October 6th, huh? Really, 2016, we’re doing this? Creeping up towards the end of the year like it’s no big deal? *scrambles to buy pumpkins*
Okay, so it’s been a weird week for me.
For starters, I broke up with Facebook. Gangbusters style. More on that below.
In happier news, I got my roots done, and there’s nothing like covering up those grays to make one feel like a new (younger) woman, am I right, ladies? I like to preach about aging with grace right up until the minute I see about a 1/4-inch of white grow-out, and then it's all, HEADS WILL ROLL, OUTTA MY WAY!
In even better news, I finished up Love Story, and there is nothing like that moment of writing “The End” and giving it to your poor editor who’s been waiting for it for weeks. To be honest, book releases can be a little anti-climactic (because, All. The. Sales. Pressure), but finishing books … never ever gets old, and I can’t stop smiling! It’s still got a bit of work in edits, but the big pieces are in place, and I’m loving it.
Lastly, in book news, I’m so SO excited to be able to announce another of my 2017 releases below.
It’s called Walk of Shame, and you can read all about it below.
(And to address the inevitable questions about the gifs in this week’s episode. Kurt Hummel is my favorite, and I just felt like it).
I’m a huge fan of Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s writing (even if I do have to look up the spelling of her last name EVERY time), and there’s a giveaway of one of her books in the LL Reader Group!
(To be super clear, this is an “unofficial fan group.” I’m not a member myself, but I’m always happy to pass on good stuff happening in there!)
Ask Lauren Anything
As I mentioned last week, the queue of LL questions is pretty much empty, so unless we get anything new sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, this will be the last one for awhile!
As a send-off for this Q&A section, I’m going to do a lightening-round “repeat questions” session.
There are a few questions that I’ve answered in the past, but they continue to come in from new subscribers who didn’t have the chance to see the answer first time around.
Long-time LL subscribers, you can probably skip this section, although there are a couple newish updates!
I loved New York’s Finest! When will we find out what happens to the other Moretti siblings?
*nervous face.* You probably won’t. I know many of you are discovering the Morettis for the first time, and I’m thrilled, but I haven’t visited them in more than a year and a half since I turned in Cuff Me. That series isn’t feeling as fresh in my head as I need it to be to do best by those characters. I’m not saying never. I’ve actually sort of chewed on the idea of telling Elena and Marc’s respective stories as a spin-off bodyguard series, but I tend to hear crickets when I throw that idea out there. What do YOU guys think?! Am I nuts to consider it? Are bodyguards blah?
What about Finn and Vaughn from Good Girl?!
Another nervous face. I really thought I was going to tell their stories. I even strongly hinted at it once. Which is why I feel bad saying that after much soul searching, I don’t really see that happening. I love those guys, but because I wrote Good Girl as a deliberate standalone, Finn and Vaughn never quite were able to make the jump from secondary to primary characters in my head the way I need them to in order to tell a GREAT romance.
You’re killing me here LL, what about Liam McKenna from Stiletto?
Okay, now him, I’m holding out hope on, although I’ve got noting official for you, so don’t get too excited.
Where/when can I get Stiletto/Oxford/Blurred Lines/Good Girl/ Redemption in paperback?
*avoids eye contact and braces for outrage* You can’t. All of the above books were published with a digital-only publisher. No plans to release paperback versions. Fun fact, this is my MOST frequently asked question, and I've contemplated putting it in my email signature but feel like that might be weird? Yeah. Weird.
Why are only some of your books on audio?
Audio rights are generally sold separately from digital/print rights. Some of my books get interest from an audio publisher, others don’t. However, often times my audio rights don’t sell until after the digital version’s been out awhile, so even if one of your favorites isn’t available on audio right now, it doesn’t mean it’ll never be!
Any of your books being made into film/TV?
Nope. Lots of nibbles, but nothing locked down (yet).
Why are release dates/book descriptions different on GoodReads than on Amazon or your website?
I don’t know, GoodReads is weird. It’s a lot more reader-friendly than it is author-friendly, and if I’m being 100% honest, I get really frustrated with the damn thing and don’t log-on to fight with it as often as I probably should. But if there is a discrepancy, figure that it’s GoodReads that’s out-of-date and stick with what you see on Amazon.
How long does it take you to write a book?
About a month.
Do you outline your books before writing?
Almost always, but every now and then I just dive in and wing it.
Do you use special software to write your books?
Yes, I draft all of my books in Ulysses. You can get it on the Mac app store--I don't believe it's available on Windows. I polish my books in Pages (also Mac only, sorry). I switch to Microsoft Word only at the very end of the process when my publisher makes me.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Track/limit how much time you spend on social media. Spend your time writing instead. The best way to sell more books is to have more books to sell. WHO SAYS I'M BAD AT MATH?! I talk more about writing/publishing tips here.
Okay, that answers the majority of the popular questions we keep getting! Got anything else? Email email@example.com
Meet LL in Person
Another reminder that I’ll be at the Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro Maryland on Saturday, October 27th from 12-2pm. If I’m not enough of a draw, Nora Roberts will be there. And I’m really not offended that you want to meet her more. Me too. Learn More.
For those of you looking ahead to 2017, I’ll be at the following:
RT Convention in Atlanta Georgia on May 2 - May 7, 2017
RARE in Berlin, Germany on June 17, 2017
Big Apple Author Event on October 14, 2017 (my name’s not on their website yet as an attending author, but I’m all signed up!)
I also mentioned that while, at the time, Amazon had the release date listed as April, that book’s release date would likely be moving to June.
I spoke truth. I Knew You Were Trouble has been moved to June.
I have another book coming out in April of 2017, a sparkling, romantic-comedy standalone called Walk of Shame that I am so so so so SO excited about.
The idea for this one came to me out of the blue while I was chatting with my friend Jessica Lemmon. We were babbling about ideas, as authors often do, and she said, “I think I want to write a story about ______.” (Not mine to tell, sorry)
And then I said, out of NOWHERE:
“I want to write a story about two Manhattanites who live in the same fancy apartment building. They HATE each other, but their paths cross every morning when he (workaholic) leaves by 5AM for the gym/office, just as she (party girl) is coming in from a night out on the town.” (bars in NYC close at 4AM, fyi)
Wait, what? Where did that even come from?
I had never thought about telling that story until that moment. And, it should be noted that Lemmon and I are doing this all the time. Throwing out ideas, most of which never see it past the “idea” stage.
I immediately sent an email to my agent that was something along the lines, of, “OMG OMG, can you sell this, if you can’t, then I’ll write it on toilet paper with crayon and sell it myself on the street corner.”
Luckily, Penguin Random House (Loveswept) was all over it, and they’ve given it a cover that is a gazillion times better than what I was prepared to create with my Crayolas and Charmin.
I can’t share the cover just yet, as we’re making final tweaks. Next week, hopefully!
But I do have a description and a release date!
Walk of Shame
April 18th, 2017
(sorry, don't have iBooks and other links yet!)
Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.
Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.
LL's Updated Release Dates
Because I know I’ve been stingy with my release information and because I’ve moved things all around on you, I’ve outlined all my confirmed, upcoming releases below, all pretty for you.
October 18, 2016
To Love and to Cherish
The third Wedding Belles book about Alexis and Logan. (If you haven’t read the other Wedding Belles books yet, this one can still be read by itself — also, the hero is British, soooo ….)
December 6, 2016
Someone Like You
The third in my Oxford series, in which Lincoln Mathis, the king of one-liners and secret pain meets the maid-of-honor to his best-man that turns his carefully-protected life upside down ...
February 14, 2017
A standalone, first person-alternating POV. It’s about two estranged childhood sweethearts who end up taking a 2-week road trip together and are forced to fix their issues while fighting over the radio and sharing motel rooms.
April 18, 2017
Walk of Shame
Another standalone, and this one is “all in” on the romantic comedy front with snappy banter, super-alpha hero, unspeakable sexual tension and happily-ever-after. Obv.
June 13, 2017
I Knew You Were Trouble
The fourth in the Oxford series, a spin-off from the original featuring a hero that’s part bartender/part Oxford freelancer, and Oxford’s feisty new advertising executive.
About my Facebook fiasco
Sigh. I’m only going to mention this briefly, because to be honest, it’s eaten up way too much of my time and soul over the past week, but some of you already know that I had a major Facebook drama.
Short version: someone created a Facebook account under the name “Layne Ann,” and then stole several of my photos, pretending that MY face was their own.
Bad, right? What was worse was the way Facebook handled it. Or didn’t handle it. I reported the account as an imposter account. I filed copyright infringement. Dozens and dozens of other people did the same. We were all informed that the account “didn’t violate Facebook community standards.”
Only after SO MANY amazing readers stepped in, as well as my publisher and all their POWER stepped in, did the issue get resolved. And while I’m relieved that the imposter account was deactivated, I still say, “Not good enough, Facebook.”
You can read about the whole thing here if you’ve got the time/interest, but the upshot is that I’ll be backing off my Facebook presence for a long time. I’m really bothered that they don’t have better resolution options for people whose identity has been stolen.
How to keep up to date on your favorite authors
If you’re still with me (I know, this Weekly is a long, wordy one, you're doing great!!!), I have one other related topic to touch on after my nasty Facebook experience.
The first thing I did after learning that a) someone had stolen my face and b) Facebook's methods for addressing such issues were crap, was to email my author friends giving them a heads up about their Facebook pictures/identity MAYBE not being safe.
Almost all wrote me back, and every single one was supportive and wonderful.
That, I expected. The author-community 100% has each other's backs.
But there was also an interesting undercurrent that surprised me:
The Facebook love is not strong in the author community right now.
The once-darling of author/reader communication is very close to going up in flames.
See, one topic of frequent conversation in author circles is how to best keep readers updated on our releases and going-ons.
We want to connect with you guys. And pretty much everyone knows that romance readers prefer Facebook.
The numbers/studies/surveys tell us this. I think most of it have learned it from personal experience as well. Instagram just hasn't caught on the way it has in the YA community, Twitter's generally known for being more of an "industry" hangout than a reader hangout, and SnapChat ... I don't even know. Nonfiction readers like LinkedIn, but generally speaking, readers are still all about the OG.
Now here’s the part where I nervously have to tell you guys something ...
Facebook is making us authors pull our effing hair out.
I'm not saying we don't like it (well okay, I don't). But plenty of authors love Facebook on a personal level--as a way for staying in touch with friends/family/news updates, etc.
But making Facebook work as an author? Damn hard these days. Borderline impossible.
I'm sure there are a few authors out there who half-wizard and are still using Facebook like a boss, but I promise you, the majority of us are struggling and ... panicking. We feel you guys slipping away with each post, with each book release, not because either side is letting go, but because Facebook is running interference in a bad way.
Here’s the problem:
We authors can't use Facebook the way the rest of you can. We can't just log on, post an update, read others' updates, see what friends are up to. Be happy and informed.
It's not that simple. We authors are supposed to use “Pages” rather than personal profiles.
(The difference between a Page and a Profile is that you “like” a page and “friend” a profile. Some authors do use a profile, but technically you're not supposed to. If you use a pen name, you're really not supposed to.)
Facebook Pages used to be fine and dandy, almost the same as a regular profile.
That’s no longer the case.
Why? Because if you have a Page, Facebook no longer shows all of yours posts to the people that like your page.
Sometimes 87 out of 5,000 people are shown the post. Other times it’s 201. Sometimes it may get as high as 1,000.
Sometimes it’s as low as 20 people seeing something I post. No. Joke. Sometimes TWENTY of you see my Facebook post. Out of 5,000 people who like my page.
It's happening to ALL of us, not just me.
Why is Facebook doing this? Well, it wants us authors (and other business with “pages”) to pay for people to see our updates.
Every single time I post something on Facebook, Facebook asks if I want to “boost” the post which is FB’s way of asking if I want to spend money to show the post to more people.
Now, lest you think I’m a cheap bastard, I actually do understand this. While I think it’s sort of lame that I have to pay to show a post to someone who’s already indicated they want my updates, I get it. Facebook is a business. They need to make money.
But here’s the crap part…sometimes I have my credit card all ready to go, willing to give Facebook $50 so that 300 people will see my cover reveal instead of 60 people …
And quite often, my efforts are rejected because I have “too much text” in my post.
So let’s just go back through the process of how all this works for a sec …
The world loves Facebook because it puts all your information from ALL YOUR PEOPLE in one place. Friends/family/businesses/favorite authors, all in one news feed. People like this! As they should!
But here's the issue: you're not seeing all the updates from all the people.
Authors are people too, and we want to interact with our readers. We follow the Facebook rules and start a Page.
Facebook then tells our readers to “like” the Page of a celebrity/business they want to receive updates from. Readers do this.
Facebook then tells the author/celebrity/business that in order to show an update to those same people, they have to pay.
This feels like BS, but some of us do it anyway, and say, "Fine. Here’s my money.”
Facebook says, “Just kidding, that update is too wordy. We won’t take your money, and nobody will ever see your update.”
Now, note Facebook that isn't rejecting my post because of foul language, or dirty pictures, or because I stole someone else’s photos (yup, still bitter), but simply because there are too many words.
Which is problematic.
Because I'm a writer. I tend to communicate in words.
That means if I want to post an excerpt from my upcoming book, I can. But can I pay Facebook so that it shows that excerpt to more of you? Nope, Facebook doesn’t want my money.
Side note I’m convinced this is the sole reason that Apple created that red “angry face” emoji.
A lot of authors don’t have $20-$100 to spend every time we want show a post to people. It's like, you wrote the great book, people loved it, they followed you ... and now you have to PAY just to tell them, "Hey, love you thank you for buying!"
Heck, even if I were to spend $300 on a post, Facebook right now estimates a reach of 1,000-2,000. Sounds like a lot. Until you realize it’s not even HALF the number of people that already have indicated that they WANT to receive my updates.
But I'm not here to bitch about my budget.
It's a communication disconnect.
The REAL problem here is that Readers never even KNOW that they're not seeing their favorite authors' updates.
they Don't Know that in order to get ALL the updates, they may need to go somewhere besides Facebook.
Now, I’m whining. I really am, and I don’t blame you one bit if you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “Plenty of other authors are using Facebook just fine, LL. I think you're just bitter because some Facebook troll stole your face.”
Super true. I'm way WAY anti-FB this week.
But I'm not suggesting we all boycott Facebook (just kidding, I dream about that on a daily basis). Really though, I just think readers may not know just how much they're missing out on by relying completely only on Facebook for their author/book info.
I know my last $1.99 book sale, I announced on Facebook, and according to FB data, 42 of FB saw it. Raise your hand if you know which book I'm talking about. ARE THERE CRICKETS RIGHT NOW?! Yeah. BECAUSE FACEBOOK DIDN'T TELL YOU.
I have a couple suggestions. Not for a Facebook replacement--just ... supplements.
(1) Ask your favorite author the best way to get his/her updates.
If you really adore an author, if she’s on your auto-buy list, or you’re a super fan, or you just like her jam, email or message her asking what’s her preferred method of staying in contact. Chances are that even if she's still trying desperately to keep up with Facebook's ever-changing algorithms, she may have another source she's using that provides updates more reliably -- something she has more control over.
It may be a blog. Maybe a newsletter. Twitter. Her website. Snapchat. Her own app. Instagram. A text message notification service. YouTube.
Ask her. Maybe she doesn't have another source. Maybe she's a die-hard Facebook-only fan. But the most business-savvy of authors are definitely discussing how Facebook is no longer cutting it as a reliable communication source. Back-up plans are popping up all over the place. TRUST ME. Get ahead of the curve. Let's be smart about this TOGETHER.
(2) Follow your favorite author on Amazon.
This is a newer one I don’t see getting utilized nearly as often as it should.
It's foolproof for authors and readers, and so many Kindle-users don't know about it! Time to spread the word!
Amazon has a “follow” option for every author that allows people to get notified every time that author has a book available for pre-order, every time a date changes, every time a new book is out, and so on.
It's BRILLIANT, because authors don't have to do a single thing (more time to write books!) and readers only have to hit one button once, to ALWAYS be informed when their favorite author has a new book.
Go to Amazon.com. Search for your favorite author.
You’ll see a list of her books. Instead of clicking on her book title, click on her name in smaller letters BELOW the book link (or click the link called Amazon’s Author Name Page that shows further down on the list).
Here’s mine. And here's a screenshot of what my page looks like ↓↓↓
That big yellow button on the left is what you want to look for on ALL your favorite authors' page.
You'll never miss a release from Your Favorite again.
So, was this the longest Weekly ever?
MAYBE. NO REGRETS.
Until next week.
When I'll hopefully have a cover reveal.