On Blogging – An Interview of Some Wonderful Writers Who Blog {part two}

Here’s Rachel Robins from RSquaredOnWriting. She very graciously allowed me to interview her, and I learned a lot.

Interview for Lauren, who’s awesome!

Awah! Thanks, Rachel!  Here we go. 🙂

I’ve noticed that you have names for certain days on your blog, how did you choose those?

That was a major pickle for me at first. I didn’t really know what to do, so I started looking around at other successful blogs—like Tonya Burrows’ blog, Amarylis’ Book Den,  etc.—and just observed them. Saw what titles they used. If there were a formula that they were following. Stuff like that.

Then I googled other blogs and researched how many other people were using the same, or similar titles. In the end since I decided that I wanted my blog to be pretty reflective of my personality, and since all the good names seemed already taken, I did things a little differently. I used french instead. ‘Cuz I’m classy like that.

Although, granted I did do a little bit of brainstorming to see what new things I could bring to the table, but in the end I had Leçon de lundi—Monday’s lessons, which is my quintessential french primer for nonspeakers—Journal jeudi—Journal Thursday, which I haven’t really used yet because I need more audience participation for that—Ventes des vendredi—Friday’s Sales, coming soon—Shorts des samedi—Saturday’s Shorts, for my experimentations with short fiction, also not used yet—Débat de dimanche—Sunday Discussions, where I prattle on about some writing topic.

What events do you participate in with your blog, and how do you go about that?

Eventually I’d like to do giveaways and such, but that generally involves audience interaction. ::tear:: Seeing as how this blog is still fairly new and only has seven followers, that’s probably not going to be for a little while.

Your blog posts are very regular, it must take a lot of your time to do those. How do you balance the novels you have in progress with your blogging schedule?

It’s a strategy, really. For my blog, I spend the first weekend of the month researching and writing a ton of blog posts. I think about my Monday’s, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and try to fill the slots for those days. A blog post doesn’t have to be super lengthy. For my Leçon de lundis, it’s just an image with an audio snippet. So I can easily create four or five of those that month, and then schedule them to be posted by the proper date and time. Ditto for my other days’ specials.

This way it gives me a basic framework and keeps up the appearance of activity, so that on the off chance I come across something in daily life that I think would make a good post, I have the freedom and flexibility to squeeze it in wherever I like. And best of all, not too much time is sacrificed in being away from the novel.

Scheduling is a win-win.

Yours is a writing blog, do you ever stray from the topic of writing?

Heck yes. Me? I’m a writer who wants to build her platform with readers. Unfortunately, blogging strictly about writing is only going to draw a small group of other writers. There’s nothing wrong with that—writers are like the best people evah—but I’m looking to draw a larger crowd.

To me, that means writing about more than just writing. To think of it another way, writers are in the business of selling themselves and not just the bits and pieces of their soul that they regurgitate into their novels. Some of the most successful writers out there are known not only for their writing, but their personas. Their personality.

A good example is Gail Carriger. She writes a great paranormal steampunk series, The Parasol Protectorate, but presents herself online and at special appearances in the full steampunk vibe. Diction, clothing, accessories, everything. It makes her memorable.

Idunno about you, but I want to memorable. To be different. To stand apart. I haven’t really figured out yet how to do all that, so the best I can do is be myself and reflect my personality, interests, and views on writing.

The nice thing about writing is that it can easily morph into an umbrella of other topics. Writers often write about not-writing, so really you could go in any direction. I’m a very go-with-the-flow kind of person. I like to change things up, so I throw in random Spotlight features, I share the legit way of how to curse in french, and post weekly doses of whatever the hell I feel like.

I’m selling myself, after all. Why limit me?

Do you ever share anything on your blog about the books that you’re currently writing?

I have a Current Projects page, but I try not to post too much about my process. I seem to do an excessive amount of whinging when I steer towards that direction. And really, no one wants to read about that. lol

What do you do to make your blog unique?

Buh… ::insert intelligible response here::

Hahaha! Well, I think you’ve managed it, even if you didn’t set out to do that, so no worries. 🙂

I know that you draw very well, did you do the image at the top of your blog yourself? How often do you incorporate your own drawings into your blog?

Ah, you’re sweet.

Yup. I do nearly all the graphics myself. Earlier on in my educational career I dabbled a bit in graphic and web design, and took a few basic and advanced courses in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It seemed handy at the time, and now I feel a bit lost if I don’t have PS on whatever computer I’m using at the time.

I’m no artist. And I didn’t originally intend to post pictures of my drawings, but it sorta happened along the way after a few too many hilarious games of Draw Something. Mostly, they just amuse me.

Sometimes, I think, it’s important to just amuse yourself.

What’s the best advice you’ve found about blogging?

The best piece of advice I found was to be sure to incorporate pictures. And it makes sense. Just like a massive 8 page paragraph can become stodgy to read, the more things are broken up on a page, the faster it seems to read. The more engaging it is.

Any advice for writers who are just starting their own blogs?

It helps to do the research. Blogging today is not the same as blogging ten years ago. There’s a definite formula or art to it in order to be successful, but it takes a little digging to figure it out. I had a previous blog going for six years, and I still had to relearn how to do things.

Also, set out a definable goal that you want your blog to accomplish, then focus your posts to achieving that goal, and be mindful your results along the way. This way, you can see what works, what doesn’t, and learn/change/grow your numbers.

Make it pretty, easy to read, and don’t clutter too much stuff in your side panels.

Don’t lose heart if people don’t leave comments for a long while. It doesn’t necessarily mean that no one’s stopping by. We all go through this period. If you need to cheer yourself up, set up a Google Analytics or a way to track your traffic. This’ll give you a better idea on how many people are accessing your page and from where.

Here’s some links that I found especially helpful.












~ by lamichaud on September 30, 2012.

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