The Editor’s Blog: Writing Numbers in Fiction

Ever wondered how to write numbers and time in Fiction? Check this out! The Editor’s Blog shows us how it’s done.

 

“We’ve got rules and standards for everything we include in our novels—how to start those novels, how to increase tension, how to introduce characters, how to format, what to include in dialogue, how to punctuate dialogue, what to exclude from the first chapter. And we have rules for numbers. Or maybe we should call all these rules conventions.

This article covers a few common specifics of using numbers and numerals in fiction. I’m just going to list the rules here, without much explanation, laying out those that you’ll typically make use of in a novel. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions. For the most part, you’ll want to stick to the standards to make the read smooth and easy for the reader and create consistency within the manuscript.

Yet we’re talking fiction here, not a treatise or dissertation or scientific finding. You have choices. And style choices sometimes get to stomp all over the rules. If you want to flout the rules, do so for a reason and do so consistently every time that same reason is applicable in the manuscript. For a comprehensive list of the rules concerning numbers, check out the Chicago Manual of Style or another style guide.”

SOURCE: Writing Numbers in Fiction: Click Here to Keep Reading

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Are You Tracking?

Startup Stock Photo

One of the first mistakes I made when I started this blog and my author website is not monitoring the traffic coming into these sites. Even with all the advice from top bloggers on how much work went into blogging, I still thought blogging was just about posting and publishing. That is until it occurred to me that monitoring (and recognizing) growth is just as critical as growth itself.

Yes, we know, we don’t do this for the numbers but we cannot neglect the fact that keeping an eye on the numbers is essential to any thriving business. Even if you don’t see your blog as a business per se we can all agree that numbers don’t lie and can play a bigger role in getting the blog to where we want it to be. I mean, we’ve already established that the blog follower number is not very reliable in terms of how the blog is really doing (it’s probably better to look at your blog views).

Traffic to your website is a major component to growing your audience online. Whether you’re trying to grow your blog, website, or email list, the best thing to start with is leveraging your traffic to grow these platforms.

Now, judge me not for being late to the party but I just started using Google Analytics this year. So, for those of you who are late like me, Google Analytics is the easiest way to track your site (aside from plugins). Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.

What you want to do is go to https://www.google.com/analytics/ and create an account if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, go ahead and sign in. (You will need a Gmail account). It should look like this:

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If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to add the sites you would like to track.

Go to Admin > Account > Create New Account

Fill in all the details for creating an account and adding a site. You will also see a page where you need to check off boxes. I check them all just in case. The box looks like this:

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Once you’ve set up your account you can do one or two things. You can let it do it’s thing and return to check the stats (for those who cannot add plugins to the blog at this time) or you can add a plugin directly to your blog. Right now I am not using the plugin (not until after I upgrade next year) but it’s important to note that you don’t have to add the plugin to track your site.

To add the plugin, find your tracking code.

  • Select the Admin tab.
  • Select an account from the dropdown in the ACCOUNT column.
  • Select a property from the dropdown in the PROPERTY column.
  • Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.

It looks like this:

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Then, install a plugin named – Google Analytics for WordPress.

Once you’ve installed and activated it, go to:

– Settings > Google Analytics > enter Tracking ID.

I want to stress again that you do not have to add the Tracking ID to your blog for this to work. You should if you can (I plan to real soon) but if you can’t you can still track. Just log into your Google Analytic site and monitor it because guess what? It’s already tracking. It started the moment you entered your site.

You’re In

Once you’re set up you should be able to see your stats for the sites you’re tracking already pulled up whenever you log in. You can track several things:

  • Number of visits per hour/day/month
  • Demographics
  • Countries
  • Referrals, resources

What you’re looking at below is a snippet of my stats for The PBS Blog from Nov. 12 – Dec. 12th. Once you’re logged in it should look something like this depending on what site you are looking at (you can add multiple websites).

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At the bottom of this graph are more stats. I want to give you an example how this can help you with your blog. Take a look at the returning and new visitor graph on the bottom right there.

According to Google Analytics for The PBS Blog, 97% of traffic coming from this blog is of returning visitors. This tells me two things:

  1. I am keeping my current followers engaged
  2. I have to work harder at acquiring new visitors

This means that for the coming year, I can set blog goals that will help me to improve in the area of acquiring new visitors.

Let’s look at something else (quickly):

If you look at the graph above, see the number under bounce rate? The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to the blog who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. According to my stats, my bounce rate is 7.25%. This is a huge help to me to make sure I am in fact keeping the subscribers I do have, engaged. Since my visitors are returning, it makes sense that my bounce rate is low, so everything matches sorta speak (if my visitors are returning I should not have a high bounce rate).

If possible, you want to keep this bounce rate as low as possible. A rising bounce rate is a sign that the blog is not attractive to visitors or something about it has made people leave after just viewing a page (or after just a couple pages). Maybe the site is too cluttered, the color is distracting or whatever.

So, go ahead and start 2017 off right. Set up your Google Analytics and track those websites. Don’t think “Well, why do I need to track? I don’t have a lot of followers.” Me either but that’s precisely the point. Tracking will show you the numbers you need to strategically apply changes and improvements and use organic traffic to grow your blog or email list for free.

Organic traffic is when someone stumbles upon your blog, likes what they see and subscribes without the aid of payment or coercing. It is traffic you get just from people searching the web, certain keywords, phrases,  or whatever they’re searching for and stumble upon your website (You can Google Organic Traffic for a more in depth definition). You didn’t go out and beg them and you didn’t pay for them. You earned them just by first providing valuable content and taking a few seconds to track.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is a Blogger, Poet, and the YA, Historical Fiction author of eight books, most notably, The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

2015 Annual Report: The PBS Blog

4034761-120875522_3-v1I want to take this time to officially wave goodbye to 2015 with the presentation of our WordPress Annual Report. I’m so excited about how we did and most grateful to all the people who helped us to achieve our goals. Last year I didn’t dare share my data! Yea, it was that embarrassing. But that’s good because it means this blog has shown tremendous growth and I hope to exceed its numbers at the conclusion of 2016. Until then, here’s an excerpt of how we did:

“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Where They Came From:

138 countries in all!

Most visitors came from The United States. United Kingdom & Canada were not far behind.

Busiest Day

The busiest day of the year was November 25th with 140 views. The most popular post that day was If Your Blog Was a Resume

Top Commenters:

http://silverthreading.com
http://seasonedsistah2.ccom
https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com
https://jmdleflore.wordpress.com

**

I decided not to publish the entire report for personal reasons but I hope you are inspired by our sneak peek. Thank you for spending this time with me and I’ll see you soon.

Peace & Love

– EC

Things Bloggers Need To Stop Worrying About by Elena Peters

As I am accustomed to doing, if I can’t find a re-blog button for your article and I really enjoyed it I’ll share it the old school way: Link up.

So anyway I found this article on Twitter (after promptly following Elena) and I really love what she has to say about what bloggers need to stop worrying about. To her credit I am only going to except a few key points. Please visit her blog for the entire article.

THINGS-BLOGGERS-need-to-stop-worrying-about
From Elena Peters Blog

Google/Alexa Ranking
I am no expert and unless you are on this topic or you can afford to pay someone to handle website optimization, you need to stop worrying about your ranking. I am not saying that you shouldn’t use Yoast, add keywords and complete alt tags on your pics. However, I find the excessive obsession with ranking a complete waste of time. I do what I need to do when I create a post and then I step away.

EC – Psst: (This is a good point. Good thing I don’t even know what Alexa Ranking is or Yoast for that matter lol)

Number of Followers
And by this I mean on your blog and all of your social media. I know a lot of people look at my accounts and see that I don’t always follow back. That is because I refuse to get on the follow me and I will follow your back train. You must understand that on some platforms, particularly FaceBook, having a huge number of followers that never look at your page actually hurts you. I personally have seen accounts with thousands of followers and no retweets, no likes and no pins. How did their huge following help them? In reality, not at all.

Automatic follow threads and follow backs do not necessarily bring you more traffic and can be a huge waste of your limited time. If it doesn’t work for you, stop.

Reciprocation
I am here to tell you that you don’t have to read, comment, like, tweet back, pin etc. to absolutely everyone that has been nice enough to do that for you. Unless you have figured out time travel or your days have more than 24 hours, you will never be able to keep that up forever.

Conversely, you need to stop obsessing with keeping track of which bloggers you have done the above for. Be understanding. Maybe that blogger that didn’t read or comment back on your post isn’t interested in your topic or maybe they have a niche of bloggers that they are already committed to sharing with. Don’t keep a scorecard.

KEEP READING ON ELANA’S BLOG

Where’s Your Follow Button?!

I don’t usually write posts like this, but if I attempt to follow another blog that does not have a visible follow button, I think I’m gonna scream. I’m not sure what your reasons are for blogging, but if you wish for others to follow your blog for whatever reason, please make sure your FOLLOW BUTTON is VISIBLE. Under your “widgets” section, make sure to position your follow buttons in an area of your blog where we can see it. If you have one at the bottom, make sure there’s also one at the top just in case we don’t make it down that far, nobody wants to go through all 2 years of posting just to find a follow button (and for patience sake, please don’t place it underneath a page, you’ll never get new followers that way). If anyone else have any advice on this please feel free to comment so that others can learn how to better help us to navigate their blogs. I may like the material, but if I have to go on a scavenger hunt just to add you to my list of blogs I’m probably not going to follow it.