of you would be onboard. Still, all the support I’ve received up to now has been a blessing. And I’m very thankful to have you as my reader.

Well, there you have it… my testimony of how blogging has helped me.

The biggest challenge for every blogger is the discipline to be consistent. It’s my challenge as well. Sometimes, I wish I could skip a week with a lame excuse. But knowing that blogging, even when I don’t feel like it, is helping me in my writing journey, I keep at it. So if you’ve lost the mood to blog or you’re growing tired of having to blog, I encourage you to keep going. Don’t give up so quickly. Blogging is the kind of activity that takes time before you see its fruits, so just be extra patient.

Now, for some quick shameless plugging: if you have no idea what to blog about, you can join my 3 Words 1 Story writing challenge. This once a month prompt should be able to help you produce at least one post a month. There are no rules and it’s fun. Go check it out! Okay, shameless plugging over.

I hope this post has been somewhat encouraging. I’m an advocate of blogging, not because it gives you a web presence, helps you reach out to fans, and all those things people say – which are true – to help you grow your business, but because blogging helps you polish your craft and gives you the courage to be better in it. You can do it for the business, but you should also do it for yourself.

As I like to say, always blog for YOU!

Others

2014 Annual Report by Monkeys

My blog has been viewed in 126 countries! That’s more than half of the world! More importantly, I could not have done it without you. So thank you, for being a part of my blogging experience 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Help Me Debut!

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Don’t worry, I have not forgotten about my blog project. I will release the introduction next week, as I do not want to crowd my blog with too many posts.

Now, you might be asking why; why did I push back the exciting blog project I have been talking so much about? Well, it’s because of The Battle For Oz.

If you did not read my last post, this will seem new to you, but if you did, I hope this post will nudge you to check out the project. I honestly do not like to repeat the topic of my posts, but I have to be certain I did my best to raise funds for my book.

So, what’s going on with The Battle For Oz?

I have put the novel up on a crowd-funding publishing website.

What is crowd-funding?

Crowd-funding is when you and everyone else decides to fund my book. If the funding goal is met, the book will be published. If it’s not met, you will be refunded.

Inkshares is similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, except it is only for books.

How much is the goal?

$7,700. That is why I need all of your help!

What happens after the project meets the goal?

The Battle For Oz will be professionally edited, designed, printed, and distributed to bookstores.

What do funders (a.k.a backers) get?

Depending on the amount funded, some will get e-books while others will receive paperbacks delivered to their doorsteps.

How do you fund this project?

Click HERE and you will be taken to the project page. There, you will be able to read about the project and select an amount to give. You can give any amount you like by clicking ‘Back This Book’.

Inkshares accepts funds through credit and debit cards.

*Minimum funding is 5USD, but with that you can get an e-book.

Until when can you fund this project?

The campaign runs from Oct 2nd 2014 to January 5th 2015.

But from today till October 11, the publisher will add an extra 5USD whenever a person decides to fund the project.

If 1,000 of you fund 5USD in the next few days, the project would be 90% completed. So you see, the minimum can make a HUGE difference! 

I hope this simple break down answers any of your questions. Thank you for all the support you have shown so far and I hope you would consider supporting me in this endeavour too. I also appreciate all the Facebook shares, re-blogs, and tweets on this project. You guys are amazing!

Keeping this short and sweet, I’ll end with a shout out to all my current funders/backers: Joan Tan, Mrs Roberts, Calvin Ng, Jonas Lee, Fuibee, May Foo, Tony To, Mr Ray, Jay Low, Yean Ching & Greg, Kenny Saw, Mei Mei Yap, Angelyn Looi, Douglas, Sharon Lim, Kok Kin, Peng Sheng, Katherine Law, Elaine Ong, Cheng Yee,  and all those friends who have said they would back me up. Thank you for believing in me 🙂

Have a nice day!

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Transitions & 5,100 Subscribers

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First and foremost, I want to say a big thank you to all 5,100 subscribers.

If you are new here, thank you for giving my blog a shot. You might not know what to expect but I hope my work will impress you enough to keep you reading. If you have been here for quite some time, thank you so much for sticking around. Plenty of bloggers have come and gone, but you chose to stay. I really appreciate the support.

Seeing my subscriber count grow everyday is a huge encouragement. It reminds me to do my best for all of you. One reason I don’t give up on this blog is because I know I’m being read… and as a writer and blogger, that means a lot. I’m sure you all will agree on that.

So, thank you! Thank you so much!

Now, let’s talk about transitions.

Since I started my blog, it has gone through a couple of transitions. My blog first started as a place to promote my first novel, but it soon became a platform for me to deal with my post-potter depression; I started writing the Joanna Chen fan fiction and short fan fictions as a way to cope with the end of Harry Potter. But ultimately, it became a way for me to improve on my writing.

If you have been around long enough, you would remember the days where I don’t capitalize my i’s. Oh, wow. Jeyna, you cannot do that ever again! You would also remember writing or reading comments that brought to light my errors. Yes, I had plenty of those and I am very grateful for them. If no one said anything, I would not have improved at all. So old timers, thank you for being grammar Nazis.

Fan fiction was the focus on my blog for quite some time, until I decided to overcome my fear of being plagiarized and began publishing original works. I dropped the short fan fictions and began posting short stories and blog series’ such as Dr. Slubgob’s Letters and The Lucrative Business. I also tried a few reader interactive projects, but they failed. Well, one should not be ashamed of failure.

Now, I believe it has come to a point where another transition should take place. As some of you might have noticed, the FHB fan fiction is coming to an end. After which time, this blog will be completely focused on my own original fictional works. There will no longer be fan fictions. I’m sorry if that news disappoints some of you, but I think it’s about time I move forward. I am glad I started fan fictions and I’m glad many of you have come along for the ride, but I hope you would still remain on board with this new transition. There will also be a special project to kickstart this new phase, but I’ll write about it another time. This is actually one transition I’ve wanted to make for a while, and I would appreciate your continuous support. It means a lot to me 🙂

So, thank you in advance and thank you for reading this now. Also, thank you so much for all your comments, likes, shares, re-blogs, emails, and special features on your own blogs. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of readers and I hope that in the near future, I can look back and say, “Those early subscribers on my blog, they made a difference in my life.”

Thanks guys!

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Vlogless 4k

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I usually shoot a vlog every time I gain one thousand new subscribers, but this round I decided to scrape the idea. Mainly because I know most of you rather read than watch… at least I think you do, base on the view count on my previous vlogs. That being said, a vlogless 4k ‘thank you’ post does not make this any less special 🙂

I first started this blog mid-end of 2011. I did not have a goal of sharing my works on my blog and I can’t even remember why I started it. I never thought it could grow and I’m rather surprised at my consistency. It’s safe to say I’ve published a post every Thursday without fail (except for when I was on vacation), and I always try my best to deliver because I know there will be someone reading… you.

You. The person I’ve never met. The person I’ve spoken to only through the internet. The person who saw me as time worthy. The person I want to say thank you to.

So thank you. Thank you for the mornings you read my stories, for the afternoons you wrote comments, for the evenings you liked my posts, and for the nights you faithfully stuck around. Thank you for the days you left me encouragements, and for the months you gave my books a shot. Thank you for simply being here.

I am very blessed to have you!

For all those who are new or have been blogging for years, I just want to encourage you to keep going. Keep going and be proud of your little space on the world wide web. Don’t ever compare your followers, but imagine them in a room ready to listen to your words. That should make you smile 🙂

There will always be blogs bigger than yours in the blogosphere, I’ve come across many who are newer yet bigger than mine too. But when I imagine four thousand people in a single room… it blows my mind. I’ve been imagining since I hit fifty subscribers, and back then it blew my mind too!

Blogs will always come in different shapes and sizes, and with each shape and size is a platform to inspire and touch lives. I hope I have inspired you and I hope you inspire others. Let’s continue to do this together!

To keep this ‘thank you’ post short and sweet, I shall end with a quote.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. ~Anatole France

Have a great weekend, you!

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30 Hundred

Three. Thousand. Subscribers.

It’s going to be hard to wipe this smile off my face. This year itself, I’ve garnered 2,000 new subs and I’m just so thankful for all of you. I cannot say it enough!

Well, if you’ve been around for a while you would know that every time I gain one thousand new subscribers, I would shoot a little video. This time, I shot it on my family vacation in China 🙂 You can watch my 3k vlog for my blog below!

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On a side note, my latest work-in-progress is at its final writing stage. I’m currently working on Book 3 and the artworks are slowly coming along! Here is one them 🙂

Also, me and my project partner developed a special product based on the trilogy! So, if you want to know more about this trilogy visit our Facebook fanpage, check out the artworks, and hit ‘like’.

Thanks again guys! I’m still smiling 😀

(*Current blog post schedule: A post every Thursday alternating between an original short story and a Harry Potter fan fic novel.)

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Two Eight & An Update

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Well, what do you know, another thank you post!

This could only mean one thing… that Gandalf from Panem has decided to give me Aslan’s Deathly Hallows. The Lannisters aren’t very happy about it. They want to start a war but they know the force is strong in me. Even the prophecy said I would live long and prosper. But of course, these would not be true if not for you.

Thanks to 2,800 of you, I am inspired to continue living out adventures with my pen and paper. Nothing beats the support and encouragement you all have given 😀 So let’s keep going with this tea party, alright?

Now for some random updates:

#1 I’ll be away one of the coming weeks so I won’t be able to publish a story on that particular Thursday. My apologies in advance.

#2 I’ve started a fan page for my latest trilogy. The books and artworks are still a work in progress, and the fan page was made to log the journey with everyone. There will be more artwork snippets and updates on the books as time goes by, so be sure to check it out and hit ‘like’.

#3 Because 3 is a nice number, I’ll put the blog post update here; I publish a post every Thursday, alternating between an original short story and a Harry Potter fan fiction. (Btw, what do you guys think if I start publishing some of my poems?)

Well, that is all for this post. Thanks once again for your support! I really, really appreciate it 🙂

(If you’re wondering why my ‘thank you’ posts don’t tally with my sub count on my side bar, I’ve publicized my blog, hence all my Twitter and Facebook followers have been added. So nope, I’m not late with my thank you posts. I’m always on time for you guys… unless there’s a video :D)

Have a question you want to ask, do so at ask.fm/JeynaGrace!

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Celebrating 2,700

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Hey, if I had money I would fly all of you to Malaysia and throw a party. It would be awkward at first, but I’m sure it would be fun. After all, every single individual that supports me on this blog is worth a celebration. The likes, comments, shares, and the mere presence, makes me write more. I push myself on uninspiring days, I force myself to think outside the box, and I motivate myself to do better by giving my best to all of you. So thank you for just being here. You guys are the best 🙂

Skipping a boring get-to-know me content this round, I thought I should just share a little bit on my newest project. Personally, I have written a lot this year. I wrote my 2nd novel, a novella, a novelette and a picture storybook on top of all the short stories and fan fictions you’ve read on this blog. That… is a lot. BUT when I was approached by an artist to collaborate on a new project, I thought about it a little and decided to do it.

We’ve decided to do 3 novelettes (a novelette trilogy?), which could be mashed together to be a novel if we want to, based on characters and places most people know of. It’s basically a spin off… something I usually do not do, but since the artist pitched the idea, I went with it.

The progress of writing this trilogy has been rather smooth. Book 1 draft is completed and I’m working on Book 2 now. All books would be done by the end of November and the editing starts immediately after. As for the artworks, the artist has drafted some of the art already (one example below). He’s a talented guy and if you wanna see some of his stuff, visit his Deviantart.

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I’m very excited about this project and I hope to share the books with all of you guys when it’s out next year. I’ll also start up a Facebook fanpage later on so both me and the artist can have a platform to promote the books. As for now, I just wanna share my excitement for this project with all of you. After all, what’s the point of writing if no one is reading, right?

Well, enough on this little sharing; the post is already long enough. Thank you all once again for the support, and I hope you guys have an awesome weekend.

(*If you have not downloaded my picture storybook, Magnum Opus, you can do so here for free! Happy reading!)

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7 Things About Me

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Hip hip hooray for 2,400 subscribers!

I just want to thank all of you, both old and new, for your readership. I can’t say it enough, and at the same time I’ve probably over said it. But you know what, there’s no overdose with gratitude. So thanks guys!

Recently I’ve been getting a few blog award nominations, and since my last ‘get-to-know-me’ post was when I hit 1,111 subscribers, I thought I should do another.

So here are 7 things about me (none repeated, of course):

#1 I have a brother, he’s 5 years younger than me. I’m glad that our age gap made us close. I’m also glad he has outgrown his angst-y years, cause we don’t fight anymore, yay!

#2 I secretly wish I could draw. Then I could paint my fictional characters and worlds as close to my imagination as possible. I also wouldn’t need to ask for favours all the time.

#3 I recently discovered Running Man and I love it. HaHa is my favourite! Now I want to learn Korean 🙂

#4 Apparently I’m allergic to a particular sunblock. And here I was thinking I’m not allergic to anything.

#5 I hate horror films; horror in terms of ghostly women with long hair and white robes that either crawl or contort. Let’s not forget their faces… after all, that’s the mission of horror films; horror at first sight.

#6 That being said, I don’t believe in ghosts. Demons yes, ghosts no.

#7 I love coffee and tea. I love them differently and I can’t choose one over the other. Don’t make me!

There you have it! Now you know me a little better 🙂

If you would like to support me further, check out the bookshop, follow me on twitter and like me on facebook! I would thoroughly appreciate it!

Thanks once again guys, I hope you have been enjoying my stories as much as I have been writing them 🙂

*Current blog post schedule: A post every Thursday alternating between an original short story and a Harry Potter fan fiction. On a side note, my picture storybook is almost done! Free download soon enough.