I received a comment recently from a reader named Paul. In short, Paul's not happy with the group format of All Freelance Writing. Here's the comment:
Since you have expanded lately it is hard to recognize who is actually posting when I take a peak on my rss feed. It seems that you have sacrificed quality for quantity as I now rarely look at your(the site) posts. Might be a better move for you but my reading of afw is evaporating. Loved it when I knew you were posting. Ciao. Seems to be a lot of fluff- “somebody write a post!”
Okay, so of course my initial reaction was to be a little bit defensive. After all I love our team here, I get emails all the time telling me people love our writers (especially Clint), and I'd say most posts are far from "fluff." We also don't have a "somebody write a post!" mentality -- everyone has a set schedule and a set niche or style to cover for us. We even cut two All Freelance Writing contributors recently because they're moving to another blog I own (although Jessie will actually have one more post here because it was already written ahead of time).
But I got over it. I know I'll never make everyone happy. And I'm flattered that Paul actually wants to read my posts when many folks find me to be the most offensive of the bunch and their reason to stay away. And then I asked myself "why does this have to be a problem?" After all, WordPress is designed to let you subscribe to feeds of individual authors rather than a whole group if you want to (just add /feed to the end of the author URL), and aren't author names included in the main feed anyway?
I took a look. And apparently, no, they're not. Feedburner (in a rather sucky move) does not pull author names with posts by default. It seems there's a way to do it on my initial research, so this afternoon I'll see if I can fix that for all of your full-feed subscribers.
And there was another problem I probably never would have noticed if Paul hadn't commented. The Feedburner plugin we use to automatically redirect the main feeds to the Feedburner URL is also interfering with our author feeds, redirecting them to main one. Yikes. So again, this afternoon I'll fix that. If anyone else feels as Paul does and you only want to receive posts from specific authors here at All Freelance Writing, I'll add author feed links to author profile pages and to the authors' bio boxes below each of their posts (for our current contributors who will continue to post at least).
I hope that's a satisfactory compromise for Paul and anyone else who might not be a fan of the group format.
So now let me ask you.... Have you seen any other odd little quirks on the site you dislike? Are there general changes you'd like us to make here? Obviously I can't promise I'll make every change suggested (for instance it's unlikely I'll drop a series completely unless there's a huge backlash), but if it's something that really bugs you it won't hurt to let me know. There might be simple tech changes I can make (like with the feeds) that would help you get more of what you want from the site and less of what you don't.
And because Paul mentioned wanting to see my own posts rather than others, let me also ask you about that. Would you like to see me posting personally more than I do now? With the web comic in development for AFW, the book in progress, my clients, and my other sites, I can't promise to post personally on a daily basis, but I can probably kick it up a bit if you really want. Right now I'm posting Tuesdays, plus handling the book club posts, plus site announcements (like this one), plus answering reader questions (so email them to me!) and ranting about issues that are big enough to really catch my attention. Are there specific issues you'd like me to talk about or share my thoughts on? Let me know.
You have to let us know what you want or we can't try to give it to you. So for that, thanks Paul!
EDIT: Well, more good news for Paul. Yolander actually asked if we could change her feature from weekly to monthly. So she'll post the 15th of each month (taking Jessie's old monthly spot). She'll post monthly commentary on various news stories of interest to freelance writers. That also means that I'll be picking up Friday's posts. So you haven't quite escaped me after all. I've been toying with a few series ideas, so maybe I'll use Fridays for one of those (maybe a series for beginners or something along those lines, and then we'll later turn Fridays into the Web comic day for Freelance Fail, which Clint and I will be working on together). We'll see when we get there. Or if we get enough reader questions where you agree to let me share your emails, maybe we'll make Friday reader question day. I'm pretty flexible about such things.