According to my enumeration, this is post number 1000 on Flogging the Quill. Which causes me to think about the blog’s beginning and the things that have happened as a result.
I started it on October 3 of 2004 on Publishers Marketplace, beginning with articles about writing compelling fiction. I had a page there for my new editing services and I converted it to a blog when they offered that format—I think that, along with author M.J. Rose, I was one of the first.
Because Publishers Marketplace limits the number of blog posts it shows to seven with no real archives, I simultaneously started a mirror site on Typepad, which is what you’re reading now. I launched with an audience of zero and, according to the stats page, there have been since 442,490 page views since then (which does not include the thousands that saw the Publishers Marketplace version—now discontinued--which would bring the total well above a half-million hits).
According to the little poll in the upper part of the right sidebar, 82% of readers are unpublished and working on a novel. 11% are published writers, 5% are published novelists. Interestingly, 1% have been publishing editors.
While you’re here, why not add your answer to the poll?
In 2009 I adapted a bunch of posts for my book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells, which I self-published. Since then I’ve sold between 500 and 600 copies, which I understand is above average for a self-published book. Sales still trickle along on Amazon, and I’m pleased with how many writers have found it helpful—Amazon reviews average a little above 4.7 stars out of 5—and none of them are by friends or relatives (review are here.) I usually sell copies when I do workshops at writers conferences, too.
Writers Conference Workshops
As a result of starting this blog, I now do workshops at writers conferences—I have two already booked for 2013 and think there will be more. I was first contacted by a reader to do a workshop in 2005 at a new conference, Writer’s Weekend in Seattle. I’ve since done workshops at some of the top conferences in the Pacific Northwest, and am doing one at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference in Mexico this February.
My first and still very successful workshop, Crafting a Killer First Page, is the Flogometer in a class—the class critiques and votes on first pages. More than once a writer has come up afterward and told me that they voted down their own page because of what they’d learned.
Last year I added Crafting Killer Description and Dialogue to the repertoire, and that’s been well received. This year I’m offering another new one, How to Create a Book Cover for Less than $50. I love doing the conferences and talking about writing. If you’re interested in a workshop for a conference, please email me.
Origin of the floggings
Back in 2005 a literary agent started the Crapometer—critiques of query letters—on her blog, Miss Snark, the literary agent (the blog is still up though she stopped doing it years ago, and still holds valuable advice and learning for writers who submit to agents).
Her work inspired me to launch the Flogometer in December of 2006 and, as of today, I (and you, dear readers) have critiqued 647 first pages of novels (mostly), memoir, and short stories.
I know I’ve learned and grown over these years, and a large part of that is due to the hundreds of critiques I’ve done and insights given by readers on submissions. I’ve self-published four novels after years of receiving praise for my writing from literary agents along with their admission that they didn’t know where to sell my cross-genre stuff.
And my editing business has finally grown to the point where it more than pays for the blog (though it isn’t enough to live on). And I started designing book covers and interiors a year or so ago after a small publisher (Fuze Publishing LLC) like the design of one of my books and asked me to do theirs. I’m now their go-to designer, and freelance Indie authors are starting to come my way. I really like doing cover designs and hope that business grows.
So, in the (egads!) 8+ years since I started the blog, I’ve grown an editing and book design business, published five books, done a bunch of workshops at writers conferences, and made friends around the world.
I’m happy with that. I hope that FtQ has been helpful to you—if so, how about letting me know in a comment?
Have a great year, and keep on writin’.