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Guest blogger Tawny Weber

Doing The Not-Really-Possible

I’m a big fan of creating a scenario that seems impossible for my characters.  Of putting them into situations that push all their buttons and force them to work extra hard to make things happen.  That’s so much more fun to read, isn’t it?

A SEAL's SurrenderBut, you know, as much as I love putting my characters into challenging situations I’m not as big on hanging out with the impossible scenario in my personal life.   I’m not saying I want everything to be easy *g * But life tends to put enough roadblocks in the path, so why would I go out of my way to add more?

So when I was told that my chances of hitting a major bestseller list, such as USA Today, with a Blaze were slim and, well, really slim, I figured that was info worth listening to. Except I felt so strongly that I could do it.  Not just because I had one of those major intuitive hits (although I do love those!) but because I had some really solid factors working in my favor.

I had two solid books in A SEAL’s Seduction and A SEAL’s Surrender.  Books that I felt really great about and knew were the strongest I’d written.  They had very, VERY hot heroes and solid hooks because those heroes are Navy SEALs.   And though they were each standalone, they tied together as the heroes were on the same SEAL team and facing the repercussions of the same tragedy.  And the books were out back-to-back, in February and March.

I knew the first book, A SEAL’s Seduction, was going to be a part of the Try Harlequin program the month after the release of the second book.  Try Harlequin makes a number of books each year available as a free digital download.  So the possibility of major exposure was high.

I hired a fabulous marketing group (waving at Market or Die) to help me build awareness of A SEAL’s Seduction before it went free.   Thanks to marketing, killer covers or hot SEALs (or all of the above) both books hit Bookscan the first two weeks of their release, and A SEAL’s Seduction got a Top Pick and a Seal of Excellence nomination from RT. A SEAL's Seduction cover

But despite all of that great stuff, the general feeling was still that my hitting a big list was pie in the sky impossible.  One of those ‘why take it on, the challenge is too big’ situations.  I could have accepted that.  But, well, I didn’t want to 😀  My Amazon numbers kept plummeting, getting A SEAL’s Surrender closer and closer to the top 100 Paid Kindle list as A SEAL’s Seduction climbed down the free list.  When it hit #1 on the Free list, I knew I had a shot at some major sales.

But the word on the street was that I still couldn’t hit USA Today.  At this point, I was in the stubborn zone, though.  I had grabbed onto that challenge and didn’t want to give up.  So, in addition to the marketing I was already doing, I tried a couple more angles.  I enlisted my street team, I called in favors and begged friends for support.  And I had incredible success with Bookbub and Fresh Fiction ads.

At that point, A SEAL’s Surrender broke the Amazon Top 100, got my publishers attention and more importantly, their support.

The results?  A SEAL’s Seduction spent over 110 days on the Amazon Top 100 Kindle Free list and A SEAL’s Surrender spent 2 weeks on the USA Today Bestseller List.  If I’d listened to ‘people in the know’ I’d never have pushed, never had taken those extra steps (or spent that extra money on ads, or begged extra people *g *).

I’m really not a fan of beating my head stubbornly against a wall trying to make the impossible happen.  But when there’s a glimmer of hope?  Sometimes the challenge is worth taking on :-)

What do you think?  Are you a fan of big challenges in your books?  How about in real life?  

 

Tawny Weber Author Photo croppedA little about Tawny:

USA TODAY Bestselling author of over twenty hot books, Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook.

Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website, www.tawnyweber.com, or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, complete first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

 

20 Responses to Guest blogger Tawny Weber

  1. Anna Campbell August 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Tawny, firstly HUGE congratulations on your success. As you know, i’ve loved all your books so I’m not at all surprised that you’re doing so well. I actually think you need to credit the fact that you’ve consistently turned in a great product – and we readers talk to other readers and tell them to watch out for the new Tawny Weber. I think the slow build still works when the books are great, as yours are. Yay, you!

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Anna, that is so sweet :-) Thank you! Not just for the lovely words and always incredible support *g* but for the insight. I do think the 18 books that came before A SEAL’s Seduction definitely helped LOL.

  2. Nancy Northcott August 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Tawny, woo-hoo on making the list! These books are fabulous, and I’m delighted to see them do so well.

    I like challenges in books. The bigger, the better. In my personal life, I like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from meeting a challenge, but I’d keep those rare. :-)

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Nancy, thanks so much! I loved writing the SEALs as well and am so excited to be writing more.

      I hear you on that sweet feeling of satisfaction that comes from meeting a challenge. Its pretty great. But after I meet one, I always wonder how the people who do it daily handle it. I get tired!!!

  3. Jennifer Fusco August 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Thank you so much for the shout out, Tawny. The team at Market or Die wishes you the very best and we are so excited about your upcoming book FEARLESS out in September!!

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Awww, thanks for all the awesome marketing :-) MOD rocks! I’m so excited about FEARLESS, too! Ahhh, it’s almost here :-)

  4. Donna MacMeans August 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Tawny –

    Anyone who throws down a gaunlet in front of you saying an achievement is impossible, doesn’t know Tawny Weber very well. :-)

    Your book are wonderful, and I know how hard you work to make them so. It’s not a surprise that you’ve hit the USA today list on your way to the next monumental achievement.

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      LOL Thank you so much, Donna! And LOL. I am stubborn, but selectively stubborn. There are quite a few challenges that I happily walk away from. I appreciate wise advice and really do listen when people say something isn’t doable. Because quite often they are right.

      And thank you so, so much for the lovely compliment. It always means so much to hear someone say they like my books, but when it comes from an author whose books I really admire, it’s like there’s extra fairy glitter on top :-)

  5. Helen August 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Waving Hi Tawny

    Whoo hoo well done you rock and I agree it is so worth it sometimes to push and take on a challenge and I have to say I so loved both of these books (as I have loved all of your books :) ).
    I love reading reading stories where there is a challenge for the hero and heroine and I am up to a challenge in life as well as long as it is not too hard LOL

    Congrats
    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

      Hugs and thank you, Helen, for not only reading all of my books but loving them LOL. You’re the best!!!

      Challenges in stories are so great -they are definitely what keep us turning the page. But like you say, as long as it’s not too hard. Sometimes, even in books, those challenges get exhausting LOL.

  6. Christina Brooke August 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Hi Tawny! Great post–no one works harder than you in this business. Mega congratulations on hitting the USA Today list! I love your books and there’s no doubt that all the marketing in the world wouldn’t have put you there if you didn’t also write great books.

    As for wanting challenges, it’s a great reminder for me as I’m writing another book. In my personal life, I feel like there are many huge challenges all at once. It can get overwhelming! Sometimes I wish the person who wrote my story was a bit kinder to her characters. LOL

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Christina, thanks so much for stopping by. And for the lovely congrats and kudos. You are so sweet :-)

      I’m laughing so hard, and nodding right along with your comment about whoever wrote the story could have been kinder. I wouldn’t change a thing about mine, because of the blessings that go with them. But, man, they can be intense.

      I often think that if my character were to come to life, they’d be mighty irritated with me. And I play softball with their challenges. I know writers who really put their characters through the wringer *g*

  7. Cynthia D'Alba August 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Regardless of your street team, your begging of friends, your awesome marketing company, if you hadn’t written such a good book, it wouldn’t have it and stuck like it did. So Congrats on a well-earned success!

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      Awww, you made me smile so big LOL. Thanks, Cynthia. Not only is that a lovely compliment, it’s such a great point about challenges.

      We put our characters into situations that will push them out of their comfort zone, make them do things they’d really rather not do, and work a lot harder than they’d prefer. But the foundation has to be there in some form or another for them to succeed. Or, well, that wouldn’t be a very fun book to read, would it *g*

  8. Beth Andrews August 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Congrats on all the success – you totally deserve it and more *g* Both books are so fabulous so I’m not the least bit surprised they’ve done so well!

    I’m a big fan of big challenges in my stories, though I could do with fewer challenges in real life :-)

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

      Awww, thanks Beth. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have managed any of it without you. In case anyone didn’t know, Beth is the best CP EVAH!!!!

      So I can safely say that not only do I agree that you give your characters some doozy of challenges, but yes, indeed, you deserve a few less yourself :-)

  9. Maria D. August 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    As long as the challenge or conflict is resolved in the book – I’m in favor of it as long as it makes sense in the story – I’m not a fan of throwing in a conflict just to toss in a conflict – if you know what i mean…lol…Congrats on succeeding with your challenge!

    • Tawny Weber August 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      Maria, I’m with you!!! And I love how you put it *g*

      I think of challenge like sex. If it moves the plot and develops the characters, its great. If not, its gratuitous and doesn’t belong there 😀

      Thanks for the congrats 😉

  10. carolyn overholser August 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Sorry this is late, but I had to say you’ve earned all the coodles that come your way. You’ve worked really hard and produced some extremely well written books. Keep em coming-I love reading them.

    • Tawny Weber August 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      Hi Carolyn :-) Thank you tons for stopping by :-) And thanks, even more, for the lovely words of encouragement!! I’m so glad you enjoy the stories -that means the world to me!!!

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