Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview with Platform Building Extraordinaire Rachael Harrie - Part One

Sorry for the delay today, but as most know, Blogger was having issues...

I happened upon a blog awhile back and in the sidebar was an, ‘I’m a Crusader’ button emblazoned in a pretty multi-colored shield.  It sounded intriguing so I clicked on it, and low and behold Rachael Harrie was born in my eyes. 
In her words, Rachael says, It is these blogging crusades that had me emailing her for an interview.  In under a year she has built her blog from three to over 700!  She not only has a wonderful readership, but she is helping fellow writers and industry people connect with each other in order to build their own platforms.  I am all about helping a writer out so for this edition of ‘Firsts Fridays’, I am more than thrilled to introduce you to Rachael and see what she thinks about platform building for writers, and how it has helped in her writing endeavors.
I’m a writer, a mother, a wife, and an Aussie. I have a wicked sense of humor, a very loud wolf-whistle, and a fascination for all things Young Adult. Sparkly vampires optional. I kill cacti (accidentally), I collect dragons, I adore emoticons and exclamation marks (but never in my manuscripts), and I used to have a dead fern called Prudence. Why? Cause everybody needs at least one dead fern in their lives.

I tweet occasionally, I blog religiously, and I organize Crusades so bloggers can connect and network together.”

Rachael did such a wonderful job answering the questions I asked, in detail, I am breaking her interview up into two parts.  Part two will be up Monday.  You won’t want to miss it, I assure you!

And now I give you Rachael Harrie…

RH: Thanks for having me along today Deana J

DB: No, thank you for being here!  I am ecstatic about this interview because platform building raises so many questions for the beginning and seasoned writers alike. 

In your own words, what is platform building?
RH: To me and at its most basic, platform-building means creating a way to reach out to people. You may have an aim or a goal in mind, e.g. selling books or building your credentials (for non-fiction writers), but you’re unlikely to achieve that goal unless you have people listening to you in the first place. In my mind, platform-building isn’t about how many followers you have, it’s about having a network of people around you who want you to succeed and who want to help you succeed.

DB: So true! 

Before you began building your blog audience, did you have anything going for you to help you along? Ex: college degree, past job experience, already published work?  If so did you factor that in before making a plan for your platform?

RH: I’m a lawyer-turned-writer, so in that respect I have a solid background in the English/Arts/writing sphere. During my legal career I published various non-fiction articles and also learned how to promote myself, market, and network. I think my experience has helped me have the confidence to go out there in the blogging world and begin building my platform, but it’s not something I’ve consciously considered over the past year since I began blogging.

DB: Wow, you have some serious background, good for youJ 

I’m sure you consider yourself a writer first and foremost.  Would you mind telling us where you are in your writing journey?

RH: I’d love to. And yes I do J I’ve written in one form or other my whole life, but only started to write seriously in the last five years. I finished (and “drawered”) my first book—consider that a service to the writing community *grins*—then realized how much I really had to learn. I spent a lot of time trying out different genres until I found my writers’ voice with YA fiction and my awesome critique partners, who’ve taught me so much. I’m currently revising my YA Horror novel, which I hope to query in the next few months. The novel is titled, “From the Other Side,” and the logline is as follows:

“Seventeen-year-old Verity Ronson is murdered by the boy she loves and awakens with deadly powers and an unquenchable desire for vengeance—if only she can stay sane long enough.”

DB: Ooo, I love me some YA with major intensity and it sounds like you are going there!

What connection does your writing have to the platform you are building, and do you think a connection with the two is important or is it more about gaining the numbers and hoping they will stick around through it all?

RH: There are two different answers to this question. My writing, in that I am a writer and a part of the writing community, is inherently linked to my platform. I wouldn’t have one without the other. But at this stage of my journey there isn’t a huge connection between my WIP and my platform. Bloggers follow me at Rach Writes… and on Twitter and Facebook because of my role in the writing community, not because of my WIP. Ideally, as I progress through my journey, the two would become more connected.
I should add that I think it’s the wrong approach to, as you say above, just try to “gain the numbers and hope they will stick around through it all.” I see platform-building as a shared journey with other bloggers (part of the reason why I created my Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade). I think it would be difficult for anyone to successfully market their book (or whatever else they created their platform for) if they simply try to gain numbers of followers without building relationships with their followers at the same time.

DB:  Such a good point!

Speaking of numbers how do you transform a platform into being more than numbers to a true audience?

RH: As I mentioned above, I think it’s all about developing and maintaining a connection with your followers. Commenting on their blogs, getting to know them, showing an interest in their journeys, and helping them out wherever possible, are all important. While I might have 700+ followers in the Followers Gadget, not all of them will read my posts – my goal is therefore to connect with as many of my followers as possible.

DB: I love your last words about connecting to your followers.  It is so easy to click on the follow tab, but to keep an audience coming back…now that is the challenge.

Rachael thanks so much for your words of wisdom.  I can’t wait to share with my readers part two of your interview.  It gets even better! 

Don’t miss Rachael’s next Writers Platform Building Crusade beginning August 22 – October 31.  Sign up closes August 31st, so set a reminder.  It is guaranteed to be something special!


Dawn Kurtagich said...

Great interview! I was wondering what the Crusader badge was! :D
I can't wait for part 2!

Rachael Harrie said...

Thanks so much for the interview Deana :)



Wendy@FabNouveau said...

What an awesome interview. I love Rach and it so nice to learn a little more about her. She is truly inspirational.

Deana said...

Glad you liked it Dawn. Her crusades really sound fun. I am joining in for the first time in August.

Rach, you are so welcome! Thanks to you too:)

Wendy, thanks and she is an inspiration isn't she!

Anonymous said...

I'm just moving my feeds from RSS over to Google Reader and Rach's photo caught my eye *hello!* Nice interview.

Deana said...

Thanks Catherine, I loved her answers!