This month's Hidden Diamond is a fellow ORWAn with a big heart and an impressive insight into her characters. Jenn Burke is a fellow geek and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (along with Kelly Jensen) and today she's sharing her new book, The Gryphon King's Consort from Dreamspinner press, along with her thoughts on all the year end lists (and why authors shouldn't get too invested in them) and her answers to our author questionnaire.
The Gryphon King’s Consort is a paranormal tale set in contemporary Canada, where a kingdom of mythological creatures exists side-by-side with humans. After the death of the Gryphon King, Crown Prince Luca must rush his marriage to Eirian, a gryphon he’s never met, to stabilize and reassure the kingdom. But Eirian has more modern views than traditional Luca, and learning how to live and work together won’t be easy…particularly not when it seems there are forces determined to keep them apart.
The Fine Art of Ignoring End-of-Year Lists
Thanks so much to Jenn for hosting me today. It’s an honour to be featured on your Hidden Diamonds blog series!
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a great time to reflect on the books we really enjoyed in 2018. So many “best of” lists will start to pop up in the next few weeks. As a reader, it’s fantastic, because I’ve found some gems through these lists to add to my ever-growing to-be-read pile.
As an author—particularly if I’ve had a book out that year—the “best of” lists can be really discouraging…because my books rarely appear on them. So, if you’re an author in the same boat as me, here are some things to repeat to yourself every time a new list comes out.
1. It’s not you (or your book).
Romance readers and bloggers have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to books released in any given year. It’s tough for one title to compete against books and authors that have bigger marketing budgets. There’s an arcane mix of luck, marketing and right-place-right-time that needs to happen to get books noticed.
2. Time of year matters.
A book that comes out in December is probably not going to make any lists that year…and it’ll be skipped over for the next year too. Same goes for books published early in the year. By the time the “best of” lists come out, it may very well be forgotten.
3. Subgenre and pairing matter.
Romantic suspense has the biggest audience in romance (). If you’re writing in any other subgenre, your audience is going to be smaller. And if you’re writing any pairing other than female/male, it’s going to be smaller still. But really…you’re not writing to appear on these lists, right? So write what you want to write, what you enjoy writing, and focus on the story you want to tell.
4. It’s great validation but…
…unless it’s a HUGE blog or list, it’s probably not going to make a difference in your sales. And in commercial fiction, that’s what really matters.
5. It’s so subjective.
This is the biggest lesson new authors need to learn. Every reader brings their own perspective to their reading. One reader may hate your book, another may love it…and their reasons for each reaction are completely valid, because there’s no right or wrong way to interpret a book. Same goes for picking books to add to “best of” lists.
6. Keep writing.
So at the end of the day, the only think you can keep doing is write. Write your next book, then write another, and another, and try not to pay attention to those end-of-year “best of” lists…unless you’re looking for new reading material.
- Jenn Burke
An Author Interview With Jenn Burke
What's the craziest thing you've done to research a book?
Maybe not crazy, but definitely exhausting: I climbed down (and then up!) the steps behind Parliament Hill that lead to a path by the river. This was for my first book, Her Sexy Sentinel. In it, there’s a hidden cave in the hill under the Parliament buildings, so I wanted to see if that location would actually work. Climbing back up those stairs was not easy!
What is your writing process?
I used to be a pantser, but now that I’m writing for publication, I plot out my books. I have to know where I’m going, particularly if I’m writing a book that I’m already contracted for.
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
Read. I’m a voracious reader.
What is your favourite fictional crush?
I love Sam Kage from Mary Calmes’s A Matter of Time series. He grows so much over the course of the series.
In the spirit of the great Joss Whedon debate: who would win: cavemen or astronauts?
Thanks, Jenn, for being one of my hidden diamonds and if you'd like your very own copy of one of Jenn's books, you can find them at the following links.
Come back on December 28th for my next Hidden Diamond!
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