Bytown Episode 3 Postmortem

MCMSaturday, May 30, 2020

Bytown episode 3 is finally done and I think we can all agree that it ended with a bang. (spoilers, btw, because whee!)

Numbers Numbers Numbers

Marketing continues apace, though it isn't making as much of a dent in the stats as it used to. The current readership is floating somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 weekly visitors, though that's an imperfect statistic because I had been trying to track people who read, say, chapters 1, 2 and 3 within a single visit, but negelected to account for episodes starting mid-week — so basically all my stats are wrong and always have been.

In terms of pure analytics, this is a respectable place to be for a project with no real marketing strategy being released during a pandemic. Did I want it to do better? Sure, but I also thought 2020 would have fewer...distractions, y'know?

One thing I still see (and now feel bad about, given the release schedule change) is that people are visiting in bursts around Thursday night and Friday — presumably to catch up on the week's events. Since the episode was released all at once, mid-month, they may have been a bit cranky about the absence of new material. Especially since B-Sides is on hiatus. It will be interesting to see if there's much of a drop-off in readership because of this.

If I knew how to plan properly, I could have avoided this. Alas.

Chapter Sizes

The strangest thing happened with Episode 3: it's the shortest one yet at 28,105 words. I think it's safe to say the chapters are packed with revelations and punchy scenes, but they don't last as long as they used to. That's something I will probably fix in post (aka editing) but for now it's an interesting observation.

This is, broadly, an issue for me. I write fast and I write tight, so my word counts tend to be on the leaner side. I can compensate when I ghostwrite, because I'm adopting someone else's voice, and most other people are verbose — but when I get back into my own mode, I write 70,000 word novels that need padding or brand new C-plots woven in. Oops!

Writing Pace

Unfortunately, my gallbladder issues continue to plague me, and when combined with my intense ghostwriting schedule and other extraneous projects, it conspires to knock me even further off my goals. I'm still looking like I might actually make it to the end in time, but it will eventually turn into my frantically scribbling chapters the day before the monthly release, as opposed to a carefully-calibrated manuscript that's been edited for weeks beforehand.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't know this was coming. I jsut didn't expect it to happen so soon :)


Based on my analysis of a non-business model for Bytown and my utter lack of marketing skills, I think it's safe to say that my primary goal right now should be to survive the year, and then loop back to worry about details later. Even the proposed Bytown Volume I (episodes 1-3) is on hold for the time being, because the last thing I need right now is to add more complications to my life.

Looking Ahead...

Episode 4 is still on track to land in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. After the cliffhanger you just witnessed, I can say with absolute certainty that you won't expect where we go next...

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