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Vocal for Beginners

Don't try—do!

Vocal basics are easy to learn, even as a newbie. My advice, by the way, comes from someone new at this as well, but I have had to figure it out for myself. I am hoping to save you time and effort in getting your words read. First of all, read the resource section at Vocal. It is full of information about writing and how Vocal works. Don't be wreaked if a posting is turned down. Fix it until it is accepted. When I first started at Vocal, I read postings to see what type of stuff they published, but I didn't go far enough. Most of what I saw was a walk-down-memory-lane type stuff. I rewrote some stuff I had on a website I made up for my children full of memories of our good times and bad. They were schmaltzy, but they got published. However, nobody was reading them. So I got daring and started posting articles on the sciences I love. I got a few more people reading my words. I have never been on social media of any kind; no Facebook or tweeting at all. I joined both. But I have to say, I am still getting a handle on Twitter. The easiest one suggested by Vocal is StumbleUpon. Go to the site first and learn how to stumble before you post. There are many different categories under which to put your post. You want to determine which category will get you the most views. For instance, I posted an article on evolution. I could have put it under evolution or the more general topic of science. I chose the more general topic. Then, several weeks later, I posted it in evolution. Repostings like this can drive up your readership. I post articles from my science magazines and make sure I stumble other articles every day. It is painless, and I've read some really good stuff. Reddit is a lot more difficult for me because they have so many rules! Their family category doesn't allow any pictures, which leaves out anything suitable for Vocal because pictures are big on this site. The science category only accepts peer-reviewed articles, so that's a dead end for me. The rules are tough to work around and I get hundreds of more reads from StumbleUpon than I do at Reddit. Reddit readers also contact you, and they are not always kind. So your skin must be tough.

When I started using these sites, I did it in a scientific manner. Having already armed myself with many posts on Vocal, I started posting on Reddit and StumbleUpon at various times of days and different days of the week. I kept a spreadsheet, and here is what I found: Despite the fact that Vocal recommends NOT posting in the middle of the night, that is true of Twitter and Facebook. The other readerships work quite differently. My highest readership occurs when I post very late at night. I'm talking about well after midnight. The readers hit the sites during early morning commuting times, lunch times, and during the evening commute. So from about four AM until seven PM, and then it stops cold. They read what is newest on the site, and older posts get only the odd hit. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays are the best days to have a new post up. Tuesday comes next, and Wednesdays and Thursdays are okay but not hot. My readership has gone through the roof. Just being dependent on Vocal is not enough. My total readership on Vocal was about 100 reads after two months. Since going on social media, I went to over 1,200 reads in a week. You can't be shy about your work. Even an amateur like me can do it. Now I spend my days watching my stats and figuring out which posts do best, and how I can improve my chances on my next submission. Experiment, keep track of your results, repost in different categories, and have a little fun with this. I allowed myself to be self-conscious and intimidated by this entire process. Don't let yourself do that. If you don't do it, you can't succeed.

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