More than 50,000 page views.
That number jumped out at me when I saw a report on the first month of LikeTheDew.com.
The Web site was not even supposed to debut until April 1. But we jumped the gun, with our first post — the acclaimed film critic Eleanor Ringel Cater’s review of Molly Haskell’s book on “Gone With the Wind” — on March 12. Then came stories by more of our contributors — 82 stories as of Friday afternoon.
Picking a favorite article would be hard to do. Eleanor is a star of film criticism. Terri Evans’ stories on food have been among our most popular features. Jingle Davis offered an elegant meditation on the wonders of the trapeze. Billy Howard has combined the superb story-telling he always brings to his photographs with powerful writing. Dallas Lee has gone deep with authoritatively reported and exceedingly well-written articles on such key figures in our region as Millard Fuller and Reese Cleghorn. The gifted Mary Kay Andrews, whose books are enjoying great success these days, has demonstrated again her knack for writing a newspaper-style column that calls to mind one of her good friends and mine, the late great Celestine Sibley. Mike Williams has reported as widely about the South as any living writer. Cliff Green has breathed fresh life into stories about Southern writers and actors. Lee Leslie, Piney Woods Pete and Melinda Ennis have given us some much needed political edge. Jack Wilkinson has always been one of my favorite sports writers.
I could go on about these and other contributors, but, suffice it to say, I for one am impressed with the quality of the work produced by writers, mainly long-time professionals who are not, at this point, being paid for writing for LikeTheDew. Readers seem to agree. As of Friday afternoon, the site has posted 141 comments, many of them very illuminating, from readers who say the stories have been resonating with them. LikeTheDew has attracted nearly 11,500 visits so far, and a computer projection predicts readership could grow 441.9 percent during the next month.
Projections can be wrong, but I can tell you that more good work is in the pipeline. Many of our writers are hard at work on their next contributions. The first stories from two new writers appeared today: “Bootsie Lucas,” the pseudonym for a writer who was previously an editor at both The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Macon Telegraph, and Austen Risolvato, a young Atlanta native now carving out a career as a photographer in LA. The first stories from two more — Jennifer Hill and Tom Walker — will appear on the site early next week. Both are former editors and reporters at the Journal-Constitution, and their names will be familiar to many readers. Suz Korbel, formerly with Texas public television, will soon be adding some flavor from the Lone Star State to our site. And other outstanding writers whose work has not yet debuted here will appear in the coming weeks and greatly expand the range of topics we cover.
All of us at LikeTheDew.com hope you will keep reading. We’d like to make that computer projection come true.
What can YOU do to help?
Write for LikeTheDew: We continue to look for good writers interested in contributing to LikeTheDew. If you’re one of them, please contact me at [email protected] or Lee Leslie, who not only writes but handles the technical aspects of the site, at [email protected]. We offer a special welcome to younger writers who would like to join us. Lee has written a helpful guide on “How to blog, contribute news or links to LikeTheDew” that you will find under the “Q&A + Discussion” (tab in the very top navigation bar). Periodically, we will also post new story ideas for potential writers under “Writers Needed“, also posted under Q&A + Discussion.
Comment on stories: We want to know what you think. And we don’t mind if you disagree with us. We’re interested in having a dialogue with readers. Please feel free to comment here and also post links to our stories on networking and other sites you use.
Tell your families, neighbors, friends and even enemies about us. Aside from an announcement of our launch on the Facebook social networking site, LikeTheDew has mainly been promoted through word-of-mouth. If you want ideas about other specific ways to help promote the site, please check out another of Lee’s posts under the Q&A + Discussion category: “How you can help promote LikeTheDew.com.”
Buy our merchandise. T-shirts, mugs, caps, aprons and bumper stickers are available at Zazzle.
And, finally, if you do nothing else, just join us in working to make the South a better place to live. That’s the underlying motivation for all we do, and we look forward to working with you. – Keith