I used to work in the music business as a promoter. Initially (in the 80's) rock bands in small clubs around London - the business was simple in those days, if your finger was on the pulse, the bands you booked would fill the club, everyone came out a winner.
At the end of the decade, the game changed, rock music was out, ecstasy and house music were in. I adjusted my business to fit the new paradigm and started for the first time to analyse the figures. This is how it worked - the promoter would contract with the owner of a bar, club or disco to take it over for one night a week. For that one nght, the club changed it's name and the promoter relied on his or her crowd, rather than the club's own crowd, to fill the place.
The simple maths - people between the ages of 18 and 30 in those days would go out once or twice a week, in addition to weekends and would settle in the club they found most suited their friends, aspirations, self image etc. Only a few would come every week. So to get 500 people into a nightclub on a Thursday night, you could count on maybe 200 regulars, 50 of whom came in on the guest list, 100 brought in by the guest DJ, 100 brought in by the leafleteers and hope for another hundred brought in by posters, magazines etc.
The first and last categories were vital. Taking the last first - of the hundred blow ins, if the night was good, you could get a conversion rate of maybe 10-20 people who would come again. 10% of those would become hard core regulars. 20% would become semi regular.
So week after week, it meant that to be a successful club promoter you needed a mailng list of up to 10,000 people to stand any chance of surviving the first month, while word of mouth did its work.
I'm getting to the point - writing a fiction blog is strangely similar - i'm asking people to become regular consumers of an idiom that whilst flatteringly described as 'strange and compelling' is certainly not everyone's cup of tea - and definitely not what the majority of people look for in a blog. (I'll be addressing that issue in my next post)
So I do the promotion - Facebook, writing groups, media mailouts etc. and slowly but surely the audience is growing - the figures are small, but minute analysis reveals the underlying trends are positive. I have learned a few lesssons - always publish on the same day, keep the voice consistent, don't let up on the promotion, make links with other writers, use the tags intelligently. It all helps.
My observation is that the 10% that kept cropping up in the music business does not work in the blogosphere - I'd say realistically between 1 and 5% return to the blog over an extended period of time. The answer though is to spread the promotional net wide! So - anyone out there want to swap links?