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These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.

Entries in authors (28)

Friday
Oct142011

Fill-Me-In Friday

 

Woo-hoo, it's Friday! Time for a round-up of the most fantabulous writing (and just for fun) links of the week!
On Blogging:
First, everyone (including me) was abuzz about blogging these last two weeks, so here's a sampling of those posts:
I Am Tired of Blogging by Natalie Whipple
Now a few others related to blogging...
On Group Blogging by Elizabeth S. Craig
Is Blog Fatigue on the Rise? by Nathan Bransford
How to Use StumbleUpon by Lorie Huston
On Writing and Publishing:
A Time to Kill...Your Novel by Marcus Brotherton on Rachelle Gardner's blog
Tips of Marketing Your Novel at Adventures in Agentland
Standing on My Skyscraper Eating Some Crow by Roxanne St. Clair (her experience using Candace Havens' fast draft method.)
Type Hard, Type Fast by James Scott Bell  (This and the previous two links above are really convincing me that I need to give this fast draft thing a try.)
For Gits and Shiggles:
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip (Food P0rn at its best. Someone try this and tell me if it's as delicious as it looks.)
Wedding Photos + Zombies via Badass Digest (These are great, dorky in the best way.)

 

 


What You May Have Missed Here:

 

 

What You May Have Missed on the Author Blog:

Favorite Tumblr Pics of the Week:
for larger pic click here
for bigger pic, click here
AND WINNER OF JODY'S BOOK FROM MONDAY'S CONTEST IS...Leona Bushman! Congrats

 

Alright, those are my picks for the week, what are some of your faves this week? And I'd love to hear feedback on this feature. I know it's not a comment-inducing post, so it's hard for me to judge if you like this round up each week or not. So let me know in the comments (or by clicking the like thumbs up/down button in the top left corner of the comments section.) Just want to know if y'all find this helpful or not. :)

Have a great weekend! 


 

 

 


"Hot and romantic, with an edge of suspense that will keep you entertained.” --Shayla Black, New York Times Bestselling author of SURRENDER TO ME

 

 

 

CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.



All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|

 

Monday
Oct102011

Why No Sex Doesn't Mean No Tension by Author Jody Hedlund

Today I have the super fabulous Jody Hedlund with us. Jody is one of my favorite bloggers to read and is just an all around lovely person. I feel like I learn something every time I stop by her site.


And today she's going to talk to use about something I have no expertise in--writing romance with *gasp* no sexy scenes. :)  I love this topic because it shows how wonderful and diverse the romance genre is. There truly is something for everyone.


AND make sure and leave a comment WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS because Jody is giving away a copy of her newest release, The Doctor's Lady, to one lucky winner!


So without further ado, take it away Jody...




Are Sweet Romances Boring?

Does including sex in your romance novel help it to sell better?

There are those that might argue that, “Yes, sex sells.” And to some degree, that’s true. Why else would commercials use scantily-clad Victoria Secret-like models to sell everything from chewing gum to dish soap?

Okay. So I might be exaggerating just a tiny bit. But the point is that even in the book world, readers are attracted to covers with beautiful women who have lush bosoms and bare-chested men with sculpted abs.

But what about the sweet romances, books like mine, that have demure women on the front (literally covered from head to toe), and usually have limited (if any) sex in them? How do they sell? You might be asking, do they even sell at all?

My first book, The Preacher’s Bride (debuted in 2010), had to do with Puritans in England in the 1600’s. So even things like kissing and touching were fairly taboo. After my main characters get married, I depict them on their wedding night, sharing an intimate moment alone in their small house. But . . . I end the scene before they head to the bedroom.

Does that make my book boring?

Well, most of those who’ve read my book so far don’t seem to think so. In fact, my book has made the CBA best-seller list a couple of different times and has garnered first place in RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and Award of Excellence.

Could my debut book have done even better though, if I’d thrown in a little sex?

I don’t think so, and here are three reasons why:


1. I’m writing for a niche market.

My publisher, Bethany House (a division of Baker Books), specifically targets readers of religious fiction. A reader who picks up a book with a Bethany House logo has certain expectations about the book, including that it contain some spiritual themes, and that it won’t have explicit sexual content.

In the editing of my book, my publisher has asked me many times to tone down especially passionate kissing scenes, because too much intimacy could alienate readers who expect a sweet romance when they open up a Bethany House book.  I realized those expectations going in to my contract, and even though I tend to push the boundaries every now and then, I respect the standards of my readers.

2. Diversity within the romance genre is important.

Roni and I are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to sex in our romances. While mine have none, hers are so hot the words sizzle off the pages. But the diversity between our books and within the romance genre is reflective of the diversity of life, the varying tastes people have in their reading, and their own personal preferences.
If writers were all trying to hit the “middle group” we’d leave out some readers who like more and some who like less. Besides, if we were all writing the same thing, our books and lives would end up being boring replicas.

3. Your characters don’t need to have sex in order to develop sexual tension.

What makes a story riveting and enjoyable isn’t necessarily the amount of sex it has in it. Instead, one of the key factors in making a captivating romance is how the author develops the sexual and romantic tension.
I like stories best that keep tightening the relational tension—that enigmatic push and pull between the hero and heroine. The two continually grow more attracted to each other, but the obstacles keep growing too. Their passion is igniting, but insurmountable conflict keeps them apart.

Developing an intense emotional relationship, creating flirtatious and fun banter, and the tender building up of intimacy—those are the things that make a romance truly satisfying.

In fact, one reader said this about my new release, The Doctor’s Lady: “For a story with no sex scenes, you have some very sexy moments in there. Love that.”

What do you think? Do romances need to have sex in order to sell well? Have you tried a sweet (sexless) romance? Were you bored?


And don't forget to leave a comment and your email address to be entered to win a copy of The Doctor's Lady!

©Jody Hedlund, 2011

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher's Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011.







CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!
Read an excerpt here.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|

Friday
Oct072011

Fill-Me-In Friday

 


Hope everyone had a fantastic week! I'm *thisclose* to finishing the draft of my novella, so I'm thrilled about that. Now in case you've been busy as well, here's the weekly roundup of the best stuff I've come across on the web this week.

 

On Writing and Publishing:

Is Blogging A Waste of Time? by Meghan Ward

Yes, Authors, You Can Respond to Negative Reviews (with hilarious illustrations) by the League of Reluctant Adults

Up the Wattage: Highlighting Your Books and Byline at Cynsations

10 Things You Should be Doing Right Now by Janet Reid--which turned out to be a bit of a controversial post and inspired "kool-aid" responses like...

Jami Gold's How To Avoid the Publishing Kool-Aid

And another related one by Chuck Wendig: The Publishing Cart Before the Storytelling Horse (BEST post of the week IMO.)

Tips for Twitter by Lauren Dane in which she makes this great point: "when you retweet (RT) an entire list of @ from a #FF (Follow Friday) just to say thank you – this ends up in the feeds of EVERY SINGLE PERSON who was in the original #FF tweet. This happens over and over and it’s getting worse. What this means is that even if I don’t follow you, you’re messing with MY feed"

10 Rules for Twitter Success by BookEnds

8 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Footprint by Jenny Hansen

10 Tidbits About Author Platform by Rachelle Gardner (though I do disagree that for an author blog to be worthwhile it needs 15k hits a month. That's a little high IMO.)

25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer on The 99 Percent

25 Ways to Stay Creative by Moby Picture

Body Language - Reading Signs and Gestures at Learn, Think, Inspire

Build Your Name and Brand Through Networking (great list of sites to network on) by Curiosity Quills

The Secrets I Don't Tell You by Tawna Fenske (on balancing how much of your personal life you share
online)

Just for Gits and Shiggles:

T-Shirts with Classic Book Themes  at Out of Print Clothing

Top 100 Best Movies of All Time by Lifed

How To Read More: A Lover's Guide at Zen Habits

25 Pictures Taken at Exactly the Right Moment at Buzzfeed

20 Sexy Advertising Campaigns at DeMilked

20 Cool Home Library Design Ideas by Shelterness

Celebrities that Could Be Twins by Faithfully Frugal

Awesomely Creative Celebrity Photos

What You May Have Missed on my Author Blog:

 


What You May Have Missed Here:

My Favorite Tumblr Post of the Week:
For a bigger pic, click here


Okay, so those are my picks for the week? What are some of yours? Fill me in via the comments. And have a great weekend!

 

 



"Hot and romantic, with an edge of suspense that will keep you entertained.” --Shayla Black, New York Times Bestselling author of SURRENDER TO ME

 

 

CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.



All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|

 

Monday
Oct032011

Why Self-Promotion Shouldn't Be a Dirty Word


 

Photo by Jason Rogers (click pic for link)Okay, so today I'm talking about something that I've touched on briefly before on my author blog, but after reading this post by the lovely and talented Lydia Sharp (who you should all follow on Twitter because she tweets some of the best stuff for writers), I thought I would expand on it here.

Lydia's post is about how we'll always need blogs for writers, which I agree with. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't found blogs when I started querying two years ago. Bloggers were my writing saviors. But one of the things Lydia talks about in her post is authors promoting their books on their blogs.

Here are her thoughts:

"I do not blog about writing as a way to sell my books. I bet a lot of you didn't even know I have books out there available to purchase. I do. But that's not what this blog is about. This isn't my 'author blog', this is my writing blog -- a blog for writers. It's about writing and reading and publishing and how all of those go hand in hand.And just between you and me, it kind of annoys me when I see 'buy my book' pimpage in my Google Reader. I'm not following those blogs because I want to buy the author's book. If I want to buy your book, I'll find your book on my own, I'm not stupid, I know how to click on a link in your sidebar and how to use an Amazon search box..."

This part of her post inspired me to write today's post because I think this idea that authors shouldn't promote their own work on their own blog is a little extreme. When Nathan Bransford did a tongue and cheek post promoting his book, people jumped his case and I didn't understand all the ire. (I blogged about that here.)

 

I totally get that we don't want to be beat over the head with advertisements and book spam. God knows there are people out there who do it all day long on Twitter and such. And my guess is that those types of self-promoters are who many people are frustrated with (including me.) Obviously, that is the wrong way to go. Social networking and blogging are about building relationships and community. However, I also think swinging so far in the other direction in that promoting your own work at all is some sort of insult to your followers is a bit ludicrous.

I am a service-minded person. I genuinely write this blog hoping that my posts provide you guys with solid information or something to think about or tips or whatever it is that day. I take a lot of time to (hopefully) provide you with quality content. And I have kept my writing blog a writing blog and started a separate author blog because I didn't want to bait and switch you by changing the focus once I needed more of a broad online presence.

I enjoy the blogging process. I enjoy talking with everyone and hearing people's feedback on different topics. I love the blogging and social networking community.

BUT I also hope to sell books so that I can continue to follow my passion and do what I love for a living. And  if I told my agent or editor that I wasn't going to promote my book on my writing blog that I've spent two years building, they would look at me like I had grown a third head.

And I understand the thought of--you don't need to talk about your book because if I want to see if you have a book, I'll go look for it. But really, that's not the case in a lot of ways. If it's not obvious, I'm not going to go hunt down to see if a blogger I like has a book out. I don't  have that much time on my hands and there are hundreds of books I want to buy at any given moment. So if I have to "work" to find out if there is a book, I'm probably not going to.

I WANT bloggers I like to tell me about their book. No, I don't need a weekly post about it and a thousand "check out this latest review" tweets. (One of my personal goals is that once my book comes out, I don't turn into someone who only talks about things having to do with my book. I've seen that happen to many a blogger who transitioned from pre-pubbed to post-pubbed.) But mentioning your book and talking about it on occasion are good. Having a book link in your sidebar and even at the bottom of your posts (like I do below because you can't see sidebars in google reader) is a good way to advertise your book without smacking people in the face with it.

If someone stops by my blog for the very first time, I want it to be glaringly obvious that I have a book if they are interested. They shouldn't have to hunt the info down.

And I refuse to feel ashamed or apologetic about promoting my own book on my own blog. Blogging is a give and take relationship. I expect when I go to someone's blog that I am taking away something (information, a laugh, whatever) and in exchange I'm giving that blogger my attention to their platform/their book/whatever it is they may be promoting. It doesn't mean that I have to buy their book, but it means that I have to expect to be exposed to it.

So what are some things you can do to make sure you don't become one of THOSE people who give self-promotion a bad name?

 

6 Ways to Promote That Won't Make People Want To Punch You in the Face


1. Make sure your online content offers something to your reader. 
You are writing these posts for them. It is not about your own agenda. This is why posts in which the blogger whines about something never work. You're not offering the reader anything, you're looking for someone to soothe you--not a good blog post.

 

2. Be a cheerleader for others.
Like Lydia suggests in her post, promote other people's stuff if you've enjoyed it whether that be a book or a blog post or whatever.

3. Once you are published, do not contract "published author disease."
This disease is characterized by only posting about YOUR book ALL THE TIME and linking to review after review, awards, contests giving away your book, and what magazines you've made it into, etc. Some of that is fine because you're excited and want to a share. But make sure that kind of stuff is no more than 10-15% of the content/tweets/etc. you're putting out there.

4. Expand your online presence in a way that doesn't alienate your original readers and followers.
I knew I needed more of a reader-focused blog once my book was getting closer to publication. I needed a place where non-writing readers would want to visit and hopefully hang out. Had I kept this blog more broad in its focus, I could've just expanded that here. (Ah, hindsight.) But I hadn't. This was a writing blog. So instead of pulling the rug out from under that, I started a separate author blog on my website and kept this one the same. That way people could choose which kind of content they wanted.

5. Promote your books in a way that is very visible but still subtle.
I don't blatantly blog about my book unless I'm revealing a cover or blurb or something. I will, however, have a big fat glaring post the day it releases, just warning ya. ;) But in general, having a clickable cover in the sidebar, a book page with buy links, and a link at the bottom of each post (so that people who only read you in a reader can click) are all unobtrusive but effective ways to go about it.

6. Be genuine, friendly, and helpful.
Of all the things above, this is the most important. Social networking is about building genuine relationships. We can all spot a faker a hundred yards away.

So how do you guys feel about self-promotion? Do you get annoyed if a blogger talks about their book or are you fine with the give-and-take relationship? What are some self-promotion methods that you think are effective and non-annoying? What makes you want to punch someone in the face? :)


 


"Revved up and red-hot sexy, CRASH INTO YOU, delivers a riveting romance!" --Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the ROUGH RIDERS series
CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|

 

Wednesday
Sep212011

Is Blogging Dead?

 

Photo by Benny Lin (click photo for link)
Last week I read a post by Wendy Lawton over at Books & Such Literary Agency in which she talked about "What's Not Working?" when it comes to marketing. One of the things that surprised me was that she listed blogging as the first one that is "not working." She even goes so far as to say this:

"I wouldn't recommend a writer start blogging in order to publicize his book in today's climate. It would be tough to picture a scenario where the outcome would justify the means." 

I have to admit, the statement shocked me a bit. Obviously, I'm a bit biased because I'm an avid blogger and really enjoy that part of social networking. But after I got over my initial pause, I read through the post again to think through what she was saying more rationally.

 

Her argument is that unless you've already built an uber-blog, then you're going to have a nearly impossible task of standing out in an over-saturated blogosphere.

Okay, I can see her point there. The blogosphere IS glutted. And when  it comes to writers blogging, we're a wall-to-wall crowded room of writing advice, writer ramblings, interviews, giveaways, and randomness. After a while, click after click begins to blend together and sound the same. I know my blog reading has gone down in the past year because of lack of time and because much of it feels like reruns. It takes a great headline on Twitter at this point to get me to click over to something. My google reader goes neglected.

So how in the world do any of us stand out in that crowd?

I'm not entirely sure. My guess is that it's often like books--it comes down to the voice of the blogger, the freshness of their take on things (even if they are old things), and their engagement with their readers. And even then, many times the audience on the blog is comprised of other writers--so we're still really only reaching a niche group. A fabulous group, but a limited one a best.

Wendy also, by the way, isn't big on blog tours for the same reason. Authors put forth all this effort to write up new posts and interviews for tour stops--which takes a crapload of time--and then "tour" on sites that pretty much appeal to other writers. So you're swimming in the same pond, promoting to the same school of fish.

Believe me, that is weighing heavy on my mind as I try to formulate my plan for my book release. I am planning to do a blog tour, but now I'm wondering if my time might be better spent doing something else. I mean, there are only so many interviews people want to read. And I'm hard-pressed to think of sites that I could guest on that would expose me to a totally new group of people. I honestly think getting reviewed on the book blogger sites is probably much more effective.

So in that respect, I can see Wendy's point about blogging's effectiveness. (For the record, her exception to the "blogging doesn't work" belief is the person who has a particularly unique slant, some previous celebrity, or an already established audience.)

Does that mean I'm giving up blogging? Hell to the no. I love blogging. It makes me happy and I feel blessed that you guys are still reading me after two years, lol. (Thank you!) And I really do love reading others' blogs. But this post is not about me (shocking, I know.) ;) This post is for those of you reading who are in the early stages of your blogging or who are considering starting a blog or who have been blogging but kinda sorta loathe it. Here's my opinion, take it for what it's worth.

 

Even "If" Blogging Is Dying, You Should Blog If...


1. You just love blogging and don't care if it's promoting you as a "brand."

 

2. You are a published author who has or will have fans seeking you out online.
(Caveat: If you are a published author and don't like to blog, that's fine. Just find some online outlet where readers can get to know you and interact--twitter, facebook, whatever.)

3. You have a unique slant to offer (like Wendy mentions).
Meaning, you have something to offer your readers that would sustain a popular blog even if you weren't an author with a book.

4. You write non-fiction.
I'd be hard-pressed to imagine how blogging wouldn't help a non-fiction writer.

5. You're not into short-form social networking like Twitter, FB, Tumblr, etc. and feel more comfortable connecting online in long form.

I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones that come to the top of mind for me. Number one is my reason (and hopefully number two will apply to me soon too, lol.)

So what are your thoughts on this? Do you think blogging is dying? Do you find yourself reading fewer blogs, leaving less comments, or do you see traffic on your blog trending down? How do you connect with the authors you love? What makes a blog a must-read for you even when you develop blog reading fatigue?

 

 


"Revved up and red-hot sexy, CRASH INTO YOU, delivers a riveting romance!" --Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the ROUGH RIDERS series

 

CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.



All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|