Blogging with Rachele Alpine

In the course of internet wanderings though, I’ve ran across a lot of really awesome people, and culled an enormous amount of information from blogs. As I raided my brain – yes, I picture myself on the prow of a Viking ship, approaching my own gray matter – for more people I’d like to interview, it repeatedly offered up names of bloggers. And so, the third series; Bloggers of Awesome. Yeah, it’s the BOA.

Even more special, today's guest is a fellow Ohioan - so it's a BOA-WoW! (We're Ohio Writers!) Rachele Alpine is a fellow Lucky 13'er, a high school English teacher by day (10th grader American Literature), and an MFA fiction student by night. Her contemporary YA, CANARY, will be coming from Medallion Press, Summer 2013.

So you run an excellent blog over at Freckle Head. What made you decide to take the approach you do on your blog?

I decided to make my blog an eclectic mix of things….the publishing process (I started the blog right when I signed with my first agent), reading reviews, pictures, every day life, and any other randomness I come across that grabs my interest. 

The reason I did this is because of my audience. I know a lot of bloggers have a targeted audience, but I don’t. I have found that all different types of people visit my blog. I have other authors who read it, book lovers, friends/family/old classmates, reviewers, bloggers, those interested in writing, co-workers and my students. 

I wanted to mix it up and put a little bit of everything for everyone up there, and that’s what you often get if you follow my blog. It makes it fun, because I never run out of ideas of what to write about.

I know a lot of aspiring writers who are intimidated by the idea of blogging.  They want to, but they are worried it will cut into their (already precious) writing time. You are a high school teacher by day, and an MFA student yourself. How do you make a balance?

I think you have to look at blogging as something you do, because you enjoy doing it. If you start looking at it as something you feel you have to do, it because hard and tedious. I look forward to sharing my feelings, pictures, ideas and opinions with my readers. I also love getting comments and feedback from them, and that makes it easy for me to find time to blog. If you build up a good relationship with your readers, it’s kind of like writing e-mails. You look forward to corresponding and sharing with them.

I don’t have a set schedule (the first I was blogging five days a week….which was NUTS!). This allows me to think of ideas and post things at random. I try to post two or three times a week, which is pretty manageable. Your posts also don’t have to be long. I like to read blogs too, and I really enjoy shorter posts because it allows me to visit more blogs. 

You’ve been blogging for three years. Did your approach change once you were published?

I don’t know if it’s changed that much, but I do know that I don’t blog as often.  It is hard to find the time. 

I do try to be very honest with my publishing journey, because I think that’s what helps your readers build trust in you. The process isn’t always easy, and I share that. The process can be a lot of fun, and I tell them about little things that I find interesting. The process can be slow, and I share my frustrations.  I don’t try to act like once I got a publishing contract, it all got easy. I try to be myself and share my successes and also those times when things don’t go the way I wish they would.

Do you think blogging is a helpful self-marketing tool?

I’ve read blogs that have led me to some amazing books, so I think in that sense, yes. It’s one of the main ways I find books. I hope readers of my blog will do the same. Of course I want them to go out and buy my book. A blog is a great way to market yourself and your book. It allows readers to get to know an author on a more personal level, and it’s another way they can connect to the book.

What other websites / resources can you recommend for writers?

I’m a huge fan (err…stalker) of John Green’s YouTube station, YA Highway, Nathan Bransford's blog, and Absolute Write.

What is your genre, and what led you to it? Does your genre influence the style of your blog?

I write contemporary YA. It’s really all I’ve read my whole life. I was never into other genres like fantasy, science-fiction or mysteries. I liked reading about realistic things. I was led to it at a young age, but I think I continue to read/write it because of my job. I teach high school Language Arts, so I’m surrounded by teenagers every single day. I can never get away from that world, so why not write about it!

I guess you could say it influences my blog, because I write about life and comment on many issues that teenagers might experience.

Any words of inspiration for aspiring writers?

Yes!  I have three main pieces of advice….

1)  Love what you’re writing…you need to be passionate about your writing or you’ll never be able to maintain the motivation to write.

2)  If you do love writing, never give up. Writing can be tough, but you need to keep pushing yourself day after day.

3)  Coffee, gummy candy and a puppy at your feet can work wonders when you’re writing