Monday, 18 January 2016

On breaking America

I started this occasional blog in January 2013 and have just noticed two things:

First, that the number of my readers in the United States is for the first time about to exceed - and may have already exceeded - the number here in the UK. This is down to a rise in the number of US readers (itself inexplicable but very welcome), not a decline in the number of British readers (ditto). Perhaps I should reflect this demographic shift in my readership and blog about things likely to be of greater interest to my readers across the Atlantic? Not that I'm in any way equipped to do so. 

Second, that I have to my astonishment accumulated many more readers in many more countries than I knew, not being technically capable of monitoring such useful data. According to a Google feature that has just been brought to my attention I seem to be fast approaching 900,000 readers worldwide. This gave me a jolt. Of course the figure may represent only the hapless myriads who have inadvertently landed on a page of mine while looking for something else - they are no more likely to be readers than (say) purchasers of Ulysses get beyond the first few pages (although I suspect more people go the distance than populist journalists like to make out. It should be shameful for anyone with pretensions to literacy to admit to never having completed the greatest novel in the English language0. But surely some of these 900,000 have read beyond the first line or two? How can I find out? Do I even want to find out?  And is there some way I can make a living out of all this? If every one of this 900,000 hypothetical readers sent me a  dollar (say) that would be (pause for calculation) getting on for a million dollars. A dollar (or a pound or a euro) all seem a perfectly reasonable amount to pay to read this irregular blog whenever you feel like it. And such a lavish windfall would enable me to spend several years writing (and blogging) the three or four books on which I expect my claim to any literary merit depends. 

Apart from the UK and the US (or the US and the UK, as I expect I shall have to say in the future) my main readerships (if such a plural is allowable) are, in descending numerical order: France, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Canada, China and Poland. Now I don't know and cannot find out whether (say) I have 2,000 readers in France or simply one maniac who has clicked on my blog more than 2,000 times, or perhaps some other combination of readers and clicks.

To them all I say: thank you. Thank you!

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