Podcast Transcript 91: Jane Recommends a Baseball Romance, Plus a Listener Question

Here is a text transcript of DBSA 91. Jane Recommends a Baseball Romance, Plus a Listener Question About Being a Reviewer. You can listen to the mp3 here, or you can read on! 

This podcast transcript was handmade in old world style by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

 Here are the books we discuss:

Book The Lucky Charm


 

[music]

Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to another DBSA podcast. I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and with me is Jane Litte from Dear Author. This podcast was recorded prior to RT, but I wanted to run it now because it’s an interesting discussion, considering that we were just at RT. We’re answering a very thoughtful and thought-provoking letter from a listener named Sue who wanted to know about our thought process when we were writing reviews and whether we feel self conscious around authors sometimes, the short answer being yes, we absolutely do. Jane also attempts to recommend a contemporary baseball romance to me, which could go very well because I am significantly intrigued, but as you know, Jane and I very rarely agree on books. This might be the one book a year that we both like! Stranger things have happened.

This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, publisher of Jeannie Moon’s brand-new romance The Wedding Secret, available for download as an eBook on May 20.

The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater, who sends us music that she’s worked on professionally or composed and performed herself for use in the podcast after securing all the appropriate permissions, which is so awesome! I will have information at the end of the podcast as to who this is, but I have used this track before. I’m curious if you know who it is.

I will also have information at the end of the podcast about the additional interviews that I recorded while I was at RT that I am still editing and producing, but for now, it’s time for the podcast! I hope you enjoy.

[music]

Sarah: We have an email to talk about, but more –

Jane Litte: Which is going to be a fun one!

Sarah: Yeah, it’s going to be a totally awesome email. I like this message very much. But first, I wanted to ask you, you were tweeting this morning about this baseball book that you think I would like.

Jane: Oh, yes, I do think you would like it.

Sarah: That’s a rare thing. Please explain.

Jane: I – Okay –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: This is a, this is an author – it’s not a debut author; she has some other books out, which I have not read – but her name is Beth Bolden, and I think she’s very bad at promotion. And Beth, if you’re listening to this, I think you need to hire a publicist or something. But [laughs] when I went to –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: She posted in our open thread. So every month, we offer authors an opportunity, a safe place where they can come and post about their books, because we don’t like them to promote in any other thread.

Sarah: Right. Move your mouth a little bit away from the microphone, ‘cause you’re breathing into the microphone head. [static-y breath sounds] That’s very sexy.

Jane: All right, is this better?

Sarah: A little bit closer.

Jane: Is this better?

Sarah: Oh, that’s perfect!

Jane: Okay. I can only hold this position for so long.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: That’s what she said. Okay.

[Laughter]

Jane: She posted in the open thread that she has this baseball book, and it sounded cute, and I went over to Goodreads, and at the time, I don’t even think there was a cover up on Goodreads, and I was the only person who had added it to my shelf.

Sarah: Oh, no.

Jane: Yeah, that was kind of sad.

Sarah: Is this a self-published book?

Jane: It is a self-published book, but it’s really well edited. I didn’t know any, notice any errors, it looked very professionally done, and I saw Angie James had said the same thing as, as well as Mandi from Smexy Books, who I, I’d got, gotten to read the book. This book is about a woman who is a news reporter, and she’s actually kind of like the research portion of a television news station, so she’s not out in front of the counter. She works with another producer as his assistant, and he, she kind of views him as her father figure. Her mother had died – I can’t remember if it was from cancer or what – and then her dad died when she was a little older, but she was orphaned, I think, at the age of, like, 18 or 19. So her mom dies of cancer, so originally she was going to be, like, this great cancer doctor, but she fails her Bio 1, and so she has to turn her attention to something new. She then, I think, picks up journalism, and her dad is super proud of her, and so she thinks, I’m going to be this great journalist, because that will really make my dad happy, and then he dies, and so she things that journalism is her calling.

So she finds this guy, this older producer, and she becomes an, his assistant, and she really begins to care for him because, you know, she’s an orphan, and then he gets sick, and because he’s sick and he’s kind of a thorn in the side of the station, or the station manager, in Seattle, she gets shuttled down to a, be a, a sideline reporter for this smaller news station in Portland, and of all the sports, it’s baseball, and she hates baseball. What’s great about this is that she doesn’t really lo-, come to love baseball, but that she comes to enjoy the game through knowing the players and getting just kind of an appreciation of what they do, which I thought was a little different than other books that I had read. She admits that she is a terrible on-camera person, and there was a previous on-camera person who was a really attractive, busty, sexy sideline reporter, and she is none of those things. She makes the wrong decisions about the clothes to wear – in fact, so wrong that the sta-, that the manager calls her in and says, here’s a $5,000 credit card. Go ma-, buy clothes that make you look good. So –

Sarah: Yikes.

Jane: Yeah. And she knows all this. I mean, she knows she’s bad at the, in front of the camera, and she knows that she doesn’t dress right, and, and she’s doing the best that she can, but truly, she doesn’t want to be there. And one of the baseball players on the team that she’s set to cover is intrigued by her and starts watching her and then starts in-, coming to her interviews, when he would never give an interview before. Just kind of seeing how their romance develops was really charming, and then what happens is that he begins to develop this lucky streak, and he says he’s not superstitious, but things are happening on the field. Like, he’s getting these really crazy bounces, like balls that shouldn’t fall into his glove are falling into his glove, and throws he shouldn’t be making, he’s making, and so there’s a little kind of wondering from him, you know, what’s going on here? And, you know, maybe I need to talk to her, but I don’t want to just talk to her ‘cause I’m having this lucky streak, I want to talk to her ‘cause I really like her, and then there’s also some other things. The guy’s only 5’8”, which I think is, like, against the law in romance.

Sarah: Only 5’8”?

Jane: Yeah.

Sarah: I, I don’t, I don’t understand.

Jane: I know, right?

Sarah: Wha-, what? I mean, I mean, I, I am 5’3”, and my husband is barely 5’7”, so this is entirely within my normal frame of reference, but that’s not romance frame of reference!

Jane: I know, he should, he should be, like, at least 6 foot. And he’s not super attractive, he’s kind of dull looking, but the more that they get to know each other, the more that she’s like, wow, he is, he’s really arresting, and, and pretty soon what they look like or how tall he is or how bad of a dresser she is just kind of all falls away as they get to know each other. He’s kind of this irascible guy, and the, the perfect example I can give from the book is he lives in this acreage that’s right next to a very expensive area in Portland, and his, he was mowing his lawn one day and it was, I guess, at a time that was bothering his neighbor, so his neighbor came out and complained to him from this gated community, and so because he’s, you know, kind of cantankerous, the guy straps a boom box on the front of his lawn mower –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: Plays the most obnoxious music ever on the front of it.

Sarah: [Porn music sound effects]

Jane: Yeah!

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: So, while he mows, and so this guy is constantly emailing the news station saying that the baseball player is a menace to his community, and he wants to draw attention to that, and it’s, it’s pretty funny.

Sarah: Oh, I do – you’re, you’re giving me emo tingles just from the, from the description of this book. This does sound like a lot of my catnip.

Jane: Yeah, and it’s a ve-, it’s, so it’s a slow burn, and there is, you know, Liz McCausland wrote a thing about, that there needs to be books with lower sexual content for those readers who want it. Just leave the reader wanting something more, and I definitely think that this book falls in that category. And I hope that people will read it even despite that, because, you know, I’m a big fan of explicit stories, but this was a really lovely romance, and everyone that I’ve convinced to read it has enjoyed it.

Sarah: I will try it. I mean, I am flying next week, so I have time to read.

Jane: Yeah!

Sarah: I will, I will read it. And then if I don’t like it, I will, like, spill drinks on you at RT.

Jane: Okay.

Sarah: [Laughs] All right, I totally do want to read this now. I have all these emo tingles. Ooh! It sounds perfect!

Jane: I think you will like it. I mean, it’s, it doesn’t have an overbearing alpha, it, the, the hero is very ordinary in, in, in looks. I think he’s, I think the author did a really great job of making the looks so unimportant, and it was more about the character, which is what it really should be, you know?

Sarah: Of course.

Jane: I just liked everything about it. I really enjoyed my time reading it.

Sarah: Well, so often the description of looks is like a shorthand to establish character.

Jane: Right, right.

Sarah: And if you skip over that and establish character, it takes a little longer, but in my opinion, the result is worth it.

Jane: To me, I don’t really care what they look like, because –

Sarah: No, me either.

Jane: – the characters, ideally, fall in love with each other for something other than their appearance.

Sarah: Right. I’m always a little baffled when I see authors showing, well, this is what this hero looks like, and I never want to look because it never matches what’s in my brain, and I don’t always find what people – what other people find attractive doesn’t always work for me. Case in point, I really like short dorky guys ‘cause they’re hot, and I married one, so I like when there’s not a lot of description, because then I can build what I like in my brain, and I’m not being informed by someone else’s directive, okay, this is what this guy looks like. It’s like when you name, when you name a, a movie star or a celebrity as a look-alike for a character, that doesn’t work for me either.

Jane: So yes, read the Beth Bolden book, and Beth, if you’re listening to this podcast, I, I would just encourage you to maybe send out a few more ARCs. I mean, I don’t know! [Laughs] I feel bad, because it’s a good book and I feel like it’s going to be swallowed up because there’s no promotion for it.

Sarah: Well, I think you’re kind of underestimating yourself there, because you’ve mentioned it, you got Mandi to read it, Angie’s talking about it, now it’s on the podcast, now I’m going to read it. I’d say –

Jane: So maybe she’s, like, super clever, right?

Sarah: This is exactly her plan! She’s sitting, she’s sitting there listening, going Mwahaha –

Jane: [Laughs]

Sarah: – this is exactly what I intended! Ahahaha! She’s the most brilliant author ever!

[music]

Sarah: So we received a most excellent email from Sue, and Sue writes:

Dear Sarah and Jane,

I have really enjoyed the recent interviews you’ve had on the podcast, but it brought up a question about how you separate the review portions of Smart Bitches and Dear Author from your other activities. As the sites have grown in popularity and you have become known in the romance novel field, has it altered the way you approach reviews or how you introduce yourself to authors? I’m wondering, for instance, if you soften your language when writing a review about a book you hated that was from an author you personally like, or if you feel self conscious about approaching authors at conferences if you’ve reviewed a book negatively, no matter how mildly. I mean, maybe you’re not self conscious about it at all and it’s just me who clearly isn’t suited for a career in blogging or reviewing, but I was just curious.

Another meta question I had was do you ever listen to yourselves on the podcast, and has it affected how you speak when you’re recording or giving speeches? I have been listening to audio lectures on a daily basis in the past month as I study for an exam, and some of these lecturers clearly have no concept of their own speech tics. It makes me wonder if you guys consciously soothe-ify your voices to be more melodious or if maybe you guys just have naturally gifted speaking voices! In any case, thanks for the continued fun of the podcast. I look forward to each one, and it jumps to the top of the queue in my playlist every time.

Sarah: As far as the editing, I do all of the production and editing, and I take out the ums and the uhs so we sound much more smooth, and I try to level out our voices, but this is actually what we sound like most of the time. Both of us are trying very hard to get dominating positions at NPR, and you need to have a very deep, slow, melodious, almost soporific, putting-you-to-sleep voice, so clearly, we are not on the actual job track for that. I’m just kidding; we’re not actually going to NPR. Do you have voice tics that you’ve noticed?

Jane: Well, of course, but –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: In, in fact, I think your voice is more suited to NPR. I find my voice is very girlish. I – Which is, has always irritated me. But there are two things that I –

Sarah: I don’t think your voice is girlish! But thank you for the compliment to mine, but I’ve never thought you had a squeaky voice.

Jane: I will tell you that in the practice of law, when I was a litigation attorney, we would videotape ourselves regularly –

Sarah: Oh, God, I’m cringing just at the thought of having to do that. Oh, God. [Laughs]

Jane: – because we would have to present our cases to a jury –

Sarah: Of course.

Jane: – and so, there’s no better way to improve than to watch how horrible you are, and –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – the biggest thing that I learned was that people speak far too fast –

Sarah: Yes, absolutely.

Jane: – and we use far too many bridges.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: Those two things are actually combined, so if you would pause, remove your bridge, you will be able to communicate better. So if I have any skill in public speaking, it has to do with the fact that I did that for a living for many, many years.

Sarah: So what you’re saying here is that you’re an actual attorney.

Jane: [Laughs] I am an actual attorney.

Sarah: For really reals. Are you an internet attorney?

Jane: No, but, I, I could be one, if you’d like.

Sarah: [Laughs] Oh, that would be fun.

Jane: The funny thing is, is I was reading this – for some reason, there are a lot of books, especially in the New Adult, where the characters are pre-law or in law school, and the authors smoosh it together. Like, they don’t realize that law school is this entity that you go to after your four-year, after you get a Bachelor’s degree –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: – in something, and it can be anything, like, I always laugh at I’m pre-law, because while there are pre-law programs, there’s actually no pre-law degree, except maybe through those buy your degree online things.

Sarah: Yep.

Jane: For example, my, a very good friend of mine in law school had a degree in zoology, because –

Sarah: That’s totally pre-law!

Jane: – because you don’t need –

[Laughter]

Jane: – any particular degree to get into law school. You have to pass, you know, you have to get a certain grade on your LSAT, and you have to be admitted. That’s about it! [Laughs]

Sarah: What was your undergraduate degree in? ‘Cause my husband is an attorney, and his undergraduate degrees are in poli science and economics.

Jane: Ironically, that was exactly my degree as well.

Sarah: Poli sci and economics?

Jane: Yes! [Laughs]

Sarah: It’s, it’s really cool, ‘cause he’s actually a, a municipal finance attorney, so he deals all the time with politics, especially in New Jersey, and economics, but at the time, it was, I think I want to go to law school, but I’m also interested in these things, so if I change my mind, these two things are still interesting and useful.

Jane: Well, I actually loved economics, and if I had been better at math, I might not have gone to law school. I might have continued thr-, you know, gone to graduate school to get my doctorate in economics, ‘cause I thought that the, it was so fascinating, but advanced economics was all about equations and math theorems, and I just really struggled as – You know, theory was where I excelled, and I could make a mean graph.

Sarah: Oh, I’m sure. I would be, I would be very fearful of your graph-making skills, to say nothing of your skills in presentation PowerPoint.

Jane: [Laughs] Oh, my lord. Pol-, political science, though, is like the most superfluous degree ever, right?

Sarah: There are not a lot of practical day-to-day applications of political theory, unless you spend a lot of time commenting on blogs.

Jane: What did you study? I had a constitutional law class in undergraduate, and I realized when I went to law school what a f-, a, what a fake class that was.

Sarah: [Laughs] ‘Cause con law in law school is a whole other thing!

Jane: Yeah! Con law in law school is like, oh, there are these three different standards, and you have to learn when you, to apply these three different standards. I really actually hated con law.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: Nonetheless – I can’t even remember the classes I took for my poli sci degree. There was nothing in political science that prepared me to be in law school, and frankly, I don’t think anything prepares you to be law school. Once you go there, they, like, break you down into tiny little pieces and then glue you back together.

Sarah: Who, who was it said that, that 1L is when they, they crush you, and then it’s 2L is when they tempt you, and then 3L, they just bore you to death.

Jane: That’s actually pretty accurate.

Sarah: [Laughs] So let’s look at, look at Sue’s other question, which I thought was a really good one, about have we altered the way we approach reviews, has it changed the way we introduce ourselves to authors, do we change how we review a book if it’s a book we don’t like from an author that we’re personally connected to or, or personally friends with. Do you feel self conscious about approaching authors at conferences? What do you think?

Jane: Well, there are certain people who I have pretty close friendships with, so I don’t review them anymore. Just, I won’t review them positively or negatively.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: But ironically, I just remember [laughs] Angie J- – do you remember Angie James, you, and I having dinner with Nalini Singh?

Sarah: Yes! [Laughs]

Jane: And so I, Angie and I spent the entire dinner, I think it was like three hours, telling Nalini how much we didn’t like two of her books.

Sarah: It was really incredible. I was like, wow! [Laughs]

Jane: And, and Nalini would argue back about why she disagreed with our points, and I thought, and when I look at them in retrospect, I’m, I’m kind of, like, chagrined that we were like, no, we didn’t like that! But also that we could have this, like, rational discussion, and you know, Nalini wasn’t backing down from her position –

Sarah: No.

Jane: – which I felt was, like, the important part of the dynamic, ‘cause I think –

Sarah: And she wasn’t taking your comments personally, either. She was like, no, I disagree, because this happened because this happened, and then this thing happened because of this thing over here. There was a sequence of events, and you’re wrong. But she wasn’t like, you’re crushing my little soul!

Jane: Right, right, but here, Angie and I are, like, leaning over her –

[Laughter]

Jane: – saying, but this and this and this.

Sarah: And she’s like, yeah, you’re wrong, it’s okay. And she did not, she di-, she was not bothered. Like, it was really, like – and it wasn’t like you guys were being really cruel. It was that you could have this discussion about her books that she didn’t take personally, and it wasn’t until much later that (a) you guys were both like, wow, I, I hope we weren’t really too harsh, and I’m really sorry, and she was like, don’t be ridiculous! But (b) it really is extraordinary to have a conversation with someone where your, where they don’t take their work seriously, and they don’t take criticism of their work personally, because that’s entirely natural and understandable.

Jane: Well, I think she takes her work seriously, but she doesn’t take the criticism personally.

Sarah: Yes, exactly what, exactly what I was trying to say.

Jane: Right. But I think that people who are truly friends with someone like you or I would know that we’re kind of no-holds-barred when it comes to our opinions, so if you want to know our opinion, it’s going to be, well, didn’t really work for me, or yeah, I loved it, or it was, it wasn’t my favorite. For authors that I don’t like, I don’t, I don’t review their books for the same reason, because I feel like I don’t want personal animus to color how I feel about a book.

Sarah: Yes. I know exactly what you mean.

Jane: So, there are people I don’t review because I feel like maybe I haven’t had a personal run-in with them, or I have had a personal run-in with them and I just feel like, look, I, I don’t feel like I can review them fairly anymore. And I’m not going to say who they are, because that’s unfair to them in a whole different way, you know, but if I have written a negative review about – I don’t go up and shove myself in anybody’s face, you know.

Sarah: No, I never introduce myself to people whom I’ve given a review to, ‘cause you never know how they would, I mean, how they, how they reacted. You don’t want to –

Jane: Yeah.

Sarah: I don’t want, I don’t actually enjoy making people uncomfortable. Like, no.

Jane: Right. I, I’m not there to cause a confrontation, because my review isn’t about the author, it’s about the book, and my review is for the reader, and it’s a conversation starter, so it would be, I, I, I just wouldn’t go up to someone and say, hey, hated your book, nice to meet you. [Laughs]

Sarah: [Laughs] Yeah.

Jane: But I’m not going to turn them away if they want to talk to me, either.

Sarah: No. I have a very similar perspective, but it’s a little bit more broad. I presume that most authors hate me. It’s a lot safer for me that way. Because, for two reasons: one, romance authors especially labor under a very, very heavy be-nice mandate where you can’t say anything critical or unkind about people or their books, and that also applies to people in the community. So someone may be very, very kind to my face, and then I find out later that they actually have a serious and significant problem with me, and I had no idea because I was never told. I don’t expect people to walk up to me and be like, I hate you, you suck, and you’re horrible, and you’re a terrible dresser, and, you know, I hate your shoes. Like, I don’t know anyone who would do that at a conference. Most of the time, romance conferences, especially the ones with lots of readers, are extremely welcoming and friendly, but it, is in a lot of ways, safer for me to assume that most authors would be uncomfortable to talk to me because of reviews, because I don’t know what they actually think of a review I may have written. I don’t actually enjoy making people uncomfortable, so I presume not to speak to somebody unless they greet me first. I’ll say hi to people, like, hey, how you doing, if I’ve met them, I’m not going to be rude, but like you said, I don’t put myself in front of someone if I don’t know them or if I’ve written a review of their book that wasn’t entirely positive.

In terms of whether or not I soften language when reviewing a book by a, a book that I disliked from an author that I do like, like you, like you said, there are a couple authors whose books I don’t review any more, because I just have too many personal feelings about them to review them, and by the time I got through disclosing all of the things that I know, the review would have no weight or validity whatsoever and I would just sound really douche-y, but whenever I am writing a review, I am trying very, very hard to honestly translate how I feel about a book into a grade and some words, and my first goal is that the grade and the words match, so that you don’t get to the end of the review and go, but I don’t understand why this book is a C, or okay, I, you gave it an A, and here’s, like, this list of 25 things you didn’t like about it. That makes no sense. So my rule number one is that the grade and the text have to match. Rule number two is that the text of the review should probably not contain anything that I wouldn’t say out loud in a room full of people and if I didn’t know the author was also in the room. I am totally that asshole who will tell you to your face what I liked about what you wrote and what I didn’t. This is why I don’t critique people, ever, because I’m way too awful about it. I have a wishful, wishful aspiration that more romance authors would separate themselves from their book – the criticism of the book is not criticism of them – that the things that I don’t like about a book are not equal to things that I may or may not like about them, and that they are not their book. But conversely, like you said, there are people whose actions and behavior towards me or to people I care about has reached a point where their name colors my perception of the book before I even start it, and I don’t think that it’s right for me to hold an author responsible for behavior that I didn’t like through a book review. That’s not what the book review is for. The, the book review is not a place where I’m supposed to outline why I hate that person. That, those two things are separate. They should be separate on the author’s side, and they should be separate on my side. Now, I don’t ever remember titles or authors’ names half the time – the cover was blue, and there was a yellow dress and possibly a flower – but by the time I reach the point where I see the name and I go, oh, crap, that’s when I have to stop reviewing that person’s book, because the, their, the sight of their name makes me have a whole set of feelings that I know will affect what I say about the book. And it’s a really small list, because I don’t remember names all that well. The nice thing about self publishing is there’s, like, 90 bazillion books published every month, so I got lots to choose from, and it’s not like I’m hurting for things that I want to read.

In terms of being self conscious, though, there are a couple times where I have felt self conscious around an author or a group of authors or at a book signing, for example, because I know someone didn’t like a review I wrote, and there’s no way to address that to them personally, so it does make me feel a little awkward sometimes, that’s absolutely true, but reviews aren’t going anywhere, and reviewers aren’t going anywhere, and for the most part, I tend to think that all of us are still trying to figure out how to get along with one another, because the community changes so much every year, with different authors and different reviewers and more and more bloggers, and everyone’s more involved in the community in a more direct communication. The way in which we interact with each other is, is still being worked out half the time, and I think eventually we’ll figure out a way to all get along. Possibly. Maybe. I’m optimistic. Do you ever feel self conscious around authors?

Jane: All the time. In fact, I try not to interact with authors I don’t know for the very same reason as you do. I assume that they don’t like me.

Sarah: Yep.

Jane: And I know that sounds weird to podcast people, but [laughs] there are a lot of people that don’t like us, and we don’t always know who it is, and there are a lot of people who have very strong emotions directed toward us. I’m with you; I’m not there to make someone feel uncomfortable. If they want to confront me, I, and have a conversation, I’m totally open for that. If they want to tell me they hate Dear Author and they don’t like the site and they think we’re mean, that’s fine, but –

Sarah: [Laughs] I once had an author go off on me about your site, thinking that I was you. That’s always fun! [Laughs]

Jane: So, for me, it’s, it’s, if you want to come to me, that’s fine, but I’m not going to put myself in your face, because that’s not what I think it’s about, because we’re trying to make it about the book.

Sarah: Yep. And also, it’s not like – despite rumors to the contrary – it’s not as, as if you and I like to feast on authors’ souls. We don’t regularly sit down and think, all right, who are we going to destroy today? Although I know that there are people who believe we actually wish to destroy them. (a) We don’t have that much power, and (b) why would I do that? That’s a terrible thing to do. That would mean less books for everybody. I sort of see what we do as helping readers find books that they want to read by being honest about our opinions, but like I say in my workshop about reviews, no one person is the last word on a book. It’s not like, you know, all of romance readers go, ah, well, Jane, Jane gave it a C, so that’s it. Because half the time you and I don’t agree on anything.

Jane: I agree. I feel like if we could all be a little more rational and less emotionally driven –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – but maybe that’s ridiculous to think about in a genre that’s all about emotion.

Sarah: And passion. I once had Angie say to me, you have got to stop expecting people to act rationally, and, and my, and my husband was in the room, and he was like, yeah, I tell her that all the time. Doesn’t happen! I still have that same expectation that, of emotional rationalism, and I get that writing a book and publishing it is a very personal enterprise, because it takes a lot of time and personal energy, and like many authors have said, in order to get the emotion into the book, you have to feel it while you’re writing, and it’s very difficult to sort of sever and cut off the emotional connection to something that you’ve created. I totally get this. But once it’s published, you don’t get to control what’s said about it. You don’t get to define what can and cannot be said or written about the book. There’s no controlling that conversation any more. And that’s, that’s the thing I, I think, when I see authors forming street teams, I get why that’s effective, but if the goal of the street team is to control what’s being said about the book, that’s a pretty difficult and ultimately impossible enterprise. If the goal of the street team is to help other people talk about the book and promote the book, that totally makes sense, but if your whole goal is to shut down negative opinion about the book, that does not work in your favor, like, ever. It’s a bad idea. There’s a, there’s a wish, I think, on both of our parts that there would be more separation between the creator and the book that was created, and I understand why there’s not. Maybe eventually we’ll get there.

One thing I noticed when I was interviewing Renée Raudman when we were talking about audiobooks, if you look at the reviews on Audible, there’s the, an, a, a rating just for the book, and then there’s a separate rating for the narrator, and then there’s a cumulative of both, so people will judge the story and her performance of it totally separately, and she said something like, once you see those reviews of your voice performance, you really have to develop a thicker skin, because this is your job, and it’s your voice, and it’s the way you’re talking that they critique, and that’s very personal, and I was like, yeah, I could see why you’d need a thicker skin, like, than, than, than normal to deal with that kind of a review. But that’s, like I said, that’s, that’s what we do now! We review everything! Everything gets a review. Your book is not an exception.

And now everyone who’s listening to this podcast doesn’t need to come to my workshop on reviews at RWA, because those are two of the main points. There are two more, but you know, they’re not earth shattering. Feel free to go to something else. I think I’m on, like, Saturday afternoon anyway.

Jane: It’d be interesting to hear from other, from our listeners to see, you know, if they think that we should have a different attitude or if they are critical of it. I’d love to hear about that.

Sarah: Have you ever had an author say, like, when you say, yeah, I don’t think authors are all that fond of me, have people be, like, surprised?

Jane: Yes. Yes.

Sarah: Yeah, and I’m always like, no, dude, I get hate mail, like, weekly. I delete it, I don’t save it, but I get it.

Jane: I think that they think we’re generally beloved because they love us. So they think –

Sarah: Which is awesome! Totally dig that part.

Jane: Right. So, so they think, oh, well, no one could dislike you, but trust me. [Laughs]

Sarah: Oh, no. Oh, no, the legion of, the legion of Hatorade is very strong, as directed towards us, and we are aware of it. Especially because they email us. [Laughs] You suck!

Jane: Or, or they say things in not so private loops that are publicly available to anybody. [Laughs]

Sarah: I just, I, I can’t think of a better way to, to, to say this, but I just – Do you honestly think that something that you are writing on a message board or on your Facebook wall or even on Twitter is not visible by everyone everywhere? Are you forgetting that? Like – [laughs] – the things that get forwarded are incredible. Like, wow! That maybe should have been a phone call.

Jane: Oh, yeah. But I think that some people post on Facebook for a particular reason, ‘cause they want affirmation.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: You don’t get the public affirmation from a phone call.

Sarah: No, it’s true. That’s part of a larger issue of seeking affirmation outside yourself, and there’s a lot of that on Facebook as part of, you know, promotion. It’s very strange.

[music]

Sarah: And that’s all for this week’s podcast. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Jane, and I want to thank Sue for that very, very thought-provoking and curious letter. I am still thinking about all of the things that you asked about, so it was really worth talking about. Thank you very much!

The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. This is the Shadow Orchestra. This track is called “Sweet as a Nut,” and you can find out more about Shadow Orchestra at their website or on their MySpace page, and you can find their music on iTunes or wherever music is sold.

This podcast was brought to you by InterMix, publisher of Jeannie Moon’s brand-new romance, The Wedding Secret. The Wedding Secret is a contemporary romance about a millionaire baseball player who has a rather hot one-night stand at a wedding when his sister gets married. Fortunately or unfortunately for him, that one-night stand turns into so much, much more. You can find The Wedding Secret wherever eBooks are sold.

If you like this podcast – and we hope that you do! – you have suggestions or you want to give us feedback or you have an idea of something we should do, you can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com, or you can leave us a message on our Google voice number, which is 1-201-371-DBSA, or you can talk to us on the entry for the podcast on each of our sites, or you could just, you know, open the window and yell. You never know; we might hear you. Either way, if you’re listening and you have ideas or you want to give us feedback or you just want to say that Jane is wrong about everything, that’s totally awesome. Please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

Future podcasts will include my interviews with Farrah Rochon and Kit Rocha – which I have been saying Roe-ka, but they’re lucky I didn’t say it Yiddish style, which would be Roe-kha. That would be pretty rad, right? You should totally have a big kha in the middle of your author name. Either way, I interviewed Kit Rocha, who is actually two people named Donna and Bree, and those interviews will be up on the site very, very soon, because I’m editing them right now, as we speak! Actually, I’m trying to hide from my cats, because you know what happens when you edit and your cats are around? They know the microphone is live, and they start meowing into the microphone, and that’s just, nobody wants to hear my cats. They don’t talk about romance novels. Mostly they just want to be fed. [Laughs]

Wherever you are, Jane and I wish you the very, very best of reading. Thank you for listening.

[intriguing music]

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Sarah Wynde says:

    Thank you so much for the transcript. I’m always curious about the podcasts but I’ve never even tried to listen to one because I’m a terrible listener (which sounds like an awful thing to say about myself, but I’m good in one-on-one, I think school just trained me to be an effective daydreamer in response to lecture-type listening.) But that was fascinating stuff. I am an author, but I’m a reader first and I’m really grateful for sites that do good, thorough book reviews. I’m sorry you get hate!

  2. 2
    Darlynne says:

    Thank you, Jane and Sarah, this was great. I don’t know why I haven’t read a transcript before, but I enjoyed it immensely. As for Beth Bolden’s book: I agreed with everything you said about characters and physical descriptions and emotion. Ms. Bolden mentioned this podcast in response to my rant at DA about the ocean of unnecessarily beautiful characters in romance. So here I am and off to buy the book. Thank you all!

  3. 3
    Maria says:

    I’ve been dithering b over whether or not to buy Ms. Bolden’s book, but your podcast decided me.

  4. 4
    Qualisign says:

    Based on your initial announcement of the podcast, I bought and read—and really enjoyed!—“The Lucky Charm”. I doubt I would have seen it otherwise, so thank you for bringing it to our attention. And, yes, it was wonderful to have sparks that weren’t based on superficial glam. Good story. Nice podcast, also. Thanks for doing it and for the transcriptions!

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