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What if I want my characters to participate, but I don’t think they’re the type to go into therapy?
Well, yes, we’ll have to suspend some disbelief for the sake of your characters receiving some unique exposure. You and I can also work out a plausible way to get the characters on The Couch. My goal is to keep this entertaining and fun, so the “issue” I generally choose for a couple to face is light—in other words, nothing that would ever bring them into therapy in real life.
I’m unsure about someone else writing about my characters
Totally understandable. As a romance writer myself, I appreciate how an author’s characters can become like her babies. With that topmost in my mind, I go through great pains to present characters correctly—to honor their personalities and the integrity of the story the author has created for them. As I read, I write copious notes about the characters’ backstory, as well as take note of the tone of the book (dark and serious, or more humorous with bantering, etc.) to best bring that tone into the session.
Once a book has been nominated, what’s the process of getting a session up on The Character Couch?
After I feel like I have an understanding of the characters, I’ll chose a light challenge for the couple to face that will bring them in to see “Regan Malloy.” I write and edit the session, then turn it over to the author in a word document, so that she can use Track Changes to make suggestions. If something goes beyond basic editing (as in, I made the heroine laugh or cry when she wouldn’t have, we discuss that through email, and I’ll fix it).
What happens if even after the editing process, I still don’t feel like the session is right for my characters?
Then we scrap it. Absolutely. I can’t reiterate enough that nothing will ever be posted that an author is not 100% happy with. Even though these sessions take an incredible amount of work to put together, I’d rather cancel it then put something up that doesn’t suit the author. With that being said, it’s pretty much a win-win situation for authors.
What are my responsibilities?
Besides editing the manuscript, you’ll be responsible for getting the word out to your fans once the session is posted. This includes a decent amount of social networking, through Twitter, Facebook, emails to your subscribers, and a posting on your blog, if you have one. The Character Couch now has its own Facebook page, and I’ll occasionally ask for input from you on that (since you’ll be the spotlight author). Of course, you’ll also want to answer any comments made by fans on The Character Couch website.
Can I submit my own book?
Of course. That would be like telling an author not to vote for herself. However, I highly encourage authors to send their fans over to the site to vote, as well. The more nominations a book receives, the more likely it is to go to the top of the list for representation. Several authors have had huge success running contests. They send their readers over to SUBMIT A BOOK from a particular author’s series that they most want to see on The Character Couch. The book that earns the most votes wins, and is subsequently slated for a session. This has been a great deal of fun and raises reader excitement.
What are the benefits to me?
This is a free, low manpower, innovative marketing platform for your books. The benefits are countless, but a great deal depends on how much you reach out to your readers when your session is posted. Especially if you write a series, a Character Couch session for one book will re-enliven interest in the next. There is also a comment section at the end of the session, with author-generated questions, to encourage social interaction between authors and their fans.
Are their spoilers in the session?
Unfortunately, yes. I try not to give away the whole bag of cats, but the level of backstory I must use to create a viable and dynamic session does give away some aspects of the story. For this reason, it’s better to use a slighter older book in the series to promote the next, rather than a debut. One of the premises that The Character Couch is based on is that readers miss their favorite characters between books and will want to visit them. This is another good reason to use an older book, as fans have had a chance to pine for the characters and are “chomping at the bit” for another taste.
Will there be Character Couch sessions for other than romance novels?
At this time, no, the plan is to stick with romantic couples. And for this reason, as well, sessions don’t focus on individuals.
Why did you undertake this project?
I answer this in further detail in the About section of this website, but in a nutshell, The Character Couch allows me to express my two loves: using therapeutic skills I developed while working in that field and writing romance.