Friday, March 13, 2009

Blogger of the Week:
Donna McDine--Write What Inspires You!...

Donna McDine worked as a cashier, a personal assistant, and a web designer before she figured out where she belonged--in the world of children’s books. She placed 12th in the children's/YA category of the annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition and recently signed her 1st book contract with Guardian Angel Publishing for The Golden Pathway.

Donna joined Stories for Children Magazine as Marketing Manager in January 2009, where she is responsible for featured guest interviews, establishing sponsorship and advertisers, and customer service inquiries. Her publishing credits include more than 15 print and ezine publications and she's a member of SCBWI and Musing Our Children. Visit her website and her blog--Write What Inspires You!--which she talks about below.

Why did you decide to start your blog?

When I started taking children’s writing courses in 2006, I started hearing about the importance of making your presence known and creating your platform. Of course, my initial reaction was “What the heck is a platform?” The Internet truly brings the world to your fingertips and with research and networking I have met many established authors along the way who gave me sound advice and guidance on starting a blog. I began my blog, Write What Inspires You! in May 2007 and have never looked back.

What’s the focus of your blog?

My blog offers writers of all levels an opportunity to learn from veteran authors with personal interviews, book reviews and valuable writing information links to writer’s resources. Up-to-date info will keep readers informed on upcoming events at the Metro NY SCBWI, Eastern NY SCBWI, and Musing Our Children. I am subscribed to several newsletters and when I come across a topic I think would be of interest to others I post part of the article with a link back to the newsletter, such as, Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book, SFC Newsletter for Writers, and Children’s Book Insider. Over time, my blog (I’m sure like many others) has taken a life of its own on.

What kind of posts will readers find there?

My posts vary and lately I’ve been focusing on hosting children’s authors with an interview posting and quite often a book review the day before the author visits. We encourage readers to leave comments and/or questions for the guest author to respond to. It creates a true give and take forum, one that I feel my visitors enjoy. Many times, a visitor will meet an author they never knew about or has known and this gives them the opportunity to “pick the brain” of the guest author.

What’s your advice for writers just dipping their toes into the blogosphere?

Start out slow. Clip ideas to blog on and blog 1-2 times per week. You will find over time, the ideas begin to flow and blogging will be a snap. Gather links to websites and blogs you find valuable (this helps tremendously in building a network). Comment on other blogs--this is important in getting yourself known and returning traffic back to you. Ask questions--no question is silly. At one time whoever you are chatting with was new to blogging too and I’m sure they will be more than happy to help you out.


Sheila Deeth said...

I'm fairly new to blogging and appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Donna M. McDine said...

Hi Sheila...thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your blogging. Any questions please ask.

Best wishes,

elysabeth said...

Great posting, Donna and Alice. I appreciate Donna's insight into things and how she seems to always be upbeat and encouraging to fellow authors and those just starting out, before the publishing contract. She really is an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing with us - E :)

Mary Cunningham said...

Interesting post. I'm following your blog now, Donna. Look forward to reading it.


Mayra Calvani said...

Great interview!

Donna's blog is great and full of valuable content for children's writers. I recommend everyone to visit it.

Simon Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna M. McDine said...

Wonderful to see you all here...much appreciated!

E...thanks for your positive put a spring in my step, or should I say my typing!

Mary...lovely to meet you here. I look forward to staying in touch.

Mayra...thanks for your kind supportive words...they are touching...thanks.

Simon...thanks for visiting today and it was terrific hosting you yesterday. I finally discovered how to set a future date and time on just yesterday... and it worked when I wanted it to. It certainly will make blogging even easier!

Warm regards,

elysabeth said...

Don't you just love that feature of posting in advance? I do. I know when times are busy, it can help a lot, espcially if you are tied up with deadlines and the like. I'm glad I put a spring in your typing. Wish someone would do my work typing for me so I can move on to states 3, 4 and 5 and get them done, but alas, no one wants to take my job - wahhh :( -

It is nice to see some new faces here and some more familiar ones as well. Good luck with everything - E :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks for a great interview, Alice.

Donna, you are a true inspiration to all of us. Thanks for what you do.


Cynthia Reeg said...

You are an inspiration. You set your goals and go full steam ahead. Thanks for sharing your insights. And congrats on all your accomplishments.


Donna M. McDine said...

Beverly and Cynthia...thank you for stopping by today and for your lovely words of support. Our connection is truly appreciated.

Best wishes,

Solvang Sherrie said...

Good tips. I started blogging last summer and it has been an incredibly fun journey :^)

Margot Finke said...

Donna and Alice, cool interview, mates. Donna'd blog, and her great advice to writers, is an inspiration.

Fairdinkum it is!!

Margot Finke

* MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES - Writing Help - "Musings"
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

So many great ideas. I'm familiar with Stories for Children and all they do. What I'd like to add is that people who write in other genres can benefit by cross promotion and networking in genres different from theirs.

Thanks for all you do, Donna!


Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Website picks,

Lori Calabrese said...


Thanks as always for sharing all of your writing and blogging tips! Blogs truly do take on a life of their own. I recently celebrated my one-year blog-aversary and it's become easier to find things to talk about and share with others. It's actually become addicting and I need someone to stand over me and slap my wrist sometimes to say, "Step away from the computer!" :)

Congrats on all of your success-you deserve it!

Katie Hines said...

Donna, I enjoyed the interview. It gave me some more ideas on what to do with my blog. It is only 3 months old, so I've got a lot to learn.

Beth said...

Thanks for encouraging so many writers, Donna. I love your "Write What Inspires You" newsletter. Continued best wishes with it.

ALice, I used your market guide just this week to look for new writing gigs. Talk about a thick book! LOL

Donna M. McDine said...

Solvang, Margot, Carolyn, Lori, Katie & Beth...thank for your stopping by today. Glad my tips are helpful.

Talk about being soon as I got back from b-ball I went straight to the computer. But wanted to check-in one more time before I call it a night.

An OPEN invite...if you would ever like to be my guest blogger contact to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Donna M. McDine said...

Alice...thank you for having me as your Blogger of the Week...I had a great time being here and met several new people.

Best wishes,

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

I started blogging the exact same way in December of 2008. I have been taking writing courses also and the word platform was part of the agenda. So here I am blogging and I plan to continue. Thanks for the advice and Happy Blogging.

Kevin McNamee said...

Great interview Donna, thanks for sharing with us.


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