Struggling for a tagline for THE GEEK WHO LOVED ME

I’m working on the blurb for TGWLM while the manuscript is out with one last editor combing for typos. I can’t put it off any longer. It must be done. I don’t expect anyone to buy it without knowing the basic story. So the challenge becomes: what the hell is my story about?

The blurb is what you see on the back cover of the book — or what you see when you flip through the pages on Amazon or BN or iTunes. It can be very short, like a movie hook (“He’s having the day of his life…over and over again.” –Groundhog Day) or several paragraphs long. I’m aiming for something in the middle.

I’m not talented at writing blurbs. In fact, I’d rather write another book. Or as I said on Twitter, clean a public restroom. There’s just something so painful about reducing 97,000 words into 100, 500, or even 1,000.

So I’ll be floundering about here to try to come up with something good because it helps to do it online. The weaknesses are more obvious, and everyone can chime in.

On my cover, the tagline is:  Some day your nerd will come. That makes me smile. I’m keeping that.

For the figurative back cover, however, I need more. A romance novel blurb usually has a paragraph devoted to each of the two main characters. So it would be outlined like this:

Paragraph One:

Heroine So-n-So is (blah blah) and (blah blah) when (blah blah blah happens.) When she (blahs) and (blahs), she has to (blah.) But (blah blah blah.)

Hero So-n-so is (blah blah blah), but heroine (blah blah) and he (blah blah.) Will he be able to (blah) or will (blah blah blah)?

Only (blah) will (blah.)

It sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

Blah. I’ll post my efforts as soon as I squeeze out one that isn’t to embarrassing.

Harlequin’s Dirty Laundry Flapping in the Wind

Today Joe Konrath has a guest blogger, Ann Voss Peterson. She has some fun (as in awful) stories about writing for Harlequin, and why she’s gone indie. The comments are filled with more accounts of pathetic royalties, shady accounting, evil contracts. Passive Guy also picked up the post.

Here’s Ann’s story:

So why can’t I afford to write for them any longer?

Let me share with you the numbers of a book I wrote that was first published in January, 2002, still one of my favorites. My life-to-date statement says this book has sold 179,057 copies so far, and it has earned $20,375.22. (bold text by Joe) That means the average I’ve earned is a whopping 11 cents per copy. If you use the cover price to calculate (the number used in the contract), which was $4.50 at the time of release, I’ve earned an AVERAGE of 2.4 % per copy.


The horror stories shouldn’t be surprising to any romance writer who’s paying attention, especially now that many are self-publishing and speaking out, no longer terrified of being black-listed.

But seeing so many come forward today in such popular (and male/mainstream) publishing-centric blogs will make an impact. If not on the company itself, then on the writers currently under contract and the aspiring newbies.

I’ve never written for Harlequin, but I’ve been a member of RWA since 2007 and their presence there is ginormous. The organization couldn’t exist without it.

Which may be one reason RWA is dragging its feet on the move to digital. Self-published digital.

Big changes, getting bigger. I’m glad to have the chance to write directly for readers.

(Which I’m doing as soon as I finish this post. The Geek Who Loved Me, in which Mark from Love Handles gets his happy, will be available in June!)


Gentle eReader

I’ve had my Kindle now for about a month. I got one because:

1) I’m a writer and see a future in ebooks, especially for the Kindle.

2) I’m a reader and see no future in my towers-of-paperbacks (mostly romance) around the house.

3) It’s so nifty! And only $139! And you can read all the fun sexy stuff you want and none of the other parents at your kids’ soccer game will know what you’re reading!

4) None of the other parents at your kids’ soccer game will know what you’re reading!

I’m not an early adopter, by any means. I barely use a cell phone. However, I read massive amounts of fiction–lately, romance–and I loathe having people know what I’m reading. Have you seen the covers on a historical romance novel? I’m relatively new to the romance genre (past 5 years) and haven’t developed my thick skin yet about pink satin breasts popping out between my fingers. If you can imagine that. There you are, sitting on the bleachers watching gymnastics class (see, I get around) and you have seen your little darling hop on the trampoline about seven thousand times already over the past three years and so… you grab a moment for yourself. You unzip your purse, pull out the newest Lisa Kleypas or Eloisa James or Sherry Thomas that you can’t stop reading until it is done done done, because the characters are charming and brilliant and hilarious, and the writing is charming and brilliant and hilarious–

And then some woman you know from the school, maybe another parent, maybe a teacher, smiles and sits down next to you with her hardcover of Freedom under her arm and glances down at your pastel paperback…

So, I’m weak. I admit it. This is not a scenario to which I am immune. There are brave women out there (at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, for instance) who shrug it off. They’re over it. They’re out and proud.

Well, I’m getting there, but in the meantime, I’ve got my Kindle, and I don’t think I’m the only one who appreciates the privacy. I think there’s a whole world out there of Incognito Romance Fiction Readers–often at children’s sporting events–who yearn for just this state of self-indulgent bliss.

Now if those publishers would learn to price their ebooks at something reasonable, I just might buy them. Indie writers (Joe Konrath at the helm) are showing what huge sales are to be made with reasonable prices. I think I’m pretty typical that I’ll buy an ebook under $5, but only paper above that.

Since most publishers are still pricing new mass market releases around $7.99, I’d better work on that thick skin.

Here’s hoping they figure out how many of us are here waiting for cheaper ebooks…before our kids go to college.