How to build Readers’ Loyalty?

IMG_1839Welcome to the World of Barbara Vey where Readers and Writers come together.

Ten days ago, FRW Chapter had the honor and pleasure of hosting Barbara Vey, Contributing Editor for Publishers Weekly. Our keynote speaker is well-known for her blog, Beyond her Book where she brings writers and readers together on a daily basis.

I’ll try to report here Barbara’s words and advice.

How to build Readers’ Loyalty?

There are so many readers out there: a reader for every author.

Find the common ground you have with you reader and then build a reader connection.

Reader and writer have to form a community. You do that by branding yourself– Use one specific name in everything you do.

You are a product. You are a business. Act like it.

—Careful about you say. Stay away from religion and politics, and anything controversial. Any wrong word can be held against and hurt your career as a writer. Always project a friendly image.

—Be prepared when you go in public. Always carry with you copies of your books, bookmarks, business cards.

—Talk to people everywhere: bookstores, restaurants, supermarkets, planes. Announce to everyone on Earth that you are an author with published books.

—Visit and comment when people mention you. Go their sites and Facebook and show them your appreciation.

—If someone writes a good review, thank them. If someone writes a bad review, stay away and ignore them. DO NOT engage with someone who wrote a bad review. Many people don’t read them. (Barbara Vey doesn’t)

Place to be seen for authors: Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram.

If you can’t be on all, be on Facebook with an Author page. The profile page is not important. Readers check the Author page.

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On Facebook

-After whatever you write on FB add you website, http://www.xyz.com before you post.

-Talk about yourself on your Author page. Let the reader discover and like you.

– Ask questions in your post. You’ll get replies, then comment and like.

-Don’t lie. People will eventually find out and stop trusting you.

-Don’t use foul language. You may offend some people.

On Twitter, RT (Re-Twit)

The MOST important part of your job is WRITING.

Check Facebook once in the morning and once at night.

Check Twitter here and there. Follow people who are fun and say interesting things.

Comment and like to see these people on your page

Website should be updated regularly.

In a blog, ask questions, give away book, promote others.

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What make a reader loyal to an author:

Consistent writing

Well written story and appealing characters

A series that pulls you in, characters become like a family

Be warm and nice to your readers.

Ask your readers to go to your blog. You may build a street team.

Foreign Lovers Amazon

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. Around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with passion.

Are You a Wall Builder?

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I used to wonder why people would throw a wall of protection around themselves. True, those were emotional walls, but if I thought I didn’t build walls, then maybe it was time to reconsider my actions and opinions.

I don’t believe there are many that haven’t made sacrifices at one time or another. Those sacrifices aid either ourselves, family or friends, well you get the picture. I know if I give up something in order to help out, I also throw up a wall to get through whatever project confronts me. Which is a different kind of wall, one that brings the task at hand to completion.

Walls are built to block out everything imaginable. They’re constructed by everything from concrete substances to guard privacy, or for attention accomplishment, to abstract thinking.

For me, as a writer, a wall is built to deliver time to work within my own insight. Not someone else’s. And, as a writer, I believe some walls are a good thing. Character development isn’t possible without complete concentration. That’s when I construct a wall, otherwise I’d get nothing done. If I let down my guard and allow the wall to crumble before the task is fulfilled, then I’m backing up.

Puzzle

So, are you a wall builder? Are you waiting for the rain? I do a little of both.

In Character by Stephanie Queen

Don’t you wish you could lead the lives of the characters you read about? Or the characters you write about in my case?

Well, I do–sort of. Well, I try. Some of the characters are tougher than others to get a hold of and get inside their head.  I’ll introduce you to one such character today.  This one is so tough, I’m not on my third book cover (see the latest here) to try and capture her essence and her story.Image

Here’s an interview of one of my favorite characters (but don’t tell her that – it’ll make her more impossible than she already is), Roxanne Monet, the enticing and unsinkable heroine who dominates Playing the Game, winner of the 2013 International Digital Award for best contemporary romance novel. First a word about Roxanne—as the story begins, she’s been accused of marrying her husband for his money, then murdering him. (You can see my problem about managing to figure her out.)  But of course, she’s really a nice girl.

Rox: Great intro. Are you inviting the readers to my execution later?

SQ:  I’ll ask the questions. So, why are you being accused of taking your late husband’s life for the money?

Rox:  It couldn’t be for the money. I gave it all back—and there were millions in the estate. So now I’m broke. Plus I lost my job and my mother-in-law is out to get me…

SQ:  What do you mean she’s out to get you?

Roxanne:  She’s hired a private detective to dig up dirt on me so she can convince the police to charge me with murder. She’s the girl trying to take over in this story…

SQ:  Did you do it?

Rox:  Readers, the author is only “playing” dumb.

SQ:  Answer the question.

Rox:  I believe no one murdered poor Donald. The police are calling his death an accident, but I really believe it was suicide.

SQ:  So what is this GAME you’re playing with the hunky basketball superstar Barry Dennis?

Rox:  The Game of Seduction. Impossible to lose….unless…

SQ:  Unless what?

Rox:  Unless one of us loses our heart—but that’ll never happen.  I’m too jaded about men and he’s too single-minded about being the best to let anyone distract him, including his daughter, Lindy.

SQ:  What about his daughter?

Rox:  Lindy breaks my heart.  It’s such a tragedy. I can’t help being there for her and getting too involved even while Barry struggles with the tragedy.

SQ:  What about the tragedy?

Rox:  I can’t talk about it. (sniffle)

SQ:  Okay—take it easy. What can you tell me about your connection with Barry?

Roxanne:  XXX.  And I don’t mean three kisses–That’s the Sensuality rating.

SQ:  Is it true you spent time in jail?

Rox:  I’m not answering that on the grounds that it may incriminate me.  But forget about jail–the real crisis moment is …

SQ:  BZZZT!  You ever hear of the word SPOILER?  Interview Over.

Playing the Game is the first in the “Playing” series all about sports and romance. And the sport of romance.

Excerpt from Playing the Game:

Chapter 1

     “Damn it,” Roxanne muttered. Her drink had splashed on her dress. The crowd was dense. Looking right, and then left, at the partygoers around her, she took a surreptitious glance down to inspect the damage.

A very large, dark, wet spot spread over her left breast. Luckily it was only ice water. Or maybe not so lucky, on second thought. She watched in horror as the red silk material clung to her skin.

“Double damn. My nipple is showing!” This time she forgot to keep her comment under her breath.

“Now that I’d like to see.” The man appeared from nowhere, towering beside her. He watched her reflection in the floor to ceiling window.

The heat of embarrassment ignited her face. The man was no gentleman. Her embarrassment turned to anger in a flash. She jutted her breast out for him to see.

“You can look all you want,” she dared, wanting to shift the discomfort to him.

She thought she’d succeeded, until the signature dimpled half-grin split his face.

“I’m Barry Dennis.” He held out his free hand for her to shake. He held a bottle of beer in the other. The famous lopsided smirk remained in place.

“Must be my lucky night.” She ignored his hand.

He laughed.

Biting her lip, she reminded herself to behave professionally. He was the star attraction at this gala and they were both there to raise money for a good cause.

“I’m Roxanne Monet.” She shook his hand. She eyed him, wondering if he’d dare to say something about her nipple.

“I know who you are. I watched you get fired from your job at the TV studio a few days ago. You were supposed to interview me.” Unrestrained amusement shone in his eyes now and his grin widened. She was really starting to dislike this guy.

Author Bio

Stephanie Queen is a romantic at heart, a writer by nature, and has the soul of a cheerleader. She enjoys creating stories where her rose-colored world-view comes to life and the good guys always win. Spending most of her life in New England, she’s attended many of the area colleges, including Harvard, and even earned a couple of degrees along the way. Although she lost count of all the jobs she’s had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf.

Other novels by Stephanie Queen include the romantic comedy, The Throwbacks, The Hot Shots and The Romantics books 1, 2 & 3 in the Scotland Yard Exchange Program series, and the romantic suspense novel, Between a Rock and a Mad Woman. All are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, KOBO and Smashwords.  For a list and links to buy books, visit SQ’s website at www.StephanieQueen.com , or on Facebook and follow her @StephanieQueen on Twitter.

Love at First Sight by Joan Reeves

Scents and Sensuality by Joan Reeves

Scents and Sensuality by Joan Reeves

Confession time. I love paranormal romance, but I can’t seem to write that kind of book. My love stories, full of romance and passion—not to mention sex and humor—depend only on the magic of love itself. That condition wherein a man and a woman discover that they are made for each other.

That Moment

That moment of recognition between a man and a woman is true magic. Anyone who has felt it will tell you that. For most people, love comes softly, grows slowly and steadily, and bursts into bloom.

But for some, true love occurs in an instant. I know many couples who have been married for scores of years who said they took one look and knew in that instant that they were going to marry that person.

Head Over Heels in Love at First Sight

Every culture has an expression meaning love at first sight. In Italy, they call it colpo di fulmine which, roughly translated, means struck by a lightning bolt. That’s what it feels like.

Does love at first sight really exist? Or is it a figment of our collective imagination? I think it exists, and there may be a sound physiological reason for love at first sight.

Exploring Love at First Sight

For my Valentine romantic comedy Scents and Sensuality, I did a lot of research about the Science of Smell in relation to Sex Appeal because the heroine, Amanda, is a perfumer by trade. I’ve always been fascinated by smell. Maybe it’s because I had a mother who wore the most wonderful perfume. I can remember thinking she smelled better than any person I knew. When she hugged me, this wonderful fragrance wrapped us in its embrace.

I couldn’t pronounce the name of my mother’s perfume then. I can now, but I won’t be purchasing a bottle anytime soon. Mom’s fragrance was by Lucien LeLong. The parfum came in a bottle as beautiful as the smell. Recently, I priced it online and was dismayed to discover it was $250.00 for a quarter ounce.

Maybe that memory created my love for fine perfumes and my interest in the science of smell.

Smell: Primitive and Powerful

Smell is the most primitive of all our senses. We inhale and odor molecules float into our noses, traveling back to the nasal cavity behind the bridge of the the nose. There, those odor molecules get absorbed by mucosa containing receptor cells on which there are microscopic hairs called cilia. About 5 million of these receptor cells fire impulses to the olfactory bulb, or smell center, in the brain.

If you kill a brain neuron, it won’t re-grow. Neither will cells in the eyes or ears, but you grow new nasal neurons about every month. These neurons wave in the air like anemones in the ocean. When your olfactory bulb detects something, it signals your cerebral cortex and sends a message straight into your limbic system, that primitive, emotional part of the brain that houses your feelings—your desires.

Smell: The Different Sense

If a visual stimulation occurs, your brain immediately starts trying to process what you saw. The same thing occurs if you hear something. Your brain goes to work immediately to interpret the sound. That doesn’t happen when you smell something. You don’t need your brain to do anything. What you smell creates an immediate effect that needs no translation, thought, interpretation, or anything. The primitive part of your brain reacts immediately. You react immediately.

This is why you can smell something and immediately be transported to your grandmother’s front porch when she served a hot apple pie on a Sunday afternoon. Smell is a sensory time machine. You smell. Bam! You remember an event, and the way you felt during that event. You can see it so clearly. Memories triggered by smell are sharper than other memories.

Love at First Smell

In Scents and Sensuality, heroine Amanda Whitfield, is a perfume designer. What a great career for a romance novel heroine because smell is so closely linked to sexual attraction. Scent goes hand in hand with sensuality. Knowledge of smell and sexual attraction is all about the science of pheromones, those below-consciousness odors we all breathe in without realizing it.

When Amanda explains smell and the science of sex appeal to Harrison, her Mr. Right, I hope you’ll find it as hilarious—and sexy—as I thought it was when I wrote the book. It may not sound romantic, but love at first sight has little to do with sight and much to do with smell.

In fact, if you want to know how to attract a member of the opposite sex, be sure and read Scents and Sensuality (available at all ebook sellers including: Amazon * iTunes * Kobo * Nook .

Since we just had Valentine’s Day, I’m giving away a belated Valentine gift: the audiobook edition of my romantic comedy Old Enough To Know Better. To be entered to win, leave your email address (not as a hot link so you won’t get spammed) with a comment. Comments are open until Feb. 24. The winner will be selected and notified on Feb. 25.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a bestselling author of Contemporary Romance whose books are available as Audiobooks (at iTunes and Audible), eBooks (at most major sellers), and Print (coming soon). Visit Joan online at her Website, her blog, or on Twitter @JoanReeves and Facebook.

Look for Joan’s new nonfiction ebook: Little Book of Sunshine: For Readers and Writers, an Attitude Adjustment disguised as a book. Encouragement and Inspiration for only 99cents wherever ebooks are sold. (Okay, maybe not every ebook seller on the planet today, just on Amazon until the others catch up!)

The blog that wasn’t

This seems to be a theme for me this week, anticipating the momentous and not so momentous and having neither turn out the way I planned.

ImageThis past Sunday, my husband, son and I were to have our first in-store demonstration of our Highland Haggis in a large grocery chain here in southeastern Wisconsin. To be in a retail chain is potentially huge for us and we have been thrilled by the opportunity to reach a wider market for our products. To make a convoluted and potentially long story short, it didn’t happen.

I’m still not quite sure where the miscommunication happened, but happen it did. After we’d invited groups of people to join us: local writer groups, Scottish groups, and people from our martial arts community. So, what did we do when we showed up with pounds of pre-paid and prepared food and were turned away?

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We went to the pub. Not to drown our sorrows, but to celebrate our friends and the fact that they came, some at considerable distance, to support us.

Before that, we donated four pounds of cooked product to a local restaurant, Puddle Jumpers, that caters heavily to Irish and Scottish workers in the surrounding area. This worked out better than you might think because we had already pitched product to them and they have been receptive. Good will on our part and they get to try before they buy. Then we went to an Irish pub, gave them some of our product (hoping to acquire a spot on their menu as well) and spent the afternoon with all those people who showed up to support us. We had a great time with great friends while trying to make as many new opportunities for our business to succeed as possible under the circumstances.

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I couldn’t think of anything to write for today’s blog…something that doesn’t generally plague me for long. Then I picked up my worn copy of Anam Cara by John O’Donohue and picked a page. When I’m stuck on a scene or a chapter or even a theme for a new story, I often do this for inspiration. Here’s what I found: “…A day is precious because each day is essentially the microcosm of your whole life. Each new day offers possibilities and promises that were never seen before…”

As January’s hope for a new, productive, energized year full of well thought out plans bleeds into February’s frustration with what hasn’t been accomplished, I’m trying to focus on what did get done and what has gone unexpectedly right.

The promises and the possibilities that have come to me so far this year have been plenty and unexpected. My writing community has been a source of encouragement, support and a kick in the pants when needed. Our Scottish community has been expansively gracious and more loyal and loving than any I have ever known. Our martial arts community continues to be there for us no matter how crazy they think our adventures are. There have been a few people in our lives who have not been there when we needed them, but thankfully unexpected others have been there to fill the void.

Fellow author, Jill James, posted on FaceBook today about the joys of FB friendships. I think that simple post got it right. When people come into our lives and offer support, friendship and love, best not to think about what’s missing or what isn’t, but be grateful for what is and the people who are there.

Here’s hoping the rest of the week goes as planned…

Poetry in Motion

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Virtue and Moir

Yesterday I was glued to my couch, anxiously awaiting the final skate of the Olympic ice dance competition. Who would capture the gold medal – the Canadians, Virtue and Moir, or the Americans, Davis and White? I’ve watched figure skating with a passion for years, but I used to find ice dancing boring, until the Canadian team of Bourne and Kraatz came along in the late 1990s and shook up the sport with innovative moves and exciting, daring routines. A good ice-dance program is fast and intricate yet looks effortless, and transports the audience into the story being told on the ice.

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Davis and White

Virtue and Moir have taken up the mantle with top-notch technical skills and artistry that resonates with emotion, earning them the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics. They’re just friends, but on the ice they look like they’re in love. Naturally I was disappointed that they had to settle for silver this time, but Davis and White are hard to beat. Both teams skated exquisite, flawless routines, making the event a joy to watch. Since both teams plan to retire after the Olympics, I look forward to seeing what the next generation of ice dancers has to offer.

The Blind Date that Wasn’t by Jill James

heartMy first date with my now-husband was April 18th, 1987. It was a blind date that I was set-up by my supervisor, his father. LOL He asked if I was dating anyone. Very un-PC, I know, but hey, it was the ’80s. He asked if I would go on a date if his son asked me. I hadn’t had a date in 19 months, so I said, “Sure.” I figured, why not, free meal. 🙂

I totally did not connect my supervisor’s name with his son’s who is a II. He came into the office to ask me out (walked in wearing his State Police uniform) Swoon-worthy, I guarantee it. And I realized I knew him already. I’ve known him since the 7th grade and junior high. Let me tell you, he did not look like that in high school! Yum!!

We started dating in April, he asked me to marry him that Christmas, and we were married the following June.

I came to our relationship from a terrible previous one. A man who didn’t marry me even though I gave birth to our child. (The ’80s, remember? We still did that back then.) So I knew the next man would marry me to keep me. He would be kind. He would be reliable. And he would be dependable. Sometimes I joke with my husband that I married him because he was reliable, dependable, and stable. Well that, and the sex, of course. LOL

This will be our 25th Valentines Day together. We are long past the flowers and candy stage, sometimes we remember a card and sometimes we don’t, but a day doesn’t go by that we don’t kiss, say I love you, and snuggle at night.

Happy Valentines Day!!

and much happiness and love.