Ask BHP: What Should Authors Post on Social Media?

Welcome to our monthly Ask BHP series. Here’s a fun question: “As a marketing person, do you ever advise authors on what not to post from their author pages on Facebook, especially on controversial issues? I’d be interested to hear what you think is wise for authors to say online.”

I often see agents writing blog posts on this topic, since they’re very focused on the authors’ careers and the choices they make that can alienate readers, but that’s not really my role. Occasionally one of our authors will run something by me and say, “What do you think about this?” And at that point, I give my honest opinion. But otherwise, I don’t like to meddle in what our authors are doing, because it’s up to them to use their own best judgment.

That said, here’s a good principle for Christian authors when considering what to say on the Internet (or, hey, Christians in general).

It comes from a Bethany House potluck.

chili

We recently had a chili cookoff, complete with miniature testing cups, fancy voting scorecards with different categories, and fabulous prizes. I’m not much of a chili person, so I decided not to enter and made bread instead. (Don’t overestimate me as a chef—bread is one of the few things I can consistently make well.)

As I sat there trying my fourth sample of chili, I had a revelation: there are two ways to win a chili cookoff.

The first is to be the best at making chili among several tough competitors.

The second is to be the only one who brought homemade yeast rolls.

If you aren’t seeing parallels between that and social media posts, here’s how it relates: there are two ways to win the Internet.

The first is to be the best at the contest everyone else is having—shouting the loudest, posting the most articles, responding to comments that disagree with you with the best arguments and shutting everyone else down.

The second is to be the only one entering a different contest. Continue reading

What to Do If You’re in Love with a Fictional Character

Hello, readers! As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m happy to answer the following question I was sent through our Ask Bethany House survey.*

Heart inside a book

Dear Amy,

The heroes in my favorite novels are so perfect, I think I’ve developed a bit of a crush on several of them. My friends think this is a problem since they’re not “real.” (Who cares?) But I’ve found that ending every book is difficult for me, since I always have to say goodbye to a man of my dreams. Do you have any advice?

Yours Brokenheartedly,

Recovering Romance Reader

(If you need help deciding if this letter also applies to you, check out a post from last year: 10 Signs You are in Love with a Fictional Character.)

Ah, love. It can be a complicated thing, especially when the man you’ve fallen for is seeing another woman. And fictional. And two-dimensional…literally. He’s printed on a page.

But those details aside, I’m here to help you cope with that deep feeling of loss when you finish the last page of a heart-pounding novel. The following are just a few suggestions for moving on after a book boyfriend leaves you for the fictional heroine:

Start a fan club. You can interpret this in two ways. First, it can be therapeutic to giggle and sigh with other readers over the merits of your chosen hero. There might be some heated banter over who is the best fit for said fictional hunk, but all in good fun. Second, it might be helpful to actually have a fan nearby while reading to avoid swooning.

valentine2

Journal the angst. This can be on Facebook or a blog—just get it out there. Tell everyone about the books that stole your heart (or broke it). You can even start it, “To All the Books I’ve Loved Before.”

Eat chocolate. Does this actually help? Probably not. But I feel like a point on just about every how-to list should be “eat chocolate,” so there you go.

Book-stalk the hero’s friends. After all, they’re probably just as witty and charming and attractive, right? So find out if that author has written any other books. A reader can never give up hope.

Appreciate the real men in your life. Even if you haven’t yet found “The One,” once you’ve had a few day’s distance from the latest novel, you’ll find there are several advantages actual people have over their fictional counterparts. Becky Wade has compiled a list of some of those merits—enjoy!

Send the happy couple a congratulations card. Nothing helps you get over your lost love than telling the object of your affections that you enjoyed watching his journey toward a happily-ever-after. But where to address it, you ask? I’d suggest the book’s page on Amazon or Goodreads. Turns out, other readers (and authors) like to hear that you found a romance sigh-worthy. (Just be careful not to reveal the ending…after all, maybe other readers want to have hope they might get the guy instead of the heroine.)

Start a new book. Will this make the cycle continue indefinitely? Probably. But we’re readers, after all. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wishing you the best of luck, Recovering Romance Reader. We here at Bethany House understand your dilemma…that’s why we keep publishing books from authors who create the best fictional romances around!

One bonus recovery tip: admit your latest book crush in the comments below. Misery loves company!

*Okay, fine. No one actually sent me this question. But I can read minds—lots of you were wondering this, weren’t you? Admit it! (But never fear, the real Ask BHP post will come later this month.)

Prayer for Authors February 2017

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in February:

Tamera Alexander
Julianna Deering
Dani Pettrey
Jill Williamson

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.–Psalm 59:16 (NLT)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the ability to prioritize time with friends and family members during a busy season, and to know what to say no to.
  • For unexpected acts of encouragement or help that can only be credited to God’s work.
  • For readers to think about their faith differently after reading these books.

It’s always delightful to know that there are others joining me in praying for these authors, so thank you for stopping by the blog today!

Meet Our February 2017 New Releases!

Technically, these are January books because they released on the 31st of January, but we’re celebrating them this month. Between their pages you’ll find murder and music and mystery and everything in between! Just for fun, I’m sharing a fun fact about each title so you have the inside scoop. To read an excerpt of each novel and see if it’s a good fit for you, just click on the cover!

King’s Blood by Jill Williamson

kings-blood

Quick Look: After the foretold destruction of the Five Realms, the remnant that escaped by sea searches for a new home. As the king’s health worsens, Sâr Wilek assumes command and struggles to rule the disjointed people, while assassination attempts and dark magic endanger his life. One prophecy has come to pass, but another looms in the future: Who is this Deliverer?

Behind-the-Scenes Trivia: This is officially the longest novel Bethany House has ever published! (At least until Book Three releases…)

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

NoteYetUnsung_cover-4color-SIM.indd

Quick Look: Despite her training as a master violinist, Rebekah Carrington was denied entry into the Nashville Philharmonic by young conductor Nathaniel Whitcomb, who bowed to public opinion. Now, with a reluctant muse and a recurring pain in his head, he needs her help to finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he’s robbed her of her dream?

Behind-the-Scenes Trivia: The Stradivarius violin in the novel that is (fictionally) owned by Adelicia Cheatham, is currently owned in real life by violinist Anne Akiko Meyes. Tamera listened to her music often while writing.

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

still-life

Quick Look: Work hits too close to home for crime scene photographer Avery Tate when her best friend disappears. The only lead is a chilling photo of her—apparently dead. As Avery, her ex-boss Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the case, she’s forced to confront her feelings for Parker when they come face-to-face with a dangerous criminal.

Behind-the-Scenes Trivia: Many of the locations in the story can be found in real-life Baltimore, including the Fells Point neighborhood, a favorite of the Pettrey family.

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

murder-on-the-moor

Quick Look: When mysterious incidents begin occurring on a moor in Yorkshire, an old friend begs Drew for help. At first it seems to be simply bad luck—fires started, livestock scattered—but then the vicar is murdered. As danger closes in, Drew and Madeline must determine what’s really going on and find the killer before it’s too late.

Behind-the-Scenes Trivia: Julianna insists that Aidan Turner, star of Poldark, looks just like her character (and mystery suspect) Rhys Delwyn. Imagine that!

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, what’s the best romantic novel you’ve read in a while?