It’s Leighton Literature’s two month birthday (!) and I’ve just come to the end of my first short story series, The Qatar Collection. So it feels like the perfect time for a breather and a chance to reflect on the past eight weeks.
Firstly I have to concede that I totally underestimated how much work it would take to keep LL ticking along! The Qatar installments had all been written prior to launch, so I figured it wouldn’t be too taxing to maintain the site and knock out an album review once a week. Right?
Wrong! There’s all kinds of stuff I didn’t factor in. Managing my Twitter account, keeping my Facebook fan page up to date, pesky but necessary tweaks to the site’s design and layout. Then there’s last minute story editing, the resizing and uploading of pictures, choosing and applying the right song for each tale. Reading, approving, liking and replying to on-site comments.
And that’s before I even get to the reviews! When I write my stories I’m usually quick to get into a flow and run with things. But critical writing can be a bitch. The reviews I’d written in the past had been much shorter and less ambitious in scope. For my Top 20 I wanted to go deeper. As a result, there’s tons more fact checking needed, along with countless back-to-back listenings of each week’s record. It is by nature a long drawn out process that requires time and patience, a bit like constructing a jigsaw puzzle. So much so that each week it’s been a bit of a fight to get them done in time.
Not that I’m complaining! The process of getting LL up and running has been a very enjoyable one and hugely rewarding. Although I’ve done very little to properly promote the site (which will hopefully come later) I have been encouraged by the general response.
So far Leighton Literature has received just over 3000 hits (around 54 a day) which has translated into 62 comments, 80 Facebook fan page likes and 28 registered followers. Not that I’m all about the stats, but rather curious about how many people I’m reaching in a day and age where folk are busier than ever and there’s incredible competition as to how they choose to spend their valuable time. When, for example, my on-site tracking tool told me that people from Taiwan and South Africa came and read Pulp Friction I couldn’t help but smile and wonder who they were and how they got here (Not to mention what they thought).
At this early stage of LL’s existence I recognize that the majority of my readership is comprised of close friends and family (Thanks Mum!). Which is totally fine by me. I created the site to share the experiences of my life as well as the stuff that’s most inspired me. The journey is one I’m primarily making for myself and those closest to me. If over the course of time a wider audience develops that would be great.
Before I sign off I want to thank the many people who’ve taken their time to give me feedback, both publicly and privately. It’s made a huge difference and often spurs me on during a particularly tiring week when I’m stuck in the mud with a review. There have also been a select few who’ve given me their detailed thoughts, including constructive criticism. A certain someone is even serving as my unofficial editor and all-round nitpicker, with not so much as a misplaced comma or plot inconsistency going unnoticed. I thank you all – you know who you are.
So here’s to the next couple of months! Please do tune in next Sunday for the beginning of a new series, The Slovak Files, short stories based on a year living in Bratislava.
Until then thanks again, take care and Happy New Year!