One of the things that can really get a product going–in this case, books, blog posts, etc–is word of mouth. The problem being, word of mouth is finnicky, unpredictable, and based on circumstance.
There has been one occasion in which word of mouth has made something of mine popular: a post of mine called Rules for Being a Bitch.Not a day goes by when I don’t get five or ten unique views for this post.
This is not one of my favorite posts. It’s the only in a series on character types. It’s not specific to science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, speculative fiction, magic, or linguistics.
It’s just my opinion on some ways to write a well-rounded and believable “bitch”. I’m not even particularly comfortable with using the word any more, but its a part of a culture that is still very relevant. And I don’t mean sexist culture, although the term is certainly an artifact of sexism. The term itself is extremely problematic, although I wasn’t judging the character type when I wrote about it. So there’s another way word-of-mouth can be less than ideal.
But my major qualm is the the post just isn’t reflective of what this blog is supposed to be about. And yet it has the second most views of any post ever posted here.
According to my posting statistics, almost all of that traffic comes from YA (mostly writing) blogs on tumblr. Some person in the community there found something useful in what I said, and linked it in a round-up. And then a bunch of other people reposted that list. And then even more people started going to those links, and found their way to my blog. I;m sure most of them were disappointed, either in the post itself or by the fact that it was the only one of its kind on here.
But since the internet is forever, I now get people from tens if not hundreds of tumblrs coming here based on that list and the people who reposted it. And maybe some of those reposters didn’t even care about my post. Something else in the list interested them. But some of their followers did want to read that post, and so those bloggers indirectly spread the word of my post and gave it a tacit endorsement.
And that’s how word of mouth really works for everything. And you’ll never be able to predict how when and how something like that will happen to you.