At some undetermined moment between me starting this draft and it magically appearing in your inbox or news feed via the wonders of the interweb, Literally Stories will have surpassed 200,000 page views.
Yes indeedy faithful readers in four short years we have reached a level of activity that a Kardashian nipple or a Bieber tattoo can expect to log in just under 4 nanoseconds.
If Hugh was here this week he’d probably say something like “fuck those limelight seeking, dopamine craving, attention hugging social media whore-bastards and all who ride on them.”
But he isn’t.
So I did.
200,000 views is something we are very proud of. Especially when that sits alongside 4,141,587 words that we’ve read from 1130 authors. 1.5 million of those words have made their way on to the site, we’ve got 35,000 words sitting in the reading queue and for some ridiculous reason 117,028 words have been withdrawn by the authors on the grounds that they’d been accepted elsewhere (by inferior publications of course).
We are closing in on 400 published authors and we are steadily growing. In terms of submissions six of our top eight months of all time have been the first six months of this year, and July looks set to be more of the same. We now read, on average, 20 stories a week – double how it used to be.
We’ve also managed to reach a point where we have stories in place a few weeks in advance – a far cry from the early days where we usually felt like we were minutes away from folding.
Our original team of five is now a hardcore team of three – Adam and Tobias no longer have time to commit to the site but are both alive and well and at least 50% of them are living in the north of England. The workload increases but we don’t mind – it’s a privilege that you decide to share your stories with us and LS is generally a fun place to “work”.
No statistical anomalies this week – 5 days, 5 stories which we’ll come to in a moment – but I did put on my slightly battered Fez of Data Nerdness and delved into the stats to pick out a couple of gems.
Choosing a story title is often the hardest part of writing. A short title often tells you nothing but promotes the impression of being all worthy and literary and stuff. A long title can often feel contrived, silly or in danger of telling you the whole tale (a bit like those emails you get where the title includes the entire mail). Ultimately…the writing is what matters and we’ve published the full range. The Spectacularly Unspectacular Life Of Alton J Sputnitter by Jonathan deCoteau has the honour of being the story with the longest title we’ve ever published. You can take your pick between If by Hugh Cron and In by Marie Peach Geraghty for the shortest one (honourable mentions go to Bob, Her, Sam and She which you can browse for at your leisure).
We generally enforce our minimum and maximum word count with the kind of rigidity normally associated with banana republic dictatorships and yet…Tom Sheehan managed to get a 6773 word piece past us in Chapter Reaching For A Novel (albeit published in two parts). We’ll let Tom fight for the prize with Leila Allison who succeeded with a 4900 word story in All I Love Dies Alone.
On the other end of the scale Adam Kluger snuck in a 273 word piece with Are We Both Broken?
We are clearly much more into ghouls and ghosts than love and hugs – romance only gets past us 14% of the time but horror gets close to 40%. To add to the spookiness 66.67% of science fiction stories we’ve logged on a Friday have been accepted. Oh, and if the overall romance rate didn’t give you a hint – don’t send them to us late on a weekend so that we log them on a Monday…5.56%.
What’s in a name? Well, authors with first names beginning with T, A or D are our most prolific in terms of submissions and yet none of them can hold a candle to those with the X factor so to speak, who boast a 100% success rate in terms of submissions*
*we strongly refute any claims that this is down to only ever receiving one story from a person with X as his initial and that said person was in fact the alter ego of the founding editor of this site
I’ll leave you with the summary that there is no magic formula as to whether a story makes it on to the pages of LS or not. But changing your name to Xander, writing a science-fiction story of between 500 and 1000 words with a catchy title containing about 10 letters (excluding spaces) and sending it in on a Friday might tip the scales in your favour.
And so to the week of stories. We welcomed a newbie to the site in the non-beastly form of Matthew Roy Davey – welcome Matthew, we hope to see a lot more work from you. Talk about a time to make your debut – rounding off a week that comprised three legends and one author who is fast approaching double figures on the site this year.
Monday was kicked off in lighthearted and playful style by our very own Hugh Cron and his gentle, optimistic and uplifting tale of drug dependency – A Bad Batch.
With the amount of his wonderful stories that have graced our pages over the years I’m thinking of renaming Tuesday to Tomsday. This week’s offering from the irrepressible Mr Sheehan was Chornby And Leo The Blind Man
“…it was a sweet, mysterious story I thought and lovely writing…”
“The story was as poetic as the poem.”
Wednesday gave us a new piece from our aforementioned rising star L’Erin Ogle. Her 9th story of 2018 (bettered only by Tom Sheehan) is a thought-provoking and terrifying study of Artificial Love
“I loved this – the strange construct added to the tension and the all round weirdness.”
“It has a great spooky tone with a hint of madness in it and the end was pretty evil.”
Given our impartial nature here at LS we’re not the kind of people to throw out any ideas of favouritism. But if, hypothetically there were to be a hypothetical situation whereby we hypothetically had to list our favourite authors to work with there would (hypothetically) be a strong case for Leila Allison to come out on top. Her latest story – A Condition Of Absolute Reality – is up there with the best of her impressive back catalogue.
“Bloody author made me cry.”
“A superbly written look back at simpler times with some very touching memories.”
Rounding off the week in daft and cringemakingly funny style was Matthew Roy Davey introducing us to his tragically named MC in The Naming Of The Beasts. If you thought being called Dwayne Pipe, Richard Head or Annette Curtain was bad, think again…
“…funny, well-written and it does make me consider how dreadful it would be to have that name!”
“…at first I thought it was going to be about some sort of hereditary disease or at the very least red hair!”
That’s it for another week. Here’s to the next 200,000 hits – let’s see if we can get there quicker than the 1,932,480 minutes or so it took for the first 200,000…
Have a great week everyone – keep the comments, stories and visits coming!
P.S. If any feel the urge to unearth some more insights I’ve set up a little interactive page at which you can open from here