October 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Posted in Books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:16 pm by Christine Rice

Okay, it’s time to take a break from working to get back to blogging :) I have been tagged by Katie S. Pendergrass for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. The “rules” are to answer 10 questions about my work-in-progress. I have two work-in-progresses, so I will choose Chronicles of a Troubled Girl for this blog hop.

1. What is the working title of your book?
Chronicles of a Troubled Girl: A Collection of Journal Entries

2. Where did the idea come from?
I got the initial idea – to type up all of my journal entries – from my friend and colleague, Katrina Rychling. She said she was planning on typing up her journals, and that gave me the idea to type up and publish mine.

3. What genre does your work-in-progress fall under?
Memoir or compilation.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would want to be the main character, which is myself :) There are a lot of other people in my book and it would be wonderful if all the original people could play the parts. I’m sure that won’t happen, but I can dream, right? ;)

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Chronicles of a Troubled Girl is a compilation of the author’s journal entries from age nine to age thirty that demonstrates her struggles during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will likely be self-publishing it.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started writing the manuscript at the end of January and I am still working on it. I am 4/5 finished with it. I took a few months off due to publishing and marketing my other book and because of other work responsibilities.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within its genre?
Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Katrina Rychling. Thanks, Katrina!

10. What else about your book might pique reader’s interest?
There are journal entries about my experiences in a mental hospital and with being homeless.

Those are all of the questions. Now I will choose some people who I’d like to hear about their work-in-progress: Charlene Truxler, Dew Pellucid, Russ Meyer, Theresa Leschmann, and Karen Elizabeth Brown. The “rules” are to answer the same questions, but about your own work-in-progress, and to tag people you know who are authors or writers and possibly working on a manuscript. Have fun!

October 16, 2012

Interview with Olga Vannucci

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , at 1:46 pm by Christine Rice

Today I will be interviewing Olga Vannucci, an author I met on Book Blogs. Olga Vannucci was born in Italy, lived in Brazil, and came to the U.S. to attend Brown University.  She lives in rural New Jersey with her beloved son, George. She is the author of Travels With George. Let’s start the interview.

Christine: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Olga: When my American son was seven years old, I realized suddenly that I hadn’t been back to my native Italy in ten years, so I went, and took him along. Then I went four more times, and I wrote a book about those trips – a mix of travelogue, personal history, and little anecdotes – in Travels With George.

Christine: What prompted you to write about your experiences in Italy?

Olga: What possessed me? I am a very shy and private person, and I have no idea what possessed me! I think I felt that what I had to say was a little bit different in that I’m both an Italian native and a tourist. What I find interesting is that my friends who have read the book say it sounds just like me. It’s written in the present tense, so it feels like you are along and I’m talking to you.

Christine: What did you find valuable in the experience of writing a memoir?

Olga: One was finding out more about myself. There’s nothing like having to express a thought to help crystallize it! The other is hearing from others about the things that spoke to them in the book, and they range from the more profound to the totally mundane situations. Women will focus on the mothering aspects of the book, dealing with my son. Men enjoy my description of how Italians give directions: they start from a place you’ve never heard of, proceed vaguely, and stop well before your destination. Apparently that’s happened to others…

Christine: How long have you been a writer?

Olga: For about 20 minutes. It feels that way. I’m still getting used to considering myself a writer because this is my first book. I love when people tell me they can relate to something I wrote about, and then I feel like a writer.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Olga: I have a full-time job that involves numbers rather than words. I’m divorced and I write on Sunday afternoons when my son is with his father. I have carved out that time. Having said that, I go through phases: sometimes I write manically and sometimes I set the writing aside for a while until I’m excited to go back to it. It seems to work as a method, at least for me.

Christine: Do you formally plan out your books before you write them?

Olga: I am not a planner at all, things just evolve in my head. That’s how I conduct my life and how I write. With this book, I let it evolve, and then I wrapped it all together around my values, with each of the five trips representing a value, and also at the end I bring back some of the thoughts from the beginning. I tried to really write what was in my head rather than packaging it too neatly.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as a writer and your writing?

Olga: Early on, I had an opportunity to read from my book at a gathering of 150 women through an organization called “New Act Women in New Jersey.” If you are as shy as I am, I would not necessarily recommend this large an event. I was extremely nervous, but it went really well. Once I realized it was working – that the audience was listening and responding – I relaxed. I sold a bunch of books right there, and it was a great way to put myself out there and to get an instant response. I realized that my book had appeal, which, as a first-time author, I didn’t know until that point.

Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?

Olga: I went with self-publishing because I didn’t have the patience to pursue other publishers. What I like about self-publishing is that it’s all mine – I created the book cover, I chose the font, I am doing all my own promotion – and it’s been incredibly fun and very rewarding. Overall, I’ve been amazed by the options and opportunities – there are so many different ways you can go – and also by all the positive responses and encouragement. It’s a very positive experience.

Christine: What do you like to read?

Olga: I love to read travel memoirs and books about exotic places. I am inspired and awed by writers who put themselves out there, who are able to observe and interpret very different situations, and who can be funny too. Two books I have loved recently are Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller about growing up in Africa, and Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson about Croatia.

Christine: Where can we find you and your book?

Olga: I have a small site at www.olgavannucci.com and a Facebook page that I update fairly regularly with pretty pictures of Italy that can be reached via www.travelswithgeorge.com. My book is available on Amazon in both the printed and Kindle versions at www.amazon.com/author/olgavannucci.

Thanks so much for joining us here today, Olga. I wish you continued success with your book.

October 13, 2012

How You Can Organize and Run Your Own Blog Tour – Part 3

Posted in Blog Tours tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:58 pm by Christine Rice

In part 2, I covered email communication with bloggers and how to maintain an effective “contacts” list in your email program. In today’s post, I will discuss: how to schedule blog tour posting dates with bloggers, how to keep track of the blogs and dates for the tour, how to network and market the start of the tour, how to begin the blog tour, and how to promote the blog tour.

The way that I scheduled posting dates for the tour, and had no conflicting dates where two people wanted the same date, was I started slowly by contacting a few bloggers at a time. I started with the bloggers I had contacted first in the very beginning and replied to their last email. (One thing I would have done differently, was to forward emails I sent that were not responded to, to the blogger they were intended for, when I needed to contact the blogger again, so that all emails would have been in one email thread and they could have seen my previous messages.) In the email, I told the blogger the date range of the tour and I let them choose the date they wanted. I received responses the same day, so I emailed a few more. I mostly had one email thread per blogger to keep the exchange organized.

I made a “blog tour list” that had each blogger’s name, blog URL, email address, type of blog post, ebook format they preferred, and the scheduled posting date. I turned the Word document to “landscape” and put one blogger on each line. As I scheduled the posting dates, I typed them on my blog tour list and highlighted them in yellow so that I could easily see what dates were taken.

Around that time, I published my book and sent out the ebook copies to the bloggers. I looked at my blog tour list to see what ebook format each blogger wanted, then I emailed the ebook and cover image to each of them using the email threads I already had going. I waited at least a week before I sent them any more emails, to give them a chance to read my book.

I began receiving interview questions from the bloggers who would be interviewing me on their blog. So I answered the interview questions, and after editing my answers, I emailed it back to them right away. I also wrote my guest posts. During this time (about one week), I did as much writing as I could, because I knew that once the tour started, I would be too busy running and promoting it to do any additional writing. Plus, I didn’t want to save anything for the last minute.

Then one week before the tour started, I began promoting it. I created events on Facebook, Book Blogs, and Goodreads. For the Book Blogs and Goodreads events, I posted a description of the tour and listed all of the blogs’ URLs and posting dates (with live links). For Facebook, I did not list the blogs’ URLs and posting dates in the description of the event; I only posted a compelling description of the tour to get people psyched up for it. I also published a blog post here (on my own blog) with a full description of the blog tour and a list of all of the blogs’ names and URLs. I tweeted about the tour too.

One other thing I did – I asked the leader of my Goodread’s group, “Writers and Readers,” if I could be involved in a Q&A discussion, which is when an author is spotlighted and readers ask them questions. The group leader just happened to be looking for authors for Q&As. So we scheduled my Q&A discussion for the first three days of my tour.

Just before the tour began, I emailed everyone a blog tour banner, which listed all of the blogs’ URLs that were on the tour and had my book cover design as the background. It is a good publicity method. I created the banner myself by uploading my cover design (before I had put the title, the subtitle, and my name on it) onto a PowerPoint slide and added the blog tour information. Not all bloggers are willing to post a banner on their blog, so I did not force them, but I asked them if they would and some did.

The night before the first blogger hosted me, I sent them an email to remind them to post. The email was easy-going, but well-written, and it included the posting date. Here’s an example:

Hi [blogger’s first name],

This is a reminder to post [your review/the interview] tomorrow [month/date]. I look forward to seeing your post!

Christine

(As you can see, it’s a very simple message, used just as a reminder, without sounding pushy.)

When I woke up and went on the computer the next day, I checked my blog tour list for that day’s blog URL. Then I went on the blog to see if the post was up (most of the time it was – thanks bloggers!). I then clicked on the title of the post to display just that one post. If the post had share icons, I shared it on Twitter, Google+, my Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Digg. Otherwise, I copied and pasted the URL on those websites manually. Then I went to my Facebook event page and pasted the URL in a comment, along with a compelling description of the blog post. I then pasted the URL into the “Post Your Blog Updates Here!” forum post in the “Blog Tour” group on Book Blogs. Then I created new blog posts on Book Blogs and the Writer’s Digest Community with the title being the same as the title of the blog post and put in quotation marks; a “teaser” in the body of the new blog post with a direct link to the actual post; and appropriate tags, such as: blog post, book review/author interview, blog tour, Christine Rice, and Freelance Writing Guide (my book for the tour).

After I shared the blogger’s post everywhere possible, I emailed them to thank them for their post and for participating in my blog tour. I told them that I shared their post everywhere so that they will get some extra hits to their blog. Then I put a line through the blogger’s information on my blog tour list to show that the blog post had been successfully published and I finished communication with the blogger.

The rest of the tour consisted of the same: sending “reminder emails” the night before the next blog stop, promoting the blog post, and sending “thank you” emails the day of the post (preferably right after sharing the post). I kept all the emails in my blog tour email folder until the tour was completely over. I still have my blog tour list in case I need the information in the future.

I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series about how to organize and run your own blog tour! I hope you will take the plunge and create your own blog tour. If you do, you will save money that would have been unnecessarily spent on a blog tour company, and you will have a memorable experience. Good luck!

October 9, 2012

Interview with J M Leitch

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , at 7:08 am by Christine Rice

I first met J M Leitch when I reviewed her book, The Zul Enigma. She contacted me on Goodreads and asked if I would review her book. After checking out her book, I was thrilled and said yes. I reviewed her book in August, and you can read the review here. We have stayed in touch since through email. Here is a little about her:

When Mum picked me up after my first day of primary school I was in tears. ‘Whatever’s the matter?’ she asked. I spat out my words between heaving staccato sobs. They were an accusing finger. ‘YOU said they’d teach me to read!’ It took much longer than I expected… but they did teach me and I’ve not stopped since. They also taught me to write and I published my first novel in 2011, The Zul Enigma (www.thezulenigma.com). As to my background? Well, I was born just outside London, England, and moved to Asia where I’ve lived half my life. I now spend my time between Singapore, Assam in North East India, Bali in Indonesia and the UK.

Now, let’s start the interview.

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become a novelist?

J M: I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. I used to love writing essays at school and when I was 17, in my GCSE ‘O’ Level exam for Greek Literature in Translation, I wrote about Orpheus visiting the Underworld when he tried to bring his beloved wife, Eurydice, back from the dead. I described how Orpheus, after using his beautiful music to soften the heart of Hades, King of the Underworld, persuaded him to agree to let Eurydice leave, and how Hades insisted on one condition: that Orpheus must walk in front of her and not look back until they both had re-entered the world of the living. But Orpheus, scared that Hades would break the agreement, on reaching the upper world turned to check that Eurydice was still behind him. She was, but because she hadn’t yet entered the world of the living Orpheus was the one who broke the agreement. Anyhow, by the time I got to describing the agony Orpheus experienced at loosing his wife a second time… this time forever… I was crying and my tears dropped onto the paper splodging the ink. Fortunately, they didn’t make the paper illegible and I ended up getting an ‘A’!

So I always thought I’d end up writing. In fact, I’ve started three books over the years, the first in my mid twenties, but I never got any further than the first few chapters because I either ran out of steam or I let other things get in the way.

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

J M: Throughout my working life I’ve done many different types of writing including reports, technical manuals, training proposals, training courses, business profiles, resumes, articles for magazines, content for websites – all kinds of things. But until The Zul Enigma, I’d never before written anything creative. Now I also write a blog, which I enjoy.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

J M: When I wrote my novel I spent every free moment sitting at my computer writing – usually eating breakfast and lunch there, too. For a while I used a laptop, which was good, because it meant I could move around the house and garden as I fancied.

I don’t have a set routine like some people, to write for so many hours, to finish so many words in a day, or to work from this time to that time. I just stick at it for as long as I’ve got. I don’t need a special place or surroundings or music. My special place is in my head and I can get there anywhere, any time.

Christine: Where did you get the inspiration for The Zul Enigma?

J M: I was in Bali lying on a deckchair watching my daughter swim while thinking about a recent BBC documentary a friend had told me about. It was about several reports from different scientific disciplines – ice core samples, marine temperature studies, marine life studies, climate change studies – to name a few – and how the data quoted in all of them showed our planet’s oceans were cooling. The result of this phenomenon is the slowing down or, in the future, the possible stopping of the conveyor or North Atlantic Drift that traditionally brings warm water from the south to the north Atlantic, keeping the east coast of North America and the west coast of Europe warm. In other words it’s feasible that North America and Europe are heading for a mini Ice Age.

Oh no! I thought. My poor Mum… she lives in England.

Then I started fantasising how wonderful it would be if a bunch of friendly aliens appeared and relocated us onto an identical planet with a stable climate! And that’s where the original idea came from, although it’s now changed beyond recognition.

Christine: Why did you choose to self-publish and not go down the conventional publishing track?

J M: When I first started writing I planned that the main action would take place in 2020. Then I began reading about the end of the Mayan calendar on 21 December 2012 and how different groups of people believed this would be a special time for many different reasons – the occurrence of cataclysmic events perhaps, or a time of spiritual enlightenment. It piqued my interest and I thought it would be fun to build my book’s plot around that date.

The problem was I hadn’t taken into consideration how long it would take me to finish the book. I thought a couple of years, tops… then 3… then 4… until last year I realised that if I didn’t publish it soon I’d miss the boat completely! I knew it could take years to find a traditional publisher, so I decided, oh well… I’ll have to go ahead and do it myself.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as a novelist and your novels?

J M: The most effective marketing tool for me has been the KDP Select programme that allows authors to offer their eBooks free on Amazon for 5 days every 3 months as long as the title is exclusively available there. In addition, I have a website for the book, book and author Facebook pages, I write a blog once every couple of weeks or so, and I also Tweet. I am learning that successful marketing is the combination of many different initiatives and I would love more exposure in the way of interviews on the Internet or in print and press. The key is to get your name and the name of your books out there. It sounds so easy, but the reality is that it takes a huge amount of work.

Christine: If people want to purchase your book, how do they go about it?

J M: It’s probably easiest to buy the paperback from Amazon or The Book Depository. It costs a couple of US Dollars more at The Book Depository but they will ship it anywhere in the world for free.

Amazon UK Paperback Edition – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/9810703252
Amazon UK Kindle Edition – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0073M876M
Amazon US Paperback Edition – www.amazon.com/dp/9810703252
Amazon US Kindle Edition – www.amazon.com/dp/B0073M876M
Waterstones UK – http://bit.ly/WcJOIM

October 6, 2012

How You Can Organize and Run Your Own Blog Tour – Part 2

Posted in Blog Tours tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:41 pm by Christine Rice

In Part 1 I covered: how to begin organizing a blog tour by announcing your plans in various online locations, and how to find bloggers who would be willing to host you on their blogs. In part 2, I will discuss: what to write in emails to bloggers, how to maintain an effective “contacts list” in your email program, how to have effective exchanges with bloggers, and what to do when bloggers don’t respond to your emails.

Part 1 left off with contacting bloggers that you find on Book Blogs or on your list of followed blogs. Before I go into the new topics for today’s post, I want to mention that it is a good idea to follow the blogs of the bloggers you contact, because it is polite, and because you will be adding to your list of followed blogs which can be a helpful resource in the future. You can adjust your notification settings for the blogs you follow according to your preferences.

Now, on to how to compose and send emails to bloggers. I know it saves time to type up a standard email and send it to all the people you wish to contact, but you won’t get as many responses that way. It is more effective to write a custom email message for each blogger and to send the emails individually. The bloggers will really appreciate that you put in extra effort to speak to them individually and personally.

So when you find a blogger you wish to contact, you should first set them up as a “new contact” in your email program by adding their name, email address, and blog URL to the contact form. Before, during, and after your blog tour you should add notes to your blog tour contacts so that you will have a record of what your exchange was about. This is so if you delete their email in the future, which you probably will do eventually, you will know how you met and what your interaction was.

After adding the contact, open a new message and select their name from your contacts list. This is so they will see their name at the top of the email instead of their email address, which is more personal and effective.

Create a subject line that says: “Book review request,” “Author interview request,” “Giveaway request,” etc. Keep it short, simple, and direct so that it will avoid getting sent to the blogger’s spam folder. Compose the email message based on your instinctive feelings about the blogger and their blog, and what services they provide to authors. At minimum, you should do the following: introduce yourself, mention how you found them (e.g. I saw your post on Book Blogs that says you are looking for authors to interview…), explain briefly why you are contacting them and what your needs are (e.g. I am having a blog tour in November and I want to know if you would like to review my book/interview me/host my giveaway, etc.), state your book’s full title, provide a short description of your book if the genre or subject matter is not assumable by the title, state what you will offer them in return for their services (e.g. Free ebook in your choice of format), and include a “call to action” (e.g. Please contact me at your earliest convenience and let me know which ebook format you prefer). Each of these parts should be only one sentence long in order to keep the email short and more likely to elicit a response. Edit and proofread your email and then send it.

Create a new folder in your email program and title it “blog tour.” Move and keep all emails related to your blog tour in this folder until the blog tour is over. Next, you will just wait for the responses to come in. Don’t send a second email if you don’t hear from them on the first contact, because it likely means they are not interested. After you receive most of your responses, you can create a separate email folder for “no/no response” and put into it emails in which you didn’t receive a reply from the blogger (yet) or if the blogger said they are unable to host you (I did not have many of either of these).

Generally speaking, the best way to communicate with bloggers is by being professional, friendly, and assertive – all at the same time. You want to be professional, because you are a professional writer and a blog tour is a business exchange; you want to be friendly so that the bloggers will be more receptive to your emails; and you want to be assertive to get your needs (a successful blog tour) accomplished. (Maintain this style of communication before and during the blog tour.) Respond to your emails promptly, because there is no time to waste. Show your gratitude to the bloggers for agreeing to host you on their blog. Communicate with clear language so that your messages will be easily understood. Edit and proofread your messages before you send them to make sure they: follow the rules of your language, communicate your needs clearly, and are assertive and friendly. Think about all the information you need to provide the blogger and all the information you need from them in order to set up your blog tour. Then try to include as much information as possible in each email (without overwhelming the blogger or asking too many different questions) to keep the number of emails to a minimum. Each time you email someone, there is a chance they won’t respond, so the less emails there are (that effectively get your needs met), the better. Always end the email with a clear call to action if you need a response from them.

If you don’t get a reply from a blogger after they have already agreed to host you on their blog, you can send a followup email 3-7 days later if you need a response from them. No responses and having to follow-up makes setting up the blog tour take longer than when the blogger responds to every one of your emails promptly. This is the reason why a blog tour must be organized one month in advance. (Plus, it gives the bloggers time to read your book.) On the other hand, if you don’t need a response from the blogger at that time, wait until they contact you or until you need to send them another email.

In part 3, I will discuss how to schedule blog tour posting dates with bloggers, how to keep track of blogs and dates for your blog tour, how to network and market the start of your blog tour, and how to start the blog tour with a bang.

October 4, 2012

How You Can Organize and Run Your Own Blog Tour – Part 1

Posted in Blog Tours tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:31 pm by Christine Rice

As most of you know, I recently finished up a month-long blog tour for my book, Freelance Writing Guide. I feel the blog tour was a success, because all of the bloggers posted on the correct days, there was effective communication between me and the bloggers, I made some valuable connections for the future, and it generally went smoothly and was easy to keep up with. Below I will share with you my tips on organizing and running your own blog tour.

For a month-long blog tour, you will need to start organizing it one month in advance.

I started announcing my blog tour around July 23rd (my blog tour started August 29th). I posted my announcement and my request for bloggers to participate on Facebook, Twitter, Writer’s Digest Community, LinkedIn, and here on my blog. Doing those posts was a good means of self-promotion, but it did not draw the interest of many bloggers who would participate in my blog tour. So I checked all of the blogs I had followed on WordPress by looking at my “reader” on the main WordPress page. I also checked the Blogger blogs I followed through Google Friend Connect (GFC) by going to a Google blog that I knew I followed and clicking on my profile picture in the list of followers; that brought up my GFC profile, which had a list of all the blogs I followed.

I checked out each of the blogs that seemed to be for writers or readers, to see if the blog owner was a book reviewer or an author interviewer. These types of bloggers usually have a page on their blogs that explains what types of books they review and/or their book review policy, what types of authors they host on their blog, and their contact information. If they reviewed nonfiction books or hosted nonfiction authors, I contacted them by sending them a message from their blog’s contact form (located on a page of their blog), or by emailing them if the email address was provided. I rarely came across bloggers that provided no means of contact. But if that was the case, I posted a comment on their “about me” page or on their most recent blog post.

I had not followed enough blogs in the past to acquire enough bloggers to host me, so I had to look at additional methods. In a comment to my blog post on here, Patty Apostolides kindly suggested I check out Book Blogs. I had never heard of the term “book blog” before, but I quickly learned what it meant. A book blog is a blog where the blog owner posts book reviews on their blog, and sometimes author interviews and giveaways. Book Blogs was where I found most of the bloggers for my blog tour. I will tell you how. After joining Book Blogs, the first thing I did was scroll through every one of their interest groups (currently there are 490) to find the ones that related to my purpose of acquiring bloggers who’d be interested in hosting me. Every time I saw a possible group to join, I wrote the name of the group down on a notepad. After I had gone through all of the groups, I separately typed the name of each of the groups I had on my notepad into the search bar on the group listing page to bring the group up. I reviewed each group a second time and joined the ones that were most compatible with my needs (to save time from joining groups that would not be very effective for my purpose). Some of the groups I joined were: Authors Needing Reviews and Interviews, Self-Published Book Reviews, Network Your Blog, Advertise Your Work, and Promote Your Books!. Network Your Blog was the most helpful, because it had the most members.

For the groups I joined, I looked through the forum posts, and used the search bar for the forums that had an overabundance of posts where it would take too long to look through them all. I commented on bloggers’ posts, who were looking to review books and host author interviews on their blogs, telling them about my book and asking if they would like to host me. I also provided my email address – since I did not follow all of the forum posts I commented on, because I ended up with a large amount of emails in my inbox from other people’s comments – because I would not get notifications for their posts. I clicked “stop following,” a link that is just below the main post on each forum post, if I did not want to get notified of followup comments.

Next, and this was the most proficient way to get in touch with bloggers, I went through every comment on the Network Your Blog forum post entitled “Bloggers Seeking Authors, Guest Posts, Giveaways, Or?”. That post was 27 pages long when I got to it, but it was more efficient to look through that one post with hundreds of bloggers on it, than to search for bloggers on individual posts. So I started from the last page that had the most recent dates and worked my way to page one, by reading each comment and looking into the bloggers’ blogs to see if they were compatible with me and my book (indie author of nonfiction book). Then I contacted them – not by replying to their comment on the forum post, because they probably unfollowed the post like I did, but by finding their email address on their blog (sometimes it was in their forum post comment) or (second best) by using their blog’s contact form.

In part 2, I will talk about what to write in emails to bloggers, how to maintain an effective “contacts” list in your email program, how to maintain an effective exchange with bloggers, what to do when bloggers don’t respond to your emails, and how to schedule the bloggers’ posting dates for the blog tour.

October 2, 2012

Interview with Katrina Rychling

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , at 10:14 am by Christine Rice

Today I will be interviewing Katrina Rychling, a published writer and scholar. We met at the Yahoo! Contributor Network where we published articles, poetry, and other writing assignments to their online platform. I haven’t written for them since the end of last year, but Katrina and I have remained in touch through Facebook.

Katrina Rychling enjoys networking and helping fellow writers. She holds a Bachelor of Science – with a concentration in psychology – from Charter Oak State College; a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University; and a writing diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Katrina is published in the May/June 2011 issue of Writers Digest Magazine. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three pet snakes.

Now, on to the interview.

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become a writer?

Katrina: Sometime after high school I rediscovered my love for reading. My love for reading then developed into an interest in writing and then a passion for writing. I had not considered writing as a career, only as a hobby. It has only been in the past few years that I have decided to turn my writing into a career.

Christine: What is your writing experience?

Katrina: In high school I began to despise writing. By my senior year when I had a paper due I would throw tantrums and become hysterical. In college I found myself taking more and more writing classes to help overcome my fear of writing. Somewhere along the way I slowly found writing easier, but my fear was not totally gone. I would turn papers in late and reuse the same piece multiple times.

Now I have come to realize that I was sabotaging myself because I wanted it to be perfect. I would stress out so much about getting it right, that I did not get it done at all. I have since learned to let go and find it much more enjoyable to write. I still have my days where I can’t seem to finish anything, but then there are others when I write for 30min and come out with something fantastic.

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

Katrina: I write a little bit of everything. I’m not sure there is a genre I have not had an idea in or tried writing. This makes my skills versatile and helps me find more ways to earn a paycheck through my writing.

Christine: What have you published recently?

Katrina: I try to update my blog, Star’s Escape, as often as possible. Star’s Escape is about everything and anything writing related. It has tips on writer’s block, marketing, improving your writing, and finding more time to write. I’m always looking for more contributors to help build the community and to support each others’ writing. Contributors get a link to their website of choice and are welcome to write anything, as long as it pertains to writing. I also publish my non-fiction, poems, and an occasional short story on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Katrina: Currently, my only source of income is through my writing.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

Katrina: Since becoming a mom, I have learned to write whenever and wherever I can. My writing time has taken a drastic drop, but the reward of caring for my son is worth it. I am still learning new ways to squeeze more writing time in every day.

Christine: How do you come up with ideas for your writing?

Katrina: Many of my ideas for my non-fiction and fiction work come from reading other people’s work. I also get a lot of ideas from things I wonder or am interested about. As for my fiction writing, I find myself using what happens in some of my dreams as a springboard for a story. On rare occasions I actually dream in words, so I guess you can say I write in my sleep (which is a good thing, because I love to sleep).

Christine: What interests you about writing nonfiction?

Katrina: Reading non-fiction books and articles is one of the things that has made the biggest impact on my life. I love learning new things, and I constantly strive to become a better person. Reading teaches me how to live and how to improve every aspect of my life. Since others’ writing has made such an impact on my life, I want to return the favor and help even more people to become the person they are meant to be.

Christine: What do you like to read?

Katrina: When reading non-fiction books I tend to gravitate towards self-help books because I’m constantly striving to improve my life. My favorite genres of fiction are fantasy and science-fiction. I get enough reality in everyday life, so when I read I want something completely different.

Christine: Do you find you “mentally edit” other writers’ works as you read them? Does doing this help you or bother you?

Katrina: Yes! I find myself constantly editing other writers’ works as I read them. The biggest problem with this is I always want to tell the author what they did wrong. I sometimes need to work on holding my tongue, because if an author does not ask for criticism I feel it is rude of me to mention their flaws. However, another part of me wants to tell them so that I can help them improve and become an even better writer. It would be interesting to hear what other writers think about unsolicited advice from fellow writers.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Katrina: My website: www.katrinarychling.com
Yahoo!: www.contributor.yahoo.com/user/885162/katrina_rychling.html
My writing blog: www.katrinarychling.com/blog
My health blog: www.cavemanparty.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KatrinaRychling
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KatrinaRychling

Christine: Thanks so much for joining us today, Katrina!