Monday, September 14, 2009

Interview with Casey from Literary Rambles

As you know, Literary Rambles is Writing it Out's Blog of the Month! You can see why I selected her blog here, but you might get a better idea of how great Literary Rambles is from reading about it in Casey's own words!

Why did you start blogging?
Before the creation of Literary Rambles, I had a slew of other blogs. There was one for life rambling, one for photography, and even one for awful, angsty poetry, so when I started getting serious about being a writer, it was only natural for me to start another with a focus on my newest journey. In the beginning, I just wanted to connect with the awesome kidlit blog community and had no clue what to post, pretty embarrassing when you’re claiming to be a writer and all. Now, all those other blogs are gone, and I think Literary Rambles finally has a greater purpose.

What do you hope people get from your blog?
I hope people can come to Literary Rambles to learn and find the information they’re looking for on the submission process and the agents that interest them, and I’d like to think my blog has the potential to inspire other bloggers. It wasn’t much when I started it, but I think it has grown into something really useful and fun.

There’s another thing, and I’m not sure if I’ve really stressed it enough, but I hope people come away from my blog knowing how important it is to respect themselves and their careers as writers. Slow down, do your research, make informed decisions. If you’re in it for a career, you need to know what you’re getting into, and you need to make decisions based on what they mean for your future. Don’t just take whatever agent will have you (really, even if it’s only one), respect yourself enough to ask the right questions, get in touch with a couple of the agent’s clients if you have any doubts, and try to make a truly informed decision. It’s true that you can’t know how you and an agent will work together until you’ve tried, but there are certainly things you can do to lay a strong foundation for success.

What kinds of features or memes do you try to do with your blog?
My main feature is Agent Spotlight, which goes up each Thursday. Many people seem to think they’re interviews, but they’re actually profiles. I compile whatever information I can find on an agent from general knowledge like the genres they represent to information that’s harder to find, like known sales and whether or not they’re editorial. Right now, Agent Spotlight focuses on agents who represent at least one area of children’s fiction.

Then there’s Wednesday’s Word Count, which goes up on, you guessed it, Wednesday. It’s your typical, weekly work-in-progress report. I post my own progress, state a new goal for the week, and try to encourage my readers to do the same. For the writer that doesn’t have a daily writing schedule, I believe goals can make the difference between making real progress and getting nowhere fast.

Every once in awhile I do have an actual interview or guest post and those generally go up on Mondays. I’d like to host them more often, but I haven’t had as much time as I need to get a strong schedule going. I’m working on it though, and have a few exciting things lined up, so definitely stay tuned!

My newest addition is Research Tip Tuesday. I’ve been collecting research tips from my readers, and I post one each week. I’m only one person and I’m always, always learning so it’s great to tap into the collective knowledge of the community and share some of what’s there.

On that note, if anyone here is interested in submitting a research tip, writing a guest post, or being interviewed please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com and I can give you details on what I’m looking for. I’d love to feature more people!

What have been the best advantages of blogging? The biggest downfalls?
Making friends and networking is by far the best advantage. I’ve made many great friends in the writing community (you’re all so wonderful and giving!), and I’ve networked with numerous other writers and agents who, in time, may yet become friends as well. You just never know.

Blogging has also been a sort of vessel for personal growth. I’ve learned a lot through the discussions we’ve had, the comments people have left, and it’s pushed me to research a lot of things (and agents!) I might not have otherwise. If nothing more, a blog can give you an outlet for a different kind of writing than you do in your books, which can be a surprisingly good exercise or warm up.

The biggest downfall probably lies in time-consumption or expectations. It takes a lot of time to run an active blog, and even more to be active in the community. Then there’s the added stress of expectations. My readers expect certain things from my blog (and rightly so) and I have to deliver if I want to keep their respect. Fortunately, I really do enjoy the upkeep (obviously, I keep adding more features rather than less!) and view it as a kind of test. If I publish someday, I’m going to have many similar responsibilities, more even, and each challenge I overcome makes me more confident about the future I’m striving to reach.

What is your favorite blog on writing or reading? Why?

Gosh, this is the hardest question of the set! Each blog I read offers a little something different. Some inspire while others teach and others humor. There really isn’t a clear favorite among them. I do tend to get more out of agent blogs and blogs that regularly talk about the craft, but sometimes it’s that funny or inspirational blog that means the world to me in the moment I’m reading it. That said, if you hop on over to my Lit Rambles, there are several lists of blogs there that I read regularly, though these days my Google Reader is home to many, many more.

Thanks so much for the interview, Beth. Literary Rambles is truly honored to be your Blog of the Month for September!


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