Blogger Roxie Hanna: Carving out your niche

Some blogs are purely informative, some pure fun.

Roxie Hanna’s versatile blog just happens to be both.

Hanna began the blog with the intent of creating a resource for “no-fee” writing opportunities.

Now it has grown to be a great tool for education and inspiration.

Hanna provides writers with industry news and inspires them by featuring successful authors.

Bothered by writer’s block or stress? No problem. Hanna’s Sunday Funnies will help you unwind.

Become enveloped in the warm voice of Roxie Hanna as she discusses below the journey and growth of her blog.

Straight From The Blogger’s Mouth

Hey Law, thanks for inviting me to your fabulous blog! Let me introduce myself to your readers: I am a freelance writer and editor, specializing in ghostwriting projects. My focus is on my ‘day job’, which like many of you, keeps me extremely busy.

Three years ago, when I began my blog, I thought I would cut down on freelancing work and dive into submitting my stack of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s pieces I’ve written over the years. I adamantly stated I wouldn’t take on any new clients…well those words have been pretty tasty, but they do travel to the bank and that’s important.

Now I submit my work, freelance, and somehow juggle it all, letting a ball slip to the ground but never dropping them all, yet. I serve as judge on short story and poetry contests, contribute to various magazines, sit (stand mostly) as poet-in-residence at a two-year college, and edit students’ book reviews. Occasionally I teach at workshops and conference sessions, and do anything I can to support First Book and The Cheerios New Author Contest.

Can you tell me about your blog and the objective you hope to achieve?

Oh, good question! When I began Roxie’s Blog I wondered what I could add, how would I be different, unique and helpful to the blogosphere. I saw many people already weighing in on their writing expertise. I considered an alternative angle, topics people might be surfing for based on my own searches. I noticed a void in a bulletin board-type space for writers to become aware of avenues where they may submit work without entry or reading fees.  I began listing these no-fee venues for writers, poets, and visual artists. Then I expanded to spotlighting writers, illustrators, visual artists, and song writers, offering tidbits of knowledge from my experience, as well as information about the market place.

This year, I began a Top Twos-day column, posting the most interesting items to cross my desk in a week. My blog is still evolving, and in the fall my plan is to add a weekly column series. Upcoming topics will focus on editing, agents, publishing, ghostwriting, critique groups, and professional associations plus touch on the basics to cutting-edge ideas and technologies.

How did you get your blog started and how long did it take before you saw results?

Way back in 2009, hehehe, I kept seeing advice from agents and publishers for writers to ‘have a platform’. I searched online and asked people, not necessarily writers, how they established an online presence. Most often I heard Twitter was the ‘it’ venue and WordPress offered the most adaptability for styling a blog. I jumped in with both feet. Now I’m thrilled to say I have a presence on Twitter, Goodreads, and StumbleUpon as roxiewriter, on Pinterest as theroxiewriter, on Facebook as Roxie Hanna, and at NetworkedBlogs. I love company, come hang out with me and we’ll enjoy this networking journey together!

To the second part of the question: I’m not sure what results I was looking for, I was thrilled if someone read my blog! I watched my stats like a hawk and soon found out this was like waiting for water to boil!  I decided I couldn’t make my stats go up any more than I could cause the stock market to increase on any given day. That led me to recall why I began the blog. With my perspective in focus I concentrated on creating the best one I could, and the results have paid off fairly well. Slow and steady like the tortoise and the hare race…I’m not in it to win a popularity contest. But I do enjoy readers’ responses and get a thrill when people push my ‘like’ button, 🙂

What are some tips?

First, be yourself…it’s a crowded world out here, if you can carve your own niche, you’ll be able to sustain the initial momentum. Visit blogs, become a regular commenter following favorite sites, taking note of features striking your ‘like’ button. No one blogger has a formula, nor is there a map to plot out the best way to produce a successful blog. It’s a combo thing.

Also, I believe you should move out of your comfort zone. Innovative expanses may be awkward and scary, but keep your eyes focused on the end goal, why you want to blog in the first place. Learn all you can about your craft, practice to gain confidence and then polish your work so your best becomes your standard.

IMHO it’s extremely important to surround yourself with positive people. You’ll hear enough negative voices in your own head, doubting your abilities, keeping you from moving forward. You can borrow the first rule comedians use, the answer is always ‘yes’ when doing an improv skit, which would allow you to go with the flow and never stress about whatever direction you’re heading.
If you could share a bit of wisdom with aspiring authors who desire to create a successful blog, what would it be?

I guess the best advice I have to offer is to build a blog you’d like to read. And then play around with it, never letting it become stagnant. Try enhancing your style. Find your strengths, play to them, and enjoy communicating with your readers. Have fun. Everyone says it, but are they, really?

Stretch yourself: did you write an historical fiction? You might consider writing posts about various topics that are side shoots from your work. If you did the research for your book, you’ve already done the homework for an interesting article.

Supplement your book: is your genre chick lit or romance? Pick one of the minor characters and explore what she will do in a variety of settings. Play the what-if game with her personality and see where it takes you.

Readers love connecting with authors on another level. Use your posts to share how you developed the book, series, characters, setting, etc. Give them juicy details and don’t forget to add the material you decided to leave out. All the hard work writing a scene and then you cut it…tell them!

Add, add, add to streamline your time. Link up your accounts, if possible, and make a schedule you’ll stick to. If you honor your own deadlines, you become a better writer. This builds confidence. You’ll realize you can tackle a 1500 word piece with just as much ease as a 50 word summary.

Don’t forget to subtract, too. Purge those time-stealers, stuff you keep putting off because it’s like writing those thank you cards after your birthday. Or just do them. Either way, be aware of how much time you’re spending on your blog; you don’t want to be so wrapped up in your platform you forget to create your product!

Connect with Roxie Hanna:

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59 thoughts on “Blogger Roxie Hanna: Carving out your niche”

    1. Roxie, I think you marketing suggestions are incredibly helpful. I am not a person that sells myself well, so it is difficult for me. The more I read your suggestions, the more I know that I can do this. Thanks for all your help!

      1. Hey Jenny! Thanks for reading…I know exactly what you mean. I find it’s easier to talk about something I’m passionate about, and your book is your passion, you CAN do this! 🙂

  1. What a great interview and very well timed for me as i have just joined your own pages. great to learn more about the Roxie behind Roxie.. c

  2. Dear Law,
    Thanks for inviting Roxie for an interview.
    Dear Roxie,
    Thanks for sharing your blog journey with us. You’re right, surrounding yourself with positive people is a good idea. Being around you is definitely a positive experience people will remember.
    Good luck in your writing endeavors.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    1. Hey Joan!
      Sweet of you to come back for the rest of the meal, hehehe…you are definitely one of the positive people I hang around! 🙂

  3. Great post! Glad to read that other writers are still fine-tuning their blogs, too…mine is still a work-in-progress, but I’m enjoying the work immensely and my readership numbers are increasing, so that’s good. and “positive” is definitely the only way to go! Thanks for your insights today. Enjoyed reading this.

    1. Hi Sylvia,
      You are right, fine-tuning constantly! I’m so glad your blog is enjoyable…if we can’t have fun, why continue? Kudos for surrounding yourself with positive people, and thank you very much for your thoughts!
      Best wishes as you continue your blog…stopped by and found it absolutely delightful!

  4. I am an avid fan and follower of Roxie Hanna and her blog, and have suggested her blog to contacts interested in writing and poetry. Her ‘sharings’ are educational, informative and helpful, and her humor delightful. Thanks, Law, for the Roxie Hanna interview!

    1. Hey Rosemary,
      You’re FAB, thanks for stopping by to read, I really appreciate your high praise, coming from you it means more than you’ll know.
      Glad you signed my book Saturday, you are AWESOME!

  5. I super enjoyed blogging for Roxie! Easy going, but professional and always friendly! I always stop in my Facebook and Twitter feed to see what’s happening in Roxie land–she always has something interesting to say and the opportunities she finds are fabulous 🙂

    All The Best
    Stephanie Beck

    1. Miss Fab Stephanie!
      I remember when you won that contest you spotted on my blog – whoohooo! and we celebrated! Can’t thank you enough for your support over the years!

  6. I’ve been following Roxie’s blog for a while now. Not only does she provide great information, she also is a wonderful voice of encouragement. I’m so pleased to read this interview and find out a bit more about her.

    1. I am humbled by your kindness…you are one of those fine people I surround myself with, the cocoon of encouragement!

  7. Roxie,
    Thank you for posting my interview on your blog. My agent was particularly impressed with it. I told her that you “dressed it up” to make it more presentable without editing the contents. Thanks again.
    Anthony R. Carrozza

    1. Tony,
      What can I say to those amazing words? You are my inspiration, and my connection to all things literary agent wise, hehehe. Truly a fan of yours for life, 🙂

  8. Wow. Great article! I’ve been following Roxie’s Blog for quite some time now, and, if you ask me, it is one of the must useful and interesting resources out there. If you are interested in writing, or just good reading, Roxie’s Blog is a must.

    It keeps me abreast of new markets to sell my work (not to mention markets I might just want to read), as well as letting me know what the new developements in the industry are, and who the up and coming players are. It a world wide web filled with data, Roxie’s Blog is one of the most useful stops.

    I am soooo happy to see someone focus on her, because she does a lot to focus on us.

    1. Tom,
      Aw shucks, you make me blush! You’ve been one of my best buds since the beginning…HUGS! I am truly inspired by you and your work, humbled by your kind words, and will strive to live up to them. 😉

  9. When Roxie interviewed me for her blog on March 6, the first thing I realized was that her questions were all excellent, the kind that make you slow down and think. It was one of my best blog experiences ever and I became a fan of Roxie on the spot. David

    1. David,
      Thank you for dropping in on my interview here. A confession: your spotlight was the most difficult by far, because of all of your accomplishments! How could I attempt to reduce your achievements into 3 questions? But I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I am honored to be a part of the writing sphere with you.

  10. I’ve been watching Hanna for…what? A couple years now? What I appreciate about a writer’s writer like Hanna is that at the heart of what she does, there’s a sense of the proverbial hungry tiger, always scouring for something good and pouncing when she sees it. Except that hers is a quiet, thoughtful kind of pouncing that’s playful and considerate. And she’s apparently omnivorous, so whatever kind of writer you are, she’ll find something you like.

    1. Hey Ien,
      Gosh, it has been years! Love that description, people who know me well will agree 100%, hehehe. Thank you for all your support, your friendship and your wisdom!

  11. I follow Roxie on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog often to find out what she’s up to. It is proffessional, always uplifting and helpful. I’ve blogged for Roxie before and the pleasure was all mine to hang out at her ‘place’.

    Stephanie Beck

    1. Did thoroughly enjoy having you in the spotlight, Stephanie! What compliments, thanks, I have to say the pleasure has been in knowing you and reading your work 😉

  12. Great article, Law, on talented Roxie. You are one versatile girl, Roxiel! Appreciate your sharing from your heart; I have learned a lot from your comments and our association through the SCWW. Bless you.

    1. Hey Miss Carol,
      You’re awesome! Not only do I enjoy your stories, but our giggles together can’t be beat…it’s a wonder we’re not ROFL now! Thanks for hanging out with me in real and cyber life 😉

  13. aloha Law and Roxie – your Q & A session brings a number of things to mind. …you know how i can ramble – so that’s what i’ll do – a couple of thoughts:

    – i’ve been exploring blog-ness for 6 or 7 years (the last couple on WordPress). as Roxie points out blogs evolve – once i had that figured out, plus the idea that i could do what ever i wanted on “my blog” – blogging became a lot more fun. so i dont try to stick to any one way or one thing – as Roxie points out – i experiment and risk (good idea, good place to do it too). that stuff tends to evolve and sometimes finds a new niche in the things i do that are fun. …at times i do get heavy into something – like haiga and haiku for the last…ahem, few years?? what i find curious is this idea of a “successful” blog. what exactly is that? yes, i watch my stats too. and i enjoy interacting with people in comments. i’m not sure that is my definition of success though. …maybe fun has something to do with it and yeah, those things are fun. so… what is your definition of a successful blog? one others want to go to and explore? hmmmm…

    – i find this curious about me: although i enjoy writing (a lot), i find it hard for me to consider myself a writer (i’m okay with that because i know i am a writer if i write – it’s just hard to think of myself that way). i am not trained in that field. my schooling and experience is in the field of visual arts. so a lot of the things writers do and how they go about publishing or getting published etc. is hard for me as well as confusing. yet i find i almost always gravitate to writers when i interact through blogs, on the net and even in person – more so than visual arts people (although i do connect and interact with them as well). i find that curious.

    – Roxie’s style suits me. she is positive (yeah, i like that too). she is informative (way cool on that, i’ve learned things in her posts that i suspect writers may know and some may think i know – when i really dont know much at all about being a writer) – so it’s way fun to follow her blog. i think blogging at this time is becoming a way to gain an experience-education as well as a way to leave a documentation of our world – or maybe a link between schooling and the world of life. we all know something useful that might be helpful to someone else – and (imo) we can all learn from almost anyone else too – so why not share that in our blog interactions – in this way we all gain. i think Roxie does this well on her blog. the best teachers are students and the best students are teachers (yeah, i’ve said that at other times – i still believe it).

    – and… i’m coming closer and closer to the point where i will take advantage of the many juicy opportunities Roxie places in her posts that are current and a great fit in many ways with things i like to do – including that writer brick i carry around. cool on that and thank you Roxie.

    the Q & A is fun and insightful (particularly into Roxie’s thinking) – thank you to both of you, Law and Roxie. aloha and fun blogging on.

    1. Rick,
      You bring a huge smile to my face…aloha my friend! All your kinds words, smooches to you! The day I worked on your interview q’s I thought I’d have to take a class, you are one complex, multi-talented dude! World traveler, visual artist and writer (yes you are!) I am so very privileged to know you. Amazing work, follow him at you will marvel too!

    2. I guess the idea of a successful blog has a lot to do with one’s own personal goals.

      I know for me, my blog’s aim is to give self-published authors inspiration and education when it comes to pursuing a successful literary career specifically to urban fantasy and romance genres. So success to me would be providing information about that, engaging authors and readers, and growth.

      I do have a goal in mind about how many numbers I want to see a week. I even have blogs that I like and aspire to move towards.

      Have checked out some of your artwork by the way.Really like Rising Beyond The Planet Edge

  14. Thank you Roxie and Law for a great and insightful interview. Roxie – you are a wonder woman – so inspirational and multifaceted. I am in awe of all you do! I have been a follower of Roxie’s Blog for a while now and appreciate all of the advice and opportunities that you offer. As a new blogger, I am always looking for ways to stretch my wings and take those scary leaps off of tall buildings! Thanks for everything you have done and given!

  15. Roxie,
    I’m new to your blog – three years? – OMGosh, I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been ‘hanging out’ on your site, I’m sad I’ve missed so much. But I get to hang out with the ‘real’ you, so that’s not a bad deal. THANK YOU for being so generous of yourself – ALWAYS – and I know that such generosity of spirit will come back to you – a hundredfold! Great article – questions and answers – and your humor, well, everytime you made a funny, I could see your beautiful smile!

    1. Claire, you are fab! yes, I tried to spice it up with humor and not sex, tho’ perhaps next time…
      I appreciate you, and likewise am honored to hang out withya in person, sitting elbow to elbow as we journey this path together 🙂

  16. I’m overwhelmed, Roxy, at all your ideas and fans. They worship Lucky You, and rightfully so. I used most of your suggestions for my Doreen chapter and thank you so much for imbuing me with your professional eye.
    Pat Fitz

    1. Pat, thankyouverymuch, I am humbled and honored by all the support, kind words, and sentiments, I had no idea…
      That’s a super chapter, thanks for letting me stick my nose in it 🙂

  17. WONDERFUL post and great suggestions and advice. I enjoy reading your blog, and thank you for visiting mine! I started a blog (moaning no no no I don’t wanna) a little over a year ago, and I have surprised myself in how much I love blogging. First, it’s fun to put my little fun “I” pieces out there for the world to see; second, I love connecting with all the other writers out there doing the same. A win/win situation.

    1. hey RW1! so glad you wandered over here and left your imprint, thanks! Yes, it’s a big step, I’m so glad you’re enjoying blogging. Totally agree with the win/win concept… I think your site is awesome! 🙂

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