I met Ilima Todd from Ka'ao: Tell A Fanciful Tale at Storymakers when she was having a really good day. Her query was critiqued in front of a live audience by a literary agent who praised it, and at the same time she pitched to a different literary agent and received a full request. I'd been following Ilima's blog for sometime, but after that, I had to know more about her writing, and of course, her blog.
Welcome, Ilima! When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in August 2011, and honestly, it was because I thought that's what I had to do as an aspiring writer. You know, have a landing page when agents started researching me, proving to them I was serious about this writing thing. Look professional and the like. And since I didn't have anything queryable yet, I figured I should be building my following so that when said agent comes-a-lurking, I'd look that much more impressive. Yeah--I was completely clueless.
Let's just say my reasons for continuing to blog are entirely different. I don't care much about that follower number anymore, and though I still get excited about comments popping up on my posts, it's because I enjoy interacting with others and am truly anxious to hear what they think or find out what they're up to. Writing can be a lonely quest and I LOVE the friends I've made online.
I'm with you. I was a very lonely writer before blogging.
You’ve been actively seeking a literary agent. Do you think blogging increases your odds of signing with an agent? Why or why not?
I think it does help, but not in the way I first thought. Back to the first question, attracting an agent was my #1 reason for starting the blog. But for the most part, I don't think agents care whether you have a blog or not, at least not before you're published. I do think it helps in a roundabout way, though. Having a blog has stretched my online reach and as I've gotten to know sooo many other bloggers and writers, I also learn about this online writing contest or that writers conference, or check out this new agent looking for yada yada. And those are the things that increases my odds. A nice percentage of the requests I get are from online contests or conferences. (One of my CP's signed with an agent from an online contest request and another CP signed with an agent from a conference…so they really do work.)
Keep telling me that. It's what I want to hear!
What is your blogging schedule, and how did you decide upon it?
I used to post once a week. I thought it was often enough to not get lost in the interwebs but sparse enough to keep me sane. And then I lost my brain or something during the month of April because I signed up for the A to Z challenge. Posting everyday was REALLY HARD. I've since been trying to recover and have been posting whenever I feel like it. I'm still pondering what I want my "regular" schedule to be.
I'm super impressed with everyone who did the A to Z. Blogging every day is a ton of work.
What is your most memorable blogging experience to date?
I did NaNoWriMo for the first time last November. That was quite the writing challenge for me, and as a result, my posts for the month were pretty up and down. This post (http://ilimawrites.blogspot.
was my attempt at motivation to keep going, and ended up being a spring board
for a lot of encouragement from and to fellow Nano-ers that month. I still like
to look back whenever I need a boost of confidence to keep going in this crazy
What a great post! It's still relevant today.
Random Question: Who is your favorite literary character of all time?
Um, that would be Brigan-Ian-Four-Etienne-
Cricket-Jace-Will-Zach-Ash- Kartik-Patch-Lend-Po-Elias- Peeta-Devyn-Sam-Ky-Oliver- Elder-Geric
and pretty much every other heart throb in every YA novel written all rolled
into one. Duh. 'Kay, but seriously, if I had to choose…I'm gonna go with
Katniss. Because girls rule.
I swooned when I read your long name reply. And Katniss rocks, too.
Thanks for mentoring us, Ilima! I'll be watching your blog for a literary agent announcement. I have a feeling one will snap you up soon.