This post is entirely for authors, or would-be authors of genre fiction. I wrote a nonfiction promotion guide with Damon Suede called Your A Game: winning promo for genre fiction. I’m going to tell you a bit about it, then give you a chance to win a copy. Three chances, in fact.
We wrote this book because, bottom line, we saw a need. Both of us kept getting questions from other authors about how to navigate this or that aspect of marketing and promotion. Sometimes we knew how to help them, and sometimes they gave us questions we wondered about the answers to. So we wrote down what we knew and researched what we didn’t.
But what we both believed more than anything was there was no way to write a one-size-fits-all guide, and the more research we did, the more passionate we felt about that truth. So we organized our book as something that could be personalized for each author at every stage of their career.
Here’s a bit of the information from the book and the website. Give it a gander, and if you’re still not ready to commit, peruse the content on our website, including interactive quizzes, and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of your own.
Your A Game is a dynamic guide to book promotion built around the idea that genre publishing is an interactive, strategic game which authors, colleagues, and readers play together for fun and profit. A career in genre fiction presents unique challenges. Since no two authors, books, or careers are the same, shortcuts and cookie-cutter solutions serve no one. We each have to find our own way.
Promoting genre fiction grows more competitive every day, yet no two authors or careers are alike.
Our solution: a chooseable adventure so you can pick the path toward the career you’ve always wanted. We offer a promo game plan tailored to your personal style, strategy, and measure of success.
Your A Game explains the tools and rules of kickass genre marketing to let you make your best next move. We break down the tricks and traps facing all novelists so you can:
- build your personal brand into a professional force.
- polish your public presence, online and in person.
- reach your ideal market and access your fans.
- raise each project to the next level.
As genre authors, we all pursue different goals. Follow the path to the rewards that matter to you.
Your A Game skips cookie-cutter solutions to focus on your goals and skills, whatever they might be. We can help you:
- build your personal brand into a professional force.
- polish your public presence, online and in person.
- reach your ideal market and access your fans.
- raise each project to the next level.
This book teaches you how to define and refine your unique promotional strategy in a way that’s not only easy, it’s fun. Rather than packaging a set of recycled band-aids or aspirational platitudes, we’ve built an interactive career adventure that lets any genre fictioneer choose a customized path to their own winning promotional strategy. Your A Game is a playbook you can actually play.
Your career should be fun. Start playing Your A Game now.
Would you like to win a copy of Your A Game?
Enter the Rafflecopter below!
We’re in the last days to order/send books for the virtual signing!
A few quick answers to common questions: don’t worry, your books don’t have to BE here by October 1, just that you have to have filled out the forms saying they’re coming. Also, people are wanting Sleigh Ride, which won’t be out until after October 1, and that’s okay. We’ll wait for the books, so long as you tell us they’re coming.
You can find out everything you need to know about the signing here, with links for the order/notification forms. We’ll be sending shipping invoices starting next week, and we’ll start shipping the books shortly thereafter!
In the meantime…would you like to win a paperback?
Three winners will get to pick a book from my stash. You don’t have to have a book in the virtual signing to win, but if you have ordered books, you can add an additional one to books you’ve already ordered (I’ll cover that part of the shipping). Patrons will get two additional entries ($20+ patrons will get three) and anyone who ordered books for the virtual signing will get one additional entry. That means if you’re a $20+ patron who ordered books, you get four additional entries.
Enter the Rafflecopter here. It’s open until October 1. Good luck, and I’ll “see” you at the signing!
Updates, Book Rec, Giveaway, & a Lonely Hearts Excerpt Because Apparently You’re All Searching This Blog For It
I came here to post a quick update and book rec because I get tired of seeing the last post is a recipe, and I really worried all these new followers are thinking I’m going to talk about food all the time. Truth: I don’t talk about any one thing all the time. Everything seems to cycle around eventually, but food is a side dish, not an entree.
Except when I went to the dashboard, it says everyone is coming to this blog to find a Lonely Hearts teaser? Which, okay. Sure. It’s actually at my website, but I’ll give you another little bit at the end of this post. So if you don’t want that, quit right after the book rec.
Well, my update sucks more than a bit. My health was on this gradual slump, despite my efforts to improve my diet (which honestly wasn’t horrible, but any port in a storm) and add exercise, and then this last week it frankly went utterly to shit. I’m in a very foul mood about it, and the fact that this week pretty much everyone and everything everywhere said, “Hey, could you–?” frankly I’m turning off the internet a lot. And not answering the phone. I’ve decided when you’re sick, you get to tell people to fuck off it you want, no explanation needed.
We are, though, exploring Green Chef. It’s a bit pricey, and I’m on the fence, but the food is good and Dan really enjoys how he can make this fancy dinner with all the stuff bought and prepped. We’ll probably do it at least twice a month for a bit.
I’m trying to finish Clockwork Heart, which is very much due and should have been easy to fix, but see the last paragraph. To motivate myself I’m having this weekly contest on my FB Fan Page, which you can play in again starting on either Sunday or Monday, whenever I get the week three post up.
I’m getting asked, like DAILY, if any other books are going to be in audio. For sure Nowhere Ranch is because I have it in production. It’s also going to be in French and Italian later this year. Dance With Me will get the same treatment once I have the rights back. And yes, that will be self-published too, coming out probably the same time as Lonely Hearts in August. Maybe a bit sooner. It all depends. As usual, watch this space and my newsletter for details. I’ll very likely have a pre-sale on Gumroad again and offer the paperbacks. It will be significantly cheaper on Gumroad for a few weeks, but once it goes up on third party, it’ll probably be $5.50, because it’s such a huge pain to change prices there, and last time I wasted a week fighting with Amazon. So, done with that nonsense.
Anyway, all my Samhain books are in the catalog to be produced in audio, and I’m told that should probably be happening? Everything there is licensed through Insatiable Press, so if you want to talk to the people in charge, that’s who. I’ve started forwarding and tagging everyone in charge when I get your emails/tweets/DMs, but feel free to go to the horses’ mouths, either Samhain or Insatiable. All I can do is tell my agent and the people at Samhain how much you’re all asking for more audio. And yes, I tell them you want Iggy only. I do too. I don’t get to pick that for the Samhain stuff, but for the self-pub, he’s for sure.
Another big question is “Are you going to write Paul’s story in the Christmas books?” Yes. I did, and it’s at the line editor. I’ve seen the cover, and it’s great. As soon as it’s approved, I’ll post it. The book will be out this Christmas, with preorders up probably sometime in June.
I think that’s about it. Oh, and I’m not going to be at RT. I thought I’d been pretty public about staying home this year except for RWA, but there seems to be a lot of surprise still. Nope, no RT, no GRL, no nothing except for RWA. Well, okay, and a one day thing August 15 in Chicago, but that’s honestly it.
Right, one last thing. I will probably do another virtual signing for Dance With Me paperbacks like I did with Nowhere Ranch. I can maybe work out something for other books, but I don’t resell books through other publishers because it’s a HUUUUGE pain in my ass. So what I might do is have a period of time where you can mail them to my post office box with a SASE or we’ll do the paypal thing for international, unless you can suss out an SASE. But that’s not for sure and definitely not yet.
I picked this book up the other day, and it’s utterly charming. Sweet, sexy, and makes you feel all gushy inside. It’s just a baby bit like my A Private Gentleman in the pairing (higher/lower class)but with 80% less angst. Which is lovely. If you like that swoopy sweet feeling, with a little bit of tension and some oh no but not much, this is what you want. Hard to find in historical, because usually the whole threat of death and all is a real downer. Not here. This is a delight, and you should read it. Also, set in Paris. PARIS. Come on. Buy it already.
LONELY HEARTS EXCERPT
So, there’s already one of these. It’s here. But I’ll give you another one. Unless you can’t stand being teased. If you don’t like that, you need to stop reading right now. If you go past the cover image and the jump, it’s too late, and you have only yourself to blame.
The Sleigh Ride blog tour starts soon! You can follow it here. You can also, throughout the blog tour, enter to win a special prize pack!
- an ebook copy of Sleigh Ride (if you’ve already bought it by then, you can give it to a friend)
- a signed paperback copy of Let It Snow
- a copy of William’s Doll, a children’s story referenced in the novel
- a cuddling moose figurine
- a Minnesota flask for those cold winter nights
Want to listen to the music I played while I wrote the novel? Check out this Spotify playlist.
Coming November 11 from Samhain Publishing
Book Two of the Minnesota Christmas Series
The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.
Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.
It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.
As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.
Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.
KA Mitchell is giving away more stuff, we’re all reading everything, the boys are still chatting, and small side note about sadists.
First the admin stuff:
- KA Mitchell is still having a buddy read. We’re sliding slowly into book 3 (I’m still behind, but I’m catching up today). She’s still taking questions, and so are all her characters. We’ll start book 4 Tuesday when it releases!
- KA Mitchell is giving stuff away. A $10 certificate and a $25. One contest is fast, the other gives you some time to enter.
- There’s a Tough Love buddy read. Please come join those chatting. I’m staying out of it until they drag me in, which they did because they wanted to talk about Gordy, and fuck, I wanted to talk about Gordy.
- I extended the Special Delivery character interviews because I had a rough day yesterday and didn’t get to respond. They’ll be there through the weekend, so stop by and ask whatever you like.
- The blog tour has had some interviews and guests posts on it, including one where I talk about drag. Also tons more chances to win Tough Love. (Some of the links haven’t been updated yet—Dan does that, and he’s been working and taking care of me as I feel lousy. Sorry.)
Speaking of Tough Love…
I’ve been trying to think of how to say this, and I can’t ever find the way to climb on top of it gracefully, so pardon the sight of my slip here. What I want to address is the dichotomy of responses I’m getting from reviewers and readers. As always it’s a spectrum, but this time it’s really something amazing to behold, and it keeps bringing me to my knees, more easily probably because I’m tired and a bit sick again and all my emotions are on the surface.
Reactions to Tough Love so far seem to be somewhere on this line: readers either instinctively know they need to give this one a pass, but many are frustrated because they feel like they’re being left out of a party. Some of those then end up reading, and they merge with the next set, the ones who thought they’d read my kink before and would be fine and found…whoa, hey, there’s the edge of my comfort zone. Some of you went over, some of you kissed it. Beyond that are the readers who discovered a third wall beyond the edge of the boundaries they thought they knew, and they seem to be mixed on whether they’re excited or freaked out or both or IDEK, I need to lie down now.
A whole, huge pack of you flat-out loved it, maybe didn’t like some parts which is normal, but mostly yay, book, boys are back, new boys, YAY! A step further than these people are the hard-core kink lovers, who grunted and RAWR’d and called for more right now please, thanks. Some of you waxed poetic about your love for this kind of book, some of you just made incoherent noises. Loved all the responses, so thanks.
But then there is the last land of responses I’ve received, and they knock me over, make me shake. They’re actually the people I wanted to write for all along. I wanted a story for everybody, but what I really, really wanted, was to write to a group of people who aren’t usually heard, who are usually written off as freaks or bad guys or both. Who have to hide who they are and what they love. What I wanted to do above all was write for you, to show you that I love you too and you too deserve happily ever afters and fiction which represents you.
And the thing is, you sadists, you pain kink-ers, you edge play people–you keep writing me, you keep messaging me, and you make me so glad I went here.
This is the kind of moment that’s hard to explain to media when they ask me about what I write. Usually someone is trying to get at the titter-worthy angle, the nice little mom in Iowa writing erotica, and isn’t that funny—but sometimes media actually ask me about what my work means, and it sucks because I don’t know how to describe this. I do my best, but whenever I write to a group and they tell me they felt heard, I usually cry, and it’s like something in my soul eases into place.
I think it’s because when I was young, the age my daughter is now, I felt cripplingly alone, unheard, unloved, and lonely. I don’t feel that way now, but I will never forget what that pain and isolation felt like. And while it’s true that mostly what I want to do is write love stories and give readers a good time, a part of me is always reaching for another group or even single individuals who haven’t been asked to dance. Who would love to have a party and yet nobody ever comes or even sees them there with a basket of streamers and drinks. I have been that person, and I think I’m both trying to honor that pain and erase it by helping others not feel that lousy.
In Tough Love, several of you have had to give it a pass or say, “this one wasn’t for me,” and that’s totally, utterly okay. I hate that it’s your turn to feel left out, but for each one of you who’ve had that reaction, I’ve had at least one, sometimes two basically say, “You just heard me.” Sadists especially, they don’t get a ton of leading roles. Masochists some, but sadists usually don’t get to be–and if they do, they’re the bad guy or they’re cured. Pain kink is similar, but sadists, man–they don’t get a good shake almost ever.
The sad thing is I don’t know if I did it right. I did my best. I researched like all hell and had tons of smart people read and react, but I’ll still fall short even for those I most wanted to write for. It makes me so good, though, to hear that I did at least some of it right for some of the people. Those were hard places to go–not so much because this is or isn’t my kink. That has nothing to do with it. I mean, I’m not a 19th century gentleman, or a stammerer, but I wrote those people too. Nope, I’m not a sadist, or a masochist, or even in the Lifestyle. I’m not even really a tourist. But Tough Love challenged me because I knew how important it was to get it right, to not be another fuck up writing a sadist wrong. I didn’t want to accidentally further marginalize a group that gets too much flack as it is. Add in Gordy, who was supposed to be a sweet, sad puppy and then became a monster, and….yeah. I wrote most of that book thinking I’d throw up. So fucking nervous.
I love writing all my stories for you, but this one was extra special to me, and basically a whole bunch of you have told me you appreciate what I did. I wanted to acknowledge you, to thank you right back, and I wanted to share this too in an effort to further validate you, to let some of the frustrated/left out people see why I pushed so far this time.
I feel like I’m cycling now, so I’ll stop and just hug everybody, and let Ethan have the last word. Because this was his quote, to Chenco in Tough Love.
ETA: I’m expanding this contest until the swag packages arrive from Atlanta. So you can still enter, and spread the word if you’d like to.
The other day I was happily scrolling through Facebook when I discovered a post from K-Lee Klein, one of the supporting authors at GayRomLit. Look what they’re doing!
This is Cate Ashwood’s brainchild: she was trying to come up with swag, and since everything she’d ever heard or read said her work was her best advertisement (wise, and true), she set about making a sample booklet to be given out during the Supporting Author signing. She asked around her fellow supporting authors, and this is the list of who took the bait:
- Simone Anderson
- Cate Ashwood
- Heidi Belleau
- Lex Chase
- Jacob Z. Flores
- M.C. Houle
- A.J. Kelton
- Venona Keyes
- Pearl Love
- Edmond Manning
- Anna Martin
- Rowan McAllister
- S.A. McAuley
- Madison Parker
- Tali Spencer
- Lily Velden
- Lynley Wayne
Writing is a solitary activity, and yet authors would be useless without readers to devour the words they create. GayRomLit brings the two together; a community made up of people with different tastes and styles, from all over the world, all with one thing in common: a passion for romance.From science fiction to urban fantasy, from historical to paranormal to contemporary, enjoy an eclectic collection of stories and excerpts from eighteen of the supporting authors attending GayRomLit 2013 in Atlanta.
Love Lessons is my next novel, set to release on October 1. Some of you are counting the days and entertaining me greatly with your animated GIFs. Thank you for that. Love Lessons is my first New Adult title (official one—technically many of mine qualify, at least sideways), and though I know that’s not a requirement of the genre, it ended up being significantly tamer than my previous books. Though might I remind you that I thought Dance With Me was tame also, and everyone looks at me funny when I say that.
There’s a lot of promo coming over the next few months (not all the time, no worries) but in all kinds of ways and places. Some of them are quirky fun: for example, if you’d like to officially mark the torture countdown, there’s an animated countdown widget, designed by my assistant Viviana Izzo. I can’t post it here because WordPress and flash don’t get along, but she has it on her blog in the sidebar, and any day now it will be on my website too (Mark is fine-tuning as only Mark can). If you want it too, you can have it: there’s a frozen frame on FB, and if you PM me, we’ll get you taken care of. Alternately you can shoot me an email (email@example.com).
This post officially kicks off an every Friday series of behind-the-scenes information about Love Lessons, though you can also find this stuff regularly and in archives on my Facebook Page. If you’ve already added it to your list of likes, thanks and awesome. I’ve been posting daily and sharing some ‘insiders info’ with everyone from the Love Lessons playlists (Music Mondays) to snippets on Teaser Tuesdays. Here’s some samples of the latter look like:
Then of course there is Eye Candy Wednesdays. This is truly the best kind of eye candy; allergy FREE, Calories FREE and Fat FREE!! Granted, this doesn’t have anything to do with Love Lessons per say, but both Walter and Kelly know when a guy is Talent, and I believe they would agree with the selection thus far.
This segues into my first behind-the-scenes tidbit for you: the origin of Talent, a term I blatantly stole from Damon Suede and used liberally in Love Lessons. I don’t care if we’re in an airport, on the streets of Atlanta, or wandering Target, Damon can spot it at twenty paces and tells me so. Once I even got a text that he was “sitting next to Talent” on the plane. This is a game he plays with a local friend, but somehow I got into the fun as well. And I certainly don’t mind at all.
Walter isn’t a carbon copy of Damon, but they’d certainly cut up a dance floor well together and work a room until it hurt from awesome. Giving the Talent game to Walter was a nod to one of my best friends, my partner in crime, my papi. Come to think of it, neither one of them can resist a shy boy, either. Huh. The more I think of it, the more I realize that whole character was a love letter.
Well, papi, hope you enjoy Walter. And thank you for sharing your talent, in every way that you do.
But wait, there’s more.
2013 has been officially been declared the year I hire experts. I told you in the last post about my new web guy, and above I mentioned my assistant Viviana. In addition to Heidi-Wrangling she and her company Enchantress of Blog Tours is helping me with an official blog tour and promo push for Love Lessons. There are 3 different ones:
Promotional Spotlight Tour occurring every Thursday, now until Sept. 26.
To participate, fill out the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rrFTw3g-puwocDCGkhROZZiZ5PY1d5MgCak7i8Z95UQ/viewform
Release Day Blitz on Oct. 1, 2013
To participate, fill out the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rGornvmKeGb8xzpfppRmrnprKz198HqjiTYb0p4cTo/viewform
Love Lessons is also going on the official, traditional release tour Oct. 8 through Nov. 5. We’ll have guest posts, author interviews, reviews, and more. Who knows, maybe Kelly and Walter will also participate.
There’s plenty of room at this party. If you’re a blogger and want to participate, fill out the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1la9KsnlZq0zd05bKMmpf47JzH9iQCTHwfZ7JCM0MP6w/viewform
It also so happens that August 25 is my fortieth birthday. It’s a milestone, and I had this idle thought one day that I should do something for it like have a reader party or something, but I got overwhelmed just thinking about it, so it was going to die in committee. Except the committee now contains Viviana. All I said in email was something like, “So it’s my fortieth birthday, and I thought maybe we could do something, but I don’t know what.” Next thing I know we’re doing this:
You’ll need to visit the Facebook page to participate, but basically there’s a giveaway either every day or darn close to it. Many incredible thanks to my friends who donated prizes. I feel all verklempt. It’s already started, so hurry on over and get yourself in line for the Rafflecopter.
In the meantime, yes, the promo machine for Love Lessons continues merrily on. If you haven’t already added it to your Goodreads’ “Want to read” shelf“, I certainly won’t stop you, and if you post a GIF I’ll probably come back often to squee at it. While you’re on Goodreads, if this is one of your most anticipated gay romance books to be released this year, then cast your vote on “Can’t Wait M/M Romance of 2013.” It will make Viviana (and me) very happy.
Remember, you can pre-order Love Lessons now:
Samhain: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/love-lessons-p-73022.html?osCsid=8d59710925d3a81f39636bcbe92504c5 (I think it’s still wishlist there, but I know some of you want to buy direct, so you can at least add it that way if you want.)
ALSO. Last night I discovered something amazing on Amazon. Look, will you, at this (Click to make bigger):
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?! Oh my god, I went crazy, adding authors to get email notifications from. I literally shook with excitement. Who hasn’t gone mad trying to make sure they haven’t missed something from their favorite author? You can click the like button too, which is fun, but mostly I’m all over that email notification.
Now, I think, authors, this means we have to remember to add our books to our author page, and we have to have an author page. R. Cooper, I despair. I wanted to add you…
In closing: Facebook page. Lots of blog tour stuff. Giveaways. Preorders. Email notifications. And Talent.
I am back from Romantic Times. It was truly amazing. And if you’re looking for the panel I did with Damon Suede, ZA Maxfield and my own dear Marie Sexton, look for that here.
I am utterly exhausted. More on that in a bit, but for now:
- Last week’s blog hop entry is here. Only one more week yet and then we pick the big winner of the $200 gift card! Get your name entered.
- I won some nice things while I was hurrying off to RT: Joyfully Reviewed’s Best Romance of 2011 for Dance With Me and Best Book of 2011: GLBT-BDSM for Nowhere Ranch at The Romance Reviews. Thank you very much to both blogs! The boys and I are all honored.
- Dear Author reviewed A Private Gentleman
It also occurred to me to let you know what my travel plans for the rest of the year are, since I have many of them. Places you can see me in 2012:
- The CARAS conference in Chicago on Thursday, May 24 (I hear there will be a webinar of the panel)
- RomCon in Denver from June 21-24
- RWA National in Anaheim from July 25-28, public booksigning on the 25th
- GayRomLit in Albuquerque from October 18-21
But what you really want is a free book, right? Or maybe three? My next book, The Pirate’s Game, is out April 24 from Loose Id. Blurb, excerpt, trailer, and buy link below.
Enter your name in the comments below for a chance to win the whole series or whatever books from it you’re missing. More chances at Stumbling Over Chaos, COP, and of course I always pick a winner from my newsletter. Have you subscribed?
Contest will close April 23.
The Pirate’s Game
Three square meals a day, endless pirate fantasies played out in real time, and more Timothy than he’s seen in months. How can Charles complain?
Of course, trouble always manages to find its way home to Charles. The Pretender is still trying to kill him. His cousin is in a funk and shocks everyone with the reason why. But the most worrisome part is that Charles has realized he’d trade all his god powers and most of the world he made to have Timothy back with him for real — and he’s finally figured out how to do just that.
This week Ellis Carrington hosts, and I confess how I don’t have enough snow and wish I were in Yellowknife. You can as always enter a comment for your chance at the grand prize of a $200 gift card. (Woo-hoo!)
In the meantime, you can enter HERE to win a copy of my next book, A Private Gentelman. I’ll pick a winner on the 13th and get it to the lucky winner that night. (The book is out on the 14th.) If you’ve already pre-ordered, you can still enter and give one of the copies to a friend.
Now you will have the usual cover, blurb, trailer, teaser, excerpt and buy links. Enjoy.
A Private Gentleman
Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orchid sighted at a local hobbyist’s house, though, he girds himself with opiates and determination to attend a house party, hoping to sneak a peek.
He finds the orchid, yes…but he finds something else even more rare and exquisite: Michael Vallant. Professional sodomite.
Michael climbed out of an adolescent hell as a courtesan’s bastard to become successful and independent-minded, seeing men on his own terms, protected by a powerful friend. He is master of his own world—until Wes. Not only because, for once, the sex is for pleasure and not for profit. They are joined by tendrils of a shameful, unspoken history. The closer his shy, poppy-addicted lover lures him to the light of love, the harder his past works to drag him back into the dark.
“That is the tale, my lord. I am a whore who can no longer fuck, and I don’t know why. I’ve had no one in well over a month. Since you, dear Albert. No one since you.”
Wes wanted to press the issue, but he knew a brick wall when he saw one. And notes could only be so persuasive. He turned over the first piece of paper and wrote again. I want to help you.
Read an Excerpt
See more book trailers at my YouTube channel