Friday, June 15, 2012

Ane Mulligan: The Queen Of Platform

Everyone's Story welcomes Ane Mulligan. Everyone, it seems, connected to writing knows Ane! And loves Ane. With grace, humor, willingness to roll up her sleeves to combat hard work, and most of all, her eagerness in helping others, there's a great reason or hundred and so to admire this very special and lovely woman.

Ane is sharing with us tips for mastering social media rather than social media mastering/controlling us. Please join us for fun and awesome information. Ane looks forward to hearing from you if you'd like to ask her advice on building your author's platform... of if you'd just enjoy saying hello. And, of course, I'd enjoy hearing from you as well.

Questions for Ane:

Sara Wannabe-Author has prepared and perfected her pitch for the upcoming writer’s conference and has built up a solid platform. Yet, she struggles with the logistics of how to work the platform success into her pitch. Does she start with a hooking story concept and then casually drop a “oh, by the way, my very active social media site BetterThanFaceBook.Com is doing gangbusters worldwide,” or do you suggest the opposite?

Always start with the hook. If they're interested then you launch into your platform, but after you've discussed the story.

Courtesy Google Images

Ane, I admire your Internet presence, especially how you come across enjoying the time you put into it. What tips can you share in time management: platform building vs. writing time?

It's a balance, but I spend 3-4 hours a day writing and maybe 2 on platform building.
That time can be broken into small chunks, too. During lunch, I check Facebook, coffee break gets a tweet or two. It's manageable if you don't get caught up in the social media.

With Novel Rocket, I have my days booked into next year already. During the 3rd week of then month, I email next month's guests, reminding them of their dates and their deadlines. I can take the guest post as early as they want to send it, but the deadline is 1 week prior to posting. That way, if they miss the deadline (rarely happens) I can either write something or pull from another source and schedule it.

The biggest problem is controlling your social media time. When I first got involved, I spent way too much time and deleted my accounts. A year later and lots wiser, I reopened them. Now I have my personal blog auto-posts to Facebook and Twitter, and I blurb Novel Rocket on those as well. That takes all of 3 minutes.

Is there such a creature as Over-Platform in that too many venues can work against you?

Well, too many social media can waste your time—especially if you're friends with all the same people. I choose to use the largest, and those that will return the most for my time. For instance, the largest demographic on Pinterest is of stay-at-home moms. And a huge number of those are readers.  

So choose the social media or platform that will give you a large audience of readers. One of the best for that is The Book Club Network, which connects writers with book clubs. 

Other than your own sites or friends or your Great Aunt Tilda’s The Lost Soul Blog (only kidding!), what are some of Ane Mulligan’s favorite sites to enjoy downtime? 

I just gave you one, The Book Club Network, and others are Girls Write Out, Southern BelleView, Seekerville, Chip MacGregor's blog, A Life in Pages, and the list goes on. I join a lot of blogs and get them via email. I save them for after dinner viewing while the hubs is watching a sporting event. ;o)

If Story is King Platform is Queen by Ane Mulligan

In the court of publishing, if story is king, platform is queen. You’ve written a great novel, but so have a lot of folks. How do you sweeten the deal to increase your odds of earning a publishing contract? By having a ready-made readership before you’re published.  

When I first started writing, I heard one of the things an editor will do when considering your proposal is look at your Internet presence; they Google your name. I tried it and came up with nothing. Nada. Zip.

So, my critique partners and I worked hard building a web presence. First, we started Novel Journey (now Novel Rocket), which has been listed in Writers Digest's 101 Top Websites for Writers numerous times.

The next steps were a website, a personal blog, and taking advantage of all the social media that came along: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and a host of others.

Some cool benefits have come my way from the hard work. While I don't have a book contract yet, I'm often asked to endorse books as senior editor of Novel Rocket. It cracks me up, but there it is. Google my name today and see what you find. If I'd been trying to keep a low profile, it hasn't work.

I'm often asked, "What should I put on my blog?" Here's a few ideas:

Tie the blog topic into your writing. For example, if you are a devotional writer, have a devotional blog. If you write westerns, your blog could be cowboy focused, etc.
Romance writers could feature “how they met” stories, etc. Below are ideas of things to include:
  • Hobbies
  • Your journey
  • Links to other blogs or news articles
  • Book reviews
  • Find a niche (eg. review only writing ‘how to’ books, blog just writer’s conference information, all about your favorite writer (make sure this is a big name)
  • What have you searched for on the Internet and weren’t able to find?
And here are few traffic secrets:
  • Link to other blogs (networking)
  • Lots of Content (this doesn't mean long posts, but lots of fresh ones)
  • Blogrolls/Rings
  • Feature other blogs (or give awards for the best western blog, writer’s blog, etc.) The winner will mention the “award” and link to your site
  • Send an e-mail to everyone in your address book about your blog launch
  • Add your blog address to your email signature
  • When you write articles, etc, make sure your site is plugged
  • Leave comments on other blogs. Add buttons to Tweet, Facebook, Google+, etc your blog post
A WORD OF CAUTION: Be discerning on what you put into cyberspace. The publishing world is incredibly small, and one post taken the wrong way, can come back to haunt you. When in doubt, cut it out.

You can find me hanging out at Novel Rocket or at Southern-fried Fiction, my personal website/blog. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Thanks for having me! 

Author Bio:

Sr. Editor of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane Mulligan is a published playwright, a syndicated blogger, sought after book reviewer, multi-published playwright and humor columnist for ACFW's Journal, as well as being a three-time finalist in the Genesis and BRMCWC Writers fiction contests. 


  1. Ane, I already do most of the things you recommend, but haven't figured out Pinterest yet. I am going to subscribe to your blogs. This is great advice. Thanks!

    1. Hi Caroline ♡ I had attempted Pinterest, but ended up canceling my account--just couldn't grasp it. Maybe it's the old saying: different things for different folks? Also, for me, it was a matter of severely limited time. I'm curious to see what Ane says.

  2. Caroline, Pinterest isn't hard and it's actually lots of fun. You simply upload photos into folders. I've made ones for my WIPs and Things the Tickle Me and a few others. :) I don't keep up with it a lot, but it's fun, and it's a great site to get photos from.

  3. What a great interview! Thanks for the tips, Ane!

    1. Welcome, Martha, to Everyone's Story! I truly appreciate your feedback in knowing that my efforts seem to be working.

      Ane's advice is always terrific.

  4. Ane, you're one delightful, witty woman! Thank you for the post and advice. I just read your blog on ACFW--"Quills of a Feather Should Flock Together"--thank you for that, too! The writing community is wonderful and so supportive of one another. It's good to be reminded where we can find kindred spirits. God bless!

    1. Cathy, thanks for the visit. And I agree about the writing community: I think the "kindred spirits" factor is why I get a natural high at conferences :)

  5. Really enjoy this! Now... I'm off to check out Pinterest!

    1. A warm welcome, Kathy. Good luck with Pinterest.

  6. Thanks, Mart, Cathy, and Kathy!

  7. Ane and Elaine, thank you so much for the fabulous interview and insight. Ane, I'm a huge fan of Chip MacGregor's as well. He posts excellent info. Not sure if you've checked him out, but a newsletter I love as well is Rob Edgar: Rob posts every few days, and his comments/insight are short, to the point, and great info.

    I'd love to ask you about Pintrist. I've stepped back from diving in, because I'm unsure of the copyright of photos used on an individual's site. I'd appreciate hearing your take on the do's and don'ts of Pintrist along with the best approach.

    :) I signed up for the Novel Rocket newsletter. I'm always looking for another source with excellent marketing/writing insight. Have a fabulous day, and I wish you continued success and many book sales!

    1. Hi, Diana. Glad you enjoyed Ane's segment. Novel Rocket is a dynamic site.

      Now, I'll have to check out Rob's site as well.

    2. Hey, Diana (that's a Georgia hello). I'm careful about what I post on Pinterest, but the majority are photos I've taken or have been on Facebook. Some are my characters and yes, you do need to be careful, but usually royalty photos can't be copied or there is a watermark on them. I'm glad you'll be getting Novel Rocket. The posts there are new daily and besides the interviews, there's a lot of good teaching there. :) We're grateful to all those who guest post.

  8. Hi Ane,
    I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing your innovative ideas. I think giving an award would be fun.

    1. Thank you, Gail! Awards are always fun to give. :)

  9. Thanks Gail for visiting Everyone's Story and enjoying Ane's segment. Hope to see you again.

  10. I love Novel Rocket. It's quality writing and I always learn something. Thanks Ane and Elaine for this wonderful interview.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the segment, Tessa. And glad you visited :)

    2. Thank you, Tessa. I have to say I'm a fan of your books!!

  11. Ane, you are a sweetheart. I enjoyed meeting you at conference! Thanks for all you do. Great article and I shared it on FB. Thanks Elaine, for hosting Ane!

    1. Thanks, Carrie!! The feeling is mutual. Hope to see you in Dallas! And thanks for sharing this on FB. :)

  12. Carrie, thanks for the visit on Everyone's Story, but thanks TONS for plugging my blog on FB, plus Following it. What a true gift to arrive home from a day away to discover all this.

    Also, thanks to another new Follower: Elinor. You ladies are wonderful.

  13. Ane,
    Missed you at Blue Ridge this year. Very helpful advice here on blogging, thank you! And Elaine, you're right - everyone does love Ane!

    1. Glad you're back for another visit, Cynthia ♡

  14. Thank you, Cynthia. I really missed belong there!! Glad you made it, though. :)

  15. Ane, thank you so much for being this past week's guest on Everyone's Story. It's obvious that you have a fan club, but based upon how many hits your segment received, it's safe to conclude that you've gained more ☺ Your helpful guidance in all that is social media is much appreciated as well.

    I wish you well in your growing career.

    God bless,



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