Gina Ciocca of her Writer's Blog is here to pass on bloggerly-writerly (totally made up that word) tips on how to build a better blog. Gina's own blog captured my attention because of her concise, heart-felt posts and the earnest comments she leaves on other blogs. I asked her to be one of our Mentors because she is unassuming, works her tail off, and knows how to laugh. I admire a writer who can laugh at herself! I also admire a writer who is consistent, and Gina is definitely that. Even her interview is short, sweet, and sincere. Read on to find out what Gina has to say.
Give us the low-down on yourself, your writing, and your blog: My name is Gina Ciocca, voracious reader and writer, and admitted romance junkie. I never get tired of reading or writing about people falling in love, especially the Young Adult variety. Paranormal romance is my guilty pleasure. I started my blog in October of last year when I decided I was serious about trying to get published. I wanted to interact with other writers, and people who share my love of books. My blog is a forum for all things book and writing related... and any other random thoughts that cross my mind!
How did/do you build your blog following? Entering blogfests and blog-hop contests really helped to build my following. They're also a great way to polish up your work and learn how to critique. Just taking the time to read and comment on other people's blogs can also build your following. You never know who will like what you had to say, pop in for a visit, and decide they'd like to tune in on a regular basis (thanks, by the way, to everyone who did that for me!).
Do you have any advice for writing good posts or comments? I did a post once likening a blog post to an agent's inbox. When I'm scrolling through my Blogger dashboard, I only see the title and first few lines of the posts from various blogs I follow. Since I have limited time in the morning, I can only click on the ones that most grab my attention. I advise people to keep this in mind when they come up with the titles and opening lines of their posts. There are tons of blogs out there... make people want to read yours! I also think honesty is very important in the content of your posts, and a little humor goes a long way.
What about blogging benefits you the most? The encouragement from the writing community. They are seriously an amazing, supportive group of people. I met all my critique partners through blogging, and my writing has improved a million times over because of it. It's great to know we're all experiencing the same highs and lows - the euphoria of falling in love with a new WiP, the sting of rejection, etc. None of the people I interact with in the real world have any clue how harrowing it can be! People who've been through it know exactly how to pat you on the back or pull you out of a slump.
What is your favorite blog (besides your own of course) and why? Brodi Ashton (author of upcoming debut novel EVERNEATH) has one of the funniest blogs I've read, and she also gives writing advice. I love her blog because she treats everyone like an old friend. Nathan Bransford's is another favorite because his advice is invaluable. He's a legend!
Random question: If you could be any movie star, who would you be? Oh that's easy—Salma Hayek, 10 or 15 years ago. She's gorgeous and curvy and has a sexy accent. It doesn't get much better than that!
Thank you for accepting my invitation to be a Mentor, Gina! I haven't given much thought to the titles of my blog posts, but you're right; as I skim through my dashboard, I read the titles and first few sentences and then click on those that catch my attention. Like you, I also love a funny post. It gives me great joy to be cheered up by my blogging buddies.
If you would like a prime example of well-placed humor, check out Gina's blog. Her writing is a testament to her advice. Thanks again, Gina!