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Where Are The, Authors?

It's a common phrase heard among writers. Where are the readers? I just want to find the readers. If I could get even a fraction of those readers.... You get the drift. The readers are out there. romance readers in particular are voracious and will read multiple books a month. I'm trying to remember where I read that the average romance reader will read between 5-7 books a month. Sometimes more.
That's huge! That's every author's dream demographic.

But I'm going to toss out a different question. Where are the authors? Where is my next 'auto-buy' author hiding? It's the second part of the equation that we authors generally overlook. With the explosion of e-books and self publishing we have literally thousands of books available to us. Even our favorite authors are putting out books that have long been out of print, or were never published in the first place, so we recognize the author but not the book.

And, frankly, it can be a bit overwhelming. How can we tell if we're going to like a new author? It's more difficult to loan books to our other reader friends and make suggestions. And some readers develop a personal relationship to an author (thank you social media) so it's not always safe to assume that they aren't on one of the ever growing street-teams authors are putting together, or that the author isn't their friend and that they really just think you'll like this book. Not that any of those things are bad things. Not at all. Just another part of the ever complex equation for readers and authors to find one another.
For my part-it's been a process of gathering friends that I trust when it comes to book recs. I've joined reader blogs and found some new favorites that way, I've talked to readers to figure out what they like to see if I'll like the same things. And I've needed to decide if reviews will factor into my decision about purchasing a new-to-me author.

What's worked for you when it comes to finding new authors?


Wait, what?

This week I had a couple different, "Did that really just happen?" experiences.

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I'll tell you that I'm the mother of two boys, so this is not at all an unusual state for me. For example, my 9 year old has started cussing. Not really bad cussing, but enough that he'd get bitch-slapped if his grandmother heard him. I recognize that he's doing this to see what I'll do. So, I didn't react other than to tell him that he'll get in trouble if he says that while at school. Or in front of grandma. The look of horror on his face at the thought of cursing in front of his grandmother (thus ending his spoiled rotten train he's been riding since birth) was hilarious. And the language has been cleaned up.

I also have a day job that deals with the mentally ill. I'm well versed in the state of "WTF" and "Seriously??" Some of it is pretty sad. Most of it is really pathetic and somewhat funny. (Telling a narcissistic person that they won't get their way because there is an issue that is more important/life threatening than the reason their calling? Priceless.) This probably explains my somewhat warped sense of humor. I have to laugh at myself, to see the humor in the every day things, or I'd be in some serious trouble.
So, this week I was actually approached by someone who wanted to tell me about the book they are writing. Or that they want to write. Or something.
Actually, they asked ME to write it for them, because it's such a great idea.
I'm pretty sure this is what I looked like:

I didn't say anything for a long time. What could I say? I'm pretty sure everything that was going through my mind would have been insulting to both of us.  Finally, I managed to squeek out that, while flattered she would think of me, I have to pass. I am 50K words into my current WIP, have the sequel plotted out and a new story idea is impatiently waiting in the wings. There is just no way I'd be able to do her idea justice.

My second "Did That Just Happen" moment was much more fun.

A friend from college, who I haven't seen in about 15 years, was in town. I met him and some friends of his for drinks one evening. Very casual and low key, I wasn't thinking anything of it. You know, right up until he introduced me to the group as "A successful romance novelist."
I'm pretty sure this is what I looked like:

I debated for half a second about correcting him, but I didn't want to embarrass him or make him uncomfortable, so I waited until we had a moment alone before I reminded him that, while I am flattered by his description, I'm not published yet. Thus, not successful. Yet. He gave me a hug and told me that he knew that, but success isn't measured in publishing contracts or best seller lists at this point in my career. Success is measured by persistence and drive. The rest would come.
I'm holding his words to heart.

How about you guys? Any "Did That Really Just Happen" moments you'd care to share?

On a separate topic, Emerald City Writers' Conference is now half way filled. We cap attendance at 300 and hold firm to that. Registration has only been open for ~6 weeks, so I anticipate we'll fill up way before October 1st. If you'd like more information, give me a shout.

Picking It Up

We've all heard them; the cheesy pick up lines that cause us to laugh because-really? Did you REALLY just ask me what my sign is? As if any woman over the age of twelve doesn't have a response to that (STOP! DO NOT ENTER!) ready in their hip pocket.

But, to be fair, what do you say to that really hot girl (or guy-come on girls, take ownership of what you want) and not sound like a complete knob? 
HI is always a good place to start. Hi, I'm Joey, what's your name (or if your last name is Tribiani-how you doin')? Can I buy you a drink (if you're in a bar), Would you like to dance? 

Writing romance, I'm constantly thinking of why these two characters connect, why two other characters don't. What chemistry makes them spark and, yes, what are the first words that they can say to each other that will create a buzz of interest. And it's interesting, because something that is said to one person/character that is a turn off could attract another person/character.

I was in a library back in college when a guy approached me in a library and said once of the nicest things I've ever heard; "I just needed to come and introduce myself to the woman who had such a wonderful smile."  That relationship didn't go anywhere, but I still swoon a little bit when I think of it.

Sometimes it's knowing that you're ridiculous, but getting over that awkward "I don't know you, but I'm attracted to you and really would like to know you" moment out of the way.

All in all, what matters more than anything else is being genuine. At least for me. 

And looking like Ryan Gosling wouldn't hurt.

What about you? What is the worst pick up line you've ever heard? How about the best?