I like graphs:
That's the graph (which has appeared several times before on this blog) of downloads of Second Realm episodes on Smashwords. Each data point is a week, and I've been tracking since late May 2012, so it's basically two years' worth of data. The particular thing I like about this graph is that bit where it shoots up on the right-hand side; traffic has rocketed over the last couple of months.
Last week, as you can see, was the biggest week ever for the series. That's the blue line, which is the simple 'how many downloads this week' line. Notice too, though, that the red and green lines, which are rolling averages, are up in a big way - that's a measure of how consistent traffic is, aiming to even out the spikes created by the fact that I only release one episode a month. The green average, which is the longer-term of the two, now stands at almost 150% of its previous peak, in August of 2012.
Hits on this blog are up pretty substantially, too; March is on track to smash the previous record (from last March). This is presumably because I'm updating regularly again - though it's worth noting that I'm blogging half as much as I did this time last year, to significantly greater effect. There seems to be more throughput from blog to downloads, too, so maybe I'm finally getting the hang of this blogging thing. I have tried to change my approach lately - aiming to be less preachy, less pompous, and to write more about my personal experience.
There is, of course, another relevant piece of information:
(Yes, I know I said I'd stop bitching about the damn PhD soon. Obviously I meant 'but not just yet' ;) )
Actually, that graph is slightly misleading, but it is true that the big dead spot which you can see through last summer corresponds to the most intense period of work I've done on the PhD; something similar goes for my failure to capitalise on the massive spike from the summer before. The PhD still isn't quite over, but I'm already starting to feel like I've been unleashed.
To cap it all off, I got a lovely 5-star review on Smashwords yesterday from Rebecca Whitlock (many thanks and I hope you continue to enjoy the series, if you're reading this). All in all, it's been a very good start to the year and I hope I can keep it up. That will, of course, require me to somehow manage to finish the next episode *and* my PhD in the next three weeks or so, but I'm getting there...