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August Story Chat “Dress for a Princess & SC 10-Month Analysis

I want to thank all of you for supporting Story Chat with your stories and your comments for the past ten months. I have loved reading stories and interacting in this group. I appreciate all of you for your kindness and support, not just to me, but to all the authors and other chatters. It’s been wonderful to be part of the Story Chat Community.

Story Chat is not at my address this month. Cathy Cade is graciously hosting Story Chat for the next two months.

.I’m so grateful to Cathy for giving me the time to reflect on our first year of Story Chat, and to enjoy some new authors who don’t know me or Story Chat. I heard from a few of you about what you would like from future Story Chats. I want to encourage all of you to visit Cathy’s blog and read and comment on Wendy’s story.

I read this month’s poignant story, “A Dress for Princess,” by Wendy Fletcher this morning with a full heart. You will love it!

Please make your comments about the story on Cathy’s blog.

9-Word Summary – Imagine Coping

Toddler screams in frustration while shopping for birthday dress.

A Dress for a Princess

by Wendy Fletcher

I am hot and tired, and I know that I shouldn’t have put off this trip to the shops until the last minute, but that seems to have become my style in the past few months.

Shopping with a toddler is testing reserves I didn’t know I had, and I fear that they will run out at any moment.

The assistants have smiled and been polite, but I am left with the impression they would prefer us to shop elsewhere. We have asked for more than they can offer, and they have done their best to accommodate us, but it is an uneasy compromise.

I push these thoughts out of the way to deal with later and turn back to Alicia. She is excited about this afternoon’s party and giggles as I try awkwardly to zip her into a frothy pink dress.

I try to stay calm and not dampen her enthusiasm, but I am struggling. It has been another long day in an unbelievably long year. Continue


10-Month Analysis of Story Chat

The Birth of Story Chat

Story Chat started with a discussion for a guest post from Hugh Roberts. He asked if it would be okay to write a short story and I agreed and we chatted about doing a follow up creating a virtual discussion about the story from the comments.

Story Chat is about giving to others. The stories don’t belong to me. I offer the venue and the publicity. My goal is to bring in new viewers for authors and to give them the prestige of being featured on someone else’s blog.

Let me share a few statistics about Story Chat.

What Went Well with Story Chat 2020-2021

The Statistics

To have a successful blog that is a service to others, our blog needs visitors, viewers who are engaged with the content. According to the statistics offered by WordPress, Story Chat brought in visitors.

The number of visitors on my blog increased more than 10 times from the previous August, following a four-year lull in posting. My traffic has increased another 1.5 times since the first publication of Story Chat in October.

  1. My top THREE posts over the last 365 days were Story Chats!
  2. Out of my top 16 posts for the last 365 days, FIVE of them were Story Chats.
  3. Number of Story Chat Views – 1,614
  4. Average Story Chat Views – 161 per story
  5. Number of Story Chat Summary Views – 770
  6. Average Story Chat Summary Views – 77
  7. Highest Number of Story Chat Views – 283
  8. Highest Number of Story Chat Summary Views – 131
  9. Story Chats earned 393 likes – average 39 per story
  10. Story Chats garnered 861 replies – average 86 per story
  11. There were 320 views of my Story Chat Page (with links to all the posts and PR articles) over the past 365 days
  12. Number of Publicity posts – written or reblogged on my site – 6
  13. Number of Publicity Views on my site – 261 – average 44
  14. 5 female authors
  15. 4 male authors
  16. 1 Fictitious author (a boy)
  17. 5 authors from UK
  18. 2 authors from AU
  19. 3 authors from USA
  20. 65 emails about Story Chat to and from authors

What Do Stats Mean?

Stats are misleading, which is why statisticians have doctorate degrees in it.

  • They do not show intent or what goes on to cause the stats.
  • They don’t explain why some posts got lots of likes but very few views, or why some posts got lots of likes and lots of views.
  • Were some stories better than others?
  • Were some genres more popular than others?
  • Did the author’s online presence make a difference?
  • Did some stories get more publicity than others by me, the author or the author’s friends?
  • What influence did I have on the statistics?

Stats don’t answer all important questions, but the differing conditions affect the stats.

Observations

  • High author interaction during the month of Story Chat increased both views and comments.
  • Authors like Hugh, Gary and Geoff who wrote about their experience with Story Chat had more views, likes and comments than those who were more passive.
  • Authors that used other social media to publicize their stories had increased views and responses.
  • Commenters that also spread the word about the story increased views and response.
  • Authors with more blogging followers and interactions had a higher number of views and responses.
  • Posts that I publicized additionally on my blog – with a post – had increased numbers of responses.
  • I approved and enjoyed all the posts. All the posts had positive comments. I couldn’t say that one story is better than any other story.
  • Most authors commented on their fellow story chatters’ stories.
  • Many commenters interacted with each other as they would in a face to face meeting.
  • Some constructive criticism came out but it was all done respectfully in a tone of mentoring each other.
  • Interesting issues and agendas came out of some of the stories as we discussed them that may or may not have been visible to the author or the reader at first.
  • As my readership has increased, so have the views on Story Chat.

Comments by Story Chatters

1. I loved not only reading brand new stories, but the interaction between readers was also great. The feedback is amazing. It’s like having lots of Beta readers for a story you’ve written.

2. A monthly event is best. I wouldn’t want to see it anymore than once a month as it gives everyone time to read and leave comments without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, there is a lot of work to do already with it being a monthly feature.

3. Yes, there was an excellent mixture of genres.

4. No, I’d recommend only guest hosting at times when you’re offline for any reason. Keeping the feature in one place is better because people know where to look for it.

5. The balance is perfect. There has been a good mixture of male and female writers from all over the world.

6. I’d suggest keeping it to fiction and opening another Story chat for non-fiction (if you go down that route).

7. I think we’ve had lots of great coverage of issues from the stories already published. I think readers like this and I can’t think of any to add at the moment.

Hugh Roberts

 I tend to agree with Hugh’s answers to your questions – keep it as simple as possible!

Debbie

Next month besides publicizing Cathy Cade’s site and her authors, I will explore ramifications for Story Chat 2021-2022 based on these statistics and observations. We already have authors signed up through February.

Thanks again for a wonderful first year of Story Chat.

28 replies »

  1. What a first year (and there are still two months to go). I’m so pleased to have witnessed how Story Chat has developed and become a feature many of us are talking about. Thanks for all the hard work you put into these posts, Marsha. The increase in visitors to your blog is proof that all your hard work is paying off. I’ll pop over and read this months story (and I’m looking forward to next months story too), but it’s also great that you have writers lined up for stories from Oct 21 – Feb 22. I’m sure you’ll fill the gaps for March – Sept 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugh, you have been in this from before the word go. I think of you more as a partner in it than anything. A huge part of its success belongs to you. I have to tell you I was shocked at how successful it was especially for a first challenge by a relatively unknown person – me. So many things about it have thrilled me. I am especially proud of how diverse it was this year – without any engineering from me. I am going to be doing some more thinking and planning between now and next month to find ways to step it up and be even more inclusive of more people. It is a lot of work, so to host it more than once a month would be more than I could handle. But it limits how many authors we can get exposure for by doing it only once a month. I appreciated all your thoughts. One thing I can always count on is that you consider everything deeply. Having this partnership in this project has meant so much to me. I could never have done it alone. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww, thanks, Marsha. I’m so glad you allowed me to submit a story rather than a guest blog post.

        I’m delighted it’s worked and produced excellent results. It can only get more and more viewers as it carries on, especially if you get stories from new writers.

        I think a new story once a month is excellent because it gives plenty of time for people to read the stories and leave feedback for the month’s author. If you have to put authors on a waiting list to participate, then I’d be surprised if any of them say it’s too long to wait. A waiting list would show just how many authors want to participate.

        Personally, I’m not sure comments like ‘great story’ are good comments for the author because they don’t explain what it was about the story that made the reader think it was a great story. So it’s good to see you asking them questions as to why they thought it was good. If I see any comments like that, I’ll jump in and ask them to give more details too. After all, authors want feedback about what is good and what is not so they can work on their story and make it even better for the reader.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That has been the joy of it. Through the well-thought out comments, we opened issues that even the author didn’t know were there. That’s what I found amazing. You and Gary had such a deep conversation that I just sat back and listened. It has been like a face to face chat. I wonderful if I should schedule a zoom at some point mid-month?

          Like

          • Only if you have the time to do something like that, Marsha. Of course, you also have to take into account time differences. Plus, what’s said over a Zoom call isn’t written down where those you are not on the call can see the information (like in the comments section). You could record the call, but you’d have to get permission from everyone on the call that you can share the recording on social media and on your blog. Just a few extra things to think about.

            Like

          • Those are some big things. Maybe I would open it up after the summary and not publish it. Those are some good things to think about. I wouldn’t publish the zoom call, I don’t think.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Marsha, I am very interested in learning more about Story Chat. I am not sure how it works. I read Cathy’s post with Wendy’s bittersweet story about the dress for the princess. And commented there. And I read over the explanation of StoryChat you have shared here: https://alwayswrite.blog/story-chat-2/. But I am not sure where the prompts for the stories are…if there are prompts. And not sure to whom we submit our stories and when.

    I participated in a short story series a year or so ago and really enjoyed the way it encouraged me to think and write. Would love to join you guys for StoryChat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, there are no prompts. You write your own story send it to me and I publish it on my blog. People comment fir a month then I summarize the “chatter” into a narrative linking the comments everyone who participates to a post on their blog. After that the author can do with the story whatever they like. The only thing I ask is that the story has not been previously published, that it’s 500-1000 words and not erotica. That’s it. Contact me through my comment box and we can chat by email.

      Like

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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