**Thank you so much to Posy Roberts for stopping by the blog for the GRL 2016 Blog Tour. Can’t wait to see you in October!!!
Thank you so much for hosting me. This will be my third GayRomLit retreat but the first time I’ll be coming as a featured author.
The first time I sat behind a table with my books set out in front of me so people could connect my face with my stories, I was scared. In my community I was an educator, the person greeting preschoolers and their parents at the classroom door. No one knew I was bisexual, that I moonlighted as a writer, and that I passionately supported LGBTQ+ equality. No one knew I wrote MM Romance. Thankfully that first experience was at my local Pridefest, so an interested and open audience surrounded me.
I quickly learned that I had no clue how to sell my books. People would ask me what I wrote, and aside from saying contemporary MM romance, I had no effective way to share my stories so they sounded appealing, and it all came down to how I was raised.
I’m not a saleswoman, and with each person I engaged, I felt this hot feeling in my gut because I was talking myself up. When I shared this experience with my friend and fellow MM author, Teegan Loy, she expressed the same feelings. We were both raised with Midwestern humility stitched into our very fiber, so talking ourselves up was very much out of our comfort zone, even if it meant more readers. Sending out release day notices and writing blog posts was easy, but face-to-face interactions? Yikes!
My first GayRomLit was a few months after Pride, and I came as a supporting author. As I sat in Chicago at the book signing, I was still nervous, even in a setting where I was expected to chat myself up. So I kept on going to events. Last year, I attended a local authors’ meet-and-greet and went to GRL in San Diego. Then this summer I went to Twin Cities Pride, where I sat in a booth for two days talking to people about books. I watched other authors sell their books as well.
What I walked away with from all these experiences is that I needed to simplify. As the author, I know all the subtext, symbolism, and the messages I was hoping to convey, but that makes for a lousy introduction to the books. I write novels because it takes 80,000 words to tell that one story, and I occasionally write series because the story can’t be told in one novel. It doesn’t help that I write books across the board too, from angst to fluff to kink.
So as GRL in Kansas City has been approaching, I’ve been trying to find a better way to tell you, readers and potential readers, what you can expect from my books. First, I reworked all of my taglines. Second, I focused on the tropes in each book. Third, I decided to take advantage of visuals. From reviewers’ comments over the years, I know I write meaty stories that are not easy to boil down in a few lines, so that got me thinking about food. At GRL and on my website, I will give you a reduction sauce of my books: one taste so you know what you’re getting. 😉 One thing led to another, and I ended up with a quick flavor system for my books represented by food. What else?
Sweet stories will be fluffy and light-hearted. Spicy stories will have some kink in them. Savory stories—which are my bread and butter—are full meals, dark and earthy in spots, but with a nice finish at the end. And bitter or bitter-sweet (because I write romance, I will never leave you hanging) will have moments of angst where the characters suffer on their way to change and growth. Many stories have a fusion of flavors as well. I know there are times I crave a fluffy, light-hearted story, and other times I want to feel a character’s experience all the way down to my toes, so this will help with that as well.
I’m in the process of creating mini cards to bring to GRL to let you pick your flavor, and I’ve created a page on my website for the same purpose. Here’s a sampling so you can see what to expect. I’d love to hear what you think. I can’t wait to talk to you face-to-face. I’d love to learn about what you like in a book so I can help find one of mine you can savor. 😉
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