Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Savvy Sensation: Michelle Fayard

Michelle Fayard of Bird's-Eye View
Welcome to today's very first installment of the Saturday Savvy Sensation. I am so excited to share my first guest, Michelle Fayard of the Bird's Eye View.  Michelle is quickly building her followers and has many great techniques.

From Michelle's profile page:
Pre-published author Michelle Fayard has more than 20 years’ experience as a writer and editor, and her nonfiction articles have been published internationally. She has worked as both a public-relations specialist and a newspaper reporter. A Chicago native who also has called Kansas City, the mid-South and the Gulf Coast home, Michelle lives in Northern California with her husband, Marcelo, and their 12 rescue cats, where she writes historical YAs and nostalgic to quirky PBs.

And now I give you Michelle:

Laura B Writer: Who are you (what do you write, what are your personal stats)?
Although I started off writing quirky to nostalgic picture books for a series of online college classes, my true love is historical young adult novels. In April I completed my first book, The Underground Gift, which is set on the Kansas-Missouri border on the eve of the Civil War. The idea first came to me five years ago following a comment from our Kansas City Realtor, who asked if I knew about the possible role coded quilts played on the Underground Railroad. In July, Tamar Rydzinski of The Laura Dail Literary Agency  asked to see the first 50 pages, and Allie Maldonado of WiDo Publishing asked for a full.

LBW: Where can we find you online (blog, twitter, facebook, etc.)?
I blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and whenever there’s late-breaking news, at Bird’s-eye View . I also tweet  and have a Facebook fan page.

LBW: When did you begin your online platform building?
I started March of this year, once I realized a former newspaper reporter whose average article was only 15 column inches long really could write something comprised of tens of thousands of words—and fictionalized words at that. (Although some would rightly say news journalists engage in fictionalizing all the time!)

LBW: What is your message, if any (is your blog about anything specific, for example)?
My goal is that my blog always will be more about and for my followers than about and for me. To that end I run book reviews and author interviews on alternating Tuesdays/Thursdays and have a new Books by Blogging Friends  page, which includes a mini review as well as links for more information. On alternating Thursdays I run guest posts by other bloggers, and on the alternating Tuesdays I run what I call Bird’s Words, a series of writing and social media tips.

LBW: How have you built your followers? What have you done that has been the most successful? What have you done that has failed?
Whenever someone leaves a comment on one of my posts—whether it’s on my blog or a blog I’m guest posting on—or follows/subscribes to my blog, I write a personalized reply then send an e-mail message letting that person know they have a response to their comment. I also follow their blog and leave comments on their posts. As I’m following these blogs and the blogger mentions one of their favorite friends, I try to comment on and start following that blog as well. I want people to know that their comments are more than just a number on a counter; they are the life and soul of my—and any—blog. I also try to have blog content that will attract and retain bloggers I haven’t gotten a chance to meet yet. So far, both methods have been equally successful.

LBW: What else should we know about you?
I am grateful for all the years I spent in the newsroom working with incredibly gifted writers and editors who challenged me to ask questions and love listening to the answers then sharing what I learned with others in an inspirational way.

LBW: Any additional advice for our readers?
From adversity comes strength. Never stop believing in yourself. If you’ve ever asked whether you should keep on keeping on, ask yourself which would hurt worse: The pain of rejection or the pain from denying your muse? And, as my mom says, housework done properly will kill you. Get out there and be creative instead; it’s cheaper than paying a psychiatrist. Amen to that!

Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing your amazing journey and techniques. I encourage you to add Michelle to your follow list if you haven't already.  She's a real gem!


Michelle Fayard said...

Yours is one of my Top 10 favorite blogs, Laura, so it’s an honor and delight to help kick off your new Saturday Savvy Sensations series. It was a great opportunity to unplug and talk about the more personal side of writing.

The East Coaster said...

Michelle, I just love that you're writing about the time just before the the war in. What happened out there in places like Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas was a such a prequel to the next few years. Good luck with your querying, something like that will be picked up fast, I'm sure. Can't wait to read it in print!

To the question of why you built followers so quickly...your blog rocks. I learn a lot and always enjoy my time over there.

Michelle Fayard said...

@The East Coaster, you're so right that all it takes is a few people in a few towns to spawn pivotal moments that become flash points. I've lived on both the Arkansas-Missouri and the Kansas-Missouri border, and you can still see the after effects today. I'm very glad to learn you enjoy stopping by Bird's-eye View. A comment like that makes everything worthwhile. Thank you!

Katie Gates said...

Terrific interview, Michelle, and thanks for leading me here from your blog. As for "housework done properly will kill you," I'm going to have to get that in needlepoint!

Jeanne Bannon said...

Thanks for posting this, Laura. Michelle is one of my favorite people and I'm always interested in her insightful comments. Well done Laura and Michelle :)

Michelle said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing. xx

Nas Dean said...

Great post and rings so true for me!

Thanks Michelle. And thank you Laura, for hosting Michelle and bringing us this great post!

Michelle Fayard said...

@Katie, I was talking with Mom last night, and she said she wants to upgrade her theory to "housework of any kind will kill you." Can you tell I caught her as she was finishing doing the floors? :)

@Jeanne, talk about insightful--Laura is the queen of social media tips. It's so good to see you here!

@Michelle, thank you for stopping by Laura's blog. One of the best things about guest posts is getting to introduce friends to one another.

@Nas, I love it when a post resonates. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Lynda R Young said...

Great interview. And the book sounds great. Best of luck with it!

lbdiamond said...

Great interview. Thanks, ladies!!

Michelle Fayard said...

@Lynda and @lbdiamond, thanks for stopping by!

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks again, Michelle, and to everyone who commented. I love to hear from you!

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