where the writers are
A Half Million on Red Room

Sometime today I will hit 500,000 views for this page on Red Room. It was just a little over a year ago I reached one-quarter million. That’s not viral. That’s simply steady writing. You can do it, too.

Success has many definitions, and there are also many ways to feel unsuccessful. Some people might say new cat video can get a half million views in a week on YouTube. So should that stop you from writing here?

If you have a Twitter account, the number of followers you have surely pales in comparison to Ellen Degeneres’ more than 24 million. Does that make you a lesser person? Should that stop you from writing here?

If you like J.D. Salinger’s writing as I do, he eschewed interviews, computers, and the Internet, and that didn’t stop his books from selling. Of course, being on the cover of Time and other magazines helped him, as did his becoming a famous recluse, but should that stop you from writing anything? What counts at the heart of everything is what you write.

I’m proud of this milestone, but the reality is that I’ve been writing on Red Room since 2008. I like its interface, and I love the community, which was the brainchild of Ivory Madison

Originally, I didn’t intend to write many blogs because I had novels to create. I found Red Room easy to use, though, and it’s a friendly place. It was also a good place to lay down a series of articles I wrote on creative writing.

Over the last year, I’ve only written nineteen pieces on my blog, which includes a few articles I’d previously written. Basically, I aim for one good piece a month. Thus, getting readers is not necessarily about how often you write, but what you write should be done with heart and care. Go over it carefully as you would for a book.

Long before the Internet, I started publishing as a freelance journalist for newspapers and magazines, then moved into reviewing for them. I simply followed the things that interested me, which often was books, authors, plays, and playwrights.

That’s continued here. For instance, my interviews with best-selling indie writers Darcie Chan, Carrie Heywood, and Boyd Morrison still get many steady hits.

Also popular is what I wrote in 2012 for Kirkus Reviews, that critical publishing industry paper, which asked me “How I Did It”—how did I get successful? Red Room is my hub, and that helps a lot.

Now that I just checked, another popular piece I wrote, “Traveling Vs. Writing,” explored the need to write versus the need to live and travel.

Two more of my popular blogs this year were also popular last year: What J.K. Rowling Teaches My Students (and Me) and a piece on crime novelist Michael Connelly. This underscores one way to get your numbers up. If you write important-to-you and timeless pieces, people will find them year after year.

One of my college roommates died this week from drinking too much, succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver. I’d realized he’d fallen out of touch with me and many of his other friends, which happens when you live in other states, and perhaps when you drink alone. I wrote about my cascade of thoughts here in “The Importance of a Day.”

Two of my favorite blogs are funny ones, “Ten Simple Things for Becoming Rich-Rich-Rich in Self Publishing” and “A Plunge Into the Night,” about an evening spent in the ER. If you write with humor, Red Room is a great place for it.

Over the last few years, I’ve been interviewed often for my books. Sometimes I take those interviews and publish them here on Red Room, as I did with Omnimystery News for my novel Blood Drama. Red Room’s pages are not filled with hundreds of distracting ads and images, so it’s simply a better environment for interviews and reviews.

Be sure to republish all the smart reviews of your books. Red Room makes it easy under “Add Content / Reviews.” For instance, I love this well-written review by Linda Hitchcock for Book Trib.

In my celebrating this day, BookBub today is offering my short story collection The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea for 99 cents on Kindle and Nook. Go grab it or any of my other books, which are also discounted right now. You can also click here for my website.

In short, thank you readers and fans for coming here. If you’re a writer, go write. If you’re a reader, please keep reading.