Three years I’ve done the challenge and three years I’ve completed a post for every letter on time. Okay perhaps I accidentally missed a day, think it was Q, but I caught up on a Sunday so I’m still saying I achieved the goal! :p
Here are a few thoughts I had on this year’s challenge:
- Light and funny worked for me—fun to write, fun for visitors. More of that next year for sure. I liked the excuse to inflict my self-taught photoshop skills on innocent parties too. 😉
- Linking just my name on the list of participants Linky = ho hum and very few unique visitors. Next year, I will determine my theme FIRST, then include that in my blog link.
- A series of separate posts is better than a running story of 26 installments. I did a serial story last year and though I had a few die-hard lovelies who stuck with me, I personally didn’t like stumbling on blogs on the 22nd of 26 installments. Now had I known certain blogs had serials, I probably would have visited them sooner or not at all. Sorry to be so blunt about the latter, but that’s just human nature.
- Long posts were less likely to engage me or tempt me into return visits. Short and to the point worked best for me. Pop culture references like television shows, music from the 80’s and 90’s and books tended to be my favorites. It’s always nice to find a common bond, even if the bond was about owning a goldendoodle. 🙂
- As much as I like the theme coding, so many didn’t include a code in their blog titles. That said, I kind of missed the grab bag quality I remember from my first year doing the challenge. I hit some of the most delightful blogs by accident, many of which had absolutely nothing to do with writing or books, what my posts have typically been about.
- Delight a visitor on his or her first visit and they were more likely to come back even though there was probably more pressure to seek out new life and new civilizations. I had some wonderful people visit me and comment regularly (Nicole, Alex, Veronica, Susan, Vikki, to name a few). I had a few others read via subscription. They were more quiet, but a few let me know at the end that they’d been reading. I loved that too. They were also very nice about sending others to visit me and tweeting for me. Awesome! Making them and other visitors smile and laugh was my goal and I’m glad I succeeded for the most part.
- A few visitors didn’t realize the author of most of the Regrettable books, Lila Shaw, was also me. I didn’t point out in every post that she was me and that I wasn’t really making fun of a real life author’s work (though Lila is published). Even though I did include a preamble that all the books were parodies only and not real books, that often got missed. I understand why. If there’s a large graphic (the cover) and quoted text surrounding it, that’s where the eye would naturally be drawn.
- I wish I could have visited more blogs than I did, but I was working some long hours at the day job and was on vacation and internet-less for a week. Pre-scheduled posts saved my life many times. I tended to go on marathon commenting jags. I was a little sluggish answering comments, especially after a big batch of reciprocal comments, but I did respond to 100% of them within a day or two.
Technical difficulties plagued me somewhat again this year. I don’t know what it is about April and hackers. Last year, my server host pulled down my site during the challenge due to brute force hacker attacks. I have lots of security in place and was never actually hacked, but simply being a target was more than my host could tolerate. They ended up “firing” me a few weeks after the challenge ended for “abuse of equipment”. Like I crooked a finger at the bots to come and get me! **le sigh** I switched server hosts and have been MUCH, MUCH happier. My new host is more user friendly and more security conscious. Night and day in terms of service. However, in keeping my websites hacker resistant, I had some compatibility issues with plugins, especially after one particular plug-in upgraded (**cough**iThemes Security**cough**). Nothing more fun than being locked out of one’s own website. Fortunately, my CPanel and I have become pretty good friends and I know how to unplug plugins that don’t play nicely in the sandbox. So, to those commenters who were either blocked from commenting or who had to pass mini-math tests before posting for a few days…my apologies. I think I’ve fixed it. Live and learn.
Suggestions for making A to Z better?
Same thing I asked for last year: a random generator of the blogs for “next sites to visit”.
And for any late visitors, here’s a easy way to see all 26 regrettables. Simply click on any book cover that strikes your fancy to read the tagline and blurb that goes with it. Remember, these are all FAKE books where I’ve made fun of a particular trope, usually in romance.
Cheers and THANK YOU!