Michelle Mills asks “You’re not on Twitter? Why not?”
Twitter is a terrific place to learn about books—I’m not talking about recs from buy my book robo-tweets, I’m referring to genuine reciprocal conversations about books people liked and are recommending to each other. Book clubs, genre discussions, mini reviews, warnings, fangirl squees—the twitterverse is the “it” place for romance talk. It’s a microcosm of the industry and a meeting place for the romance obsessed.
I know, I know—Twitter isn’t for everyone. No worries, I’m there for you, talking about romance books every single day, rain or shine. Here’s a list of what I’ve read or noticed lately, gleaned from fellow romance obsessed individuals (like yourself) via the Twitter hive mind:
His Pretend Baby by Theodora Taylor
This book is so damn good. I’m not kidding. Five different reviewers recommended it to me. They were all giddy with romance reading euphoria. Don’t be put off by the beard, just buy the book (although not sure why you’d be put off by the beard because, Beards! *roar*). The Billionaire hero possibly has Asperger’s. The heroine is edgy and delightful. The author’s voice is pure fun and there isn’t a dull moment to be found. And the sex is super hot. Cracktastic! Buy it. Buy it, now.
His Forever Family by Sarah M. Anderson
Yes, another Billionaire trope, but this is more specifically a Boss/Secretary trope (my catnip). The author, Sarah M. Anderson, tweeted the cover which shows a Billionaire holding the cutest baby ever, who is not of his own ethnicity. I squealed, “I must have this now!” and quickly got on Amazon to check the blurb, which said the hero would end up adopting that precious baby. *flail* The author tweeted to let me know the heroine was biracial. So of course I opened my kindle right away and started reading. And I loved it. I stayed up late reading this book. There’s deep characterization and depth concerning the ramifications of socioeconomic status within the couple’s relationship, which rarely happens in a Boss/Secretary book in a realistic way. It’s refreshing to find a hero worried and aware of the power differential between him and the employee he’s having sex with! I really appreciated this fresh, modern HQ Desire. I plan on reading more by this author. In fact I think she has another IR (Interracial) HQ out right now…
A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles
I swear to God, this author doesn’t write a bad book.
Disclaimer- I’m friends with KJ Charles on Twitter. We’ve been chatting for ages. I can’t help it, she’s just that charming.
But, aside from this, her books are terrific. I found out about this release like everyone else, by following the author’s timeline or through a fan’s retweet of a teaser. On Twitter the super readers, romance writers, reviewers, and well, anyone with a pulse, swoon over each and every new KJ Charles release. I almost need to talk about her body of work as a whole, rather than a single book—I’ve read so much of her backlist it’s blurring into a monolith of excellence.
A Seditious Affair is a smart, amazingly researched historical romance, with teeth-gnashing conflict, a hard-earned HEA, and, and…just read it! If you don’t normally read m/m romance—KJ Charles is a terrific gateway drug.
Sinner’s Creed by Kim Jones
Spoiler (spoiler): Show
How about you? Do you have a book to share that you heard about and read? A warning you’d like to share? Rules: You must have heard about the book or book related information originally on Twitter and if you remember who specifically rec’d it to you, all the better!
One review for His Pretend Baby says it’s a fairly short story. Is that accurate?
@Sarah: It’s category length, so it’s 200? 250? pages. Whatever the standard is for Harlequin Desires.
Thank you! That’s long enough for me. I got the impression the reviewer meant novella and was hesitant to purchase. But not now.
Michelle, you may have missed the discussions about “His Forever Family” on Twitter & SBTB. Many had serious problems with this book!
@Sarah: His Pretend Baby is category length.:)
@C.U.F.: Really? Can you send me links? I’d love to read.
@C.U.F.: I researched and couldn’t find where anyone had serious problems with the book. Elyse gave it a B+ at SBTB, she loved it too, for all the same reasons I did. http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/his-forever-family-by-sarah-m-anderson/ And I did a search of the book title on Twitter and all I found were recs because people loved it. Help! I can’t find where “many had serious problems with this book.”
@C.U.F.: Duh. I see it now. In the comments section for the review on SBTB. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention!
I find Twitter to be a cliquey place for the cool kids of the romance genre, and not at all useful for the average romance reader… Discussions about the genre very much exclude any newbies trying to find a place to chat.
Agree w Sonya. Twitter is (a) cliquey and (b) swimming w promotional “hey check out my latest release” tweets…no thanks.
@Kate L: I hear you, I cannot stand a twitter feed full of disembodied buy my book tweets. I immediately unfollow that. There are plenty of authors on Twitter who do not do that, or who understand to sandwich that in between genuine reciprocal conversations.
@Sonya: Hmm…You know I got on Twitter about three years ago and didn’t start using it “for real” until about two and half years ago because at first the whole thing scared me. There was so much etiquette and rules and I couldn’t figure out the rules. I do have to say that I still appreciate the people who followed me back in the very beginning when I was on there as a reader/wanna be writer and not much more than an egg. Kaetrin, Alexis Hall and Aleksander Voinov were right there befriending me from day one (thanks guys).
Yes, I do get hurt sometimes when people don’t follow me when I wish they would, I’m only human. Or, if I send a tweet to someone and they don’t respond or at the very least like it. But I let it go. I don’t follow that many people, so there’s probably people out there who are like- why doesn’t Michele follow me back? How rude! And I’m sure at one time or another I wasn’t perfect and I bet I didn’t respond to someone’s tweet.
I think Twitter is just like real life. You get on, you don’t know anyone, they are strangers and you are strangers to them. It takes awhile to get to know everyone and for them to know you. I can see how this can seem exclusionary or cliquish. But I like to think of it instead as in everyone is strangers at first and some people are shy around strangers, that’s all. You have to go in thinking all of these people are lucky to know you. You are here, let’s get this party started. If you lead from that point of view, things will seem to fall into place. I never really thought of Twitter as being exclusionary or into cliques. I think of it as there are groups of friends. This just happens. It is easy to see the groups of friends. I don’t feel jealous of them. Why would I? I guess I have a group? I don’t know, I like to flitter around between groups. There are the LGBTQ authors, readers, reviewers who are lovely people, there are the erotic romance people, the YA people, the…., the….you see? At first twitter will seem overwhelming, but if you give it time, you’ll find your tribe. I have made very close friends via Twitter. I feel I get on Twitter to check in with my friends. And pretty much all I do, all we all do is talk about romance, and our lives. It makes me so happy.
To this day I just butt into conversations. This is okay to do on Twitter. If someone wanted to have a private conversation they’d DM each other, the whole point is making this convo public so others can join in. So you join in. They might not respond to you. They might not “like” any of your tweets. That’s okay, you keep trying. Maybe that will happen next time. Twitter is like a backyard barbeque you are showing up where you don’t anyone. NO. ONE. There isn’t even a host to introduce you to anyone else. You’re on your own. Like I said earlier, this is scary at first. How do you even meet anyone? I find new friends by seeing them in joint conversations. Over time we start to see that we have similar tastes in books and humor and there you go…next thing you know we’re following each other. Although, there are people I follow just because they’re cool (Chuck Wendig) and I never in a million years expect them to notice/follow a peon like me- this is fine. Chuck is still the best of men (and he’s actually responded to me once or twice- whoo hoo).
So my advice for anyone new wanting to get on Twitter and plugged into the book chat is this:
1. Follow all of your favorite writers and then check who they follow and follow anyone interesting to you from that list too. This is how you start to find your specific tribe. It grows from there.
2. Talk to them. Authors love it when you @ them and say nice things. They live for that.
3. Follow reviewers! They are not scary, I promise. They are nice people who have encyclopedic knowledge of romance. They can talk romance twenty four hours a day and never tire of it. Ask reviewers for recs. They live for that.
4. Know that this will take time for you to become comfortable. One day you’ll be on there and you’ll notice that you are starting the comment threads, you are saying things that people are “liking” and retweeting and “Lolol”-ing. And you’ll feel totally empowered. And you’ll find that you’re finding recs from other authors and reviewers and super readers and you’ll go back to them and say- that book was great, thanks for the rec. It’s a great feeling. – Oh, the best- when you rec a book and others tell you thanks for the rec. Sigh, no that’s the best.
I read the Theodora Taylor during lunch yesterday and really, really enjoyed it.
RE: Twitter. I think it can be clique-y. There are established relationships and friendships and circles of readers/authors who’ve been talking to each other for a long time. I think that, for the most part, those circles do welcome new voices and will engage/interact with people they aren’t as familiar with, but the tone of that new interaction *is* different and so I can see why someone might look at it as exclusionary or not-exactly friendly.
To me, it’s a lot like the lobby of a romance conference. There are the friends who already know each other, there are the readers who are tentatively finding other readers to talk to and discussing likes/dislikes (and sometimes drifting away from each other when there isn’t enough overlap in interest) and some who kind of sit aside and watch the conversations. Sometimes when someone new sits down with a group of established friends, it might be awkward for a little while — and it’s not that people don’t want the new person there, it’s that there’s always a period of “getting to know you.” But, yeah. As the new person sitting down? It might feel beyond awkward and kind of cold.
I do get a ton of recommendations from Twitter, but I ignore a lot of them, too. I follow bloggers/readers who have tastes similar to mine and those are the ones I trust and engage with (about books) — with everyone else, it’s more like a cocktail party. I might hear about books at that cocktail party, but the mentions that I pay most attention to don’t come from authors promoting themselves or each other, but readers who I already know (thanks to their blogs or Goodreads).
@Michele Mills: Oh, see — I’d skip following the authors if you’re only looking for book recommendations. Authors read books, obviously, but there’s always going to be an element of promotion there. I follow a lot of authors because they’re my friends, and there are a few whose taste is really similar to mine — but if someone wants to avoid promotion and just get pure book recommendations, reader bloggers/reviewers are the better way to go.
Great recs, except I have to disagree about Sinner’s Creed. I DNF at 29%. I have to admit, I ONLY bought it because Joanna Wylde raved about it awhile ago. I’m always on the lookout for new MC romances, but I thought this was a hot mess in the first 30%. It’s supposed to be complete, insta-love between an MC assassin (with I don’t know how many kills to his name, but more than 10) and some sweet, innocent thing. I thought the prose was trite and the premise was entirely unbelievable and I couldn’t deal with rambling pages of the hero’s inner monologue. No, thanks. It was only after I DNF and rated it on Goodreads that I read about all the spoilers and I think the publisher and the author did a big disservice by promoting it as romance – and let’s be clear – it’s clearly marketed to readers of MC romance which at least implies a HEA or Happy for Now….not what apparently happens at the end.
@Courtney: I completely agree with you about this book being mismarketed to romance readers. I won’t be reading it because I’m an HEA purist. The author recently said this in an interview: http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2016/03/07/kim-jones-sinners-creed-ending/
Thanks for that link, Michele, but that interview just leaves me confused where Kim Jones says that Dirk and Saylor “most definitely got the HEA they deserved.” Um, no. I have total respect for authors writing whatever stories they want to tell and I have few “rules” when it comes to books and romance, but it’s put out on the Ballantine imprint which is all romance (I think-maybe Bantam Dell?) and implies the couple will be together, in some fashion at the end. It’s probably irrelevant for me as I didn’t connect with the writing anyway so I won’t try another one of Kim Jones’ books, but when it’s marketed the way it is and says it’s “The first in an all new series,” the suggestion is that the primary couple is together at the end and likely to make cameo appearances in the future books.
@Meljean: Good point Meljean, it’s true that I have my circle of recs narrowed down to the people who I know have similar tastes to mine and who are trusted to throw out good recs. This is where the twitter book magic happens.
@Courtney: You are preaching to the choir! I completely agree. Did you check the spoiler above? I linked to a review from Mandi who agrees with you. Other people disagree though, some people on twitter were saying there’s a loophole here because the couple has an HEA in heaven. I’m like- Nope. Nope. And nope again. :)
I didn’t see Mandi’s review, but I’ll check it out. I’m sorry, but it’s obnoxious to say, “I gave them eternity.” To me, if this is what the author wrote, what’s the publisher’s responsibility, if any, for how it’s marketed? Because it should have just been marketed as some kind of fiction where plenty of main characters don’t make it until the end. I guess I think it’s deceitful marketing.
sorry, nope nope nope nope
I’m adding a few more nopes to your nope
I think Twitter is more tribal than cliquey. You just have to find your tribe, then make a list. Lists are your friends. I have a list for people I regularly goof around with. a list for people who give out great information and tips. a list of editors to see what they’re talking about, a list of reviewers who make me spend too much money.
But I’ve made some really good friends on Twitter that have held up in real life. I would never have left my room at the first RT I attended if it were for some of the people I met on Twitter. And I’ve been amazed that people I talked to on Twitter for two years before meeting them in real life were exactly the same in person.
So you just need to find people you like and hang with them.
And I’m the worst about interrupting a convo but honestly, unless you protect your tweets you can’t really expect to have a “private” conversation on Twitter. That’s what DMs are for.
I love reading “His Pretend Baby.” The storyline and the unusual characterizations were unique and interesting.