# Math Blogs

Image from ShutterStock.

## MATH WEBSITES

I’ve discovered a few cool math websites recently, and thought I would share them.

I enjoy math and blogging, but see that they’re not so easy to find.

If you know of any others, especially here at WordPress, I’d love to check them out.

## MATHEMAGICAL SITE

https://mathemagicalsite.wordpress.com/

I discover a good variety of math-related posts at Mathemagical Site, from fun puzzles to math history to math puns. I enjoy it all.

## ROBERT LOVES PI

https://robertlovespi.wordpress.com/

I love pi, too! If you browse through older posts, you can find a lot of amazing 3D (and even 4D) geometric shapes. It’s a geometry lovers’ paradise. Back in 2D, you can find some cool tessellations, too.

## MATH ON MONDAYS

https://chowkimwan.wordpress.com/

This blog posts articles on other topics, but you’ll find math on Mondays. On the math posts, don’t just look at the picture of the chalkboard used as the featured image. Find the link called “Click here to read the math.”

## FIND THE FACTORS

http://findthefactors.com/

There is a unique series of math puzzle here where you have to place the numbers 1 thru 12 in the top row and the left column, using logic and the basic principle of logic. If you’re having trouble getting started, check out the hints.

## MY LITTLE MATH BLOG

http://improveyourmathfluency.com/

If you didn’t know I had a math blog, now you do. It’s called Improve Your Math Fluency (same name as my series of math workbooks, only I blog about a variety of math topics).

## KNOW ANY MORE?

If you know of any more good math blogs, please share them. I’d love to check them out.

## Chris McMullen

Chris McMullen, Author of:

• The Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks
• Basic astronomy and basic chemistry books, and undergraduate physics texts
• A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

# Reblog: Better to Delay?

When you write what you feel is a great post and see a few early reblogs, that show of support is wonderful.

How about that delayed reblog that comes days, weeks, or even months later?

Did this person miss the party?

Or…

Is the delayed reblog even better?

I’ve received a couple of delayed reblogs lately (thank you very much), and personally I love it.

But they can also look a bit spammy, especially as many bloggers share many common followers.

Those common followers also mean that readers see all of those reblogs in the same window of opportunity.

The delayed reblog helps to reach readers who were inactive during the original post.

Of course, if you intentionally delay, you may forget to reblog, you might not find the post again, or you might get wrapped up in your other work, as busy as we are.

Save the post to your Favorites on your browser. That will make it easy to find later. If you like the post enough to reblog it, you surely like it enough that you might want to hunt it down several months from now, in which case it will be really handy on your Favorites list.

What do you think?

Reblog now or reblog later?

## Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

# Marketing with a Blog

## Milestones

This blog is relatively new: I’ve been blogging actively here only for a little over a year.

Things started out very slowly. In the beginning, the numbers could easily have discouraged me, but I didn’t let them. We see many new bloggers show up, write a few posts, and vanish, which shows that many do get discouraged. But there is hope.

In my case, I just passed 20,000 views and 2,000 followers recently. Over the course of the first month or even the first few months, there was no reason to expect that I’d reach these numbers in a little over a year. Things can improve. There are reasons to expect improvement, which I will describe later in this post.

I don’t blog to market. I blog because I love writing, I’m thrilled to be part of a revolutionary time in the publishing industry that offers much more freedom, and I see thousands of authors taking the indie approach.

At first I strongly loathed the concept of marketing. But I became increasingly curious about it as I realized that it’s not really about advertising or salesmanship. I discovered that this crazy concept we call marketing can be a means of sharing your passion with others.

I’ve become passionate about this perspective of marketing. I enjoy studying ways that marketing can help you share ideas that you have a passion for without seeming like advertising or sales. Traditional textbooks approach marketing like a business. Many people in the marketing world who are most qualified to discuss the underlying principles also view marketing with regard to business.

But I’m a writer who, like thousands of indie authors, doesn’t view writing as a business, but as an art. Sometimes it’s handy to think about the business side, but when I write, I want to feel like an artist. I can motivate myself to write when I feel this way. Similarly, I can’t motivate myself to market thinking of it in a business sense. But I can put time, effort, and thought into marketing when I view it as an art.

Marketing can be viewed as an art. You can be creative with it. You can market to share ideas that you’re passionate about, rather than market to stimulate sales. The end goal might be the same, but how you feel about what you’re doing is different in each case, and the distinction matters. It affects your motivation, your confidence, the passion you show in interactions, how easily you give up, and more.

Again, I don’t blog to market my books. I blog because I love to write and blogging lets me do that. I blog to connect with other writers, and have made some good blogging friends and connections this way. I blog because I see thousands of other indie authors who I feel might benefit from my perspective on marketing. It’s easy to get discouraged in the publishing world. I hope a few of my posts provide a little encouragement.

## In the Beginning

My first trip to WordPress was somewhat embarrassing. I actually joined WordPress in May of 2011. I signed up, did one quick post called “A New Kind of Word Puzzle,” and vanished into thin air. The post consists of one paragraph describing puzzle books that I coauthored. It’s nothing more than self-promotion and doesn’t read well.

It had 3 views the entire month of May, zero likes, and zero comments.

I could delete this post, but I leave it there as a reminder. That’s my experience with trying this the wrong way.

From May, 2011 thru November, 2012 (that’s 1.5 years), I didn’t make a single new post.

In December, 2012, I tried a second time. I posted “Customer Book Reviews – Can’t Live With ’em, Can’t Live Without ’em.” As of this morning, this post still has only 5 likes and zero comments. If you’re one of the 5 and reading this post over a year later… wow, you deserve an award. 🙂 There were 6 views of this post in December, 2012, and it’s now been viewed a whopping 7 times.

This post was, I felt, a huge improvement over my Hello, World post on word puzzles. It relates to writing and publishing, the same theme as I adopt today.

My next two posts didn’t fair much better, but I finally received a couple of comments. I started to get a few followers. It was very slow: a few views, a few likes, a few follows. By few, I mean like 3 to 5. Few. It can be really tough starting out. I felt like my posts were helpful.

I felt, as many writers can relate, that it was easier to sell a book on Amazon than it was to get discovered on WordPress. In fact, it took several months of active blogging before my average daily views finally exceeded my average daily sales. The author who starts blogging with the intention of marketing a book could get really discouraged by this observation. Fortunately, I wasn’t blogging to market my books, so this never concerned me.

On January 5, 2013, I had the inspiration for one of my favorite posts of mine, “Reading & Writing with Passion.” Some other bloggers apparently liked this post, too, as it received some comments, a reblog, and a couple of pingbacks. This post had 39 views that month. That was huge for one of my first handful of posts.

Meanwhile, you check out your Reader or Freshly Pressed and discover blogs with hundreds of thousands of views and posts with hundreds of likes and dozens of comments. The grass isn’t just greener on the other side—it’s made out of 24-karat gold.

## It Should Start Slowly

Wouldn’t it be great to achieve instant success? (Nope. It would be easy, but not great. You wouldn’t appreciate it at all. You wouldn’t feel like you earned it.)

Whether you would like it to take off instantly or not, a blog is a seed that you plant, nurture, and grow. It starts out buried in the mud. After several weeks, you might see a tendril poke through the surface. If you watch closely for several days, it might seem to get a fraction of an inch taller. Months later, when you see the first sign of a leaf, you jump for joy. Many blogs get planted, watered for a short while, and abandoned.

And that’s the way it should be, to an extent.

You’re discovering other blogs. You’re interacting with other bloggers. You’re hoping to get discovered. But many of those bloggers have hundreds of followers. Some are waiting to see if you’ll be a regular, or just one of the many passing followers hoping for nothing more than a reciprocal follow. Those who do visit your blog see that you’re brand spanking new: They’re waiting to see more content, to see if you’ll be here for the long-haul, and to see if you have enough posts that will interest them. They already have a very full Reader, so they’re selective about adding new followers.

The numbers game doesn’t help. You start thinking things like… I’m posting 3 times per week… Blogging 1 hour per day… Typing 3000 words per week in addition to my book… Getting 2 new followers per week… Getting 6 views per day… Getting 4 likes per post. At 2 followers per week, it will take a year to reach a mere 100 followers. At 6 views per day, active blogging for a whole year will give you a mere 2000 views.

But while blogging starts out slowly, there is much potential for improvement. I started out with very slow numbers.  Yet I just passed 20,000 views and 2,000 followers after about 14 months of active blogging.

## Blogging Potential

Everyone is different, but for most bloggers stats do improve significantly over long periods of time.

Your numbers probably won’t be identical to mine, but if you’re starting out, the growth of my numbers and those of many other bloggers may offer hope.

In January, 2013, I was getting just a handful of views and likes per post and follows per week. Slowly, over the course of months, this turned into dozens and then dozens more. Now, I have more than 100 views on my blog almost every day, even if I don’t post anything new. I usually get a couple dozen or more likes of my posts within the first couple of days. I get several new followers each week. Let me take a moment to shout THANK YOU to everyone who has been even a small part of this.

That’s a huge improvement, but I’ve only been actively blogging for a year and I’m still a small fish in a big pool. There are many bloggers getting hundreds of views per day, hundreds of likes per post, and who have over a hundred thousand followers. No matter how well you do, you can always find someone else who seems to be doing much better.

But I don’t blog for the numbers. If I did, I probably would have been one of the many bloggers who give up quickly and never return. I’m just sharing my numbers to possibly give some newbies a little hope.

One of the coolest things that happened to me was receiving an email from WordPress that one of my posts, “Once Upon a Time,” a poem made exclusively out of clichés, was being Freshly Pressed. Wow, they picked little ol’ me. They said I would be getting a lot more traffic at my blog, and they weren’t kidding. As of now, this single post has been viewed 1659 times. It has 167 comments (mostly clichés; these are among my favorite comments to read), 342 likes, and dozens of reblogs. I had my record number of views for a single day, 432, and received hundreds of followers during this period.

A blog can grow significantly over a long period of time, even if it might seem to do so very slowly. Several factors may help your blog grow:

• Discovery takes time. As you regularly interact with fellow bloggers and establish new connections, your blog will get discovered more. Not everyone will like your blog. Some will offer support, but won’t be in your target audience. But as your blog gets discovered more, your blog will grow. If you post a link to your blog from your books and other parts of your online platform, this will aid in discoverability.
• It takes time to build relevant content and for the content to get discovered. If you post content that interests your target audience, it may eventually start to attract your target audience. Some posts get discovered through keyword searches through search engines. If you succeed in writing a few posts that get discovered a few times externally every day, this brings new people from your target audience outside of your blog-world to your blog. This is the idea behind a content-rich website. What starts out as a simple blog can grow into a content-rich website with material that will interest your target audience. This helps you share your passion with others. Your “target audience” is a wonderful group of people who share your passion.
• The more you read other blogs and interact with other bloggers, the more you learn. You get ideas for how you might make your effective use of your blog. Your posts tend to improve over time. The appearance of your blog changes. You start to explore new features on WordPress. You have more content (i.e. all those posts you’ve written) to attract interest when your blog is discovered. Your most recent posts may be better than your old posts, helping you attract more interest.
• You may expand, feeding your WordPress posts into Facebook and Twitter (but don’t cross-feed between Facebook and Twitter or you’ll get double or triple posts). Even if you don’t plan to make much use of Twitter or Facebook, this offers potential followers another way of following you. Some people prefer other forms of social media to WordPress. Let them follow you via their favorite platforms. If you do make use of other forms of social media, some of the people you reach over there will discover your blog that way.
• The more posts you write, the better your chances of writing a magical post that goes viral. It can happen to you.

## More than Just a Blog

There is so much here at WordPress:

• There are many wonderful bloggers to interact with. Many of us feel that the interactions are the best part of the blogging experience.
• There is so much wonderful material to read. Browsing through your Reader or Freshly Pressed is better than any magazine, in my opinion, and it’s free.
• The WordPress community can be very supportive. This can be part of your support network.
• WordPress abounds in creativity. It’s fun and inspiring.

In addition, your blog can be more than just a blog. It can also function as a content-rich website. This is the latest trend in marketing. The hope is to attract people from your target audience beyond your blog by posting relevant content. But I don’t think of this in a business sense. I see it as a means to share your passion with others. I see designing and growing your website as an art form. I don’t think of it as marketing in the usual sense of the word.

Visualize what your blog can be and work toward that. Enjoy it. Don’t focus on the stats, which can deceive and discourage you. Think positively.

## Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

By chrismcmullen

We’ve now had some time to experience and possibly adjust or adapt to the new changes in the WordPress Reader. How are you handling it?

There has been some applause for the return of the word count. Yay!

My eyes have adjusted to the larger text. It was a shock for the first few days, but now it looks normal. However, I still regret that one post very often takes the entire screen height on my rather large monitor. It takes much more scrolling to read the same number of posts. Very likely, this means that more readers are giving up sooner, so more posts are going unread.

Indeed, I’ve noticed that I get more or much less activity depending on the timing of the post. If people are checking their posts after several hours, anything buried down at the bottom is less likely to get attention.

That popup window is still annoying and requires several extra clicks (unless you click on the word count). If you actually make it to the blogger’s site, you’ll see something new at the bottom of the post. It will show a few related posts. Unfortunately (perhaps), these seem to be automatically generated. These may help to generate interest in prior posts.

The WordPress forum specifically devoted to this issue is now 10 pages long. You can find it by clicking here. There is talk of reading blogs in bloglovin’ that might be worth checking out.

Here are my previous posts on this issue:

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing), Facebook page, Twitter

# Temporary Fixes to a Couple of the New WordPress Reader Problems

Update: WordPress staff have since added a word count at the end of the sample in the Reader. If you click on the word count at the end of the sample, it will take you directly to the blogger’s website, rather than opening the post in the Reader.

What’s the advantage of doing this? That way, you won’t have to click twice to read one post. Some bloggers allow you to read the full post in the Reader, others set it so that you can only read part of the post in the Reader. In the latter case, if you click once to open the post in the Reader, you’ll need to click a second time to visit the blog and read the rest of the post.

So just clicking the word count to visit the post on the blog, rather than in the Reader, saves a click. If you have hundreds of posts in your Reader, this can save a lot of extra clicking.

(This post originally had a suggestion for allowing readers to go straight to the post on your blog from the Reader, but now that WordPress has added the word count link at the end of the sample in the Reader, that work-around is no longer necessary.)

By chrismcmullen

# Update on the new WordPress Reader

Perhaps the changes to the WordPress Reader are oriented towards the trend of more people accessing websites and reading blogs on mobile devices, as suggested in the following post:

That may explain, for example, why the post opens in a new window—but not the actual website—when you first click on it, and allows you to like or comment without visiting the actual website. Unless, of course, the website restricts the Reader from showing the entire post, in which case you must click a second time to access the post. Then you have to close two separate windows when you’re done, so we’re clicking twice as often. That’s in addition to scrolling several times more because of the larger images and text.

It’s a shame that you can read some posts entirely in the new Reader window that pops up, completely missing the blogger’s header, background images, social media links, products for sale, and all the other content that blogger prepared on his or her website, hoping to draw a little traffic with the blog post.

On a positive note, the images seem to be displaying on all of the posts now.

I’m getting used to the font size and picture display now, but my wrist is sore from all the extra clicking and scrolling.

If you would like to share your feedback, please click on the above thread. Perhaps you can help them “engineer more happiness.”

Here are links to my two previous posts on the status of the new WordPress Reader, in case you missed them:

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

By chrismcmullen

Don’t like the new WordPress Reader?

Do like it?

Haven’t tried the new Reader? Check it out.

The only way for WordPress to know how people feel about this is if people share their opinions. So if you don’t (or do) like it, let WordPress know. They may not respond to one opinion, but if there are numerous responses, perhaps that will get some attention.

I love WordPress, and I love the old Reader. I want to keep loving WordPress. How do you feel?

Some of the changes that I’ve observed are summarized in my previous post.

Chris McMullen

# New WordPress Reader? What Do You Think? (Updated)

My WordPress Reader has looked much different as of yesterday. I wondered if maybe it was just being haunted for Halloween, but if so, the ghosts aren’t very good at keeping track of the calendar. So, is it just me?

The font size is larger in my reader, I see fewer posts on the screen at a time, and I don’t see the word count.

With fewer posts per screen, I have to do a lot more scrolling to skim through it and find posts that interest me. It just seems like a greater chance of people giving up sooner.

I guess the font is a little more readable. But I was used to it the way it was, so now it just seems too large. I guess I’ll get used to this, too, if it stays this way.

The disappearance of the word count seems interesting. Were short posts getting more attention, and long posts being overlooked (or vice-versa), because people were checking out the word count? If so, removing this will force us to choose the post that interests us regardless of length. Or will it cause frustrations, or less use of the Reader?

I think all of the clicks where people get to the post, then think ugh, that’s too short or too long—all that wasted energy will mean some posts that would have been read won’t get read.

Yesterday, there was a huge gap in posts, from 1 hr ago to 16 days ago. I’m sorry if I missed any posts that I would normally read.

That Follow by Email button is handy for blogs we really look forward to. 🙂

And is there an issue with pictures showing in the Reader? It seems that some posts have pictures (are they smaller?), yet none of the pictures show in the Reader.

If WordPress did make changes to the Reader, I wonder if they were beta tested. (Or is this part of a beta test?) If so, maybe they have already determined that the pros outweigh any cons.

There is a forum on this topic now: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/reader-changed?replies=4#post-1503145

I keep looking for a button on my Reader that I might accidentally have pressed. (Is this all just a big OOPS?)

Chris McMullen

# Book Reviews, Interviews, Guest Blogs, & Author Support

I see many bloggers doing book reviews, author interviews, guest blogs, and supporting authors in several ways. That’s awesome! 🙂

I’ve been wanting to do such things for some time now, but the main hurdle has been something that I often preach on my blog:

If you write a sci-fi book, for example, a blog that attracts sci-fi readers is the best place for a book review or author interview. Much of the content on my blog, in contrast, is of general interest to many different kinds of authors.

As you may have seen in a recent post, I finally thought of a way to help provide a small measure of support for specific authors and books in the context of my usual content. I plan to make more posts of this sort in the future, including:

• Demonstrating what is marketable about specific books.
• Illustrating marketing strategies that specific authors are employing.
• Showing specific book covers that work well.
• Discussing marketing features that specific author websites are utilizing.
• Describing specific books, authors, or websites that provide good examples of some marketing, publishing, or formatting concept.

I feel that specific examples can be instructive, and by featuring a specific book or author, I would be supporting fellow authors in a small way.

Note that I will only mention books or authors by name that I feel are doing something well. Although it may be instructive to point out mistakes, I won’t point out any mistakes of specific books. (When I do point out common mistakes, which can be useful, I do it in general terms, not in reference to any specific books or authors. Well, I may point out my own mistakes, but that’s different.)

Another way that I plan to provide a little support to fellow authors is with some new pages. You can see one of the new pages already, called Cool Books (look for it on the index at the top of the page or in the sidebar to the right). It just has a few scary books right now, but I’ll be adding to it as I get the chance (keep in mind that I’m also working on the Read Tuesday stuff).

If you have an author interview or guest blog in mind that coincides with the publishing or marketing content that I often provide on this blog (e.g. you want to discuss your publishing or marketing experience), please feel encouraged to contact me with your proposal. 🙂

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

By chrismcmullen

# Your Blog Branding—Is It Working?

If you’re blogging, you’re branding an image and building a following. You might not be marketing a product or service. If not today, maybe someday. Maybe never. And it doesn’t have to be product or service to be marketed. Anyone can market an idea. It doesn’t have to be an idea to sell—it could be a cause to support or an awareness to spread.

My point is that everyone is branding an image, and everyone has something of value to market.

Is it working?

• I recognize many bloggers just by their Gravatars. That’s a visual brand that you’ve created, which other people recognize.
• Sometimes, I also remember what your header, photo, or product looks like. Your visual branding efforts have gone a step further.
• I also recognize many bloggers by name. In this case, your name (or pseudonym or user id) has been branded.
• For some, I know what to expect in the way of content when I visit your site. You’ve branded more than just your image and name.
• For others, I know there is something special that I will find at your site. Your branding is distinguished in some way.
• There are some sites that I really look forward to visiting when I see a new post (and sometimes, when I see you’ve left a comment). You have me hooked.

I’m not in everyone’s target audience, yet I have experienced the branding that occurs here at WordPress.

WordPress is an amazing community:

• There is much supportive interaction available here.
• In some ways, it’s better than a magazine, yet it’s FREE and isn’t packed with all those obtrusive advertisements.
• The ambiance has been, in my experience, very positive.
• Blogging has many wonderful benefits, like creative expression, trying something out, finding your voice, meeting and interacting with fascinating people, sharing your passion with others, getting your mind off your problems, developing confidence, and so on.
• You get your very own personal space in the blogging universe, and a lot of freedom with what you choose to do with it.

Consider this:

• You are branding an image through your blogging.
• There are many wonderful benefits of blogging.

This gives you a golden opportunity.

If your branding is working here at WordPress, then what you want is more traffic on your blog from your target audience. You want more than a one-time visitor.

Spread the word about the many benefits of blogging to others. This will help increase the blogging traffic (and those people will enjoy the positive benefits of blogging). If they start blogging because of you, chances are they will follow your blog and interact with you here, too.

Include a link to your blog at the back of your book, on your other sites, and on your marketing materials. More than just a link, include a line that might attract visitors to your blog. When you interact with people, mention what a wonderful place your blog is. Market the benefits of blogging. Encourage others to read blogs, even if they don’t want to start their own blogs.

You don’t have to be a writer, artist, businessman, salesman, photographer, or celebrity to enjoy the benefits of blogging. Anyone can do this. Everyone has something that he or she enjoys—like a hobby, special skill, or sport—that he or she can share.

You don’t even have to make your own posts to benefit from blogging. Reading posts right on my Reader is, in some ways, better than a magazine. When I read a magazine, I loathe having to sort through all the advertisements to find and read an article. And the magazine costs money, whereas a blog is free. (Imagine if we tried to publish books that were so loaded with advertisements.)

I must also say that I enjoy several blogs which are amazingly well-written. Very often, the blogs that I read are edited better than books. The words and ideas tend to flow very well, too. Many bloggers also excel at making their blogs visually quite appealing.

And there is good reason for this. It’s easier to edit one post than it is to edit an entire book (even if you post several times per week). If you are marketing something, you want your blog to be impressive.

The WordPress community isn’t just awesome in terms of interaction and support, there is a good deal of wonderful content here, too.

Not all of the content will suit everyone. But the beauty of the Follow button is that you can easily find content that appeals to you in your Reader.

I contend that, for me anyway, WordPress is better than a magazine. Here is yet another reason why. Imagine that you’re sitting in an office, waiting to be called. You could pick up a magazine that many other hands have touched recently. Or you could get out your e-reader, iPhone, tablet, or laptop, and check out posts from your favorite bloggers.

Market the many wonderful benefits of reading blogs and/or starting a blog. Many people may appreciate this once they really get started. Remember, there is much to gain even for people who don’t make their own posts. It might just help you get a little more out of your own branding efforts.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Have you heard about Read Tuesday? It’s a Black Friday type of event, but specifically for books.

By chrismcmullen