A Conversation on Platform Building with Ciara Knight

Today, I’m proud to welcome blogger extraordinaire, Ciara Knight, to Books and Bones. Ciara is a wife, mother of three boys, and a writer of adult, YA and middle-grade paranormal and fantasy fiction. Her YA Battle for Souls series with Turquoise Morning Press will premiere in March 2012 (A prequel novella, Love’s Long Shadow, is out now). She also has a heck of a blog at ciaraknight.com. Ciara kindly agreed to spend some time with us today discussing building an online platform. Without further ado, I give you…Ciara!

Thanks for having me here, Tess. I’m so excited to hang with you and your followers today. 🙂

I’m going to jump right in here…tell us about your blog. My true passion is hooking avid readers up with new up and coming authors. My blog has a diverse following of people of all ages and reading preferences, although I think the majority of my blogging buddies are science fiction, paranormal, or fantasy readers and writers.

When did you start it? *runs off to look at stats* I wrote my first blog post in mid 2009. It was under a different name and I was just trying to figure things out. Then in 2010 I wrote ten posts a month. It wasn’t until late 2010 or early 2011 that I committed to blogging. I found some great blogging friends and fell in love with it. Blogging is tough if you don’t enjoy the social aspect.

How many followers do you have? *runs off to look at stats again.* At this time, I have 94 email subscribers and 680 more between Networked Blogs and Google Connect.  I know there are others who watch RSS feeds as well.

What’s an average day like in terms of traffic and comments? My average lately is around 250 unique visitors a day.

How long did it take your blog to grow? I hope it’s still growing. 🙂 I try to visit new blogs each day and comment. Also, I try to run series that readers and writers will both enjoy.

Do you maintain any other online presence (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and how much of your blog success do you attribute to these other presences?  Yes, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and some loops. I think the unknown visitors are probably from social media. They are the silent visitors who tend not to comment. Most of my comments come from fellow bloggers and a few reader fans I’ve picked up. Yay! Hi, ladies. You know who you are.

How much time per week do you spend on online platform building and blog maintenance? This SO depends on my writing schedule and life. When I’m buried in edits, I’ll be on so little I feel like I’m neglecting people. Once those are turned in and I’m writing and hanging out, then I’m on it a few hours a day.

Where do you find that time with three boys at home? I wake up early, so I have time to check my post, hit a few blogs, and answer some comments. Also, I tend to multi-task. Mr. Knight says I’m lucky I haven’t burned the house down since I’ll be online while cooking.

How do you balance this with your writing time? It’s tough. When I have deadlines, I set time limits. If I don’t make it to all the great blogs and loops that I’d like to in the morning, I’ll try to stay up late to hit them in the evening or get up even earlier the next morning.

You have recurring features plus impromptu blogs. I love to check out the “Did I Notice Your Book?” feature as well as the Knights of the Round Table Reviews. What’s the balance between the two?  Oh, did you see the Did I Notice Your Book blog hop? It was a blast!! I’m trying to create a community for readers to meet and learn about up and coming authors. I’m hoping to expand the Knights of the Round Table group on Goodreads also. Unfortunately, time hasn’t allowed for much progress with that group. It is one of my goals for next year.

 Where do all these ideas come from?  They just sort of pop into my head. I usually bounce ideas off Mr. Knight. When I first came up with Did I Notice Your Book, I remember asking my husband if I should try it. I mean, who would find the post, right? He told me I had nothing to lose, so go for it. That was the day I got over myself. If I want to try something on my blog that could be an epic fail, who cares. I just figure out what went wrong and go in a new direction.

Oh, that DINYB series generates some interesting emails. LOL.

For someone just starting out (like me!), where do you suggest that person concentrate his/her efforts? First off, go meet some bloggers by reading posts and leaving comments. When you work on your own posts, concentrate on something you love. If you love to knit, have a post once a week about knitting. Love movies or books, write reviews. When you write about something you are passionate about people will read and enjoy your posts. It doesn’t have to be 100% books and writing. Try to make a schedule and stick to it. You can lose followers if you only post once in awhile.

How and when should a newbie measure success at this? Hmm…I don’t think anyone should try to measure their success. If you enjoy blogging, do it. If you don’t, find something else that you enjoy. If you blog just to be successful and sell lots of books, people will see through that. I truly love interacting with others online and I’ve learned so much from other bloggers.

Thanks, Ciara, for sharing your experience and expertise. We’re looking forward to your releases.

It was my pleasure. Good luck with your new blogging endeavor. I know it will be great! I’ll be following you. 🙂

Love’s Long Shadow

Sammy Lorre was cast from Heaven for conduct unbecoming an angel. Living in a demon-infested small town with no memory of her previous life, she faces never-ending purgatory until Boon saunters into her life with a promise of angelic love. But is he an angel from Heaven or a minion from the underworld preying on her human emotions? To discover his true identity, she must risk eternal damnation and her heart.

42 thoughts on “A Conversation on Platform Building with Ciara Knight

    1. Ciara Knight says:

      Wendy – I think you have to set time constraints. Also, short posts are great. People actually read them, and it takes you less time to write them. Series are a fantastic, because you copy and paste the info from week to week. Then, you just add the updated stuff. I hope this helps.

  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh says:

    Ciara has certainly mastered the art of blogging! This guy likes to read her posts as well. And I’ve been a big fan of the “Did I Notice Your Book” series from the first post, because I’d just started following Ciara and her first one was my book!

  2. Maggie Blackbird says:

    Great interview, Ciara. I especially love this piece of advice: I don’t think anyone should try to measure their success. If you enjoy blogging, do it. If you don’t, find something else that you enjoy.

    1. Ciara Knight says:

      I really believe that, Maggie. When I hit someone’s blog who constantly talks about the only reason he/she blogs is to promote books, it is kind of a turn off. I want to feel invited. 🙂

  3. Arlee Bird says:

    Can’t disagree with anything here. Truly effective blogging requires a steady ongoing commitment. It’s work, but it can be fun too. I’ll have to admit that my favorite thing that you do on your blog is the Did I Notice Your Book?, but I’ll bet you could have guessed that.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Ciara Knight says:

      It is so cool to see what everyone has to say. I have some favorites that I rush to every morning. There are more that I love and try to visit as often as possible. As we all know, sometimes schedule can get in the way, but I quickly head over when time allows. I’ll actually go back and read posts I’ve missed, but I only comment on the most recent one.

  4. Joselyn Vaughn says:

    Great tips! I like short posts for reading and writing. I try to limit my posts to about 300 words.

    I am so jealous of being able to spend hours working on writing and writing-related things. I get minutes and they are rarely consecutive.

      1. Ciara Knight says:

        Sherry – Another thing is to highlight major points and end with a highlighted question. If you have multiple things on your blog due to participating in a hop, guest post, etc… Make sure to segregate the post somehow. That way people looking for something specific can find it. Most of your loyal followers will read everything.

  5. J Q Rose says:

    Ciara, thanks so much for tips on blogging. I am trying to get the hang of it now. I began thinking a blog was only to sell my book. I see now it should be a more friendly, warm, get-to-know you style. You inspired me. Hey, that Tess really gets right in to the nitty-gritty doesn’t she with those probing questions. Great job on the questions and answer, Ladies.

  6. Ciara Knight says:

    J Q – You can certainly sell your books on a website, or leave them up in your sidebars. No one will mind that. Always have your books on display, just don’t post about them every day. 🙂
    I hope you enjoy blogging! You’ll meet a ton of great people like Tess.

  7. Sandy Nachlinger says:

    Thanks for an informative, down-to-earth interview. You’ve confirmed my suspicion that I’m not blogging often enough. Remedying that is a New Year’s resolution!
    BTW, I found this interview through a mention by Joselyn Vaughn on Facebook.

  8. Old Kitty says:

    Hello to Tess and the amazingly named Ciara! I remember having to join blogger in 2007 just because I wanted to leave a comment on a friend’s page and then abandoning this scary new medium until 2010! LOL! Now I’m addicted!

    I am in total AWE at Ciara (oh I do like this name!!) and how she juggles family and blogging and fab writing! Yay! Take care

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