This post was just 3 weeks after I started this blog! What a ways we have come!
It’s 2021 and I hope everyone stays healthy and happy this year! Later this year DD will be 5!! We’re going to take the time to look back on our first year in this series.
It will be interesting to see how much has changed over the past 5 years and how much the blog has grown!
Where I Ache is 6 months old and I wanted to thank everyone on here, in the Poetry community, and the book blogger community for showing this project the love and support you all have!
At the end of the month, I’ll update everyone on my next project coming down the pipeline, until then check out these reviews and consider purchasing Where I Ache yourself on Amazon!
Some reviews from Goodreads, read them in full here
I wrote some goals for 2019 back in December and we’re full circle now! I did a 6 months check in since these goals were only for the first 6 months of the year anyways.
Goals for the first six months of 2019
Goals have to be measurable in order to know if you’ve reached them or not. Although I’m not happy to focus so heavily on numbers, it is an easy way to measure a goal. My goal is to increase my audience and have a successful poetry career. These numbers will help me keep track of those goals.
Work on writing a media kit
Contact companies for sponsorship (and actually get one!)
Gain another 1,000 followers
Update: I’ve looked into some samples of media kits but I still don’t think my stats would stand out enough for it to make sense to create one just yet.
I’ve joined some other affiliation programs that I’ve been working on instead of doing any sponsored posts yet. There are some programs that have tougher qualifications so I still need to work on my stats. I am making a small bit of money from google Adsense so it’s great to see me recovering some of my self hosting spendings.
Debatably Dateable has gained over 1,770 followers since December and I couldn’t be happier! I love love love watching this blog grow! I hope to get another thousand in these next 6 months!
The Final Results: 3968 June, to 5719 dec = 1750, from my 5k monthly views article, my traffic is growing which helps my monetary goals.
Between GoodReads and Amazon, have 20 reviews
Get 25 more books sold
The Update: I have 18 reviews so I can’t be too upset there but I did not even get close to selling 25 more books so that stings a little. I don’t see these numbers getting much higher as the year goes on. I’m not sure how to help boost sales as the book continues to age.
The Final Results: I thought Where I Ache sales would be the only ones coming in after the summer but surprisingly Cracked Open still sees some action on Amazon so that’s great news.
Twitter – gain 2,000 followers
Instagram– gain 1,000 followers
The Update: For Twitter I only gained 1,270 so far but feel free to come check out what I talk about there! Oddly enough, for Instagram I’ve gained over 2,125 followers so it looks like I got my goals switched around! I hope to get to the 2k+ on Twitter in the Fall.
The Final Results: I finally started taking a deeper look into these numbers and found it was wasted efforts! So I’ve switched my focus to Pinterest, read more about why I made these changes here.
Next Poetry Collection – Where I Ache!
I want to add 50 exclusive poems to my next collection before I work on publishing it
Have 10 reviews before release date
Sell twice as many as Cracked Open (over the course of the year)
The Update: I have 55 exclusive poems! I am absolutely ecstatic about that! Cracked Open had 20 illustrations and Where I Ache has somewhere around 35 so I’m also pumped about that!
I’m only 2 weeks in of course but I’m already even with Cracked Open’s first month of book sales so that’s a good start for me!
The Final Results: Where I Ache currently has 20 reviews on Goodreads and another 5 on Amazon so I think I did a bit more work during release time on my second collection and I’m happy to see it paid off. Not sure what I’ll want to do about my third collection in the new year.
All those reviews have unfortunately not resulted in more sales than Cracked Open had in it’s first 5 months. My third collection is returning to more Cracked Open style so we’ll see if that has anything to do with it.
Because I don’t want to solely focus on numbers, here are some
Non numerical goals:
Connect with new readers who resonate with my poetry.
Have my poetry help someone through a difficult time.
Have a company see value in my writing.
Keep a healthy number of articles in queue.
The Update: I’ve definitely found new readers and also fellow poets through my Poet Interview Series! I’ve been so lucky to connect with new readers who were interested in reviewing Where I Ache and many have said the sensitive topics covered in the collection have helped them remember they are not alone.
I haven’t really pursued this one aside from submitting Where I Ache to one of the major publishing companies. I’m not sure that I will do much for the rest of the year for this.
I have over 30 posts in queue for the past several months and it is amazinggggg! (knock on wood)
The Final Results: I still have not made the jump to working with companies and I don’t think I will in 2020, my only focus would probably be Google Adsense and working on more traffic to eventually switch to another ad company.
The past few months I hover around 50 articles in queue would has been so awesome and even with that I’ve added more posts into my schedule. At the beginning of the year I would post 10 times a month, then I went to every Monday, Wed, and Friday posting about 12-13 times a month and lately I’ve made the jump to about 15-17 times a month so I’m hoping that will all help with traffic and the like.
My goals for 2020 will mostly follow the same path of check the sales of my books and trying to increase site traffic so I’m unsure if I’ll set specific numbers for this coming year. Thanks for following me along through 2019!
This Poet Interview Series was a huge, huge success! I am so thankful for all these talented poets for working with me and allowing all these readers into their creative minds!
11 Paul Webb
20 David Ellis
and that’s a wrap for 2019!
Over the summer I set the goal to hit 4K views for each month and amazingly, I hit it and then some! July and August I surprisingly reached 5K both times! This was my first time ever getting such a high reach. So far I’ve been able to keep this streak going for the rest of the year as well so I hope December can pull through too.
I also reached 5k followers on here as well back in September! I was hoping to reach it for my 3 year anniversary but was a few weeks late. Around this time I also reached 5k on Twitter! So it’s been a year of 5,000s for me and I’m thrilled with all the new accomplishments my blog is reaching.
With all of this going on, I decided to finally take a closer look at these numbers. I realized Twitter was not a traffic driver at all for the site so I’ve stopped all efforts of gaining new engagement there. The only social I focus on now is Pinterest and I’ll post some updates there in a month or two.
Interestingly, I check the site’s traffic through google analytics and it’s still under 5K so my goal right now is to focus on reaching it there since any monetary venues focus on how google values the site. My 2019 goal check up will be in 2 weeks so make sure to check back in for that as well.
Today we’re flying all the way to Australia to talk to poet, author, and illustrator Lauren Hancock. Also known on her blog and instagram as Alice Well! I can’t thank Lauren enough for the time and effort she put into collaborating with me. Check out my review of her recent publication here. Now let’s begin!
Where did you get your ideas from for “Our Whimsical World”?
My ideas generally came after drawing the image for the stories. When creating art, I become lost in the process, because it can be such an enjoyable state of mind to be in, being awash with a sense of creativity and joy when creating an image that is fun, lively and bright.
From then my imagination would take over the story point of view: having an image to work from allows me freedom to create. Having words written first is more limiting, because I need the consequently drawn image to adhere to the already-present words. My ideas mainly come spontaneously, either before the drawing was commenced, during, or after. This process speaks of how when I create something “All is well”: Alice Well, the creative name I am also known as.
How important was it for your stories in “Our Whimsical World” to have a moral or a message?
It was important for me to write stories that were not just stories. They needed to have depth; a message, a moral, something for the readers to learn from. It was not enough for me to simply write something cute that entertained. I wanted there to be a reason for reading these stories, and for a message to be quietly presently to sink into the minds of the children or older readers while they felt they were simply being entertained.
Did you consider that some vocabulary used may be too complex for younger readers? If so, why did you make this decision?
Using complex vocabulary that may be out of the scope of some of the readers provides them with the opportunity to learn new words and reach for a greater understanding of language than they had previously grasped. It is like when my former violin teacher would present myself and other students with pieces of music that were slightly out of our level of expertise: – it extended our skillset and encouraged improvement for our musicality and proficiency. The same idea is present here.
I notice on your website that your writing has taken a different direction from the style that your book is written in. Could you explain this a little further?
Yes, my writing has altered from short, generally amusing and light-hearted stories, to more serious and deeper themed poetry. It explores the self, love, acceptance, longing, encouragement for others, and being hurt by the actions of others. I felt it was time to move on from the short story style and begin to create poetry that spoke of my internal being, to show the vulnerability I am willing to display. Hopefully my poetry shows a depth of self and the revelations I speak of can resonate within some of my readers. Knowing or at least hoping that others can or are able to relate to one’s words and/or works is one of the greatest feelings we can hope for as poets, writers, or artists.
At what age did your passion for writing surface?
I was a fervent reader from a very young age. My grandparents and parents provided me with books upon books — Enid Blyton’s tales, Peter Rabbit, and so on, and I read these increasing collections with vigour and excitement. Being immersed with written language and beautiful imagery from such a young age allowed my own vocabulary to develop over time and my imagination grew and grew. I turned to writing to create worlds and stories that lived in my mind, and I still have the collection of writings and illustrations to view.
What did you find that the most difficult thing about self-publishing?
For me, the hardest thing in self-publishing my book was the marketing/promotional side of things. I went into the experience with little idea of what I would need to do or how to prepare myself to introduce my new book to potential readers. I knew, but didn’t completely realise that the responsibility initially fell entirely upon me to generate interest and attention. But, I have been blessed to have my editor who has greatly helped me along the way with advice and support when I most need it, and he has made the marketing side of things clearer for me.
Sometimes I feel like when I do mention my book online that I may be viewed as too pushy, when I am really just wanting to share what I created with others. Being relatively new to this blogging community, I wasn’t aware that people organised ‘blog book tours’, or what ARCs were, or anything like that, but I know that for next time around I can be more organised and prepared in an upcoming launch of a second book.
Today we welcome DeVonne White to the blog! We’ll explore how meditative and healing poetry can be! Poetry is an amazing way to express thoughts and work through struggles. Let’s talk to DeVonne about how inspiring it is to write about her faith!
How has poetry strengthened your faith?
Most of the poetry I write is scripture driven. I’ll read a piece of scripture and as I meditate upon it, let it stir around in my heart and mind, a poem will make itself known. The great thing about that is I’m really taking my time with what the Word of God is saying. It has built my faith more than anything else I’ve done. More that a retreat, conference, even church. That personal time meditating on God’s word is truly faith-building.
2019 has been a very difficult year for my family, we lost both of our Dad’s within twelve weeks of one another. Mixed in with our own grief, we have been walking alongside our grieving mothers. Writing poetry, that stands on scripture, has truly brought peace to this restless mind of mine.
What is your favorite poem (or two) of yours?
My Most favorite lately is:
He is the Hope Giver
The Hope Filler
Her Overflowing Hope
She hopes for what is unseen
Cupping her hands
Holding her cup close
She waits patiently
Drops of hope begin to fall
Her cup, once empty,
Fills with a living hope
Her eyes see, what was once unseen
The Hope Giver never stops pouring
Never stops filling
He fills her with His peace
His joy, His love
Her cup overflows
What is your daily writing routine?
I am a note taker. All through out the day I will think of words or phrases. I write them down or type a note in my phone. Then in the evening I sit with my laptop and start putting those notes together. Like piecing together a puzzle. I let that poem sit for a day or two, and then come back to it and edit. I must say, I enjoy the entire process and find myself restless when I’m not working on a project. I am happiest when creating.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I think it would have to be ‘Faithful’
I try my best to be faithful to the Lord and His calling on my life. That calling can look different each day. Somedays I am working on writing or storytelling projects. Other days, like recently, I’ve been caring for my Mom after a recent surgery and balancing my day job at an insurance agency.
I strive to be faithful in all things. Faithful to the Lord, to my husband, children our extended family and friends. I want to be that person who stands by her people, who is there and is present, in the big things and the small ones.
To connect with DeVonne, visit her:
What did you miss from my socials this month?
I’m lucky to have another Where I Ache review coming in! Head over to Bookshine and Readbows for some awesome reviews!
“Where I Ache is a sizeable volume of poetry, split into six parts labelled with parts of the body that allude to their thematic emotional link. For example, the ‘Greedy Green Eyes’ section covers jealousy and longing in many of its poems.
In an easy-to-read, accessible writing style, Megan O’Keeffe presents poetry that anyone who has ever loved, longed for or lost can identify with. The majority of the poems are short – between one and three verses for the most part – but the emotions covered are huge and all-encompassing.”