Saturday, July 28, 2012

Over at WW: the Carolyn Crane method of book discoverability

I'm over at Word Whores today, like I am every Saturday, and the topic of this week is book discoverability!

I have a few things to say about trading cards, giveaways, Goodreads and more. The helpfulness of those things may be debatable, but perhaps you have answers to my questions!!!

Or just come over and say hi.

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to stop the GR bullies - some handy buttons for authors!

It has come to my attention that some authors have felt so unhappy about some things book reviewers have said on Goodreads that they have begun threatening and intimidating those reviewers by exposing personal information about the reviewers' habits and homes and children online, and even called these women at home – as a way of “stopping the bullying” and keeping things civil. 

Exposing personal info crosses a significant line, and seeks to intimidate people, particularly women in this case, and silence free discussion. Some reviewers are now frightened to voice their true opinions lest the same thing happen to them.

A post at Dear Author recaps this problem, and has called for the community to work to solve it. 

Well, I am working to solve it! With badges and buttons designed to alert GR bullies to the consequences of not being nice!  

I feel these buttons will not only save reviewers and those "gangs" of bookish bullies at Goodreads the hassle of buying and reading books and giving unwelcome opinions, but they will also save the author the time and trouble of having to enforce niceness by hunting the reviewer in real life! 

This first helpful button, above, tells reviewers in a lighthearted way that an author prefers only “I heart this book” type reviews. If reviewers take the “decorative underlining” in the wrong way, so be it. 

A fun rhyming button, which can be placed on an author’s Goodreads profile, signaling to the snarky reviewer to expect terrifying real life consequences for any opinions delivered in a less-than-nice manner. 

A more subtle version, and I think, more poetic way of saying, hey, if you knock my book, I might just knock on your door!!! Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…except if you say them about my book! Take that, Goodreads bullies!

People must realize that if something is put out for sale, or put on a site where customers are asked to freely give their opinions, it doesn't mean they are free to give an upsetting opinion!! When people say upsetting things, free speech no longer applies! 

Most people understand that the thumbs down is not nice. But, you never know if a goodreads bully has simply forgotten that fact! Maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt! I think this helpful and informative reminder would do the trick of jogging their memories that thumbs down is bad..and hopefully encourage them to change to a thumbs up. Yay!

This one is my most artistic ones! It’s a fun way of heading off trouble before it starts, with a nod to the famous painting. Still I think it gets across the message effectively.  

A fun and lighthearted variation on the earlier one. This would especially speak to reviewers who love animals. I think this button is a great way of saying that you're all for free speech, but even then there are limits, like if you feel upset!

Here is a stylish button that helpfully signals to a reviewer that one-star and two-star reviews sometimes carry real-life consequences.

I might use this one for my next book, to alert hapless reviewers that one- two- and three-star reviews are inappropriate for such a brilliant book, and...well, let's just leave it at that, shall we? 

I think this is an attractive way for an author to signal his or her dedication to niceness, and commitment to the fight against bullying. But, if you look closely at the word 'only' it carries a special message to bullies who do not share that commitment to niceness.  

After all, if we don't police the Internet by exposing these trash-talking bullies to harm, who will? It's not as if a person can simply walk away from the INTERNET!!  

This button, in an attractive diamond shape, helps a reviewer understand, through simple symbols, the type of attitude that is expected on sites where people give their opinions. 

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to utilize these buttons.

Have a nice day!

**This is a joke post. Just in case that is not clear. I cherish free speech, and this GR bullies thing has been keeping me up at night for how upsetting and wrong it is. Giving an opinion on the Internet, no matter how hurtful or deplorable, should NEVER carry terrifying real-life consequences, such as getting people's real life information exposed!!! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A rambling & writerly interview with Jeffe Kennedy!

Today I thought it would be fun to interview my fabulous author galpal and blogmate Jeffe Kennedy! Jeffe's new novel, Rogue's Pawn, was released by Carina this week, a book that is risky, funny, sexy, highly entertaining, and full of shadows and light - and garnering awesome praise. Welcome Jeffe! 

Author and mischief maker
Jeffe Kennedy,  
Jeffe: Thanks for inviting me over! 

CC: So Jeffe, you had a hard time originally getting ROGUE'S PAWN published because it was too weird. (Though now it's getting awesome reviews!) And there is a sense out there that it is a "unique" book. How do you feel about that label?

Jeffe: Ha! I love it. As a reader, I was tired of what felt like the same old thing. I wanted a different take and was kind of shocked that the industry didn't. I feel really validated now that my "weird" is turning out to be delightful to someone besides me.

CC: Do you ever think the label turns readers off? I sometimes get that label, that's why I ask. Sometimes I feel proud, and other times I feel like, will readers think it's somehow too much work as opposed to a known quantity?  

Jeffe: Maybe so? But then I think that my readers are the ones looking for more, who want something different. That's who I am as a reader, so it makes sense that it's who I am as a writer.

CC: One thing I love about your book is that the fae is this weird species, with strange ways of thinking, as exemplified, for example, by their attitudes toward things like war. To me, you sort of re-imagined the fae. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jeffe: I'm so excited that readers are getting that. I wanted the fae to feel like a totally alien race. The really old fairy stories have them like that - kind of monstrous, but mainly because their value system is so different. That's before the newer stories made them "cute" - I have a big problem with the ancient Celtic legends, like Halloween, being defused of the dark implications and made into something silly and happy

CC: Ooh, I like that. And there are humans in the midst of this world, who your heroine Gwynn instantly relates to.

Jeffe: Right - it's an instinctive thing. But then, it might turn out that she doesn't have much in common with the humans either...

CC: So, a writerly question. I know you're a morning writer. How do you get started at the beginning of your work day?

Jeffe: I get up early and go exercise, before I'm awake enough to think up reasons not to do it.
Then I sit down at my desk, write my daily blog post and hit Freedom for two hours. Hopefully. Sometimes I dink around on Twitter for a while. But that is Bad and Wrong.

CC: Oh, you use Freedom, too! I just started. Isn't it awesome?

Jeffe: I *love* it!! I confess to being weak. Freedom saves me from myself

CC:   Do you study other people's books? Do you close read?

Jeffe: Oh yes! I really do. I study how JD Robb keeps her In Death series going at 34 books. I look at other authors whose series have faltered over time. My very favorite books? I go back over them, watching the magic happen.

CC: Right. On that JD Robb! I'd like your findings on that. What is the biggest question on your mind these days?

Jeffe: Ooh. I'm thinking a lot about social media, and at what point promo becomes obnoxious awful. It's such a delicate balance

Jeffe and I both admire JD Robb's
wizardry in keeping the Roarke
and Eve relationship so fresh.
CC: You note elsewhere that you began Rogue's Pawn in 1995. What would most surprise your 1995 self about how the book ended up?

Jeffe: What an interesting question! I think that it turned out as smart as it is? Maybe that sounds awful, but by the time I finished writing and refining it, the story turned out to be so much MORE than I originally thought it would be

CC:How about the vision. Did the vision for it itself change?

Jeffe: No! Isn't that interesting? I'm amazed, looking back at those badly written, horribly crafted, faltering first fragments, that the vision stayed strong and clear.

CC: That is really interesting.

Jeffe: It makes me think that the story and the craft are two different things. Inspiration comes first and the ability to translate it takes work.

CC:When you are thick in writing a book, how does external reading affect you? Do you like to read books that evoke a feel that fits where you're at, or do you go out of your way to read oppositely? Or does it not matter?

Jeffe: Ha! You've discovered my secret. When I'm in the thick, I absolutely seek out books that feel "nutritious."

CC: LOL Aha! No, I do that, too. But I didn't know if other writers do. I have heard of writers who shy away from being influenced.

Jeffe: Yeah - I'm not sure genre matters, but I'm much more impatient with reading material if I don't feel like it's feeding me. You know - I have SO much influence in my head, I can't even think about that. All those stories and voices and characters...

CC: So, we are pals, and also CP each other on occasion (critique partner). In fact, we are both sort of CP whores with multiple CP partners. What do you have to say for yourself?

Jeffe: Um, I love you and you're not like the others? They mean nothing!

CC: LOL. Do you wonder what your CPs are getting from their other CPs?

Jeffe: OMG, yes! But I thought I was just a nutbag for wondering! What does SHE tell you that I don't??

CC: No! I wonder too!

Jeffe: But you know, everyone brings such a valuable perspective - I love hearing all the input. It helps me so much

CC: Sometimes when I talk about one CP to another, I feel weird. And I feel weird when I don't talk about that CP. I wonder if that is common.

Jeffe: It is weirdly like love relationships. But they share that closeness and vitality. It's intimate, on a certain level.

CC: Yes, and never a group activity.

Jeffe: LOL

Strange, secret hand detail from the cover,
discovered by author Laura Bickle! 
CC: Okay, onto the next question!

Jeffe: ~composes self~

CC: You, my dear sir, are apparently a pantser, I was shocked to learn. I am a plotter. Okay, be honest, do you pantsers have a superior attitude toward plotters? Like, you are the creative free ones and we are the uptight orderly ones? Because, I know you do!!

Jeffe: No way! We know you pre-plotters look down on us for being all unorganized and loosey-goosey! Admit it! Because "pantser" is obviously a term created by a preplotter, to convey that sense of irresponsibility

CC: *narrows eyes* okay.

Jeffe: ~folds arms and casts meaningful glare~

CC: Okay, why do I think Rogue is so hot and attractive when he is something of a scoundrel? I really find myself burning with curiosity for his layers to be peeled back.

Jeffe: Because he is! He's that which cannot be controlled. He's like a force of nature - wild, primitive, strong, and not something you can parse by logical standards

CC: Aha! Was that part of the vision of the book? The scientist up against the wild force of nature?

Jeffe: You're so clever! This is why you're my FAVORITE CP. Yes. He is the thing she can't understand in the way she knows. He doesn't operate by the natural laws.

CC:Is that central to the series arc? Or, wait, as a pantser, do you have a sense of the series arc?

Jeffe: I *do* have a sense of the series arc. I have a general feeling for their journey, I just don't know the precise plot points until I get there.

CC: I'm looking so forward to the rest! (which I will hopefully get before everyone else. ahem.) Hey, thanks for coming over here and doing this interview!

Jeffe: Thank you! This was really fun.

Jeffe is quite delightful on social media. Her blog is here. And you can be her twitter friend  here, or her facebook friend here, and here is her website.

Rogue's Pawn

This is no fairy tale…

Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancé, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can’t control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…

With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…

Find excerpts, plus review and buy links on Jeffe's site.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Known characters and slowly, enticingly revealed characters

What character do I enjoy seeing
slowly and enticingly revealed?
Find out at Word Whores! 
I'm over at Word Whores today!

Each week we have a new topic, and this week, it's characters we wish we'd written.

I talk about the pleasures of two kinds of characters - the known character and the slowly-being-revealed character, and my favorite examples of each.

Come say hi!