Posted On June 11, 2012 by Print This Post

It’s All About the Happy Ever After – with Joyce Lamb

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 jlamb@usatoday.com. 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?

***

Bio
Joyce Lamb is a double 2012 RITA finalist for her romantic suspense novels True Colors and True Shot and a 2011 Daphne du Maurier winner for True Vision.

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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50 Responses to “It’s All About the Happy Ever After – with Joyce Lamb”

  1. Morning Joyce!

    Love the title, Happy Ever After. =) That’s what it’s all about right? I like the humor, and the fact that you work on being positive – there isn’t enough of that in the world today!

    Best of luck in your venture!

    =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | June 11, 2012, 5:31 am
  2. Joyce – Thanks for being with us today!!

    I was wondering if you’ve seen any trends in the comments and interest at HEA – what’s gonna be hot this summer?

    Posted by Robin Covington | June 11, 2012, 5:45 am
    • Hi, Robin!
      Thanks SO much for having me — and the nice things you said about me. : )
      The main trend is erotic romance. Readers love the Fifty Shades trilogy, but when they’re done with that, what do they read next? Look at what’s happened with Sylvia Day’s Bared to You — a 500,000 trade paperback print run for an erotic romance! So if you have an erotic romance gathering dust under your bed, you might want to get it out there. : )
      So, hey, if you spot anything you think might be a trend, let me know!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 10:21 am
  3. Hi, Joyce! Welcome to RU. We met at the RT conference when Kelsey, Nancy and I crashed your interview with Tracey. That happens with us. We run in a pack!:)

    You are so right about authors and self-promotion. It’s sometimes hard to do without sounding like we’re constantly pushing our books.

    Do you have a favorite tip you give to new authors regarding self-promotion? Maybe a do or a don’t?

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | June 11, 2012, 6:08 am
    • Hi, Adrienne!
      Great to see you again!
      My No. 1 advice for self-pubbed authors: Don’t NOT promote. Readers won’t find your books unless you let them know they’re there. This might sound like a no-brainer, but I have personal experience with this. I’m so averse to self-promotion that I tend to not do it. I think, “If it’s really good, readers will find it.” Not anymore. Teaming up with other authors to promote is smart, too — I think readers love knowing that authors are friends and love to see our interactions. Authors are readers, too, and look how much we love to see Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Ann Krentz tease each other?
      Thanks for coming by, Adrienne!
      Joyce
      P.S.: I just posted your video interview on the free Happy Ever After iPad/iPhone/Android app. It turned out great! : )

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 10:31 am
  4. I love the idea of your blog. And that this large fiction genre is being notice by a large media outlet. I’m off to go check out your blog. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Posted by Ann | June 11, 2012, 6:39 am
  5. Hi Joyce,

    How about a conversation I have with myself? Sometimes I don’t admit I didn’t like a certain book because everyone loves it. Maybe I should convince myself I’m wrong. Do contests on a website help self-promotion?

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | June 11, 2012, 6:43 am
    • Hi, Mary Jo!
      I’m not sure if you want to share with thousands of HEA readers that you’re talking to yourself. : ) But a conversation with another author who loved the book would be perfect! I love a friendly debate, and I think readers do, too. You might be surprised to find that you’re not the only one who didn’t like that book. Or, you might find that there’s more to like about the book than you originally thought. Or that there’s a different way of looking at it. You never know!
      As for contests: Yes, I think contests draw readers. But I don’t think they necessarily persuade readers to try a new author. Sometimes, sure. But the main thing that gets readers to try a new author, in my opinion, is when their friends/fellow readers get excited and make an enthusiastic recommendation. This is why it’s so important for authors to make a connection with readers.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 10:49 am
  6. This is exactly why I love the romance writing community- it’s full of the best people!
    I wish I’d taken notes when I had a lively debate about what’s more attractive: an Alpha or Omega male: with my mother, sister and daughter this past weekend! It was really interesting with four completely different points of view. That would have been fun to submit!

    Posted by Kelly Wolf | June 11, 2012, 7:27 am
    • Hi, Kelly!
      YES! That would be an awesome thing to submit! That’s one of my favorite topics. : ) And how cool that three generations were having this discussion. I love it!
      Thanks for commenting!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 10:53 am
  7. Joyce –

    Welcome to RU! I definitely want to spend more time at HEA.

    And next time I see you, I want to do an interview since Tracey, Adrienne and Nancy got to have all the fun – LOL. Okay, not all the fun since I did hair and make-up :-).

    Can you give us insight into HEA’s readership?

    Thanks!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | June 11, 2012, 7:36 am
  8. Hi Joyce, I loved hearing about your blog & that USAT is FINALLY recognizing romance as a genre worth of attention & respect.

    Does anyone here besides me remember the Nurse Romance? AFAIK it was discovered & promoted by a Bantam editor named Grace Bechtold somewhere in the late 50’s early 60’s. Bantam started with 2 NRs a month, soon went to 4 and so on from there. The books seemed to sell themselves, Bantam execs noticed & a new market was created to appeal directly to female readers.

    Posted by Ruth Harris | June 11, 2012, 8:00 am
    • Hi, Ruth!
      I agree — and I love being able to cover all genres without being restricted. I was afraid there would be limits to what HEA could cover, USAT being mainstream media and all. But so far, so good.
      Yay for Grace Bechtold for discovering the Nurse Romance! Sounds as though she was way ahead of her time. : )
      Thanks for commenting!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 11:08 am
  9. Hi Joyce,

    I really enjoy what you’ve put together at HEA. Thanks for creating a positive community that celebrates all types of romance reading, making a fun environment for both readers and authors. Knowing what you’re looking for, my little brain is concocting and scheming… 🙂

    ~Laurie

    Posted by Laurie London | June 11, 2012, 8:03 am
  10. Such fun ideas! I think romance writers and readers have great discussions — passionate ones even! I’m looking forward to what else the HEA site will have.

    And congrats on your RITA nominations. 🙂

    Posted by Donna Cummings | June 11, 2012, 10:00 am
    • Hi, Donna!
      Thanks on the RITA congrats! What a thrill that has been!
      And I agree on the passionate discussions. WAY more fun and entertaining than discussions about, ack, politics or bad news.
      Thanks for dropping in!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 11:12 am
  11. Hi Joyce! I’ve got your TRUE series in my humongous TBR pile – I’ll have to push them to the top! Congratulations on your RITA finals – wish I could be at National when the winners are announced!

    Congratulations on RockIt Reads, too! Monica Burns is a good friend of mine, and I know a few others in the RIR group so I’ve been eagerly following your progress. It’s so exciting that you have a B&N blog!

    It’s so great that USA Today is giving romance novels/authors/readers some love – it’s about time this genre got some media recognition! This is an amazing opportunity – you can be sure I’ll be reading the HEA posts from now on!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | June 11, 2012, 10:25 am
    • Hi, Becke!
      Thanks on the RITAs! I wish you could be at Nationals, too. It’s going to be SO much fun! And perhaps a little nerve-racking. : )
      I agree that it’s about time that romance novels got the media love they deserve. Having worked at USA Today for nearly 15 years, I was pretty frustrated with the lack of coverage. But times have changed, and I think you’ll start to see more romance coverage in the actual newspaper, too. Yay!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Joyce
      P.S. I’m afraid I’m not involved in the Rock*It Reads venture. I think it’s a wonderful thing, though, and have been a big supporter! : )

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 11:16 am
  12. Hi Joyce!

    So glad to see you at RU! Robin’s right about how great you are. You didn’t even blink an eye when a gang of ladies showed up at your room to be interviewed. Just laughed and welcomed us with open arms.

    Thanks for all your efforts at HEA. I downloaded the app after RT and have been enjoying the blog and videos.

    After RT, I’ve noticed several authors have apps now. Are you familiar with these and do you think it’s a worthwhile investment for authors who only have one book out?

    Take care!

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | June 11, 2012, 10:46 am
    • Hi, Tracey!
      Well, I’m a firm believer in “the more the merrier!” Plus, I think those interviews turned out even better because you all were so supportive of one another — and there’s even a laugh track on some of them. (I’ve just about got yours edited — I’ve been slow about getting them up because I’m a beginner at video editing. Turns out it’s not as easy as I was expecting. Doh.)
      As for apps — I’m kinda thinking that the best kind of app for romance authors would be one that you share with multiple authors. I have several author apps on my iPhone, but I don’t hang out with them as often as I probably would if more content from multiple authors were available.
      That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea as a new author to have one. Who knows? Author apps might explode in popularity in the next year or so, and it’d be a good thing to be at the vanguard of that. I suppose it’s just a matter of whether you have the money to get one made and the consistent content to keep it shiny and new so readers are inclined to click on it on a regular basis. Oh, and whether you have the time to devote to it. I find it hard enough to keep up with Facebook and Twitter without adding yet another platform to manage!
      So how helpful is THAT answer? Not very, I’m afraid. Such is the biz, right?
      Thanks for saying hi!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 11:26 am
      • Now I’m a little afraid because we were fairly silly during those interviews! LOL.

        I actually just got my app up and running, but the jury is still out on it. It was a bit of a daunting process for me (the non-techie), but now that it’s up, I’m thinking of ways I can use it. What’s nice is my FB and Twitter posts feed into it.

        Posted by Adrienne Giordano | June 11, 2012, 11:51 am
        • Awesome!!
          Hmmm, I’m thinking an HEA post about authors and their apps is looking like a good idea.
          Off to download yours as we speak …
          Joyce

          Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 11, 2012, 12:50 pm
          • Adrienne – you have an app?! Off to download . . .

            Posted by Robin Covington | June 11, 2012, 1:29 pm
          • Yep, Robin. I have an app! It’s brand, spanking new. I learned about it at the RT conference and thought I’d give it a try. I built it through http://www.onseeker.com. There is some cost to it, but I found it reasonable enough where I was willing to make the leap and try it.

            If I’m not mistaken, Tracey was actually the one who pushed me over to talking to the guy! LOL. See Joyce, it’s not just you we force each other on. 🙂

            Posted by Adrienne Giordano | June 11, 2012, 1:51 pm
  13. I’ve enjoyed a few posts on the HEA blog written by Michelle Monkou. I would love to read the blog regularly, but I can’t get the feed to work in Google Reader.

    Posted by PatriciaW | June 11, 2012, 11:26 am
  14. Hello Joyce!

    Thanks so much for blogging with us! I’ve read several HEA columns on USA Today, and I’m so pleased that they’re open minded enough to host a romance genre column. It frustrates me that most of the media references to romance books insult the genre and its readers.
    Your column is a wonderful representation of a much beloved genre.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | June 11, 2012, 1:44 pm
    • Hi, Jennifer!
      I agree — that was one of the things that really compelled me to pitch HEA to the higher-ups at USA Today. I was so frustrated with the negative coverage of romance novels. That survey that said romance readers are sad single women really pushed me over the edge!
      Thanks so much for visiting HEA!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 12, 2012, 3:20 pm
  15. Hi Joyce,
    Keep writing those awesome novels and juggling your time to bring HEA to us. Hugs and happy writing~

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | June 11, 2012, 2:31 pm
  16. Who couldn’t use a little HEA in their lives? Or even a lot. I know I do. I’ve visited the Happy Ever After site and it’s a great place to visit. It’s not all flowers and sunshines but has a bit of every kind of romance stories. There have been some books that I haven’t heard about and it caught my eyes.

    Joyce, I’ve read Cold Midnight by you and it was a wonderful read. The HEA of course makes it sweeter.

    Posted by Na S. | June 11, 2012, 4:47 pm
    • Hi, Na!
      Thanks so much for your wonderful comment about Cold Midnight! That was a fun book to write — Chase is SO alpha.
      Thanks, too, for visiting HEA. I so enjoy doing the author interviews and other posts. Romance authors and readers are the BEST! : )
      Cheers!
      Joyce

      Posted by Joyce Lamb | June 12, 2012, 3:24 pm
  17. Hi, Joyce – it’s nice to “see” you here at RU and wonderful that HEA is so open and welcoming to all types of romance. And I know you do a great interview. 😉

    Mega congrats on your double RITA final.

    I’ll be cheering you on in Anaheim!

    Posted by Barbara White Daille | June 12, 2012, 8:06 pm
  18. Joyce – but it’s a GOOD kind of nervous! 😉

    Thanks so much for your nice comment about my book. Now, speaking of feeling nervous… LOL

    Posted by Barbara White Daille | July 10, 2012, 9:14 am

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