This Quarter has been more like a Dollar
This year has been a great ride so far for our site and our wonderful contributors, followers, readers, and fans. We have won some great awards, seen an explosion in our readership and following, and have had some awesome new relationships develop – and it’s only March!
First, let me thank all of you, our very loyal followers, readers, and contributors. You have made Two Drops of Ink what it is – a writing community with a family feel.
Behind the Scenes
Much of the time, as I work behind the scenes, I am honored with emails from followers, readers, and fans that say how much they love the sort of “approachable, down-to-Earth, family feel” that they experience at our site. I can only say that I think it developed on its own from the experiences we have all been through as writers. That is to say, we’ve all been kicked in the gut by rejections from family, friends, editors, trolls, and all of the naysayers in the blogosphere and beyond.
It was from these experiences in my own career as a writer that I decided to be more open-minded to writers’ voices and styles. It’s because of this decision that many new writers became stars on our site and elsewhere. I can remember reading submissions and thinking, “I’m not feelin’ this.” But, I would look at the grammar and syntax and realize the writing was solid, so, why not publish it? In almost every case, those works, that I didn’t personally feel as an editor would do well, were loved by our audience.
This made me wonder how many times editors out there made a decision to cut a submission only to lose a potentially great writer. Their supposed objectivity was really subjective, and I think in some cases it costs them. Of course, there are submissions that can’t make the cut, and in each case, I try and give those writers advice about advancing their writing. If their work has potential, I often ask for a “revise and resubmit.” Some of them listen, some I never hear from again. If I can be transparent, it’s the hardest part of my job. It always makes me sad to say “no.” Most writers who have submitted work for publication know that the modern-day “NO” is simply silence; you never receive a response from the editor of the publication to whom you submitted. I don’t like that approach. I always send a word of advice and encouragement with a rejection.
I’ve worked in the publishing industry for several years now. I’m still associated with the University of North Georgia Press as a freelance editor. I’m working on a book as we speak. I know that editors often read a sentence or two, maybe a paragraph if you’re lucky, and then toss a piece of writing if it doesn’t strike their fancy. In their defense, some of this is driven by an overwhelming load of submissions and a severe lack of time; however, I know good writers are lost in that mix. In that pile of rejections, I believe there are nuggets of gold. I’ve made it my mission to try and mine that gold by taking just a bit more time to look.
I think it’s our willingness to be truly objective and look at a writer’s potential by examining the whole piece, rather than a few sentences, that has separated us from the pack regarding Literary Blogs/Magazines.
Some New Features
Where do we go from here? We have a few new ideas and features that we are adding to the site that I want to highlight and introduce. First, we have added The Book Shelf, which is yet another way that Two Drops of Ink fulfills our motto: The Literary Home Of Collaborative Writing.
The Book Shelf is designed to give authors a chance to expose their books to our audience. We ask nothing for posting their book to the site. So, if you’re an author and you’re not taking advantage of this opportunity, well, I don’t know what to tell you, especially if your book isn’t selling because you’re like a Fern at the bottom of the Red Wood Forest.
We don’t just publish any old book to the site, it would cheapen the deal. Books that are submitted must be reviewed, and if they make the cut, they will be posted on the site. So, what is the catch? Traffic. Traffic is the catch – traffic for your book and links and traffic to our site. We know this will drive traffic to our site, help to sell the author’s book(s), and drive traffic to our contributors’ links as well. We will also start doing a once-a-month “book spotlight” in which we take a book from The Book Shelf and do a post just on that author and their book(s). This will also be an opportunity for new and established contributors to get more exposure. It’s all a “win-win.”
Second, we have started “Hump Day Humor.” This will be a lot of fun. We have already started to receive submissions for this weekly challenge. We think it will add a new dimension of writers and readers to the site as well. And, we all need a good laugh, right?
Finally, starting next Sunday, we will be doing a “Sunday Spotlight” on a contributor from our list of contributing authors on the Published Contributors page. The qualification for this will be that the contributor must have more than one published piece on the site. We have about 30 published contributors on the site, and of those, about a third or more of them have contributed more than one blog/essay to the site. These contributors will be rewarded with a once a month “day in the sun” as we bring them to the forefront and show their bios, writings, book(s), etc. Again, we are all about collaboration, and we are the site where writers come together to learn, read, and build their audience.
Although we will always consider ourselves to be a “literary blog” because we do promote the reading of poems, memoir, fiction, and other genres, we are called a “writer’s community” by many in the blogosphere – that’s okay by us.
In closing, we have come a long way in the six years since I started this little personal site on Blogger called Two Drops of Ink; however, we never want to live in an ivory tower. We always want to remain approachable, humble, communicative, accessible, friendly, and grateful as we continue to trudge this writer’s road. We hope you will stay with us, and even join us, on our travels into the future.