MSWL 3.0 Stats: Our First Month

by Mike ChenMikeHeadshot

It’s been a month (well, technically a month and a day) since the doors opened on the new Manuscript Wish List® 3.0. The response has been overwhelming, so much in fact that over server was overloaded during that busy first day. Since then, we’ve had more than 100 new agents and editors apply for their own personal profiles, a steady stream of blog posts, and most importantly, a lot of writers visiting to discover what agents and editors want to see in their inbox!

So thanks for making this a great first month. Here are some of the eye-opening stats from that time (March 10 to April 10):

  • Cumulatively, the site had nearly 100,000 total views during that month, which is a pretty impressive feat for our little volunteer operation.
  • MSWL draws mostly from English-speaking countries — not that surprising given the industry. The United States (81%), Canada, (7.8%), UK (3.4%), and Australia (1.94%) are the respective top four sources. However, the site has been visited by people in 88 different countries.
  • In terms of cities, it’s the major metros that have the most repeat visitors. Writers? Editors? Agents? Probably a combination of all three, but these cities are where the industry lives: New York (6.1%), Los Angeles (2.5%), and Toronto (1.7%) are the top three. In total, the site has logged visits from 2,731 cities across North America.
  • Twitter is the preferred social media platform of choice for MSWL action. This isn’t that surprising, since we get spikes in traffic when agents post their updated profiles on Twitter. Social media drove 63.7% of our traffic, and of that segment, 91% came from Twitter.
  • People are also linking to us (or their respective profiles) on their websites! Our top referrers came from,,,,,,,,, and
  • The most popular pages? Not surprisingly, they’re Agents, Genre Search, and Recently Updated. However, those combine for only 11.2% of all traffic; that means almost 90% of traffic comes from users clicking through profiles or reading blog posts.
  • The search function is also getting healthy usage, with about 1 in 10 users opting to search for keywords rather than by indexes of agents/editors/genres. The top 10 search phrases were Middle Grade, Paranormal, Mystery, Picture Book, Fantasy, Picture Books (yes, plural counts as different), YA, Romance, Young Adult, and Cozy. Remember, you can use specific phrases in case they show up in anyone’s written profile; other phrases that were searched include LGBT, Time Travel, Witches, Diverse, Epic Fantasy, and Quirky. So don’t limit yourself to primary genres when searching!

These stats are nice to toot our own horn, but how are they relevant to MSWL users? Well, many of you have a blog or website already. If you’ve never looked at your stats, then you probably don’t know what kind of following you have or where that traffic comes from. This information is particularly useful when figuring out contests, reveals, or just demographic information that can be used as part of your pitch to agents and editors. If you’re involved with marketing your book on a grassroots level, this is critical to your success as it informs you as to what works and what doesn’t. For writers who are currently querying, a sudden spike in traffic from New York City probably means that your query impressed agents enough for them to come visit your site.

Want to see how you can track these types of stats for your own author or agent website? Check out this post by MSWL board members Mike and Sierra, AKA the Atmosphere Author Websites team. You’ll learn about the different types of free analytics services available, plus there are cute cat paws in the post.

2 comments to MSWL 3.0 Stats: Our First Month

  • Dave Clark

    As a long-time IT guy (as well as a published author) I’m impressed with the clean look and functionality of this site. You incorporated many bright ideas here. Your depth of understanding of what end-users might like out of this gets my attention, as well. Pat on the back for an impressive job!

  • Hey Mike, big fan of what you’re doing with this site. It’s already become my go-to everyday site to check! Tech issue for you: sometimes I have to launch Chrome in order to get the MSWL tweets to display. As in, most of the time. I’m on the latest version of Safari (and prefer it). Anything to be done about that?

    And then just a twitter gripe: writers are highjacking the #MSWL hashtag to share what they’ve written. That is just sooo wrong! Not that you have any control over that. But I thought it deserved a mention in case you and Sarah want to post about it.

    I use Query Tracker, and the integration from there to the agents’ MSWL tweets works flawlessly. So awesome.

    Again big thanks for what you’re doing!

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