Ready to Meet n Greet? Words of Wisdom from Barbara Vey

p, Barbara-Vey-CuddleHi friends! Barbara Vey spoke to Virginia Romance Writers last December and had some great wisdom to share about getting the most out of public romance events.  Barbara blogs at Publisher’s Weekly and she thinks like a reader–a very smart reader.  She goes to all kinds of romance events so she is an expert at connecting with readers both in person and online.

What I like about her advice is that it’s easy to follow.

Barbara talked about being at an event in person:

1) Project warmth.  Be personable.  [It’s actually hard to project warmth and be nervous at the same time.]

2) Readers love games and giveaways.  If you’re at an event with romance readers then join in the fun.  She noted that a highly successful author, Cathy Maxwell, is out there on the dance floor with readers, even at the end of a long day.

3) Reader’s love recommendations and discovering a new author.  If you’re sitting next to a reader, start chatting with them about who they’re reading and offer your own suggestions.

4) Drop references to your hobbies, pets, or other interests–the reader next to you may share these interests too. Barbara always mentions the television shows she watches and her son.

However, Barbara does not consider a romance event as just taking place in person.  She sees an event as an opportunity to connect online–before, during, and after an event. Here’s her advice about how to prepare for an event online.

1) Do social media a lot.  Announce the event you’re attending, and link to the event.

2) Blog about it.

a) Who is going to be at the event.

b) What you will do at the event.

c) Then after the event–blog about what was talked about.

3) Now, you may not be into blogging yourself.  You’ll be happy to know that there’s a way around this.  Barbara says:

a)Find someone who’s blogging about the event.

b)Read their blog & leave a comment.  (Use your URL address when doing so.)

c)Repost the other writer’s blog (making sure it’s clear to readers who wrote the post.)

There it is!

But what if you’re talking with other romance authors — highly successful, and busy romance authors? What do you talk about then–their latest book?  I asked one highly successful romance writer about this.  She said sure, you could ask them questions about that book, but she has probably finished that book so long ago, it’s a distant memory.

She did point out that almost everyone is highly interested in what’s going on in the publishing world.  The Random House merger for instance, or issues about Brand thieves…these are all things happening right now in the industry.  Of course, I’m always fascinated to hear about another writer’s process–from doing research to final edits.  Last but not least, there are those common interests you may share.  Kids, pets, television shows, other romance writers—I once bonded with a major author about being vegetarian.  By the end of the conversation it felt like we had really connected and we both were beaming.

Speaking of upcoming romance events–I hope to see you all at Love Fest–the romance panels at Virginia Festival of the Book in a week and a half.  It should be fun.  Last year some fans came twenty minutes early to get a seat.  I talked to one and told her the romance authors were off meeting with VRW members.  She said “I know, the author is tweeting about it,” and flashed her smart phone at me.  Doh!



Let’s Go INTO THE WOODS with Kim Harrison

Squee! So I got this book in the mail:

I think it’s not out yet.  Kim Harrison said something on her blog about “if you’re not going to NY Comicon you can’t get a copy,” — But I got one.


Because the good people of Virginia love Kim Harrison. And the good people at the VA Festival of the Book (see my Love Fest page) know this–they were drooling to have Kim Harrison come to the Festival again.  So she will be making an appearance in March.   On an Avon paranormal romance panel.  A panel that I’m (ahem) moderating.  That’s right folks, I’ll be hangin’ with Kim Harrison — look for more updates, especially in February. (Hey–as a moderator the big perk is come up with questions to ask panelists.  Are there any questions you’re burning to ask Kim? Maybe if you share them with me, and I end up asking, I’ll share her answer on this blog.)

For now though, I get to read her lovely collection.  I just really like her writing, you know? Of course, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for heroines who kick major ass.  Also, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book before that had such an interesting torque to the girl-girl friendship of Rachel and Ivy.  (Let me take a moment here to savor and shiver.  Mmmmmm)

If you haven’t read the books, I don’t want to give too much away.  It’s just that Ivy is a vampire, and she has desires, yearnings, and issues.  She tries to stuff them down and march away from her instincts.  Yet living with Rachel, who’s a witch, provides some complications.  Possessiveness, boundaries, intimacy, and yes,—clothes-sharing—all these girl topics that we don’t reallllllllly discuss are not talked about openly between the two characters, but Harrison lets them simmer right under the surface.  She makes us aware of these tensions to a subtext as the heroines form a working relationship and eventually live together.

I mean, we’ve had so much bro-mance spoonfed to us for the last half decade or so.  Time for someone to march off into that weird-boundaries territory that happens with women too. Right? — Right! I find myself always wanting more of the Rachel/Ivy mix.  A heroine-who-doesn’t-care-she’s-a-heroine and a heroine-who-worries-she’s-a-villainess make a GREAT mix.  If you haven’t read Harrison’s series, give yourself a treat and grab a copy of DEAD WITCH WALKING.  (Copies are dead cheap on amazon, btw).