This 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. 😉
SO 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!
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!
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.
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!