Getting More Facebook Likes

001This pic didn’t come out as well as I would have wished, because Jackson was moving so fast. But he’s perched on the back of a chair next to my treadmill desk, methodically swiping things to the floor so I’ll pay attention to him. Funny cat.

Before I forget, I’m teaching an online writing workshop starting next week, on October 18: Defying Gravity: Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway. This is for my longtime online home chapter, the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Special Interest Chapter of RWA (FFP).

Genre definitions have a profound influence on writers’ careers. From the first queries where we must specify the book’s genre to long-term decisions about pursuing or giving up on a “dead” genre, dealing with what feels like a false construct is a necessary skill. However, following our hearts and inspiration often means tossing aside these considerations.

Or chopping them to pieces in a murderous rage.

But shedding conventions can be what sets a book apart. That’s what takes a writer’s career from midlist to break-out. So… how do you know? More—how do we find the courage to embrace a bold move?

In Wicked, the heroine Elphaba is faced with that crucial decision, of whether to choose the safe path or to risk flying on her own. This workshop will explore genre definitions and how Jeffe Kennedy went from being a “Crack Ho” – being told that her work fell in the cracks between genres – to receiving a nomination for Book of the Year and an RT Seal of Excellence for the one title each month that stands out from all the rest by an innovative twist on a familiar story or pushing genre boundaries. Participants will discuss their experiences with genre—both coloring inside the lines and stepping across them—and will leave inspired to take risks and follow their hearts.

Everyone deserves a chance to fly!

I’m teaching this by special request, so it should be big fun. 🙂

While that workshop is about breaking away from market considerations, I want to talk a bit about promoting books on social media. This is something authors are forced to think about, whether they want to or not. Accordingly, there’s tons of advice out there on the topic, Rule #1 of which tends to be along the lines of “Get More Followers!”

Recently one of my published author email loops went bananas with people offering to trade Facebook likes – as in, you like my page and I’ll like yours. They did the same with following on Twitter.

I think this is a really bad idea.

Sure, the numbers go up, which apparently satisfies Rule #1. But it’s not real. Worse, it creates a false idea of your social media reach.

Let me caveat before I go on that I’m friends with and following/followed by LOTS of authors. Hell, I’m writing this blog post for authors. Nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, networking with other authors can be important for building community and career opportunities.

However – creating a trade system with other authors to like one another’s pages does three things: It skews our lists to the wrong people, possibly diminishes our reach to real readers and skews our own perceptions.

Skewing our lists to the wrong people

We all know Facebook is a mystical bog of smoke and mirrors. They really want us to pay money to get followers to see our posts, so they mess with our reach. We try to game the system. They game it right back. It’s an eternal battle to be seen, on top of the usual discoverability battle. This may be growing more true of Twitter also. The only thing we can be sure of is that only a portion of our followers will see a given post. If all of our followers are people who are there because they’re interested in our books, at least that portion who sees a post will be them! If a portion of our followers are from reciprocal author trades … guess what?

Diminishing our reach to real readers

Yes, yes, yes – people will always argue that writers are readers, too. Of course we are! And, sure, I’ll like the pages of authors I want to keep track of. But that’s entirely because I want to, not through a trade. A trade isn’t organic. See above. We want people to follow and like us because they are ACTUALLY INTERESTED in our books. This might be more difficult, but they’ll be real followers. See below.

Skewing our own perceptions

As nice as it may be to look at our profiles and see hundreds or thousands of followers, as lovely an ego stroke as that may be, if a whole bunch of those are from author reciprocal trades, then it means nothing. Worse, it allows us to kid ourselves that we’re doing well in expanding our reach when we’re not. It’s a pleasant little fantasy and there’s no room for that in running a business. On the other hand, gaining *real* followers is a good measure of success – and one to be proud of.

Let’s get those real followers, people! Oh, and my Facebook author page is here.

What??? I *had* to give that a go. 😉

Hottest Heroine!

The Talon of the HawkSO excited that the cover for THE TALON OF THE HAWK totally won the Hottest Heroine Cover over on Addicted to Heroines. It’s such a great cover and for such a wonderful heroine, I’m just thrilled.

Coincidentally (OR NOT???), I received some fax pages yesterday from my awesome production editor at Kensington, Rebecca Cremonese. She wanted me to see the design and particularly the sword symbol in the line breaks. In celebration of this MAJOR WIN, I thought I’d share them here. Whee!first page

sword break Yeah, yeah – these are screen shots of a third-generation fax. Good luck making out the text. 😀 Come on – you guys know what a tease I am!

Speaking of teases, you can still register through today for my online workshop on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. You still have time to catch up on the first assignment, because it’s easy. We have a great group – 27 participants at this point – so come join in the conversation!

 

Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation

The workshop starts next week!

I’ll be teaching that starts next week. It’s for Outreach International Romance Writers on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. Non-members can register here up through the 5th. (As far as *I* am concerned, you can sign-up anytime, but OIRWA might not feel the same way…)

If you want to know a bit more about WHY I think transformation is key and how sex plays into that, I wrote a post about it.

Sex Workshop!

B6TQt4wCEAAPMqnEven in Santa Fe, winter can get frosty, keeping restless kitties indoors…and bored. Watch your toes!

I’m busily preparing the online workshop I’ll be teaching that starts next week. It’s for Outreach International Romance Writers on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. Non-members can register here up through the 5th. (As far as *I* am concerned, you can sign-up anytime, but OIRWA might not feel the same way…)

If you want to know a bit more about WHY I think transformation is key and how sex plays into that, I wrote a post about it yesterday.

A couple of people have pinged me on social media asking if this class would be good for someone who hasn’t written much – or any – sex before. The answer is yes. In fact, I think you could write any heat level and this class would work for you – just be aware that conversation will be straightforward and explicit.

And also really interesting.

In other news, THIS happened right before Christmas and I didn’t get a chance to mention it here. THE TEARS OF THE ROSE got first Honorable Mention for the RT December Seal of Excellence. The list of other books up for consideration are not in alphabetical order, so that’s how I’m taking it. 🙂 They said:

I had been waiting for this second installment of Kennedy’s fabulous Twelve Kingdoms series since I turned the final page of The Mark of the Tala, our June SOE winner. While Andi, our previous heroine, always doubted her worth, the same could not be said for Princess Amelia. Ami was the beloved beautiful princess, the crown jewel of the Twelve Kingdoms. And when she married handsome prince Hugh of Avonlidgh, it seemed like she’d already found her happily ever after. But The Tears of the Rose tears Ami down — and rebuilds her. After Hugh’s shocking and sudden death, Ami is paralyzed with grief and without direction. Pregnant with Hugh’s child, she is torn between kingdoms, seeking — ultimately empty — gratification in the idea that she is the human avatar of the goddess Glorianna. The irresistible White Monk, Ash, shakes Ami out of this grandiose, false vision of herself. He helps her find the real Ami – not a goddess, not a pampered princess, but a person of conscience. Kennedy does a pitch-perfect job of not only charting Ami’s belated journey into adulthood, but of making her love for Ash emotional and believable.” — Regina Small

 I know a lot of people (my editor, my agent, assorted members of my cheering section) were hoping this book would receive the Seal of Excellence as THE MARK OF THE TALA did, but I’m thrilled with this nod. I think it’s good for another author to experience the sweetness of being singled out this way, too.

Besides, being in the company of heavy hitters like Tiffany Reisz, Sarah MacLean and Eileen Dreyer is pretty damn awesome!

I was chatting on Twitter with Rachel Caine, whose PRINCE OF SHADOWS, is also an RT Book of the Year nominee. As one does. HEE! Seriously, she tweeted that she’d ordered THE MARK OF THE TALA and THE TEARS OF THE ROSE and was looking forward to reading them and I had a fangirl mini-meltdown. See, I picked up her first book, ILL WIND, back in 2003. For those keeping score at home, that was when my own first book – WYOMING TRUCKS, TRUE LOVE AND THE WEATHER CHANNEL – came out, which means I was solidly writing nonfiction then. It’s a serious kick to know SHE is reading MY books now. Also terrifying, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

Anyway, she mentioned that she’s going to try to read all of the Book of the Year nominees, which I think is a really fun idea. I might try to do this, too. We should have a book club and discuss! Hmm…

At any rate, welcome to 2015 – the water seems to be just fine. Best wishes to everyone in the year ahead!

World-Building, Win-A-Book and Workshop!

Map FinalI’m over at the fabulous and brilliant Suzanne Johnson’s blog today, talking about World-Building. You can win a copy of The Mark of the Tala there or at Here Be Magic, for Win-A-Book Wednesday.

Also, I’m teaching an online workshop starting next Monday on Walking the Consent Line – how to deal with issues of dubious and questionable consent in erotic literature.

Thank you all for the release day love yesterday – you made it a great day!

Writing Sexytimes and Other Important Pursuits

3_17 2This was from a few weeks ago – the full moon setting into a sunrise-pinkened bank of clouds. So beautiful.

Just a  reminder that my online workshop, Writing Sexytimes in Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Stories, will start on Monday, April 7! If you missed the description earlier, this is it:

Sex is a fundamental human experience and arguably the most powerful. The intimacy of sexual interaction can elevate the tension, emotion and visceral impact of most any story. But how do sex scenes best function in the speculative fiction genres?

This class will cover the basic of adding vivid, sensual and heart-pounding sexytimes to any story. In particular, students will explore examples of sex scenes that enhance the world-building and fantastic elements of any speculative fiction tale. Finally, writers will come away with tools for using sexytimes to enhance and build unique excitement in their worlds. Students will be able to submit short scenes to the instructor or the group for feedback

I’ve had a few questions from various people,, so I wanted to put some answers here, in case others were wondering. No, you don’t have to be an FFP or even an RWA member to take the class. Everyone is welcome. You need access to email and that’s about it. If you’re reading this, you probably have that part handled. 🙂

Also, you do not have to be very far in your writing career. I’m going to try to set this up to work for writers at all levels. We’ll spend a fair amount of time studying what others have done in the genre, so we’ll approach quite a bit from the reading perspective, too. If you’re not ready to share your work, that’s just fine! There will be exercises, but no grades. :mrgreen: So if you want to simply lurk, that’s cool. You can always work on exercises, etc., whenever you’re ready to.

You can register via this link.

I’m very excited to see how this works! It should be big fun. I have other workshops that I’ve put together, listed here. I’ll be doing the Walking that Consent Line Workshop in June and I just committed to doing the Sexual Tension – Getting Away from Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am and Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation in 2015. 

Also, after some conversation on Twitter yesterday, I’m thinking of adding one on managing writing time. Let me know if you think you’d be interested in that.

 Happy Friday everyone!

~dances around with Rebecca Black hair~

Writing Sexytimes in Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Stories

lips Coming online April 7 – 20!

Sex is a fundamental human experience and arguably the most powerful. The intimacy of sexual interaction can elevate the tension, emotion and visceral impact of most any story. But how do sex scenes best function in the speculative fiction genres?

This class will cover the basic of adding vivid, sensual and heart-pounding sexytimes to any story. In particular, students will explore examples of sex scenes that enhance the world-building and fantastic elements of any speculative fiction tale. Finally, writers will come away with tools for using sexytimes to enhance and build unique excitement in their worlds. Students will be able to submit short scenes to the instructor or the group for feedback.

Go here to register!

More Jeffe! News on Workshops and Pitch Opportunities

026I love how I’m patiently posing for the picture while Carolyn Crane is mugging away beside me.

This was at Ten Thousand Waves and we were all squidgy with relaxation from soaking in the hot tub. Carolyn visited me this last week from Friday to Tuesday and it was so much fun spending time with her. We also hatched Secret Plots that we’re very excited about!

Just you wait.

So, I have some newsy things today. First of all, all y’all who’ve been asking for me to teach a workshop on smexytimes and/or folding origami table lamps? I’m ready! In fact, I have two workshops lined up for you this spring!

These are hot off the press, so the listings may not have come up yet, but here’s the two scheduled so far.

Writing Sexytimes in Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Stories

FFP – April 7-20 – http://www.romance-ffp.com/category/workshops

Sex is a fundamental human experience and arguably the most powerful. The intimacy of sexual interaction can elevate the tension, emotion and visceral impact of most any story. But how do sex scenes best function in the speculative fiction genres?

 This class will cover the basic of adding vivid, sensual and heart-pounding sexytimes to any story. In particular, students will explore examples of sex scenes that enhance the world-building and fantastic elements of any speculative fiction tale. Finally, writers will come away with tools for using sexytimes to enhance and build unique excitement in their worlds. Students will be able to submit short scenes to the instructor or the group for feedback.

 
Walking that Consent Line

Romance Writers of America, San Diego Chapter – June 2-13 – http://rwasd.com/training/index.html

BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Submission/Sadism, Masochism) and kidnap/captivity stories are all the rage. But why? Is it all just a kinky fad? No! These questionable consent/loss of control stories are about a deeper, darker aspect of human nature. One that taps into both psychological and story dynamite.

In this class, students will learn where the lines of consent, questionable consent and non-consent lie – and also which genres tolerate how much line-crossing. The role of the reader in giving consent will be examined and students will learn techniques for mining the tension around those lines. Finally, the concepts of redemption and what exactly can be forgiven will be explored. Writers will be able to submit short scenes to the instructor or the group for feedback.

These will both be online workshops, conducted via email loops. I’m really excited to be teaching them!

ALSO, there’s a great online pitch opportunity coming up for those aspiring writers out there. I’ll be one of the author mentors helping you polish that pitch for the fabulous agents who will be participating in NESTPITCH. Check out today’s post to guess who’s hiding behind the Secret Agent Bunny Masks – and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! I may know who one of them is, which should be a CLUE for those keeping score at home.

Drafy Nest Pich Logo stg 3Good luck everyone and Happy Friday!