Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Clash of the Title Conquerors!

Wednesday means Clash of the Titles
I promised you we'd debut a new category in our line-up on The Write Conversation and with this series on blogging the timing couldn't be better! The website, Clash of the Titles, does everything right. Jennifer can explain the concept behind the title much better than me, so I'll turn it over to her.

Clash of the Title Conquerors!
by Jennifer Slattery

Nearly two months ago, Clash of the Titles officially launched. It was the brain child of Senior Editor, April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits. The response received by authors and readers has far exceeded our expectations. On the day of launch, we had over 150 views, and continually draw new readers from across the globe.

Our first week was a bit shaky, not in terms of performance, or even in terms of response. It was shaky on our end—at the gut level. We had no idea what to expect. It was a great idea, but would readers buy it? And, more importantly, would authors participate. It’s one thing to have your book lying on a shelf. It’s quite another to throw it into a competition—a competition not based on clearly defines rules, but instead, on reader’s opinion. Yep, it’s pretty subjective, but so is the market, because if the readers don’t like it, they won’t buy it and if readers don’t buy it, editors won’t either.

But what about those potential readers that haven’t discovered you yet? Now those are the readers we target! That is what Clash of the Titles is all about—introducing new authors to new readers. And it has worked beautifully! Readers come to our site for a fun competition and a chance to win a book, read an excerpt perhaps from a genre they’d never considered before, and leave wanting more. It’s a win-win for everyone!

C.S. Lakin
In hindsight. But that first week was a gamble, which is why I have such respect for our first two conquerors, Susan, (writing as C.S. Lakin) author of Someone to Blame, and Lena Nelson Dooley, author of Love Finds You in Golden New Mexico. Lena heard about COTT through April Gardner and Susan learned about us through Twitter. Yep, good old social media networking—that tends to be our biggest draw.

Susan submitted right away. “My novel was just about to release and the category fit! [It] sounded like a lot of fun! I had no idea [I’d win], but it was a nice surprise.”

As did Lena. “I liked the idea. It’s a unique way to connect with readers and get them connected with authors. I loved reading the feedback from those who voted.”

That has been a highlight for COTT staff, as well. It is interesting to read the varied opinions offered by readers, and most often, they express difficulty in choosing. Most of our votes have been extremely close!

After their competition, I asked Lena and Susan what they thought made a great story and a great opening hook.

Lena Nelson Dooley
According to Lena, a great opening is one “that will draw the reader into the action and reveal one of the characters.” And a great story is one that “has a wow storyline, and enough tension to carry the plotline.”

Susan is drawn to the talent of the writer. “As a literary writer, I’m taken more than anything by voice and style of writing. Most books I read, after two paragraphs, sound just like everyone else—plain, uncreative, predictable. I like a book that shocks me by its style or voice in the first few sentences—and that hold up for the rest of the book.”

What three essentials does Susan believe necessary for a great story? “It first needs to be a great story. I’ve read many books that are well written, but the premise or story is really uninteresting. Second, it needs to be written in a fresh, creative way—the writing, the treatment, the tone—any or all of those things. And third, there needs to be a heart that beats underneath the whole book, a passion that infuses the story coming from the author’s heart. Otherwise it’s just a lot of words. I want to read books that strike my heart, not just entertain me.

Visit Lena's website to find out more about her and her plethora of books and catch up with Susan at C.S. Lakin.

Jennifer Slattery is the marketing representative for the literary website Clash of the Titles. She is also a freelance writer, novelist and columnist. Visit Clash of the Titles to find out more about this fun, author friendly, reader-driven website. Visit Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud to find out more about Jennifer Slattery.


  1. You'll find out more information about all my books by going to my blog:

    Click on the My Books tab at the top

  2. Lena's blog is great - I highly recommend everyone stop by!

  3. Edie, I'm so thrilled you're hosting COTT!! What an honor for us. Thank you!

  4. April, I'm excited to introduce more people to COTT. I'm totally in love with it!

  5. Aww! Thanks for being a fan. We appreciate you!