Vicky Lorencen and her family thrive in Michigan with a cat named Finn and a guinea pig named Oliver. By day, she is a communication specialist and media liaison for a regional health system, by night (or lunch time), Vicky writes picture books and middle grade novels. She’s been published in Highlights, Ladybug, Girls’ Life and many other children’s publications. Vicky is represented by literary agent Erin Murphy. Learn more at VickyLorencen.com.
Explain the inspiration for the title of your blog – Frog on a Dime.
Okay, well, in 2012, scientists met a frog in Papua New Guinea who was so small he could sit on a dime, with change to spare. He won the title of World’s Smallest Known Vertebrate. Once word got out about the wee dime sitter, amphibian experts noted that we keep finding smaller and smaller frogs. Why? An expert with Conservation International suggested the frogs are adapting to fill a niche that nothing else can fill. This teensy amphibian phenom of the rain forest captured my imagination because I see him as a metaphor for my little blog and its place in the blogosphere. And I guess that’s what I’m hoping my blog will do for readers (and for me)–fill a niche that nothing else can fill.
How long has Frog on a Dime been in existence? How often do you post? What topics do you tend to focus on?
Frog on a Dime celebrates its third anniversary this month. It debuted on December 15, 2012. I post 2 to 3 times a month. Frog on a Dime exists to be a source of encouragement. I’ve blogged about tough topics such as dealing with jealousy, writer’s block, rejection and as well as finding an agent or a critique group, and lots of how-to topics.
I noticed that you have well over 1000 followers. Have you engaged in promotional events in order to gain followers or has this number steadily grown over the years?
Followers have converged over time from a variety of sources—SCBWI, Facebook, conferences, and the like. Once in a while someone simply stumbles in while presumably searching for something else, likes what they read and stays. That’s gratifying. Promotional events have resulted in new followers each time, but so far, they haven’t caused a startling uptick.
Do you feel it is important for a pre-published author to have a web presence before launching their first book? Why or why not?
Absolutely. It’s important to have a positive and professional web presence, whether it be on social media, a blog, a web site, or any combination. If you don’t have a web site or don’t actively engage with social media, you’re pretty much invisible. That said, your writing and reading time must always have priority over building a web presence.
Even though I don’t have a published book, I chose to start a blog because I wanted to create a platform in preparation for the day I do. In the meantime, I knew I wanted to offer readers something. That’s when I decided that something would be encouragement because it’s something of value all creative folks need and I can give.
It might sound surprising, but as much as I enjoy Frog on a Dime, I believe blogs are not obligatory. Here’s a link to a post on the topic: http://vickylorencen.com/2014/07/06/4-reasons-you-really-mustnt-blog/
Explain the purpose of hosting a book giveaway.
Frog on a Dime exists to encourage, so if promoting a book I love for an author I admire will help to increase readership and awareness for the author, I’m happy to do it. If the giveaway results in a few new followers or awareness for my blog, that’s a delightful bonus.
While I typically tie a giveaway to an author interview or guest blog, I have done a few fun “untied” giveaways to generate excitement, engage readers and reward followers.
List the benefits in hosting a book giveaway campaign.
A book giveaway raises awareness of the book and its author (and/or illustrator), which may encourage book sales for the author.
A giveaway naturally raises awareness and good vibes for your blog, which may result in an increase in followers or readers.
It’s fun—you get to make the winner and the author happy. Fun is my favorite.
Describe the steps required to establish a book giveaway.
Assuming you already have a guest author blog post or interview, and have a copy of the book in hand or have a guaranteed source and you’re ready to roll . . .
1. Include the word giveaway in the title of your post. (The words Free and Giveaway were the prom queens of high school you know. So popular.)
2. Let your followers know you’re giving away the book mentioned (and shown) in the post. If it’s a signed copy or you can get it personalized for the winner, be sure to mention that.
3. You can let—uh, non-followers? pre-followers?—know about the giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, your SCBWI chapter’s list serve, telepathy or whatever medium you deem potentially effective.
4. Set a date/time deadline for entering and state when you’ll choose a winner.
5. Let contestants know what they need to do to enter—it can be as simple as leaving their name in the comment section of your post. I’ve asked for favorite quotes or feedback on my blog or suggestions for future posts or asked contestants to invite someone to follow, stuff like that. You could use bigger hoops, like “the person who writes the best whatever” versus a chance drawing, but that creates work for you. Ew.
6. Ask contestants to enter on your site itself versus commenting on Facebook. Otherwise, it’s tough to track who posted what, where and when, and some folks—believe it or not—may just enter without ever placing an eyeball on your blog. I know. Shocking.
7. Hit your deadline, pick your winner (you can use an app or just draw from little slips of paper like I do) and announce your winner in a follow-up blog post.
8. Let the winner know where to send his/her address.
9. Mail off that book with a friendly note. Have a cup of tea. You did good.
Who typically initiates a book giveaway campaign, you or the author/illustrator?
So far, I’ve been the initiator. I especially like to do giveaways for debut authors, so I’ll invite the author to guest blog or to be interviewed so we can promote the shiny, new book.
Do you find that hosting book giveaway campaign generates more activity on your blog?
Indeed. I do see an uptick in activity whenever I offer a giveaway of any kind on my blog. It’s worth the fuss.
Thanks very much for this opportunity! It was fun to share.
Thank YOU, Vicky!!! Wishing you all the best in your publishing pursuits.