LL Updates: November 17, 2016

Hi & Welcome!

LL here, and I don't know if it's a mood thing or what, but I'm extra excited about The Weekly today! Probably because I have so much good stuff to talk about! 

In case you need a little enticement to read on, here's the short version of what I'm talking about this week:

  • $0.99 SALE on I Wish You Were Mine!
  • First look at I Knew You Were Trouble
  • Q&A :: Achieving a "polished" makeup look
  • Highlights from last week's survey
  • Answering a tricky question I get asked a lot about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing
  • And breaking news on something sort of amazingly awesome I have up my sleeve for the holidays...

Grab your wine, lovelies, let's do this!


'Tis the season ... for a really good sale!

For a limited time, I Wish You Were Mine is on sale for only $0.99! It's the second in my Oxford series but can absolutely be read as a stadndalone!

Anyone got a thing for taboo, slightly scandalous romances? This one's for you. The hero's an ex-quarterback who's starting to have very troubling feelings about his best friend ... who also happens to be ... the sister of his ex. Ruh roh: sexual tension ahead!

Buy for only $0.99!

Also, because I've been getting lots of people just now discovering the Oxford/Stiletto world and wondering reading order and how the two series fit together, I've created a brand new page on my website! If you have an extra moment, would you please, please consider sharing on Facebook and/or Twitter! Take me there →

Polished Makeup Look

***Skip to the next section if you don't care about makeup in the least!***


So, you all know that I love Instagram, right? I spend way more time on it than I should, and yet somehow I completely have missed that some of you have submitted questions for The Weekly via direct message over there. So sorry!

The Question

Question: Hi Lauren! I discovered you after reading Blurred Lines, and after thoroughly stalking your Instagram feed and website, I have a random question -- how do you always look so polished without looking super made-up!? Tell me the secret, lol! XO, Steph 


The Answer

Hi Steph! I'm so happy you loved Blurred Lines! And as for the "secret" of looking polished, I'm glad you think so, because I most definitely try ;-) No way do I wake up like that.

I've got a few tips:

Watch beauty tutorials on YouTube. I had no idea all the things I wasn't doing and all the things I was doing wrong until I watched masters such as pixiwoo and Tanya Burr

Embrace foundation. Now, everyone calm down. I'm not saying women should wear foundation if they don't want to. If you're going for fresh-faced, all natural look, then by all means, skip foundation. But for those of you that are looking for the air-brushed polish of Kate Middleton/Kim Kardashian/Olivia Palermo it doesn't happen without foundation. Not tinted moisturizer, not BB cream, not concealer on your trouble spots ... foundation. Trust me.

But find the right foundation and learn how to apply it. The wrong foundation (or too much foundation) is just as much a detriment to the "polished" look as no foundation. You want to look like Olivia Pope, not a teen who slathered on a thick layer of the wrong color Maybelline. Ulta's a good place to start as it has both drugstore and high-end options. Have someone help you color-match, and learn how to apply it (this is where those YouTube videos come in!) 

Tightlining. I consider this pretty "key" in my look, as it defines the eye without looking like you've got a big ring of "dark" around your eyes. To learn how, definitely Google it, as I'm not equipped to teach anyone, but the short version is that it's applying eyeliner underneath your upper lash line. I never ever use an eye pencil and draw a line along the top of my lashes. To me, that just looks like a line on your eyelid. I use a pencil beneath the lashes, and use a black eyeshadow and angled brush to add a bit more color to the top of the lash line. 

I'm going to stop this here, as I know a lot of you are like, "Shut up, we're here for the books!" but for my fellow make-up junkies, I've done a step-by-step of my "every day" make-up routine and my favorite products here.

Survey Highlights

First, huge thank you to everyone who took the LL survey last week! I got nearly 500 responses, and it was wildly helpful to know where your guys' heads are at (note to self: scrap plan to cut back on those sex scenes!).

I'm not posting all the results here, because there are a ton of them, but I did pull out a couple of the key findings that I thought you guys might be interested in!

Favorite Trope

Of those of you that had a favorite type of story, Enemies-to-Lovers was the favorite, with 18% of the vote. Friends-to-Lovers was the runner up at 15%, and Second-Chance romance came in third with 6% (the percentages aren't all that high, because 27% of you said you didn't have a preference!) 

Favorite LL Book 

Irresistibly Yours and Blurred Lines tied for first place as favorite LL book, each garnering 12% of the vote. The Trouble With Love came in second place, After the Kiss was third.

You'll enjoy a Lauren Layne book if you enjoy books by ____" 

A whooping 26% of you said Julie James. 25% said "Nobody, LL is her own animal." Third highest percentage was Jill Shalvis and Emma Chase, tied at 9%.

About those sex scenes ...

20% of you said the sexy-times were your favorite part, the spicier the better. 69% declared that they weren't your favorite part, but that we authors should not even think about omitting them. 11% of you said you were sorta over them and wouldn't mind if the focus was more on the sexual tensions and less about the act itself. As for how many of you hate the sex scenes and would prefer to read a romance without them? Zero.

For Writers

(non-writers, this section may be boring, so you're welcome to scroll the next section where I have first look at Oxford #4!)  

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

I'd say close to 50% of the messages/emails I receive are from aspiring writers, and the self-pub vs. traditional pub question is a common one!

Today's question comes from Carey!

Hi Lauren! I love your books, and I've read just about everything you've ever written on writing and the business of writing and find it so helpful and encouraging. I notice one thing you don't talk much about is traditional vs. self-publishing. You obviously went the traditional path, and I've never heard you talk much about why. Any regrets? I'm trying to decide which path to pursue for my own book, and am wondering if you had any advice?


Hi Carey! Yay, I love that you're pursuing a writer career! I'm biased, but I think it's just about the best job in the world :) 

So, yeah. Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing is THE question these days--even more complicated now that more and more authors are going hybrid, doing a little of both. 

As far as why I pursued traditional -- to be honest, I never really considered self-publishing. Not because I had anything against it, but because after I finished my book, I was like, "Okay, now what ... what did my favorite authors do?"

So I researched (stalked) the authors whose careers I wanted to emulate: Kristan Higgins, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Julie James. They all had agents. They all had book deals. So I decided that I should get an agent, get a book deal. So I did that. Frankly, it just never really occurred to me to look at alternate paths.

And no, no regrets. For starters, because I find regrets kind of pointless. But also because this path has been good to me. There are bumps, of course, but both paths have them.

As far as what's best for you...it really depends! 


what I like about publishing with a house: 

  • You get to hand off your book after typing The End and let someone else deal with it for awhile. It's quite lovely. 
  • They have access to data/insights that I likely wouldn't have if i was a lone wolf. 
  • They take on all the business and operations stuff. Cover design, uploading ebooks, take-down orders for pirated books, technical issues, copyedits, proofreading, etc. This frees me up to what I do best: write the books. 
  • They have a built-in outreach. This can be especially crucial for a debut author, where the hardest part is simply making anyone aware of your book. 


You might prefer to self-publish if ..

  • You want more control. As an traditionally-published author, the corollary of getting to hand-off all the "stuff" is that you also relinquish a bit of control over that same stuff in the process. If it's important to you that you final say on price, release dates, cover, story direction, self-publishing might be a better fit.
  • If you're story's a bit off-beat (and I mean that in a good way!). Some books and some authors simply have a more niche storytelling style or plot that simply can't find a home in the more mainstream traditional model. That's the COOLEST part about self-publishing, in my opinion--it allows all stories to get told. If I ever write a book that I love that my agent can't sell, you bet I'll likely self-publish! There are stories being published today that never would have seen the light of day ten years ago--I think everyone would agree that's sort of awesome.
  • If you write books faster than your publisher can release them. I know this is why a lot of my author friends have gone hybrid (some traditionally published books, and some indie ones). Publishers can be slow. I've been lucky to find one that supports my crazy-fast writing pace, but it's pretty rare!


In Summary

I'm barely skimming the surface here, but you get the idea--it's fiercely personal depending on your style, your story, etc.

I don't know that the question is which one's better so much as which one's better for you. Best of luck with everything!!!

First Look

I Knew You Were Trouble

I mentioned last week that I was coming up on the end of Walk of Shame. True! I turned in that sweet, sweet baby to my editor on Tuesday and that very same night started in on I Knew You Were Trouble, which I'm already loving.

This book is SO early, so this snippet comes with even more of a warning-label than usual that this might not make it into the final book, but here's the first look at Taylor and Nick!

(also, it's a good thing so many of you mentioned liking enemies-to-lovers stories in the survey, because this is most definitely one of them!)


"Morning, Nemesis. What's with the streetwalker outfit?"
Taylor didn't bother to glance up. She already recognized the rough masculine voice. "Go away, Ballantine."
"I was going to tell you that I brought some homemade biscotti from the Ballantine matriarch herself. Then I remembered that your body is inherently incompatible with anything sweet." 
Nick said all this as he helped himself to the emergency dark chocolate stash she kept on her desk. 
She gave up on trying to ignore him and looked up.
"So why aren't you eating that instead of devouring my candy," Taylor snapped, trying to grab the chocolate and missing.
He grinned wickedly. "So many dirty jokes to make, so little time." 
Meet Nick Ballantine. Freelance writer, sometimes design consultant, and about as welcome in her life as a blister on the hoo-ha.
As a contractor, he wasn't actually employed by Oxford, but not for lack of trying on the part of the execs. They apparently saw some sort of creative genius in him.
As for Taylor, all she saw was dark brown hair that was perpetually a week past needing a trim, a strong jaw always two day past needing a shave, and an impressive aptitude for getting under her skin.
He might be attractive if one didn't mind the womanizer hiding behind all the guy-next-door charm.
But Taylor knew better. First hand.


Preorder I Knew You Were Trouble

And now, for my news ...

Okay, I'm so excited about this, and you guys, if you're not as excited as me, please, please fake it and lie to me ...

So first, I need to announce:

I'm one of those holiday nuts. Forget waiting until Thanksgiving is done to start with the Christmas songs, I barely make past Halloween.

Honestly, it's pretty much a toss-up of which I'm better at, decorating my tree or building Christmas playlists, but if Christmas olympics were a thing, I'd be a serious contender.

Which is why it was probably inevitably that my writing career would end up here:

What is eLLf Christmas you ask? 

Well, no big deal, it's just a BRAND NEW SITE dedicated to all things Holidays & Romance.

This year's theme: 

12 Days of Romance

What's it mean for you?

That from Dec 5 - December 16th, you'll be getting a whole lot of the following:

- Daily Giveaways including an Erin Condren life planner, Kate Spade, Yankee Candles, and of course LOTS of books!

- See how your favorite romance authors are celebrating the holidays!

- An exclusive Christmas short story from USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne

- Gift guides, photo contests and more! 

Do you want in?!??!?!

Just enter your info below, and you'll get all the scoop, but first ...

I need your help!

Will you please, please help spread the word! If you could tell ALL your friends, all your readers, all your romance-loving-people about this, I'd be so so so grateful.

You can share this link:


And they can sign up directly on that page!

YOU can sign up on that page too, or you can simply do it here ↓↓↓

eLLf Christmas sign-up

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