Today's Savvy Sensation is a blogger who really helped me get my own blogging going. I entered Deana's Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blog-o-rama this past summer and though I didn't get an agent, I got a lot of blogging friends that will always be special to me. Deana can tell you her story much better than me so with no further hullabaloo, here she is...
LB: Who are you (what do you write, what are your personal stats)?
Laura, first off I wanted to say a big THANKS for the interview. You are making little ole me feel all big and coolJ As for who I am…well, I am Deana, married with two kids living in horse country (that would be Kentucky). I write YA. I am not bias about what subgenre, just whatever moves me at the moment I suppose. I do love the idea of unnatural things being in my work though. My first MS was an Urban Fantasy and I am now writing a Dystopian.
I have loved writing since high school, but was too wrapped up in being a teenager to take it anywhere. It wasn’t until I was prego with my second child that I started doing it instead of thinking about it. That was about four years ago.
LB: Where can we find you online (blog, twitter, facebook, etc.)?
My blog is: www.deanabarnhart.blogspot.com
Those are the places I roam. I guess I do hit up Goodreads every now and again, but mainly to update my reads.
LB: When did you begin your online platform building?
I will have had my blog for a year next month. I don’t know that you would call what I do platform building really. I would like to say so, but I often think I am silly for thinking that. I usually ask my Firsts Fridays interview guests about their take on platform building and I get so many mixed answers on if it works or not. So I just say I am doing it for the connection of like minded writers like myself. I guess that in and of itself is platform building but honestly blogging really is soooo much fun! I think I might do it even if I didn’t writeJ Yea, all that to say I’ve been blogging a year next month. HA!
LB: What is your message, if any (is your blog about anything specific, for example)?
My blog is for anyone who has a love for writing or the industry. I like to focus it on newbies, by bringing them in and making them feel like they are more than the new kid on the block. That there are so many others out there learning the ropes and together us newbies can really learn, grow and make something of ourselves in this industry--whatever that may be for us as individuals.
LB:How have you built your followers -
What have you done that has been the most successful?
Well I just had my first blogfest. It was a month long blogfest geared toward writers who would like to eventually land an agent. Trying to get that around the blogosphere and just having fun with it really boosted my followers.
In addition to that, I visit people. If someone visits my blog I try to return the favor. I also sometimes reply to them personally if they have left a comment on my blog. But more than that I read their posts, I grow to know them and like them and I think when you build friendships through your blog, naturally, they will keep coming back.
I also try to visit about 10 blogs a day during the week (that doesn’t always happen). I really read what they have to say and give a meaningful comment, not just ‘Great job!’ or something like that.
Elana Johnson has some great tips on her blog about this exact thing. I got a lot of my ideas from her.
LB: Come back soon, Deana, and you just might find Elana in a Savvy Sensation interview. What have you done that has failed?
This may sound silly, but I don’t like to think of anything I’ve done with my blog as failing. It has all taught me something no matter if it worked as good as I thought it would or not. Honestly though, I try to play it safe so nothing really has been a failure in my eyes. I have heard that talking about your work a lot is not always a good thing. But we don’t have to worry about that for me because I am so freaked out about putting my work out there that I keep it to my critique group and contests. So far.
LB:That's an excellent answer! What else should we know about you?
Hmm, I have a crazy fear of spiders. I know that probably isn’t what you meant, but I was bit by a Brown Recluse when I was a teenager and almost lost my leg. Crazy stuff.
LB:That was exactly the kind of answer I was going for. Pretty freaky! Any additional advice for our readers?
Have fun. The moment I start getting so stressed it isn’t fun (in my writing, blogging, whatever) I have to start cutting back or else I become the devil and no one, not even me, likes to see that person.
But isn’t that why we started this all in the first place? For our love of writing? I get all fuzzy content when I write and the moment I stop feeling that way is the moment I need to check myself before I wreck myself.
Laura, you are a gem for having me! Thanks so muchJ
No, Deana, you're the gem. And seriously, I owe a lot of my fans to your fest. Plus it was truly fun. Thanks for all you've given me. You sincerely deserve this award. Feel free to pass it on.