Monday, 26 November 2012

Interview With A Blogpire... Starring Aimee L. Salter

G’day, everyone, and welcome to another installment of Interview With A Blogpire. Whether you’re a writer, an aspiring blogger, or that person who found my site by Googling ‘slug wedgie’, this post has loads of successful blogger tips on building an author platform, and with any luck you’ll find them as useful as I did. So read on and enjoy, (or visit my post, Writing, Wedgies and Hollywood Slugs, if that’s your thing).

Who needs Adobe Illustrator when
you've got Powerpoint and Paint?
Now, to business. My guest today is the amazing Aimee L. Salter of Seeking The Write Life. Her blog has almost 90 000 hits so far, nearly 600 followers on Google Friend Connect alone, and she’s recently joined the hugely popular YAtopia team, too. I went looking for her secret to success, and now I’m bringing the interview (in two parts for the price of one), to you…

Hi Aimee, and thanks for agreeing to my interview. First question, what would you say has been the most popular style of post/content for you?

Without a doubt, the most popular posts I write are ones that give practical tips for self-editing or improving writing technique. Anything that benefits writers who are, obviously, my audience on the blog.

There are many other blogs out there doing similar things. Any idea what makes yours stand out?

I think a lot of bloggers offer over-arching advice or concepts for learning, but not as many give writers tips they can act on specifically and immediately.

I think, like me, most writers want to make their books better. So anytime they find content that helps them do that, they get excited about it.

What do you do when you haven't got anything like that to post, especially if you’re trying to keep a regular blogging schedule?

I try never to blog for the sake of blogging (i.e. ‘filler’), but it has happened. If I’m really stuck, I try to find something funny or useful that someone else has v-logged or blogged about and promote their stuff instead.

There have been times that, due to Real Life Happenings I just have had the time to blog. At those times I’ve either reposted old, useful posts, or just apologized and told everyone when I’ll be back on board.

And does this combination of useful content on a regular basis mean you've got so many active blog visitors that people are always interacting with your stuff?

I definitely get traffic that I don’t “seek”. I.e. there are always one or two tweets floating around offering links to my blog, or people telling their friends. I do get some traffic from google searches (probably only about 4-5%).

“Comments are sporadic, but often when I’m posting about an “issue” (i.e. sexual content in YA fiction), we’ll get a really good and comprehensive conversation going. 

Most of the time my comments are just people either agreeing with what was said, or adding to it. A lot of my regular commenters have been around my blog for quite a while, so they just jump in when they find something useful, or think they have something to add. It’s nice. I feel like I am getting to know these people. As writers, at least.

Last of all, (for now), you have a background in branding - so do you have any specific branding strategies to share?

Branding is a word that gets thrown around a lot, usually by people who associate branding with logos or design. However branding isn’t logos or design. Logos and design are merely tools used to help your “brand” be identified quickly. A “brand” is a set of perceptions that people associate with a person, name or business.

As a writer you have two options. Either you “brand” your stories (i.e. write all of your books in a similar genre, using similar plot structures, etc) or you brand yourself.

Branding yourself is virtually impossible to do until you’re already known. Branding yourself means making yourself someone people want to be around or emulate. To do it right, you have to achieve something other people admire. Then you have to manage that success with aplomb.

It’s very difficult to do well for any length of time, mainly because when people gain a fanbase (as opposed to a platform) they often start to believe their own hype and become somewhat narcissistic online.

I’ll put my hand up and say I’m working on branding myself. I want people to associate my name with honesty, useful advice, humor and integrity. I want people to see my name on a blog or a link or a book and immediately assume it will be good-quality, interesting content.

I’m just tipping into that arena now. But the big test will come when I’m actually published. If my book doesn’t live up to those impressions, all the work I’ve done building a foundation on my blog will be for naught.

Remember: a “brand” is a set of perceptions that people associate with a person, name or business. If I create the beginnings of a brand now, via my blog, then don’t live up to those perceptions in my writing career, my brand is destroyed.

But no pressure.

To be continued…

(This week!)
(So follow the blog to stay in the loop, and if you can't wait a few days, check out my last interview with a Blogpire, starring the fabulous Brenda Drake!)


  1. I agree that how-to pieces get audience, but tackling controversy is where real conversations happen. I've also found that platform is really a more helpful concept for nonfiction writers than fiction writers. Novelists better connect with readers by mixing in posts that give a taste for their authorial voice and the passions that drive their stories.

    1. That's a really good point... establish authority with non-fiction and voice with fiction. So true. :)

    2. You're right about platform, Laurel. It's a MUST for non-fiction writers. But I'm already seeing the benefits of it as a novelist too. I've had people approach me because they heard about my book from other writers I know. They want to know when it's coming out - and my agent hasn't even sold it yet! Here's hoping those people are still around when she does, ha!

  2. enjoyed the interview...and looking forward to act 2. i try not to fill my blog either and make it somewhat entertaining so it's not always mundane gibberish.

    1. That's the rub, isn't it? Genuinely good content takes time.... lots and lots of time... *Sigh*

  3. Haha yes I love your blog, especially that you're doing something different with those interview. :)

  4. Thanks for having me around, Katherine :)

    1. Thanks for letting me pester you with questions!

  5. I've tagged you as The Next Big Thing!

  6. Thanks, Donna! I've had three nominations now so I'd better write the thing! :D