A Reflection on the #AtoZ Blog Challenge -April 2014

A-to-Z_Reflection_[2014]I have measurable data that tells me participation in the #challenge is worth the effort. I dedicated the month of April to this project. THE KEY TO SUCCESS: You MUST visit as many blogs as possible. I was #553 on the participation list…never to be found if I hadn’t gone blog hopping. I visited 842 blogs. Some that never got started, dropped out, were unreadable, were too long, had no place to leave a comment, took too long trying to break the code on accessing the current post. Many were of no interest to me, however well presented. That said, there were hundreds of wonderful, readable, uncluttered, well written, focused information that made it well worthwhile to take the time.  I am now following 22 new blogs and I bought several books. I have a lot more to say on what works and what doesn’t, but another time perhaps.

My Experience: All my posts were waiting in the queue April 1 to be tweaked just before publication. I spent hours visiting blogs and taking notes. My ‘New follower’ stats increased by Blog/71   Pinterest/92    FB-AP/14.  I won’t be able to tell you the exact number of books I sold for another 60 days, but in going over the author graft with Amazon, the spikes were significant!!! on at least three of the days. The young man said, “Whatever you are doing this month, keep doing it.”

I love social media, but I am trying to sell a novel, Greening of a Heart so these stats are important to me and will influence my social media decisions. I write a blog to connect with readers. I hope they like me and enjoy what I write about. If that happens they might decide to download the novel. If they read the good reviews Greening gets, they’ll take a chance.  Regardless of book sales, however, I love #atozchallenge. It is a great writing discipline. It lets me share what I am passionate about, it connects me to fascinating people who are making contributions to the blogging world from various viewpoints. The written comments are often charming and generous. If only I could have tea and stroll the garden with these bloggers, that would be great. I admire their work, their love of life, their busy lives, their creativity. I don’t agree with the ‘Survivor’ badge earned at the end. That designation makes it sound like it is a drudge. It is a ‘Privilege’ to have participated. I learned something everyday. Thanks to all!



About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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15 Responses to A Reflection on the #AtoZ Blog Challenge -April 2014

  1. Lovely reflections post. I’m glad I found your blog, although strictly speaking I think you found mine first! My blog traffic has also increased significantly in April, but the A to Z challenge was not the only reason. I had extra views from people interested in the UK Blog Awards. I am planning to do a post about joining in with challenges. Sue

  2. Well, Stepheny, it was a pleasure to connect with you! I look forward to reading more of your writings.

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    Really great reflections post Stepheny, the A-Z brings out a whole new community of people. Well done.

  4. I found your blog when you found mine! I was not as methodical and dedicated about visiting around the A-Z blogosphere, was trying to finish a book. Thanks for stopping by to visit me!

    • There were moments when I asked myself, are you crazy to spend this much time blog hopping? In the end it was a learning experience. Hope you are in the finished stage of your writing at this point. I’m happy to get back to my project. Hope we can stay connected.

  5. Well said. I found you when you found me and I am grateful. Blogging every day is not new to me as I have done so since I started last June. It is the nature of my blog but the AtoZ was a different format and I enjoyed it. I too had all mine set ready to go on April 1st but normally I don’t work more than a few days ahead. I worked ahead in April because I was going to be traveling for 10 days in April and was glad to have my blog on self pilot. Thank you for bringing beauty to everyday with your garden theme.

  6. kristin says:

    I didn’t have all of my posts ready April 1, but I had a good number and kept ahead throughout the challenge. I’m sure I didn’t visit as many blogs as you did! Next year I am going to keep a record.

    • I realize now that reading the refections that have been posted could be a valuable resource for next year. I am working on a book, but need to go back a few at a time. It’s a big commitment of time in April, and I’m still assessing the results.

  7. Great reflections post! And you really got me thinking about my own reflections as well on my blog: http://dbcii.com/2014/05/08/a-to-z-recovery-and-reflections/

    Now there’s an A to Z Challenge sort of a comment 😉 Anyway, especially seeing that you weeded through hundreds of blogs, and are down to only a handful you are still following, I feel honored! Thank you so much!

    • HI David: Still assessing the results of all that time spent in April. I need to read the other reflections that have been posted to rethink the next challenge. Slowly getting the hang of how best to maximize the effort. Glad my reflection gave you something to think about.

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