I discovered today's Savvy Sensation from, hmm, I can't quite remember what first took me to Roni's blog, but when I arrived there, I immediately liked what I saw. I had heard of her via other bloggers and when I saw how passionate and successful she was with blogging, I knew that she needed to be on my blog. So with no further ado, here's Roni Lauren:
Who are you (what do you write, what are your personal stats)?
I’m a romance author and blogger. My debut novel, CRASH INTO YOU, will release from Berkley Heat/Penguin in January 2012.
Where can we find you online (blog, twitter, facebook, etc.)?
Where can you not find me? Lol. I’m a bit of a social media tramp.
Author blog: www.roniloren.com/blog
Fiction Groupie (my blog on writing): http://fictiongroupie.
Tumblr (where I post inspiration photos, 18+ only, I do write erotic romance after all.: ) )http://roniloren.tumblr.com
When did you begin your online platform building?
I began my online platform a little over two years ago—a year before I landed an agent and got my book deal. I had just finished my first novel—a YA believe it or not. I started blogging because I thought I was “supposed” to and then I ended up falling in love with it. I never ever thought I’d stick to it. I’m the girl with a stack of diaries that only have two entries in them. But once I started meeting other writers and networking with them, I was hooked.
What is your message, if any (is your blog about anything specific, for example)?
I guess my message would be to go into any kind of social networking with future success in mind. I started out not truly believing that I would be published, so I didn’t set things up the way I would’ve had I’d known that I’d be in this position two years later. So there are a few mistakes I made that I’m paying for now. Number one: I set up a blog for writers. I’m glad I did that. It’s been a great success for me and I know I wouldn’t have the following I do if I hadn’t done that. But I kept it so strictly about writing that once I wanted to start blogging about broader things or topics that would appeal not just to writers but to readers, it didn’t really “fit” with the brand of the blog. So I had to start a separate author blog that gave me a bit more freedom. The second mistake I made was that I built my blog on the free blogger site, which means I’m not in control of the hosting. If Blogger goes down or they decide for some reason they want to shut down my blog, they can. And I’ll have no say so. And I can’t easily move it because there is no way to bring over my 1500 followers to my author site. And I refuse to lose two years of work and building followers. So plan for the future!
How have you built your followers -
What have you done that has been the most successful?
I don’t know if it was any one thing. But I would say that I always approach my blog as—“what will the reader walk away with after they read this?”. Though I talk about my personal journey, I make sure I’m not just talking about me. It’s not my diary. No one really cares if I didn’t meet my word count for the day. But they may like to hear what things I’m doing to get back on track. So I try to take my experiences or whatever I’m learning about and break it down into digestible bites that people can take with them. I want readers to come to my blog because they know they will consistently get a little something—whether it be tips on writing or a laugh at my expense or a forum to say “I’ve been through that to.”
What have you done that has failed?
I did critiques online for a while and that killed comments on those days. People didn’t want to share their opinions of others’ work. So I stopped after a while. I also find that when I have guest authors who do giveaways, the comments and hits drop off. It’s the weirdest thing, but it’s a trend that pretty consistent.
How much time do you spend blogging? Reading blogs? Commenting on blogs?
It takes me about an hour to blog each morning. And reading and commenting on blogs has changed dramatically as I’ve gone on this journey. I used to be one of those people who visited everyone who left me a comment, and I went through my Google reader daily. But now I just don’t have the time to do that and keep up with everything else. Basically the way I read and comment on blogs is via the “bright, shiny object” method. I’m on Twitter (via Tweedeck) anytime I’m on the computer, so as I see interesting links pop up—I go “ooh, lemme go look at that” and often I leave a comment. So that’s how my blog reading goes—very hit or miss. It makes me sad to know I’m missing so many great posts from my writer friends, but I only get 4 kid-free hours a day to write, including writing my own blog, so I have to drop a few balls.
What else should we know about you?
Hmm. That I got my agent Sara Megibow by way of my blog. A client of hers was a blog follower and she liked the writing I had posted on my blog, so she offered to give me a referral to Sara. : ) So I’m very, very thankful to her and to blogging.
Any additional advice for our readers?
Only do the social networking stuff that you enjoy. If you hate blogging, don’t do it because people will be able to tell you’re phoning it in. I spend most of my effort on blogging and Twitter because those are the two I enjoy the most. Then I just feed everything out to places like Facebook and Google +.
What makes you unique?
Lol, that’s always a tough question. I guess that I’m the nice, quiet girl who you would never suspect writes dark, BDSM romance. : )
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Roni! I adore your blog and the words you've shared with our readers. I really identify a lot with what you say. Particularly, believe it or not, the part about blogging for writers being a little bit of a mistake, and the comments about blogger. Man, you really hit on things I have mixed feelings about! In fact, next Wednesday I'll be addressing the blogging for writers. So if any of you are interested in what I have to say, please come back.
I am having a strange problem with comments lately. They seem to have disappeared from this post, but if you go to the actual link for this page, you will see comments there and can leave one yourself if you like. Sorry for the trouble!