Okay, so here’s the deal. You all have to be on your best behavior because my boss is here with us today and I want to make a great impression. Joyce is a fab writer, a wonderful lead for those of us on the HEA team, and a great lady. She has wonderful ideas for this new blog that focuses on romance – the books, the authors, and the readers – heaven, right? So, pull up a seat and find out how you can be part of the awesome adventure!
Show me a romance author who loves self-promotion and I’ll show you an author who’s faking it. Making it even harder for romance writers is that mainstream media really doesn’t acknowledge us. Unless you wrote Fifty Shades of Grey.
But USA Today has decided it likes romance novels. Millions of readers can’t be wrong, after all. And it’s about time, right? That means authors like you — and readers, too — have lots of opportunities to be featured at usatoday.com.
A little background: USA Today’s romance novels blog, Happy Ever After, http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/index launched in October, overseen by me. I’m a romance author myself (latest title is True Shot, a 2012 RITA finalist), so I know exactly how it feels — and how much time it takes — to promote a book.
Happy Ever After features book reviews, author interviews, book trailers and lots of other fun stuff. HEA also loves ALL romance novels, regardless of genre or method of publication. Romance novels in general have been discriminated against forever, so we all know how it feels to be excluded. That’s why HEA chooses to recognize everyone.
So, now to the important stuff: What can you do to get your name, book and links to your website, Facebook and Twitter mentioned on HEA? (HEA isn’t set up for solo guest posts, I’m afraid.)
Here are some ways that you can play at Happy Ever After:
– Say you and a friend read the same book but have completely different reactions to it. You could have a friendly conversation about it by e-mail, then you could put that conversation together (edit at will!) and send it off to me. If I like how it reads, I might run it at HEA. Such a post would include your name and info about your latest title as well as a link to your website. I’m looking for a friendly conversation: I’m not keen on slamming books. HEA is a positive community, after all. It’s OK to point out things that didn’t work for you. Just be diplomatic about it. Here’s an example of such a post, which I did with a friend, about Linda Howard’s Prey. http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/post/2011-11-08/two-avid-readers-discuss-prey-by-linda-howard/562942/1
– Say you and another author have discovered what you think might be a new trend in romance. You might do the same thing as in the previous example: have an e-mail conversation about it, pointing out where you see this trend and where you see it going, and maybe where you think it came from, then send it to me. I’m not saying I’ll use every conversation I get, but if I think you make good points in a fun way (emphasis on fun), then I could very well use it. Again, your name, book title and links to your website, Facebook and Twitter would be included.
– Say you and an author friend want to have a back-and-forth about a romance-related topic. Also possible! Check out this conversation that Jill Shalvis and I had about what makes romance heroes hot. http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/post/2012-05-21/jill-shalvis-what-makes-a-romance-hero-hot/698874/1
– Say you’re a debut, or newer, author who has a romance idol. Don’t we all? I might be able to get you two together for a fun interview or conversation that could get both of you attention on HEA. I can’t guarantee Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Nora Roberts, but you might be surprised how many best-selling authors are willing to help out a new author. In this example, Beatriz Williams interviewed Jayne Ann Krentz. http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/post/2012-04-25/debut-author-beatriz-williams-interviews-jayne-ann-krentz/681008/1
– If you’re not nervous about being on video, I would love to run video book reviews of about three minutes in length. If you have a friend who’s also not afraid of video, how cool would it be to do a short review in the vein of Siskel and Ebert? Not necessarily the thumbs-up-thumbs-down angle — remember we want to be positive. But an energetic discussion about a book in general, or a certain aspect of a book, would be wonderful. Making these videos doesn’t have to be difficult, either. If you have a smartphone with a video camera, we’re in business.
– Suppose you and another author have books coming out that have similar themes. A discussion playing off of that theme could be a lot of fun. Ruthie Knox and Kristan Higgins had this hilarious discussion about road-trip movies. http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/post/2012-02-11/kristan-higgins-and-ruthie-knox-share-their-favorite-road-trip-movies/625397/1
Speaking of themes, I suppose you’ve recognized a theme here. In times like these, I think readers and authors are especially hungry to be entertained and have a good laugh. And the wonderful thing about we romance writers is that we all have pretty darn good senses of humor.
There’s a reason the blog is called Happy Ever After!
If you’d like more information or have an idea for a post at HEA, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
So, hey, five people who leave a comment here will win a copy of my latest release, True Shot and some HEA swag. Readers can comment through midnight ET June 18. Please include your e-mail address. International readers welcome.
So, have you checked out HEA yet? Anything you’d like to see on the blog? Questions for Joyce about the blog, writing and being a RITA finalist are all up for grabs!
Sara Megibow is back with us on Wednesday – are you ready?
She oversees USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog about romance novels. Her guilty pleasures include The Real Housewives of New York, Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. She doesn’t have time to be ashamed.
Her website is JoyceWrites.com (http://web.me.com/joycelamb/Joyce_Lamb/Joyce_Lamb.html). You can also connect with her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoyceLamb) and Twitter (@JoyceLamb).
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