Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Sunday Salon: It's a Numbers Question

Last week was sort of a downer blogging week. You know, the kind of week where you wonder if there's anybody out there? It's funny because the week before was awesome with all the Armchair BEA excitement, so maybe that's part of it, sort of the burned out thing that happens sometimes after a crazy blogging week. Know what I mean?

So today I have a question for my Sunday Salon post. Maybe that will snap some life back into these parts!

The other day I emailed an author in preparation for a blog tour post coming up this week. Then I had the thought, what if he actually clicks on my blog link and happens to see my number of  followers... would he roll his eyes and wonder why he's bothering with touring on this blog? Or would he think, hmmm.... okay, not too bad?

In other words, I wonder if authors (or their publicity people) notice following numbers and if there is some particular number that they think "oh, people read this blog" or "oh, this blog is a waste of my time." And if so, what is that number?

Normally, I wouldn't care about this number, I like subscriber numbers better than follower numbers actually, but since most of us put the follower numbers out there publicly,  then authors and whoever else can see them. And suddenly I'm finding myself aware  (especially after sending a link to an author) and conscious about what they think.

So I'm asking you, what is that respectable number? Is there such a thing even? Should I remain blissfully unconcerned about the numbers, or should I seek out the followers so when authors happens to stumble by for a visit, I don't have to be worrying about what they think?

(P.S. Of course, you should answer before you look and see what amount of followers I have!)


  1. I've wondered the same thing myself. Especially since my numbers have been a little stagnant as of late. I get so excited when I see my followers/subscribers increase. I get really excited when I see that someone has left a comment.

    I don't know what the magic number is. I think the key is consistency and honesty. These are the things that I'm holding on to right now. I hope that the numbers will follow.

    The question I have is that it seems that some blogs that started around the same time that I did have really taken off. They went through the effort and expense of getting a header and background created while I am still using a blogger template. Is that something that people feel is important. Do they think that I'm not in this for the long haul because I haven't got a fancy header?

    It would seem that I've hijacked your post and not really answered your question. I look forward to reading the responses you receive.

  2. Have to admit that I've been curious about this myself. Does the number of followers really matter, or do publishers look for blog quality and/or post quantity?

    There are blogs out there who started after I did and have three times as many followers. Should I be worried? Does it matter in the long run?

    All very good questions, and I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you. Looking forward to seeing where this discussion goes!

  3. Well, I know our blogs are the same age, and you have more followers than I do :-). But I think that's actually a subset of my subscriber numbers, and like you, I'm more interested in that statistic (which I post in my sidebar via a Feedburner chicklet).

    I have no idea what the "magic" number is, or if there is one, but I didn't publicize my subscriber numbers until they went over 100 (which was before the Followers gadget existed). That was a benchmark for me. Every 100 is still a benchmark for me, actually.

    I'm probably not being any help at all, but I think you've started an interesting discussion!

  4. Hmmm...these types of things seem to be debated or mused about all over the blogosphere these days. I am absolutely no expert, but if I could just offer an opinion....I'm not sure that it matters all that much. I don't think followers are a true indication necessarily as many people don't even click on the follower button. On the other hand, many bloggers make it mandatory to become a follower in order to enter their giveaways. I'm not going to say if this is good or bad, but I do think it has an effect on how fast their follower numbers increase. Also participating in memes like Book Blog Hop and others will do the same thing. Do all of those followers read the blog regularly? Probably not, but maybe.

    I know that statistics are important to publishers and publicists, but again, I'm not sure just how much. What I have just read from the BEA posts is that most book people are excited to work with bloggers. And, remember that every time you write a review or highlight a book, it goes out there into the internet world where it can be Googled by someone. It's all good. It's all publicity.

    Again, I'm not saying yea or nay to any practice or procedure for increasing readership of a blog or anyone's marketing, but I do think that many of us have a tendency to overthink and overanalyze these issues.

    Sorry to run on and on, but Suey, you have a very nice blog. I enjoy reading it and so do many others. The author should be and almost certainly will be proud that you want to talk about the book they've written. Take care and good luck! :-)

  5. I don't know how many followers I have, and honestly I don't care. I know that publishers want to know and that it helps them determine how much publicity their book/author is going to get, but all I hear is yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm trusted, I'm respected, and people like me. That's all that matters. (To me, anyway.)

  6. I don't thing numbers matter. The content does. I read unusual books. Therefore, authors/publicist contact me for that very same reason. I have 170+ followers but when I had less than 50 followers, I still had offers.

    Here is my Sunday Salon post!

  7. Ugh, I kind of hate the follower thing. Here's the thing. I've been blogging since late 2007, and I know I haven't always been the most consistent about it, but I also know I have readers out there. I stuck the follower gadget on my blog the last time I revamped it, but the total of followers is dismal, despite the fact that I know considerably more people read my blog on a regular basis who aren't listed on my follower gadget thing. I bounce between wanting to delete it because I don't want that feeble number to reflect poorly on me and my blog since it's right there all up in your face and wanting to keep it because it being there makes it easier for people to just click once and follow if they so choose. I'm pleased with what I write when I do blog, I love my readers, and I do still get offers of books for review on occasion, though, I'm sure, not on the scale that some bloggers do, and am generally secure in my blogging lot and could blog until death about the books I have without ever needing to acquire another review copy, anyway. Really, I'd much rather focus on being a more consistent blogger than wring my hands and gnash my teeth over the follower quandary, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry about that stupid gadget on occasion. It's a weird source of insecurity for me, I guess, and I'm not sure what to do with that! I don't think that there is any set number of followers that "validate" a blogger, and I'm not even sure if the followers on the gadget are even regular readers, but I wish some blogging guru would magically appear and tell me if I'm better off with or without it!

  8. Fascinating post! I always wonder about this too because I don't know what I do when somedays my numbers jump up and some days they are stagnant when day after day I am just me :) If you find out what the magic number is let us know!

  9. I have no idea! I think you need to ask a publisher that question!

    I think the follower thing is really hard to judge anyway. I don't use blogger and never follow blogs through the blogger follower widget, only through google reader. Even looking at feedburner stats doesn't give a full view - 1/3 of people come to my blog searching for the term "farm lane books" so I'm sure most of those are follwers that aren't bloggers or people who use a reader.

    I don't think the number matters that much. It is more about creating a good place for enthusiastic book discussion.

  10. Great comments everyone! Thanks for the response.

    Teresa: I've seen other blogs take right off too, and I think that happens when they aggressively go for the numbers! Interesting question about the header. And I don't know!

    Alexia561: What do you think? Did we get any answers?

    Florinda: I agree that every 100 feels like a wonderful milestone. I haven't thought about publishing my actual subscriber numbers, but if it matters to authors/publishers, maybe I will!

    Kay: Exactly (regarding if all those followers are readers too). Interesting about the fact that no matter what your numbers say, your posts can be Googled. Must remember!

    Melissa: Well said, well said! :)

    Gautami: And for me, it's not really about the offers to review (because the little I get is plenty for me) but it's more about respect I guess, or something. That the blog is "legitimate" even if the numbers aren't in the many of hundreds.

    Megan: Everything you said is totally what I've been thinking! The numbers aren't what I worry about, but I what I wonder is if they add or detract from a blog's, I don't know... "for real-ness."

    Amused: It appears there's no magic number. Dang. :) And would you look at that, I just noticed my follower number is down one today! Double dang!

    Farmlane: I think I will someday, ask a publisher I mean. Maybe. :)

    I hardly every use the follower thing either, and instead subscribe with the reader. And I totally agree about your comment regarding "creating a good place for enthusiastic book discussion." That will be my mission statement!

    Jen: Which is what I usually think too...until, like I said, some random author clicks on over and then I wonder what they think....if they notice, if they care.

    Loving the comments everyone. Interesting to know how you all feel about it.

  11. How funny that you posted this. I just (like last week) sent an email requesting a few books for review. (I know, I feel so brave :) I sent them my numbers, both follower and RSS feed subscribers (which, let's be honest, are very insignificant). But, I wanted to let them know I'm not big, but I'm still pretty good (I think). Anywho, most of the time I don't worry, but sometimes it nags me. Makes me wonder what the publisher I contacted thinks (haven't heard back).

  12. I heard (and for the life of me I can't remember where) that "successful" blogs should have at least 50 readers a day. The thing is that people view and don't become followers and don't leave comments so it's hard to judge. I have a counter on mine. I stop by your blog a lot and enjoy it as I'm sure many others do. Don't sweat the small stuff - I wonder who said that?
    Cozy In Texas
    Less of Me



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