That Man Behind the Curtain: November 2012

National Novel Writing Month has come and gone. I hit my 50k, and now have a hot steaming mess that I don’t know what to do with. Dawn would have also if her laptop hadn’t died at the last minute. The takeaway is that a lot of daily work got missed with Mad Scientist Journal. We have a mountain of slush to read and starting today, I get to catch up.

So let’s look at some numbers.

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($65.00)
Art: ($50.00)
Advertising: ($20.00)
Paypal Fees: ($9.87)
Donations: $0
Ad Revnue: $0.24
Books Sales: $6.63
Total: ($220.06)
QTD: ($448.02)
YTD: ($2,677.88)
All Time: ($2,783.63)

As per usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. This month marked our first actual sale through the iBookstore, which is kinda exciting. We sold three things through there, two of which were me buying stuff to see how long it would take before it appeared on my report. In general, we hadn’t had any sales from any of the third party places that Smashwords exports our ebooks to.

The other new thing is that I experimented with the “Promote this Story” option on Facebook. For $10 you can have posts on Facebook appear on people’s walls. When I see these on my wall, I always get annoyed. It’s one of the more douchebaggy things that Facebook does.

On Black Friday, I noticed how much the turkey in Turkey of Frankenstein stood out in the post. And I saw the “promote this post” link at the bottom. With a “well, let’s see what happens” sort of morbid curiosity, I chipped in the money to promote the post. I had the choice of $5 or $10, which is a reasonable sort of amount for me to try out.

Traffic spiked hard. It didn’t beat our top day for the month, but it was better than we’d had in a couple weeks.

So then I tried it again a couple days later when we launched a new story, and it became our 2nd best day of the month.

I really don’t know how I feel about that. The “promote a story” option is really obnoxious. I hate being shilled to buy things that my friends happen to “Like,” so I really feel bad about that. But in terms of cost efficiency, it’s remarkably efficient. It didn’t generate the solid daily traffic that we had with the Project Wonderful ad, but as a brief spike when new stories came out it was solid.

With this in mind, I’m wrestling with what to do about this. I don’t like encouraging Facebook by giving them money for this sort of ad. But I don’t really do this at a profit. One of my primary goals for the magazine is to provide a market for new voices in speculative fiction and a chance to help them get a bit more attention. So I’m a little conflicted over whether I should keep doing this. Perhaps in January I may do a multi-angled advertising structure instead of just random one-off promotions.


We received a whopping 18 submissions. Two classified ads, twelve exclusive submissions for the anthology, and four regular submissions. We declined one thing, but haven’t otherwise made any decisions one way or the other. I like to wait until the end of the submission period to make final decisions on the special calls. The other outlying items will get dealt with over the next few days.

Dawn has done a first pass. I just need to make final decisions.

I’m going to skip acceptance stats for this month. I just don’t think it’s an accurate reflection of how our acceptance ratio is.


November had a total of 1,087 visits, about half of what we had last month. Our traffic consisted of 841 unique visitors and 1,768 page views. Our highest daily traffic was 93 visits.

We had a huge surge in traffic from Stumbleupon compared to other sources. I’m not sure how this happened.

November’s “Search of the Month” is “severe face breakouts pics”.

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