The 2016 A to Z Challenge Reflections

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

To kick off this post, I decided to backtrack a little and visit the themes for my previous challenges.

2011 – unthemed creative non-fiction which was somewhat haphazard…still finding my feet…

2012 – themed flash fiction based on a musical concept, including an artist/band, musical terminology, musical instruments and words relating to sound/movement/rhythm/dance.

2013 – Whacky Words – bloggers played along by providing their own definitions for legit words. The most fun of all the challenges. I responded to comments and what ensued was loads of comments back and forth, amongst a more-or-less concentrated group of visitors. Lots of camaraderie and laughter. However, I didn’t really visit a whole lot of new blogs, and isn’t that the aim of the challenge, to meet new bloggers?

2014 – If Books Could Speak, What Would They Say – Fun With Captions. I didn’t respond to comments, but I got around quite a bit and discovered lots of wonderful bloggers, and made lots of new friends as a result – about 20-odd new followers signed up via Networked blogs.

2015 – Nifty Nuggets. Little nuggets of writing based on a photo, a phrase and an object. My worst challenge because I didn’t prepare. I met a handful of new bloggers due to time constraints and didn’t get many followers via blog sign-ups; however, I did gain new followers via Twitter.

2016 – showcasing bloggers books, novellas, short story collections, poetry collections and some non-fiction books; posting a link to my review of each book and also two questions for the author. This theme was a lot of work but I had a blast!

So if I look at the six challenges, it’s obvious that short, interactive and fun posts are the best! My posts from the interactive themes of 2013 & 2014 could be read in under a minute and provided non-stop laughter! However, this year I had an opportunity to connect writers/bloggers/poets…and I helped to increase your reading lists and provided ideas for your wish lists. Plus I was Mother Christmas dishing out e-books every week! What a feeling!
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2016 BLOG STATS: The posts that got the most attention – the letter M with 611 hits and the letter B with 596 hits.

2016 TWITTER STATS: This is the first year that I made proper use of twitter during the challenge. I posted two links to my blog post everyday during the challenge. I also tagged the authors whose books were on review for the day.

Here are some statistics which I retrieved from the analytics page.

Total no. of tweets = 195

Total tweet impressions = 22.9K

Total no. of profile visits = 1,609

Total no. of mentions = 125

Total no. of new followers = 127

Top tweet was the letter B which earned 709 impressions.

Thank you to everybody who visited my blog and left a comment. Thanks to the new followers too.
It’s my intention to follow back and respond to all who visited my blog.
If I’ve missed you, my sincere apology.
Please drop me an email or leave a comment with a link and I’ll swing by your place.
See you all next year – same time, same place, for the 2017 challenge!


  1. Nilanjana Bose on May 9, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Congrats on your stupendous stats and survivor badge!

    I remember your Nifty Nuggets posts, they were awesome and this year’s were pretty super-terrific too! Thanks for all the wins and the fun I had, the bio title questions were my fav part. Apart from the ton of books I won that is. 🙂 Oh but I already said that. Never mind, it bears repeating. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      I can remember Nifty Nuggets being quite stressful…towards the end… 🙂
      I enjoyed your clever poems. I had such fun at your place, Nila!

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 9, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Wow, you really scored with Twitter! I really wish I knew what I was doing with Twitter.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just doing.
      Mostly guess work… and I’ll see where it takes me. 🙂

  3. Denise Covey on May 10, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Hi Michelle! You did so well! And twitter is marvellous…and that’s just for our coffee peeps! It’s also great for publicising what you’re up to and tagging those you think may be interested.

    Just want to say, I’m sorry I missed most of your posts, but I am popping over when I have some time to read all about bloggers’ books. I’m so thankful to you for showcasing my Under the Tuscan Moon. You’re a great mate!

    Denise 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      Our coffee parties are THE BEST. 🙂
      No worries that you missed the posts. I understand.

      I’m really glad we’ve connected.
      Thanks Denise.

  4. Patricia Lynne on May 10, 2016 at 3:08 am

    I didn’t use Twitter for the challenge as much as I had last year. I just kept forgetting. You did increase my TBR pile. Thanks. =D

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      I’m glad to know that your TBR has increased.
      Mine is toppling over… 🙂

  5. Nicola on May 10, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Great reflections, Michelle. I learned a lot this year – it was my first Challenge – and will take those lessons forward to next year 🙂 I loved your daily reading lists.

    I did receive my prize – thank you!!! It’s a fantastic book and would recommend it to all readers – Once Upon a Nightmare is a collection of spooky stories by the fantastic author and writer Cherie Reich! I just love Cherie’s style..

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed my daily lists. I had fun showcasing different authors and finding out a little more about them.
      Cherie’s an awesome writer. 🙂
      It was nice to meet you via the challenge, Nicola.

  6. Vishal Bheeroo on May 10, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Congrats for six years for A to Z and I enjoyed reading your posts, though I couldn’t read all. It’s my third and last participation. Here my reflection post:

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks for visiting my blog during the challenge, Vishal.
      Your last A to Z Challenge? Now I’m wondering why…
      I’ll pop by your place soon.

  7. Mary Aalgaard on May 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    You worked hard for this challenge. Well done. You deserve those amazing stats. My favorite theme of your was the music terms and story to go with them. That was brilliant! Thanks for the book. Susan and I finally connected!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks, Mary.
      The music theme was four years ago. My word, has it been that long? Those pieces are very dear to me. <3 I'm still working on them...
      Glad to know that you connected with Susan. Enjoy the book! It's fabulous! 🙂

  8. Pat Garcia on May 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    I loved your blog posts. I was a winner for the first time and more than once. It was a fabulous experience for me.
    Thank you and all the best.
    Shalom aleichem,

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      It was a triple win for you!
      Although I couldn’t make it to read all your posts, I really enjoyed the snippets of your story that I managed to read. I can’t wait to read the final product, Pat. That story is special. 🙂

  9. Hilary on May 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Michelle – congratulations on your successful year and for highlighting other bloggers books … I enjoyed the read and look in …

    Next year I shall be back … cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      We missed your eclectic posts this year, Hilary.
      You always have a special A to Z treat.
      Thanks for visiting my blog during the challenge.

  10. Susan Gourley on May 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I love reading stats like that. Sounds like the Challenge gave you lots of exposure.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      It made me realise that Twitter is a platform that I should pay special attention to…more than Facebook. 🙂

  11. L. Diane Wolfe on May 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Sounds like a smashing success. Wish I remembered to check Twitter daily.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      From the get-go, I made a conscious decision to post daily to Twitter, instead of Facebook. I tried the daily Facebook posting during April in the past.
      The Twitter reach is far greater.

  12. Mary Burris on May 10, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    I really enjoyed your theme this year, getting to know the blogger authors, and being exposed to their works. I also want to thank you again for selecting me to win one of those books.
    Looking forward to next year’s challenge, and meeting even more new people.

    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my theme.
      I enjoyed your musical ladies! A great selection. You really pulled up some memories.

      The challenge is a great networking platform.
      To quote Pat Garcia who blogs at Everything Must Change: “The comradeship alone is invaluable.” I agree.

  13. Susan Bruck on May 10, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I just found your blog and will go back and read at least some of your A to Z posts. It’s amazing that you’ve done the challenge for so many years. This is my first year and it was great, but I will take your reflections to heart for next time!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Susan.
      Welcome to my place.
      I love the A to Z Challenge and can’t imagine not participating.
      I’ll swing by your blog sometime tomorrow.
      Thank you for the visit.

  14. John Holton on May 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    So you’re one of the originals! I can imagine you can see how everything has grown since the first year. Short, interactive posts are the best; I learned that this year. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next year!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 10, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      Hi John.
      I think an advantage of having done the challenge so many times, is a fine sense of the mechanisms of the A to Z machine. An interesting perspective.
      Next year? I need to return to short, interactive posts. Now just to find the perfect theme…

  15. Michelle on May 11, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Well done! You accomplished a lot during the challenges. I enjoyed reading about your past challenge themes. I hope to do the same. This is my first A to Z Challenge. I loved it! Good luck next year!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Michelle!
      Congrats on finishing your first challenge.
      I also love the A to Z challenge.
      Thanks for popping in!

  16. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor on May 11, 2016 at 8:21 am

    You were like Mother Christmas, weren’t you! I loved all of the presents you left for me under the blogging tree 🙂

    Very interesting to look back and see what your themes were each year. They were all so different. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for next year.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 11, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, I was! I loved every moment of my Mother Christmas role! 🙂
      Thanks for visiting my blog regularly during the challenge!

  17. Crystal Collier on May 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I can see where wacky words would be a blast! For the couple times I stopped in this year (because I was on break, er, mostly), I loved the highlights. I totally get that work aspect though. I put that into every Writerly Wednesday. I wouldn’t change it though.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:41 am

      Where I come from, hard work is the only way I know. 🙂

  18. joylene on May 11, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    You may think you don’t know what you’re doing, but you are so far ahead of me. I only do the challenge because I’m one of the minions at IWSG. Otherwise, I wouldn’t participate. My only excuse, well, we won’t bore you with statistics. Just know that this writer thinks you’re awesome!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:43 am

      Joylene, thank you for your vote of confidence in whatever it is that I’m doing. 🙂
      When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep on…trial and error is a great teacher.

  19. Ah, hello my human friend, Michelle. Look at you with all those fancy stats. Nice to um rufflect on your past alphabet thingy pawsts. Of course, me being such a wonderful dawg, shall now go and share your pawst on Twitter….

    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses,

    Penny xx

  20. Lynda R Young on May 12, 2016 at 3:05 am

    I’m impressed, Michelle! Congrats on making it through another challenge.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:46 am

      Thanks, Lyn. It was a bit easier this year after last year’s challenge where I fell behind a little…

  21. Random Musings on May 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    All of your themes sound brilliant! I like the idea of the interactive themes, you’re sure to make some real connections that way

    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:47 am

      The interactive themes are the best! Thanks for visiting, Debbie.

  22. Misha on May 17, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Interesting thought that interactivity would get your more traffic. I wouldn’t have thought that people kept coming back.

    But I remember the one from 2013. I believe it’s also the time you and I met. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:48 am

      We did connect during that challenge, Misha. I remember quite clearly. 🙂

  23. Kathleen Valentine on May 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Your stats are very impressive. I must say mine went up but not as much as yours. Congratulations.


    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:49 am

      I must say that I DID pay lots of attention to twitter during the month of April. Thanks Kathleen.

  24. Cherie Reich on May 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Ah, I remember the word one. That was fun, although it’s great to find a way to support fellow authors too. It looks like you had some great stats there!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 20, 2016 at 5:51 am

      I love supporting fellow authors!
      The stats tell me that I need to try and continue doing whatever I was doing last month. 🙂

  25. Yolanda Renee on May 23, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    You hit on a winner for sure. I especially loved that you had reviews for a great percentage of your highlights. This was a great year for me too, but as you did I put in a lot of effort and tried to keep it short and sweet (thank you for that) it makes a difference when you’re trying to visit so many others. Before it was over I was saying never again, and now, just a few weeks out, I’m thinking about topics. 🙂 Crazy, oh yes!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 3, 2016 at 5:50 am

      Hey Yolanda. I just found this comment in the spam folder. 🙂
      This year, the challenge was a LOT of work for me. I also did some follow up to check whether the winners received their e-books. So that took me an extra two weeks or so…into mid-May. But I enjoyed every minute.

  26. deniz on May 27, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Ooh, this is a good idea for me for next year — to keep track of statistics. I really haven’t been at all, and I didn’t tweet regularly during the A to Z either. I like the idea of al the interaction involved in something like a Wacky Words theme (I remember that one!), but I didn’t have time to visit many new people this year and I’d like to explore ways of doing that better, too…

    • Michelle Wallace on May 31, 2016 at 4:57 am

      The challenge is so hectic that there’s no time for anything else. I made a conscious decision to use twitter properly during April, and follow up on results.
      I think twitter is far more useful than Facebook. I just need to learn how to use the platform more productively. 🙂

  27. Lissa Johnston (@Lissa_Johnston) on May 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    I know people say that of all the social media, Twitter is probably the least useful for direct marketing. But I don’t care! It’s my favorite of all the social media. Maybe because of the 140 character limit. Anyway – glad you had some success with it. Since this is my first year doing this challenge, I didn’t see your Wacky Words year, but it looks hilarious. As a huge word nerd, I will likely riff on that idea for a future challenge 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 31, 2016 at 5:01 am

      It may be the least useful for direct marketing, but it has a wider reach. I’m thinking that Twitter is the platform to pay more attention to, and reach potential readers/followers. Wacky Words is a FUN theme. I had a blast with it!
      Thank you for visiting my blog, Lissa! 🙂

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