Monday, May 4, 2015

The A to Z Blog Challenge--Reflections

This was the third year I've participated. The first two times my topics were random, so this year I picked a theme. Mathematics is a weird choice for a group composed of writers, travelers, food buffs, and homeschooling moms, but I did find an audience. Infusing the Mad-Cool-Math Nuggets with a blend of humor and info was actually tons of fun.

This was also the first year I've had something to promote. I offered free downloads of three different short stories to promote a collection and that worked pretty well. Besides buying books from other authors, I found a free download of a book on one site and a price-reduction for a book on another. I wondered what other giveaways and price-reductions might be hidden among the 2000 participants.

It made me wish there could be a separate list where bloggers could sign up to promote a giveaway, contest, or price-reduction. It would be a nice tool for both the promoters and folks looking for a bargain. This isn't a new concept. Last year, there was a separate list for bloggers having less than 100 followers, but I didn't see it this year.

This idea does have drawbacks. First, there might not be enough manpower to run separate lists. (As a minion, I only had to check 7 blogs, but it still took time.) Second, if the giveaway or promotion only lasted part of the month, keeping such a list (or lists) current and verifying links could be painful. Third, if bloggers offering a giveaway or price-reduction got their own list, then shouldn't other bloggers selling their wares at their regular price get a separate list too? Keeping things "fair" could quickly become impossible, plus the intent of the challenge isn't commercial, it's social.

But still, if I could have one wish, it would be a "freebie" list.


  1. We didn't do a hundred followers or less this year - bummer. Sorry, it was somehow overlooked.
    If we ever do a giveaway list, someone else can monitor it. The main list is all I can handle.
    Your theme was interesting and fun, even though I am not a math whiz. It does help to have a theme, doesn't it?

    1. No worries on the under a hundred list. That was just an observation, not a criticism. I think if someone wants to run a freebie list or any kind of list during April, that would be fine, but the A to Z is hard enough to run without making more lists.

  2. I'm planning on having a theme next year. I thought it'd be easy to post random posts, but it wasn't. I've to admit that I'm not a fan of giveaways, I don't really get them. I never read a post in my RSS feed when the title involves giveaway. I don't really know why, probably because it's too commercial. That being said, I don't mind when bloggers have adds on their pages, so I'm not referring to the old discussion whether bloggers should earn money on their blogs.

    I'm impressed you did a math theme! Well done and congratulations!

  3. I think that some bloggers get turned off by writers whose A-Z participation is based on promoting a book, but who doesn't like freebies!!!!

    I turn away--far away--from math. Just so you know. :)

  4. If all one does as promote is will turn off the many

  5. Lots of good ideas such as a Freebie List and the 100 Follower or Less. This list is a massive undertaking as is. But with more volunteers it could happen.\

  6. 1st off…kuddos on writing over a challenging theme like math! I plan to do a theme next time, not just whatever popped into my head!
    2nd…glad I didn't realize there was over 1500+ participating. Being a first timer I would have been intimidated.

  7. I think there is a blogger who lists free stuff every Friday, but I don't remember who.

  8. Freebies are always fun! I totally forgot about the under 100 list. I actually reached 100 followers during my first challenge last year.

  9. Math is a great theme, I think. Well done. Math is so important in our modern society but has a bad reputation among too many people. So great that you promoted some of the cool stuff >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  10. Interesting idea about a separate list for people promoting and giving away stuff. But you're right, I think it might raise more problems. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  11. Someday I hope we can find a way to separate and manipulate the list in all sorts of ways. It would requiring programming which would likely require money or a dedicated A to Z lover who was an exceptional programmer.

    Thanks for your thoughts and participation.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It


  12. When my short story came out, I did promote that at the bottom of my posts, because...why not? :)

    I learned a lot with your theme.

  13. I love math, so I loved your theme. And a promo list would be cool. I do love to pick up new books. I did run a contest throughout, and it would have been nice to get more promotion on that, but I wasn't giving away a book.

  14. There are many giveaway linky lists out there already. Just search on google. Some have topics, others don't . Many are weekly, so they are all current and don't need minions.

  15. Last year I used quotes from my novel as introductions to my A-Z themes which were all connected to the book. This year I simply hoped that visitors to my site would check it out a little and see my novels on the home page.There are many blogs and they are mostly categorised so people can chose what they want to read and what they don't. It doesn't take me very long at all to work out if I'm interested or not. Maths was unusual so I visited numerous times. Well done on surviving 2015.

  16. Choosing math as your theme was such a brave move! Now that May is here, I'm going to have to go back and read every single one of your A to Z posts.

    I remember the "only 100 followers" list. I think one of the problems with that list was that it didn't include the WordPress blogs which don't have the "Join this site" feature. It was a great idea when most of the challenge participants had Blogger blogs, though.

  17. Congrats on finishing. Maybe you could start a new blog hop that posts monthly with giveaways.
    The under 100 thing was overlooked but I have some ideas about that for next year.

  18. So right you are, I think, on all your thoughts pertaining to a separate list for giveaways. I think that would seriously defeat the purpose, and I bet those bloggers wouldn't get as much traffic because folks might think they are only doing the A to Z to promote themselves/their works... I prefer to find them by chance. I bought some original artwork on one of the blogs I visited because I was struck by her colors, and, her recounting of her trip to Africa. And, I found your story and got it, Ursa Major, and read it! I have to say, I was really impressed that I liked your posts on Math as much as I did, being as I am NOT a great math person. In fact I started reading your blog only because it was YOU ("my" hardworking minion), and because my hubby is a math major and I thought it would give me something to talk to him about. I ended up enjoying myself without any other reason for doing so than you made it fun and interesting, so thank you! Lisa, co-host #AtoZChallenge 2015, @

  19. Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!

    Mary @ Jingle Jangle Jungle

  20. Thank you for entertaining me, confusing me and making me scratch my head until it was sore during April! I'm just back from holiday and writing again. I'm looking forward to visiting you in the future.
    Keith's Ramblings

  21. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Another list??? I've got lists blowing off steam in my head...theme list, original list, reflections list, road trip list..I can't take anymore lists! (lol)
    As participants, we have no idea of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes so thanks for being a helper. Just meandering through from the Road Trip.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess


I will do everything in my power to visit commenter's blogs unless I've been abducted by aliens or my children get sick. (If my children get abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)

Note: During the A to Z challenge, I may not be able to return all comments in a timely fashion, but I will do my best.