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It Takes a Village of Bloggers

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This past week, I’ve not been returning emails in a timely fashion. I’ve ignored commenters on the website. I’ve been weak about adding “news” to the “news section.” In essence, I’ve been a bad blogger. But I am not the only one. Look around the blogosphere and there are some blogs that have been suspiciously silent. This time, it really is a conspiracy!You see, back in February, there was some discussion about the fact that the internet really failed to provide a good centralized location for information. There are any number of reader blogs and review sites, but none of them provide a comprehensive list of upcoming romances.

I always like to know what is “next” and so do many other readers. But finding out what is next and what next is about is a real challenge. In fact, it seems that we spend more time looking for books than reading them.

With the help of several other bloggers, we are launching a new venture called Romantic Advances. Who all is involved?

The plan is for this site to be a comprehensive database of all upcoming romance books and books with cross over appeal. The site will have covers (because we love covers) and blurbs (because the covers don’t always tell the story) and hopefully, excerpts (because that is what really sells a book).
The site is in beta right now so there are bugs and weird looking pages and mis marked categories and so forth. But we wanted to open our doors and let you all take a peak to let us know what you like and don’t like. I particularly like to hear about what you don’t like so we can improve.

The plan is to have five front book features that are hand picked by myself and Sybil with input from the team of bloggers. These front five will change every two weeks. You can browse by date, categories, and publisher. There is this really ugly “tag cloud search” which allows you to do multi term searching (like all books in June 2007 from Berkley). It’s probably the most effective but least nice looking page on the site.

Authors can submit a book using a form. The goal is for no book to be left behind but because this is reader maintained site at this point, we had to create an arbitrary cutoff and to make it easy for us, we are using RWA authorized publishers as our limit. Until, and unless, we are capable of handling all the other publishers, we had to make a tough decision and this is the one we made. I know that this excludes a number of talented authors, but I hope you can understand that our resources can only stretch so far. But, as I said, suggestions are always welcome.

I think that is about it. There are alot of features we hope to add and each day (time permitting) means that its one step closer to being out of beta. Our goal is to be a “final” site by RWA so we can talk it up in Dallas to whomever will listen. Or maybe we will be in beta perpetually.

We’ve had great feedback so far that this is a source that is a long time coming in romance. I hope so. I hate to think that all the stuff I’ve learned about conditional if statements would be for naught.

Mad props have to be given to Jennie and her twin who came up with the awesome logo.

Oh, and why is Meljean Brook's book, Demon Moon, all over the site? It's not because she paid for it, but it's because we like her book. And she answers my emails. It’s Devon and my “pick of the week” which is a page which will be added . . . soon.

Currently, we have over 197 entries in our database with 90 listed for June. Looking for something to read. Head over and nose around. You might find a gem, or five, that you’ve never heard of. That’s us. Romantic Advances. The book pimps. Building your TBR Mountain. . . one book at a time.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

57 Comments

  1. Ana
    May 30, 2007 @ 04:08:08

    This sounds like a really cool idea, since several friends are involved I’ll be sure to check it out :-)

    ReplyReply

  2. Nora Roberts
    May 30, 2007 @ 04:48:29

    It’s a great idea, and it’ll be a tremendous resource–for readers, by readers.

    ReplyReply

  3. Sarah McCarty
    May 30, 2007 @ 05:18:31

    Love the idea! Kudos making it into a reality.

    ReplyReply

  4. Sarah McCarty
    May 30, 2007 @ 05:20:16

    Okay, this little black box just appeared and told me I have 30 minutes to edit my comment. And it’s counting down! ACK! The pressure!! What does it want me to say? *G* (just kidding)

    ReplyReply

  5. The Good, The Bad and The Unread » It Takes a Village
    May 30, 2007 @ 05:55:42

    [...] you like to know more? For that I direct you to Jane. Dude I am just the idea man. She is the brains of the outfit. But I will tell you this, we are so [...]

  6. Anne Douglas
    May 30, 2007 @ 05:57:35

    Sounds interesting.

    Will you be including RWA recognised eBook publishers as well?

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:06:05

    Will you be including RWA recognised eBook publishers as well?

    Yes, most definitely. We’ve got the Samhain ones up already but we need information from EC and Loose ID and will be contacting them today about it. But each author can submit their own. This morning Ann Wesley Hardin submitted her book, Out of this World (which I think Karen S loved?), and it’s up already.

    ReplyReply

  8. Jane
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:07:07

    Okay, this little black box just appeared and told me I have 30 minutes to edit my comment.
    I’ve added a comment editing feature. :) For typos and stuff.

    ReplyReply

  9. Anne Douglas
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:07:39

    Wonderful!

    I’ll send in my LI info today, for yesterdays new release. :)

    ReplyReply

  10. Katharina
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:18:43

    That’s fantastic. I review about eight to ten erotic romances/month for a German print romance journal and each month I have the same problem to find out about the upcoming novels of the subsequent month. Our deadline for the next issue is always around the 7th of the current month and not many coming soon sites (with the great exception of Samhain) offer much helpful information.

    ReplyReply

  11. jmc
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:21:19

    Wow! Excellent idea! Totally impressed by the website.

    ReplyReply

  12. Sybil
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:27:37

    Jane is on her way to becoming a coding GOD. The site is the result of a hella lot of work while she learned on the ‘job’. OCD is a thing of beauty my friends *g*.

    It is wicked cool. Let us know if you have any issues and problems. And we will try and fix them (by we I mean Jane).

    ReplyReply

  13. Charlene Teglia
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:39:38

    You guys rock. Off to input my books. ; )

    ReplyReply

  14. Charlene Teglia
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:40:14

    Ack! The counter of doom appears! Did I commit a typo? Too late. Don’t have enough coffee to tell.

    ReplyReply

  15. Laura Vivanco
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:40:19

    I’m a bit confused about how the books turn up in particular categories. When I used the dropdown menus along the top to find the books that were ‘straight contemporary’ it came up with books which have other labels too (e.g. romantic suspense, erotic romance). Is there a way to narrow the search to exclude other categories? I’ve found the tag search option, but that doesn’t seem to help. I would have thought that ‘straight contemporary’ would mean ‘contemporary’ that’s not in any of the other categories, but it doesn’t seem to be working that way.

    Other than that, I like it.

    I’m assuming that these publishing dates are all for the US editions?

    ReplyReply

  16. Anya
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:42:49

    Oh, cool! My Google alerts picked this site up a few days ago. Very good idea. I had no idea it was you all.

    ReplyReply

  17. Writers Blog » Blog Archive » The coolest new thing on the web
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:44:09

    [...] Go see what the Ja(y)nes, Sybil, and all committed romance bloggers have done! Romantic Advances. Building the TBR mountain one book at a time. Explanation at Dear Author. [...]

  18. Jane
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:52:54

    Laura – the problem with “straight contemporary” is that we aren’t sure what we are doing with that category. We don’t have any entrants, as of yet, that fit that category but I would think like a Rachel Gibson or Susan Elizabeth Phillips would. But if we do have a straight contemporary category, it would show all the books that are “straight contemp” but they could be categorized as “erotic romance”. Are you saying that you would prefer the straight contemp to exclude erotic romance?

    and yes, these are US Release dates. We should probably note that somewhere.

    ReplyReply

  19. Jaci Burton
    May 30, 2007 @ 06:55:47

    This is totally freakin awesome! I can only imagine the amount of work you all put into this.

    What an amazing resource! Kudos to all of you. :-)

    ReplyReply

  20. Phyl
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:05:43

    Awesome, just awesome. This reader thanks you from the bottom of her heart.

    Jane, do you sleep?

    ReplyReply

  21. December Quinn/Stacia Kane
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:10:40

    Oh MAN! This is the coolest thing ever!

    ReplyReply

  22. Angie
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:11:38

    I already got to tell you how much I love it but I didn’t get to tell the others so, I hope they’re reading this post because I freaking love this idea. I blogged a few months ago about wondering if there was anywhere to go for information like this and none of the options were at all comprehensive or even close to. Thanks for doing this!

    *ETA I had a typo and I got to edit it! Yay!

    ReplyReply

  23. Laura Vivanco
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:13:26

    the problem with “straight contemporary� is that we aren't sure what we are doing with that category. We don't have any entrants, as of yet, that fit that category [...] But if we do have a straight contemporary category, it would show all the books that are “straight contemp� but they could be categorized as “erotic romance�. Are you saying that you would prefer the straight contemp to exclude erotic romance?

    Some of the Kimani books are only tagged as ‘contemporary’ so I assumed that they were ‘straight contemporary’ i.e. couldn’t be classified under any of the other sub-genres.

    I think it would be nice to be able to find books which are non-erotic, not-romantic-suspense, not supernatural, contemporary romances. I’m not sure how you could organise the info so that people can find precisely the sub-genres, or mix of sub-genres, they want.

    The trouble is, there are so many different variables, because there are different sub-genres, some of which can be combined, and also some aspects which aren’t, in my opinion, about sub-genre but are ways of describing the protagonists. So, ironically given the tag, a ‘straight contemporary’ would in my opinion be a contemporary that’s not got paranormal, fantasy or suspense elements, but it could have gay or lesbian characters. A lot of the Harlequins are ‘straight contemporaries’ e.g. the Romance and Presents lines.

    ReplyReply

  24. Jane A.
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:36:38

    Wow! This is awesome! Thank you SO much for this resource, you all rock!

    ReplyReply

  25. kardis
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:47:52

    This is incredible, I can’t wait until I have time to really play around on the site! Luckily I’m about to move into a much bigger apt, which means that my TBR mountain can expand!!

    ReplyReply

  26. BevL(QB)
    May 30, 2007 @ 08:29:24

    You are all GODDESSES!! I know the amount of time it takes me to keep my blog’s TBP lists updated for the authors I already read and you are doing it for ALL Romance book releases (well, theoretically, anyhow)!

    And since new authors and authors I’ve never read before mostly land on my lists because I’ve stumbled across a mention somewhere AFTER their release or have extra time at the bookstore to browse new releases, Romantic Advances will undoubtedly build my TBP/TBR lists exponentially! Um… thanks.

    And you even included upcoming ebook releases!! That so rocks!

    Just one request from someone who still prefers brick and mortar bookstores for print releases- would you please consider using the actual release date instead of just release month? It’s so frustrating to walk in a store with a TBP list only to find that half of them won’t release until next week. Or, find out that a book released at the end of the previous month and I could have already been reading it.

    Thank you and please know that all your hard work will be most appreciated. Now, I’m off to add Romantic Advances to my “Everyday Favorites” blog roll. And while I’m at it, I think I’ll go ahead and pimp the site in a post, too.

    ReplyReply

  27. Vivi Anna
    May 30, 2007 @ 08:31:32

    Bravo ladies! I think it’s a fantastic venture. I was over there already browsing and writing down titles!!

    I will link to it from my blog and my website.

    ReplyReply

  28. bam
    May 30, 2007 @ 08:37:07

    Congrats, guys. It looks awesome!

    Jane is a CSS/HTML wiz.

    I'ved added a comment editing feature.

    Physician, heal thyself!

    ReplyReply

  29. Anji
    May 30, 2007 @ 08:58:35

    [quote comment="29550"]
    Just one request from someone who still prefers brick and mortar bookstores for print releases- would you please consider using the actual release date instead of just release month? It’s so frustrating to walk in a store with a TBP list only to find that half of them won’t release until next week. Or, find out that a book released at the end of the previous month and I could have already been reading it.
    [/quote]

    I agree, this is very very cool! As a reader, thank you so much!

    And to second Bev’s suggestion, would it be possible to add a function under release month to look at releases by street date for the individual months? That would be really helpful!

    ReplyReply

  30. Jessica Inclan
    May 30, 2007 @ 09:24:49

    Looks great! I don’t know how you do it. And I’m still worrying about how to put a plug in in.

    Jessica

    ReplyReply

  31. Romantic Advances « Jorrie Spencer
    May 30, 2007 @ 09:49:14

    [...] 30th, 2007 by Jorrie There’s an impressive new site up, run by Jane of Dear Author, Sybil and others. It’s central station for romance books. Go see Romantic [...]

  32. Karen Scott
    May 30, 2007 @ 09:56:27

    Jane, you are a geek and a genius, all rolled into one! Sign me up Scottie!

    ReplyReply

  33. Karen Scott
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:02:20

    Erm, when I said sign me up, that was just a figure of speech, but I love you guys for doing this anyway, and if I can help, then just yell.

    ReplyReply

  34. Jane
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:05:08

    I think we can definitely add “street date” to the body of the post but because there are so many different street dates, I’m not sure how we’ll do that. Maybe by a tag. We’ll have to think on that one.

    ReplyReply

  35. Leslie Kelly
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:11:21

    This is fantastic! What a fabulous idea. Thanks so much!

    ReplyReply

  36. Wendy
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:33:08

    I can’t speak for the others, but I erred on the side of caution with release dates. For instance, I input a bunch of Brava titles yesterday and they tend to have laydown dates at the end of the month. For example, if the laydown date said “May 29″ I typed it in as a June 2007 release. But it would be handy to include the actual date since I know there are readers who must have certain books on the day they show up in stores. Jane, being our fearless leader, will undoubtedly figure something out.

    ReplyReply

  37. Tara Marie
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:53:53

    For example, if the laydown date said “May 29″ I typed it in as a June 2007 release.

    Wendy, I did too and I also agree actual release dates are a great idea, especially considering I’m one of those people who mark my calendar for books I’m particularly looking forward to.

    ReplyReply

  38. Emma Wayne Porter
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:54:13

    Oh, Bam. That was so cold lol

    Thank you, ladies, for doing this. It rocks more than you know.

    ReplyReply

  39. raine
    May 30, 2007 @ 11:39:26

    Love the idea.
    And the site looks great!

    But ohhh…my poor book budget! (sob!)

    ReplyReply

  40. Jill Dunlop
    May 30, 2007 @ 12:19:32

    Hi Ladies,

    I just wanted to express my heartfelt thanks for this ingenious website!!!! A couple of months ago I tried to create a database of new releases myself using different publisher’s websites and quickly became overwhelmed. It was a nightmare actually and I didn’t get very far with it. But now, I can just cruise over to this wonderful website and peruse at my leisure. Thank you so much!!

    ReplyReply

  41. Barbara B.
    May 30, 2007 @ 12:59:08

    I was just at Romantic Advances and it is fantastic and so easy to navigate. Pure brilliance!

    Thanks so much!

    ReplyReply

  42. Mary Reed McCall
    May 30, 2007 @ 13:12:18

    “Romantic Advances” is an awesome undertaking and such a valuable resource for both readers and authors alike. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of time and effort that went into creating the site. Thank you all for your hard work in the endeavor.

    Also, I don’t want to leave without saying that your choice of The Templar’s Seduction as one of the five featured books is an added, special thrill for me – so thank you for that as well. :)

    Kudos all around…

    –MRM

    ReplyReply

  43. EC Sheedy
    May 30, 2007 @ 13:18:36

    You reader-women are amazing! This is a fabulous idea. You will sweep up every romance reader who sets a foot in Blogville.

    I can’t imagine the programming smarts it takes to do ROMANTIC ADVANCES, but it humbles me. It truly does.

    EC Sheedy

    ReplyReply

  44. Li
    May 30, 2007 @ 13:58:38

    This is brilliant – thank you so much for putting it together!

    ReplyReply

  45. sherry thomas
    May 30, 2007 @ 14:05:56

    V. v. cool. And awesome. And unbelievable. And all that.

    And Jane, are you getting enough sleep? No, seriously.

    ReplyReply

  46. HelenKay
    May 30, 2007 @ 14:16:03

    This is fabulous!! Good job guys. Having one place to go to see what’s coming out in the next few months is the best idea. Now, I do have to go check out this straight contemp thing. That tends to to be my favorite type of book and I can’t find all that many lately, so I want to see where you’ve put books I think of as fitting in this category – SEP, Jennifer Crusie…maybe me??

    I’m off to find books and plan my book-buying budget accordingly.

    ReplyReply

  47. Syb
    May 30, 2007 @ 14:39:36

    [quote comment="29579"]I can’t imagine the programming smarts it takes to do ROMANTIC ADVANCES, but it humbles me. It truly does.

    EC Sheedy[/quote]

    LOL it humbles us too ;) I tell ya Jane is a wiz. Just think she runs this, does all heavy lifting at my place AND now is discovering all the ways you can curse code at RA.

    She rocks. And I don’t say that just cuz she has my passwords *g*

    ReplyReply

  48. Liz Kreger
    May 30, 2007 @ 14:42:30

    Wonderful idea, ladies. I’ll be moseying over there shortly to have a look see at what’s available.

    There goes my book budget. (groan)

    ReplyReply

  49. Rowena
    May 30, 2007 @ 15:28:13

    Hey I just found your blog (the new one) from Karen’s blog and another one that I checked earlier this morning and I think it’s a great idea and the blog looks great, GREAT JOB YOU GUYS!

    ReplyReply

  50. Josie
    May 30, 2007 @ 17:46:42

    What a fantastic idea – this will be going into my favourites!

    ReplyReply

  51. Jane
    May 30, 2007 @ 17:50:24

    Unfortunately, I am not reading. I haven’t read a book since last Thursday. Sniff.

    ReplyReply

  52. Gennita Low
    May 30, 2007 @ 20:11:14

    Wicked cool! Thank you for all the hours of hard work behind this project. This is going to be a great resource for romance readers.

    ReplyReply

  53. Laura
    May 30, 2007 @ 22:42:06

    Amazing. This is going to be the go-to resource for the romance community. I worship the women of Romantic Advances(GREAT name!) like the goddesses you are.

    ReplyReply

  54. Tilly Greene
    May 31, 2007 @ 06:26:55

    Woohoo! Nice one everyone and as a book lover, thank you :-)

    ReplyReply

  55. Shelly @ Bewitched
    May 31, 2007 @ 22:15:54

    Be still my heart! I absolutely LOVE your new site. I must go yell it from the top of my blog.

    ReplyReply

  56. Bewitched By Books » Great New Site!
    May 31, 2007 @ 22:19:16

    [...] usual, Karen always knows where the cool stuff is and I want to spread the word about how the Ja(y)nes, Sybil and several other book nuts created a wonderful website for books that are arriving soon to [...]

  57. Jackie
    Jun 02, 2007 @ 20:24:22

    Thanks so much for doing this!

    ReplyReply

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