this is pulled from a couple of emails and my imagination...
My good friend and I are at different stages of our writing, even though we started at about the same time. I'm getting some work, chugging along, but I haven't had a New York contract for a while. She's a best-selling author with books contracts lined up for the next four years. I asked her once why she thought she was doing so much better. She told me then and tells me now. One word...no, two words. the first one
She is very, VERY careful about her public image. She doesn't want her name associated with anything that isn't directly linked to her books or with romance. And she doesn't publicly do anything more political than, say, Brenda Novak's contest. She is a wonderful person and I'm not just saying that because I want her to give me a quote on for a book some day. (She doesn't want to be associated with erotica so she won't do Summer)
BSAF: I see you're doing it again.
BSAF: Getting political. Remember the anti-fan letters you got when you posted on dailykos and announced it in your blog? At least two former readers wrote to say they were disappointed in the fact that you associated with a hate group. [ I looked back and found three "you're too political" notes--not counting Erika because she posted on my blog with her name (not in a email to me) she engaged in conversation and was writing to say she wouldn't be reading--so she wasn't a reader yet.]
Me: [after some more huh? what are you talking about?] Oh, the m/m stuff. Right. But that's got something to do with romance writing. And besides, Nora Roberts weighed in on the subject.
BSAF: You are SO not Nora Roberts. She could probably poison pussy cats and not lose many readers.
Me: Pussy cats?
BSAF: Maybe not kittens, but pussy cats, yes.
Me: So what do I do? I have to do something.
BSAF: So you write a polite, professional note, privately, to the editors of Romantic Times. You don't go all over the internet dramatically declaring you're not advertising with them.
BSAF: You think you'll ever get another 4.5 Top Pick from them again? Think again.
BSAF: There is no point in making any enemies. Plus BRANDING, girl. BRANDING. You want your name to be associated with romance, fun, laughter, hot sex. You don't want to people to associate Kate Rothwell or Summer Devon with Cranky Letter Writer. BRANDING.
Me: But Cindy Cruiger and Amelia Elias get away with it.
Me: Never mind [sorry Cindy and Amelia]
BSAF: Well anyway, it just doesn't show the world a very polished image
Me: I'm not polished. I figure that's my charm.
BSAF: . .
Me: What about my "Have I Got a Deal For You" contest? What do you think of that?
BSAF: Amateur but cute. If you are going to do it, you should be better organized and do it on a grand scale, like Nalini Singh I have to admit I wouldn't do it. It looks like begging.
Me: It is begging.
BSAF: You really think you should pay people to read your books? I thought the idea was they pay you.
Me: I hope that'll come eventually. Anyway, it's too late to cancel. A couple of people have signed up. [side note, you have to tell me you're doing flogging or I can't enter your name in the contest] I think you're probably right about the whole branding thing. It's probably too late for me [it was when I hit forty and started shooting my mouth off everywhere] but maybe I'll post this stuff so other people will think twice before going all over the internet expressing loud-mouthed opinons. BRANDING!! Hey do you mind if I use your name?
BSAF: That's not funny.