Monday, May 3, 2021

#atozchallenge Reflection 2021, Scavenger Hunt results, and Bout of Books

Reflections 2021 #atozchallenge

winner #atozchallenge 2021 Another challenge down. I had visits from 28 countries in April.Map of J's visitors 2021 #atozchallenge
(United States, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Hungary, United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Bahrain, Nigeria, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Myanmar, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan.)

I enjoyed the challenge. (I didn't enjoy the days this month where I didn't have power or wifi, thanks to the new neighbors who ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿš’๐Ÿš“๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ‍๐Ÿš’๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ‍๐Ÿš’ shook up the lives of everyone in the area. It's fine, we made do.

I absolutely plan to host again next year. 

Considering that two people tried to sign up Instagram as a blog, yes, I think we need to add Instagram as a social media follow option (like we offer for Twitter and Facebook) on the Master List. 

I feel the option of an email verification on the Master List so people would have the option of fixing their own mistakes or even removing their blogs if they drop out before A. Having the sign-up open closer to April 1 this year meant not as many people dropped out before the first day. (See image below. This year, only 6% of people never posted for the challenge despite signing up.) Also, when the Theme Reveal and Master List were open at the same time, a lot of people didn't understand they had to sign up for both to be on both lists. I saw a reduction in complaints this year by not opening the Master List sign-up until the Theme Reveal closed.

"Are you interested in writing a guest post for the A to Z blog in the next few months (June thru February)? If so, please answer with a way to contact you (such as email or Twitter), the month you are interested in (if applicable), and your alphabet-themed post idea."
If you haven't taken the survey yet, please READ that whole thing. Two people said yes, but left no contact information, month, or idea. Six people left contact info, but no month or idea. ๐Ÿคท

Speaking of the survey, currently 39 people remember being visited by me. ๐Ÿ˜
Actually, if you read onward, you'll see that I visited every blog on the Master List this year.
๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ˜ Right now, I'm the most visited co-host! Aww, thanks!

๐Ÿ˜ฒ Unexpected! My blog views actually dropped during the challenge. That is the first time I've experienced this. This was my tenth year doing the challenge. My theme reveal was popular. But my February and March IWSG posts both had more views than even my most popular A to Z. ๐Ÿคฏ

Which Double Down on the #AtoZChallenge 2021 with these Bonus Challenges did I do?

  • Ask the audience in March to give you prompts/ ideas for April - interaction challenge
  • More comments on your blog - marketing challenge
    • Check how many comments you've previously gotten during the A to Z Challenge
    • I received 237 comments this year! 191 last year. 
  • Take a gamble on lesser-known authors - marketing philanthropy challenge
    • Mention one debut author for each letter day  -- I did this on my posts at Operation Awesome in April.
  • Mix a second blog hop in during the A to Z Challenge - time management challenge

The A to Z Challenge 2021 Scavenger Hunt! Here's how I did:

No "Eye of the Tiger," or tiger fish, tiger biscuits, tiger fabric, or all these memory posts on the horrors of 2020 but no one mentioned "Tiger King"? 
I saw one T post with Tigger. Did anyone find a Tiger post?

Sometimes the posts I found mention the word, and sometimes it is just visible in a picture that day. And I used a Nutella post for nuts because none of the food bloggers used nuts on N day! (Am I alone in liking Nut Tossies?)

I finished visiting everyone at 6:35 AM · May 2, 2021 -- If you are on the Master List and didn't get a comment from me, please let me know. Be sure to check your spam folder.

Thank you to Lisa (scroll to comments). She found a TIGER on T day! And thanks to Tamy for posting a tiger painted on train cars. 

"But J, what was wrong with my entry on the Master List? How can I avoid this mistake?"
There were fewer problems this year. But let us take a moment to REFLECT and learn from mistakes. Maybe even find a way to help the team prevent these issues in the future.
#atozchallenge 2021 blog fails

  • The biggest problem is if there are no A to Z blog posts to comment on. (Or no posts from 2021 at all.)
  • In one case, the comment area was closed.
  • Instagram is a social media site, not a blog.
  • —
  • — Blogs do not start with wordpress. " is a platform for self-publishing that is popular for blogging and other works. It is owned and operated by Automattic, Inc." It's a company, not a blog. This is a link to a link that opens a dashboard for the blogger. It isn't the right link.
  • — I couldn't comment without having an account on that platform. Nope.

GIVEAWAY: Win the Ultimate Literary Bundle from Storiarts! "Where style meets literature. Every Storiarts purchase helps kids worldwide learn to read, write, & create." And small-batch coffee in three genres-- Fantasy, Romance, and Gothic.

QUESTIONS:  Bout of Books
  • How far did you get in the challenge?
  • Are you doing Bout of Books 31?
  • Did you do the scavenger hunt? Should I create another for 2022?
  • Did you take the survey?


#AtoZChallenge 2021 badge
Please consider getting a shirt.

Follow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey is the Facebook fan page of @JLenniDorner — Please click Like and Follow! Follow @JLenniDorner on Pinterest please Instagram of @JLenniDornerCheck out Operation Awesome please
J Lenni Dorner (he/him ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ or ๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿฝ they/them) ~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author


  1. Great reflections post! Your stats are wonderful, very informative. Question: about 1/2 way through my blog disappeared from the master list. I contacted Arlee & Zalka. No reply from Arlee & Zalka asked me a couple questions but no reply to my answer or solution. That was a bummer since I wonder how many folks would have visited & didn't. Overall I had a great time this year. The other thing that puzzles me is that there are so few of us that list Art as our category. Maybe 5 total. I'm hping by adding Instagram to the mix that will change.

    Pulp Paper & Pigment-My Fiber Art Blog

    1. To be clear, Instagram would NOT be added as a BLOG option. It would be a third social-media option, like Facebook and Twitter.
      If you know some artists with blogs, the best way to get more in the category is to spread the word about it.
      The only list removal were double-posts of the same URL. (In which case only one instance was removed.)
      Jayden creates the list. We help her manage it. atozteam2018 @ gmail . com is the suggested way to reach the team. I don't know what questions you were asked. I cannot repair this year, as it's over, but if you'd like the matter looked into, you could send me as much information as possible at the team address.

  2. Interesting about your stats, why do you think that is?
    And well done (and thank you!) for visiting everyone!! Truly awesome!

    1. I honestly don't know. Bizzaro world? Didn't even happen to me last year.

  3. I mostly enjoyed the challenge but I still find commenting a bit more of a challenge since even when I'm interested in the theme, some of the posts weren't interesting or that could be me. I thought this year, it seems a bit lackluster - I might have used this word a few times in my reflection post.

    I didn't play the scavenger hunt but now that I think about it, I might have but played somewhere along the challenge, I've forgotten about it.

    Thank you for hosting.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. This could become an interesting discussion that could lead to a worthy post for the A to Z site. What would it take for you to leave a comment? Even a very basic "polite conversation" comment? "Hi, stopping in from A to Z. Have a good day!"

      Not everyone feels compelled to comment. I'm curious how the team might sway that motivation, if it's even possible.

  4. Well, good to know the IWSG posts still draw people in.
    People signing up with Instagram? Glad I only had to deal with blogs.

    1. Oh yes, every year brings a shiny new obstacle for the team. Looks like we're going to need to put a better definition of what a blog is on the sign-up form next year.

      I'm glad the IWSG posts are at least bringing people here. The numbers are blowing my mind.

  5. You found a Whale! That was the ONLY scavenger hunt item I couldn't find! I found "Wales," and am giving myself credit for that.

    1. Ha ha, nice. Wait, you found a tiger?? AND ON T DAY!!!!!!!!
      OMG I love you right now.

    2. My "Whale Migration" post was written before the scavenger hunt list came out so I had a head start!

  6. Great Reflection post, and thank you for visiting ALL of us ๐Ÿค—. I totally forgot to play the scavenger hunt... but would love to play next year ๐Ÿ˜‹
    Thank you for hosting the challenge!

  7. Thanks for co-hosting AND visiting everyone! I definitely enjoyed the challenge. While I didn't play in the scavenger hunt, I'm voting for you do another next year. I'm totally going to be better prepared. :-)

  8. Cross-posting is fine. I posted some challenge stuff on IG. But we need to make sure people have an actual blog in the challenge, nut just an IG feed.

  9. Everyone is posting so many statistics on their reflections post (hence I've yet to post mine). I'm working on it, numbers are not my forte. Thank you for visiting and I'm one of those silly people who said yes without an idea. What kind of idea are you looking for? I love the scavenger hunt...I used nuts on my Needful Things post. I did get a TShirt (love it). Was hoping for a Survivor one. Glad you will be hosting next year...can't wait. I think I'll start now, however I don't have a theme idea yet. Wait... it'll come to me. Now I need to stop procrastinating and go write my reflections.


  10. I saw the same weirdness with my stats: more visitors during other months! So odd... I've seen you talk about Bout of Books a lot -- but I'll have to do it on my own at another time. I'd love to guest post, but right now I have no idea what to blog about (talk about mental exhaustion after this challenge!), so I just skipped that part of the survey.

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with A-Z Reflections: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  11. I wrote two A-Z blog series for the challenge (as is my custom). Shoe sketches and Musings on my artwork.
    Cross-posted all the A-Z Shoes on IG, about 1/2 of the art posts.
    I think for the Instagram people, you should still require a blog (to go with your form). Even if they only post to it on 4/1 with their IG handle/link. It IS a BLOG Challenge, not an IG Challenge, after all.

    LOVED the Scavenger Hunt! Please do it again!

  12. Thank you for all the hard work you guys put in. I chose to do a quiet challenge this year, so didn't get in on the scavenger hunt, but I think it's a brilliant idea.

  13. I appreciated your visit to my blog on Changing Aging. And the hosting of this Challenge. Having done 2018 and then 2020, now 2021, my personal challenge will be not to miss another year.

  14. I'm so glad you keep the A-Z challenge going! It's definitely odd that your numbers went down. I wonder if it's because less people are blogging regularly these days.

  15. Thank you for co-hosting the AtoZChallenge, J. Yes, I completed the challenge and posted my reflections yesterday. Also enjoyed the idea of a scavenger hunt although I didn't always remember to watch for the words. Missed six in total but did find Tiger - it's listed in my reflections post but don't recall offhand which blog. Like the idea for next year.

  16. The scavenger hunt was a fabulous idea! I kept forgetting to look, but I did find eight of the items on the list. I hope you do it again. Thanks for checking in on me as I snuck around looking for pre and post-pandemic places where readers gather. I realize that kind of activity is not for everyone - as evidenced by my abysmal stats - one rarely travels in a group, but it's what I usually do, so why not vicariously? At any rate, I enjoyed the challenge.

  17. Thank you visiting my blog. The scavenger hunt was a great idea but unfortunately I couldn't complete it. I loved a lot of blogs I visited. I could complete every blog post on time. It felt great to be a part of this amazing challenge. I look forward to it once again...

  18. Thank you for visiting all of us! This probably would be a popular challenge on Instagram, but the posts would probably be a photo and a few sentences. As long as the team doesn't mind that why not go for it! :)

  19. I did the survey, and I don't think those extra questions for the guest post appeared when I did it. I dont remember filling them in, anyway.
    Mind you, my brain is so fried at present I'm surprised I remember anything.
    Funny, I was without power or wifi this week. They came to change the meter. It didnt work. It worked before, just not after they fitted the 'better' one. It's okay now. As I suggested, the new meter was faulty.
    You've worked so hard on this, J. You deserve a medal. c>o Does that work?

  20. Hello again! It's been a couple weeks since the challenge, but I'm still doing flash fiction on Fridays, and for today's story, I used a prompt you offered during my 2019 A to Z! It took me an inordinately long time to get around to it, but finally, done! Thanks for playing along, and thanks to the challenge, my Fiction Fridays are back up and going!


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