I can’t believe I forgot such a major milestone in my writing life, but the tenth birthday of this blog came and went on June 15, marking an uninterrupted decade of weekly posts on the subject of writing fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general.
In some ways, as with any anniversary, it seems like just yesterday that I started this up, and at the same time it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t have that weekly commitment.
How do you look back on ten years of a blog like this?
Let’s start at the beginning, which is the conception of the thing in the first place, which was to coincide with the release of The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, which I was then finishing up. If you scroll through the index you’ll see that a lot of the early posts are portions of text that was cut from that book; and the full interviews with authors, editors, and agents who were quoted in the book.
As of this morning Fantasy Author’s Handbook has enjoyed 397,658 views, with 2152 views on the best day. Readers have left 1997 comments, I have 837 followers, and have written 522 posts. Surely because I ended up on a few best lists, the biggest year for Fantasy Author’s Handbook was 2015, but I keep plugging along.
The most popular single post is “What Makes a Monster Scary?” from July 8, 2014 by a margin of 10,000 views over second place finisher “How Long Should Your Fantasy Novel Be?” from March 31, 2015. The last place finisher is “Moving Forward With Backward” from November 28, 2017, so you should click on that one and give it some much needed love.
It’s always interesting to see how people get to Fantasy Author’s Handbook, and some of the search terms can be a bit on the oddball side. The all time search term champion is “the prisoner,” beating “galley slaves” by 77, leaving “philip athans” in third place, just barely above “galley slave.” At the bottom of the list? Four people got me by typing “bee gees little brother” into Google. Still, the number of different variations of “galley slave” is disturbing. The post that obviously refers to is about the origin of the term “galley” for a pre-press copy of a book, a post from all the way back on February 9, 2010. But something tells me that’s not what most people were searching for.
The overwhelming majority of you (107,386) got here via various search engines (which means Google, really) with Facebook and Twitter neck and neck at 6539 and 6268 respectively, but I owe a debt of gratitude to thewritelife.com for 4898 referrals. And speaking of referrals, Fantasy Author’s Handbook has sent someone to Amazon.com 5752 times.
If you haven’t scrolled through the INDEX page, this might be a good time to start. There might be a few of these 522 posts you haven’t seen yet that might help you out or amuse you or get you thinking. And take a look at all those links off to the right side of the page, maybe give a few of those a look-see, too. And if there’s something I haven’t covered and you’re curious to hear my take on it, comment at ASK PHIL and let’s see what we can do.
What more could there be for me to say? What inside information can I spill on Fantasy Author’s Handbook after ten years?
How about this: It proves that it is possible to commit to an ongoing writing project and to make a habit of it. I’ve posted something here, religiously, every Tuesday for a decade and running, and the overwhelming majority of those Tuesdays, I had no idea what I was going to write about until I sat down that Tuesday morning. There are only a handful of times that a post was written ahead of time, and maybe only two or three times that I scheduled something to post ahead of time.
Fantasy Author’s Handbook is something I do every Tuesday morning, and barring some world-altering tragedy like my untimely demise (Heaven forfend!) I’ll keep posting every Tuesday.
At this point I’m not sure I even know how to stop.
But in any case, thank you for reading, thank you for writing, and see you next week!
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Science fiction and fantasy are among the most challenging—and rewarding!—genres in the bookstore, but with best selling author and editor Philip Athans at your side, you’ll create worlds that draw your readers in and keep them reading!