Bitchin' Blog Posts
: Interviews & Smart Responses
by SB Sarah | February 10, 2010 | Wednesday at 11:20 am | 22 Comments
Over the weekend of Amazon vs. Macmillan: the Grudge Match, AllRomanceeBooks gave out a limited-time 50% off coupon, prompting many of us to go shopping (myself included) and all of us collectively to crash their poor servers. (My servers, I hear, are starting a support group to help their servers recover from the onslaught). While discussing the coupon and the sales options within OmniLit.com andAllRomanceeBooks, Lori James and I got into a discussion about metadata and why it’s important to readers and to booksellers. While much of this pertains to digital shopping, since so many of us shop online for both paper and digital books, I was very curious about how information about the book affects how the book can and is sold. So, ahoy, nosy questions from me (who knows little about bookselling) for Lori, who’s pretty knowledgable.
What is metadata?
Lori: Metadata is basically data about data. What we’re really talking about is data about books, everything from the book’s summary and author name to the publication date and word count.
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by SB Sarah | December 30, 2009 | Wednesday at 11:58 am | 43 Comments
After seeing Laura Clawson‘s article about romance novels on Daily Kos, “Romance Reader, Unashamed” (and seeing the most awesome comment thread ever in terms of knowledge and enthusiasm) I had to get all nosy and beg Ms. Clawson for an interview. Behold!
Laura’s a contributing editor at Daily Kos, and a senior writer at Working America. Even better, she’s a romance fan - wait until you see her favorites list.
So what made you write this article about romance, sexual politics, discrimination and misogynist myths about romance?
Laura: I think that when the second Twilight movie came out I’d seen a resurgence of discussion of those books, with a lot of glancing comparisons to romance of the kind we’re all familiar with. There wasn’t one big moment where I said “I have to write about this,” but as I saw all these little slams I got progressively annoyed and it started marinating in my head to write something. It might almost be worse that people don’t feel like they have to go into detail about…
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by SB Sarah | December 01, 2009 | Tuesday at 11:40 am | 16 Comments
One promotional feature that many authors use in various ways is email. And I know that there are some who consider the newsletter akin to communication from the devil, and some who adore having author news in a digest format. Some authors email exclusive deals, and some maintain a digital mailing list to sent out alerts about sales and appearances in local stores or writing groups.
Email is ubiquitous - most of us have it, so it makes sense to use it, particularly if you’re looking for contact, customer cultivation, and promotion. I was pondering the efficacy of email, and decided to go after someone who knows a lot about email marketing, and who cannot avoid me.
Meet Margaret Farmakis, Senior Director of Strategic Services at Return Path, an email services company that helps major corporations digitally connect with customers. She helps clients improve the response, revenue and return on investment of their email marketing programs.
Margaret is also my cousin. So in exchange for an informal interview, I promised not to post any really embarrassing childhood pictures of the two of us.
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by SB Sarah | October 08, 2009 | Thursday at 11:06 am | 23 Comments
Even though my inbox overfloweth with the messages, I love reading my email from readers of the site because invariably I learn something or end up having a cool conversation with someone… from whom I learn something. Brain, be filled with info.
Last week, I met Deborah Schneider, who is the RWA Librarian of the Year for 2009. She coordinates the public programs for 44 libraries in and around Seattle in the King County Library System, and books a ton of events with authors and aspiring writers. Deborah is also a new author - her book Promise Me comes out in January 2010.
I am always curious about what works for author networking and marketing opportunities in the days of the shrinky-dink promotional budget - and what brings people in to libraries, which are also feeling the shrinky-dink like damn and whoa. So I got all nebby and asked Deborah questions about the programs she thinks are successful, and how authors looking for unique venues for networking and indirect promotion can best connect with their local libraries.
Sarah: Tell me about the presentations you create. What do you focus on?
Deborah: As the Public Programming Coordinator for…
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by SB Sarah | August 03, 2009 | Monday at 11:12 am | 35 Comments
Author Delilah Marvelle won the Author Interview I offered through the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction this year - thanks for bidding, Deliliah! When we started discussing her interview, Marvelle told me about the marketing pitch she’s making for her second book, and the topic turned to marketing in general.
Marvelle’s website has the details, but the crux of her contest is that:
Despite being sold out of my first print run for my debut book, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, my publisher will not be finishing the School of Gallantry series. As a result, I am looking to do one last push for the second book in the series, LORD OF PLEASURE, in the hopes that this series can be saved by another publisher who will see more promise in the series. Lord Caldwell, Lord Banfield and Lord Brayton (yes, the virgin) have yet to have their stories told. I’m hoping everyone can help by blogging, pitching, sending out newsletters, telling their brothers and sisters, ANYONE to buy the book when it comes out August 4th. It is a simple way of announcing that this series does matter….
From August 4 until August…
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by SB Sarah | July 14, 2009 | Tuesday at 11:32 am | 27 Comments
In the 22 June issue of the New Yorker, there’s a 10 page profile of Nora Roberts by New Yorker reporter Lauren Collins. I know many people haven’t had a chance to find it and don’t want to buy access. If you go to the you can subscribe in the upper-right corner to a “Digital Edition Free Preview” which includes archive access. From there, you can find the Nora Roberts profile by Lauren Collins.
When I read the profile, and realized how much research she’d done into the backlist and history of Roberts’ work, I asked if she’d be willing to endure the pain that is… a Smart Bitch Interview.
I listened to the New Yorker podcast - well done! - and heard you mention that you’d not read romance before writing the article. Yet the piece itself demonstrates a HELL of a lot of research. Did you read a number of Roberts’ novels as research? Which did you like? What did you think overall?
Lauren: Maybe a better way to say it was that I had read romance, and I just didn’t know it—due to the Miseducation of Lauren Collins (which was quickly corrected) I had failed to…
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by SB Sarah | June 16, 2009 | Tuesday at 11:52 am | 40 Comments
When I went down to Durham, North Carolina, for a reading at the Barnes and Noble sponsored by the Durham County Library, I met the Librarian of Awesome, Jennifer Lohmann. She mentioned while we were having lunch that she often talks to libraries and library students about the romance genre - what romances are and what they’re not. I asked if she’d be willing to talk about her presentation and her experience as the Local Romance Expert Librarian.
Having read her responses, I can’t tell you how proud I am to know her. Go Jennifer!
Tell me about your Intro to Romance Presentation?
Jennifer: It’s not really a presentation about what to stock, it’s more an introduction to what romances are and what they aren’t (Pride and Prejudice= romance and Romeo & Juliet=two kids who are dumb enough to commit suicide). I talk about the difference between category and mainstream and then a lot of the subgenres (historical, Regency, paranormal, contemporary, romantic suspense) and the hero and heroine, why I think people read them (fantasy, baby) and why, as a librarian, we should always be respectful of others’ reading tastes and talk a bit about how difficult…
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by SB Sarah | May 28, 2009 | Thursday at 9:38 pm | 3 Comments
When the Australian Romance Readers conference in February 2009 held a silent auction to benefit Victoria Bushfire Recovery, I donated an author interview. The auction raised over $7,600AU in funds for the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. Good on ya!
The winner, Amarinda Jones, chatted with me over email about writing, and said from the outset I could “ask her anything.” Woo hoo! I can’t even tell you how tempting it was to ask about the water circling counter clockwise down the toilet bowl. But I refrained.
Your May release - what is it about? How many books have you written?
The May release is from Ellora’s Cave and is called Prince Vampire - funnily enough about vampires. It follows some of the characters from two previous vamp books. It’s a story about a woman who falls in love with a fantasy vampire prince from a romance book.
How many books have I written? Hmm, 20 to 30 (?) I‘ve never really thought to count them.
When writing erotica, what do you think are the most important things to remember about reaching the audience?
Like any genre, make it realistic, make it doable, make it something…
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by SB Sarah | May 28, 2009 | Thursday at 11:02 am | 79 Comments
In Publisher’s Weekly, as I linked yesterday, there’s an article about paranormal romance, and how, to quote the title, the love affair with the supernatural continues. Trouble is, it doesn’t so much continue with me. I’m vampire exhausted. Were’d out. Utterly overwhelmed by the number of books released in a given month and not willing to invest time and mental energy embarking on yet another series with no visible end in sight. So, since Heather Osborn of Tor both (a) sounded smart as crap in the interview and (b) is a friend of mine, I asked her: can you bring me back to the paranormal?
Sarah: Convince me, oh paranormal editor, to give paranormal another chance.
Heather: Listen, the thing is, a well written book is well written despite the sub-genre and even if the heroine is a unicorn shifter from the land of Sparklasia she should have problems, emotions, concerns, etc, that we all can relate to or else, why bother, you know?
Unrealistic and disappointing resolutions happen in all sub genres of romance and fiction—it’s just in paranormals they are a little more crack-riddled aka soulmated were-fins!
Sarah: I’m tired of perfect warrior heroes who know everything, and…
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by SB Sarah | May 05, 2009 | Tuesday at 12:39 pm | 57 Comments
If you missed the great awesome news: RWA has a new chapter, the Rainbow Romance Writers, a GLBT Romance chapter. WOO HOO! How awesome is that? Mazel tov!
I first heard the news from RWA President Diane Pershing at the Princeton romance conference, though she asked at the time that the announcement not be made until the final details had been filed - so I didn’t mention it then. There was, however, applause and squeeing at the time. No comment on who exactly was squeeing.
So while I was waiting for the official word from RWA, which went out 1 May, I bothered Jade Buchanan, the president of the Rainbow Romance Writers, and asked if she’d answer some nosy questions.
Her reply cracked me up: “I’m a little long-winded I know ...which is slightly puzzling for someone who writes mainly novellas.” SNORT.
So behold: an interview!
(And can I tell you again at how damn excited I am that there’s a GLBT chapter in RWA now? HOLY SHIT that is awesome.)
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by SB Sarah | March 24, 2009 | Tuesday at 3:40 am | 9 Comments
David Nygren over at The Urban Elitist asked if I’d be willing to be interviewed, and I said, “Sure, why not?” Then he sent me questions and I had to think about things, like how our site grew to be the community that it is, and what we did to foster that community (huh?), and our decision to run ads, and why we do our own ad management.
I’m very pleased with how the interview turned out, so if you’re interested in my perspective of how and why we did what we do here at the Hot Pink Bitchery HQ, enjoy. It’s long as all hell, though, so be warned. I’m a long-winded wench.
Thanks, David, for the opportunity to look back on the site’s history and talk about the parts I value most. (Note:that’d be you, there, the person reading the site right now. Hi there! You’re awesome.)
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by SB Sarah | March 15, 2009 | Sunday at 11:59 am | 12 Comments
If you received your issue of Romantic Times magazine, you may have noticed Smart Bitches were inside. We’re in ur magazine, talkin’ ‘bout Pirates!
It’s true: Elissa Petruzzi did a marvelously fun interview with us, and we’re in the “RT Bookshelf” section of the April 2009 issue. We talk about sexuality, pirates, the economy, our book, our site, and pirates. I thought it turned out terribly well, and as usual Candy cracked my ass up.
Romantic Times generously gave us permission to host a PDF of the interview over here at Bitchery HQ, so if you’d like to read it, here you go: Smart Bitches in Romantic Times.
Thank you to Romantic Times Magazine, to Secret Agent Dan Lazar who crafted the PDF (he’s very crafty - trust us on this one) and to Elissa for a holy-damn-fun interview.
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by SB Sarah | February 08, 2009 | Sunday at 11:37 pm | 14 Comments
Sudbury Star reporter Angela Scappatura wrote a marvelous article about the advantages of reading romance in the face of criticism and derision, even from her own editor. I’m so flattered to have been interviewed, but more than that, I’m proud to be a part of romance-positive coverage in the media.
Yay romance, and yay Angela! Nice job!
My favorite part, and I’m egotistical enough to say so:
Romance novels are certainly not considered “stylish” but masses of women are still tearing them off of book shelves like the latest Manolo Blahnik.
“You can sneer all you want, but it’s a billion-dollar industry. Not that many items of creativity made by and for women achieve billion- dollar status,” said Wendell.
Ha! Sneer all you want! That means there’s more for me to read.
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by SB Sarah | January 16, 2009 | Friday at 1:41 pm | 65 Comments
After reading two romances, one historical and one category, DocTurtle, it seems, has fallen and fallen hard… for you guys. He had such a great time reading and blog-reviewing Sex Straight Up and An Infamous Army that he asked for more romances to read and review for the awesomeness that is the Bitchery audience. As he wrote to me:
I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had reading these books and writing these reviews, and how much I will be delighted to continue my association with your blog in whatever way you’d like me to…. I’ll leave it to you and your readers to decide just what it is you’d like from me in the future. There seemed to be support for continuing a similar style of multi-part review…. In any case, I have to admit that I’m (gasp!) excited about reading more.
I’m sure you’re aware that I’ve learned a lot about your and your readers’ passion…and I’ve learned to measure my words more carefully, after my oversimplistic snarking that caused this whole wonderful kerfuffle in the first place! Until I hear from you again, please know that I await your orders and am at your service.
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by SB Sarah | October 30, 2008 | Thursday at 11:10 am | 1 Comments
While I was wandering around at RWA National in San Francisco this year, I ended up helping set up one of the lunches and placing books on chairs for the free giveaway. After the many, many mini piles of books were distributed, I found myself chatting with The Super Secret Behind The Scenes Staff of RWA National. You might have recognized them by their really spiffy teal blue cardigans, or by the tired and somewhat exhausted expressions some wore at the end (conferences are hard to manage, y’all. I’ve been there, done that, and have much empathy). One of the most interesting conversations I had at RWA this year was with Carol Ritter, who kicks ass and takes names. Literally. That’s her job. So I begged for an interview. All those who say that RWA doesn’t do enough for authors and those aspiring to be so, please take note of Carol Ritter. Srsly. Can you tell me a bit about your job at RWA, the responsibilities involved, and the more challenging aspects? Carol: I am the Professional Relations Manager at RWA. At the moment my job responsibilities include reviewing contracts submitted by Publishing companies and Literary Agents, gathering monthly market…
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