Who are you (what do you write, what are your personal stats)?
Hi Laura and Laura's readers! *waves* Thanks so much for having me today. I'm Ali Cross, the sensei of the Writer's Dojo where I hold a black belt in awesome. I live in Utah with my kicking' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles. I write lots of action, particularly of the martial arts kind, into my middle grade and young adult novels.
Where can we find you online (blog, twitter, facebook, etc.)?
You can find me in lots of places! Blog: http://www.alicross.com Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/
authoralicross Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ali_cross
When did you begin your online platform building?
Wow, what a great question. I've been blogging since 2008 when I started my first blog "The Girl in a Whirl". At that time I wrote about life and family and all my crazy dreams. I moved over to a writing-type blog at some point because I thought I needed to separate the two parts of me, But then I realized that wasn't the way to do it. I was just me, and I couldn't maintain an online presence being something other than what I was. All I have is me, that's all I have to offer. About a year ago it all came together, what I love, who I am, what I hope to be, and I haven't looked back since!
What is your message, if any (is your blog about anything specific, for example)?
My blog is about not giving up. I've built my platform around the martial arts, "ninjas" for fun. Ninjas know how to work hard. They fight and train and eat, sleep and breathe their goals. That's what we as writers have to be--dedicated, single-minded, ferocious in our efforts to reach our goals. But ninjas also train in a dojo, surrounded by other like-minded warriors. I think writing needs to be like that too. Writing is such a solitary sport, so lonely and discouraging sometimes. But it doesn't have to be--not if you've surrounded yourself with friends who are training just as hard as you.
How have you built your followers? What have you done that has been the most successful?
I think the single-most important key to building and keeping a solid readership is sincerity..
What have you done that has failed?
The tricks or gimmicks I've tried to build a following were fleeting. The friends who have stayed are those I won by being me.
How much time do you spend blogging? Reading blogs? Commenting on blogs?
Ugh. Too much time, and not enough time. I've tried to cut back, and I managed to a little--but I couldn't stay away for good. I spend a couple hours on Friday writing my blogs for the coming week. I try to visit the blog and respond by email to each person who comments on my blog--usually another couple hours each week. Beyond that, I like to spend at least an hour each day, visiting other blogs--however, I'm not always able to do that. I'm hoping when things settle down from the release of my book, I'll be able to give back a little more, get around to visit the blogs I've been neglecting.
What else should we know about you?
I'm pretty much a dufus and if you hang around me long enough you're bound to see me commit some horrid faux pas or another. I'm pretty stellar like that. :)
Any additional advice for our readers?
Nope. Just keep on keeping' on. Be yourself, believe in yourself. And never, ever give up.
What makes you unique?
I think what makes me unique is the people who love me. Their love for me, their belief in me, lifts me up higher than I could ever achieve on my own. Their support frees me to do the things that I love, to be greater than I am without them.
I know that sounds corny, but it's true!
Thanks for having me today Laura! You're the best!
No, Ali, you're the best! I love your advice about being sincere. That's hard for many of us who are used to writing fiction all day. But if you find a blog message that is all about something you're comfortable with, something that comes naturally, it should be easy, right? And what part of Utah are you from? or live in, I should say because maybe you aren't from Utah. I'm a Utah native even though I'm approaching having spent just as much of my life outside the state as in. Still, it will always be home!
I just totally got distracted because I was loving on Utah. Ali, you are not only a Savvy Sensation, but also just really cool. Congrats on your book launch. Read more about Become below:
Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she Becomes the evil she despises and the good she always feared.
When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her Choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is a reason to want to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.