Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CONTEST: Guess what's weird

While coming up with a list of 37 wine varieties for last week's Petals and Thorns giveaway, it occurred to me that unless you’re a wine snob, you’re unlikely to know a Pouilly-Fuissé from a Pedro Ximénez.

I’m guessing most wine drinkers stick to a few tried-and-true favorites like Chardonnay, or Chianti, and this is all well and good.


Then I got to thinking that, though there’s a huge market for romance novels ($
1.36 billion in 2009), a great many readers won’t buy much outside their usual Danielle Steele/Nora Roberts/Diana Gabaldon comfort zone.

At which point I got a little depressed and polished off a bottle of Shiraz.


But when I woke up under the couch the next morning, I had two realizations. First, if you sleep under the couch, you wake up dusty. And second, there’s plenty of room for all of us in a $1.36 billion market.


You see, while Robert Woodbridge White Zinfandel might have near-total market penetration (heh), there’s plenty of room for a spunky (heh) little Oregonian Pinot Noir or Chilean Malbec to earn a tidy profit. The wine market, like the romance fiction market, appears to support a near-infinite number of producers and varieties.


And there’s another thing about being a small producer in a big market—you get to experiment more. The Yellow Tails and Mondavis of the world thrive on predictability. People buying them want consistently decent wine, and that’s what they’ll get. But if you’re in the market for something a bit more interesting, perhaps a Shiraz with a hint of pepper and kumquat in the finish (and if you find one of those, please let me know!), you’ll have to try a smaller winery, one that’s willing to take a chance and stand out from the crowd.


In the same way, while readers might buy a romance novel from a well-known author because they know the heroine will be in bed with the male love interest by page 75, there are people out there whose idea of a good time might be more like a round or two of Strip Battleship. That’s where I come in.


Besides, there’s nothing quite like the experience of discovering a new favorite wine novel from a small producer an up-and-coming (heh) author.


So what do you think? Are you open to experimentation in your wine choices? Your fiction choices? What kinds of things do you look for in a good wine romance novel?


While you think about it, I’ll be cleaning beneath my couch. You wouldn’t believe the size of the dust bunnies under there.

Don't forget to guess what's odd about this post!

40 comments :

Sarah W said...

I want intelligence, humor, and communication---or at least a decent reason for the miscommunication or silence that's blocking the HEA.

And the odd thing is . . .
You said you were going to voluntarily clean?

There's a LOL Bunny?

You aren't pictured eating the prize?

The winners of the contest won't be chosen by creative random associations?

There is nothing odd about this post - which is, in itself, odd?

Becky Taylor said...

Hi Tawna! Just a stab here, but "bunny" is spelled wrong in the dust bunny picture--bunneh.

Hope I'm right. I love winning things.

Becky

elizabethreinhardt said...

Hmmm...I have to agree with Becky. The misspelling of 'bunny' was the only thing I noticed.

As to whether people will read your book; my mom is a romance reader from back in the day. She buys EVERYTHING, gives it to me when she's done and usually says, "Eh. Same old. It was alright." When things do really impress her, she blabs to everyone. What does she hate? Predictable, dry, boring romances where you know just what's going to happen when. What does she wish there were more of? Spunky, funny romances that make you laugh out loud.

One of her all time faves included a scene where the heroine accidentally farts during a very sexy scene and she and hero eventually have a good laugh. Yep, a fart joke made my mom fall in love.

The bottom line is, sometimes people read what they know because that's what's out there. Then their daughters stumble on a hilarious blog and a new world of possibility opens up. I don't typically read a lot of contemporaries, but I plan on reading every one of your books. And passing them to my mom. And talking about them on Facebook.

And people remember hilarity, even when it's word of mouth recommended hilarity. My husband and I were out shopping. We passed Battleship in the store and my husband picked it up and said, "Hey, we don't have this game. Wanna get it and play Strip Battleship tonight?"

That was a Fenske book reference! By my husband who never reads! You are going to be a huge deal! I'm just glad I'll get to say I was reading your blog way before you were famous. And that you introduced me to the joys of Strip Battleship.

Romance writers have been waiting for original, funny stuff. Thanks for fulfilling our needs! (Hehe.)

Linda G. said...

That does it. I'm shoving my quirky paranormal mysteries to the back burner and writing a super-hot romance. I want a slice of that pie!

So, what's different about this post...um, you wrote it sober and published it drunk, instead of the other way around? ;)

Cherie Reich said...

Great post! It definitely puts things in perspective. :)

And, the dust bunny is so cute!!

Danica Avet said...

I'd say the weird thing is that you posted it at 4 a.m., but I could be wrong (and I probably am).

I like to try new out new authors. Since I bought a Kindle this summer, I've discovered several authors I wouldn't have found out about otherwise. I still can't quite get out of reading in my genre, but at least I've expanded a little further out of my normal zones (and I don't mean just my hips). Viva la Kindle!

Danica Avet said...

Wait, did you post this twice? Or is my dashboard acting up? Weird.

Matthew Rush said...

When you say "polished off" do you really mean killed the whole thing by your lonesome? And was it a magnum sized bottle?

Penelope said...

Hmm. After discovering the two mentioned actually are wines (ha!) I would have to say the only two things I found are:

You posted it twice in my Google Reader.

Diana Galbadon's books are classified as historical fiction and science fiction, in addition to romance fiction?

This is hard (heh), Tawna! But fun. :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I do occasionally go to the bookstore and just pick out a new book by an author that I've never heard of before; I'll read the first few pages (and sometimes the last few pages) to see if it's interesting. I've found several good authors that way. As far as romance goes, it's nice if the hero and heroine are multi-dimensional, because some of the well-known authors often use the same types of characters over and over again.

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Jeannie Moon said...

Maybe I'm picking nits, but isn't Woodbridge produced by Robert Mondavi? It's not Robert Woodbridge.

Did you mess up on the wine, Miss Chianti?

Tawna Fenske said...

LOL, I feel like a kid with a secret and I'm kind of afraid one of you is going to tickle me 'til I spill it!

Sorry about the Google reader double-post. Had some problems with the scheduler last night when I was setting the post to go up this morning (so yeah...that's not the weirdness. Feel free to guess again if I screwed you up with that one).

Thanks for reading (and guessing!) guys!

Tawna

Adriana said...

it wasn't posted at 2:30 am like all of your other posts?

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I'm going with the Robert Woodbridge should be Mondavi thing, too. And did you know you have to be over 21 to go to the Mondavi website? Is there like, Wine Porn there or something?

Christopher said...

My spidey senses are telling me the "weird" thing about your blog is related to the "Oregonian Pinot Noir" penetrating the market... a common grape with some sorta kumquat and pepper twist perhaps... but I can't be sure.

And if your regular blog readers can't pick out what's different or odd already, I'm sure I don't stand a chance - guess I'll just wait with bated breath for Thursday? Should be as good a surprise as, say that flatulence scene Elizabeth mentioned. :)

Delia said...

Yep. The Woodbridge/Mondavi thing is the only thing I see wrong. But I still feel like I'm missing something...hmmm.... Nope, the pink vibrator is still in the picture. I've got nothing.

Simon C. Larter said...

It's your first evar LOLbunneh! Or something like that.

Also, I'm craving Pouilly-Fuisse right now. Seriously.

:)

Michelle said...

The only thing I noticed other than a 4 a.m. posting time were the words "Oregonian pinot noir" since most people say Oregon pinot, and the Oregonian is a newspaper :) but I'm really reaching here! My wine friends in Oregon usually talk about wines by specific winery in Oregon - maybe they are just wine snobs? Heh.

And now I'd like to have a nice glass of Illahe Viognier with dinner, because it's my new favorite, but I drank the last of it. Crud.

Patty Blount said...

Gah! All your posts are funny in an odd way, so at first glance, there is nothing odd about this one. I'm not a wine fan, so perhaps it's the Woodbridge/Mondavi thing, who knows?

What about the typos? Bunneh and yur? Or that the photo says bed when you were under your couch?

If only you'd picked chocolate instead of wine....

Reading outside our comfort zone is critical for those of us who want to be writers... or even just better readers. I've read a number of your recommendations and enjoyed them all. Definitely open to experimentation!

What sticks with me the most are characters I can care about... I don't forget them the moment I shut the book. Genre fiction follows a certain formula; there's no getting around that. But you can write to that formula in ways that endear your characters to your readers.

Anne Gallagher said...

My guess is Pedro Ximenez is not a wine. Sounds more like a soccer player.

Becky Taylor said...

add on to my earlier guess--bunneh and yur?

Or, the Robert Woodbridge thing...although I can't really take credit for this one if it is right because I just read it in the comments. (hangs head in shame--)

Michelle Wolfson said...

I know! I know!! HA HA HA HA!!!

You forgot to mention your amazing agent!

Ok, fine. Just kidding. But I really do know. Because I know everything!!

Ok, fine. Because Tawna told me.

Malin said...

The oddest thing with this post is that I could find no dirty allusion whatsoever, nothing which I could misinterpret the wrong (right) way. That must be a first for you, right?

If I drunk alcohol (sorry, can't stand the taste, and I'm sure that's why I'm not a fantastic writer by now) I'd be the kind who picked up a new wine per visit to store, but when I'd been forced to pour out some undrinkable bottles (are there such?) I would sneak back to my comfy shelves and pick out something I know I'll enjoy - just to cleanse the bitter taste of not-my-thing.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'll go with the the Robert Woodbridge thing but that's my only guess.

abby mumford said...

i love to experiment with my reading choices because there are so many books out there. however, i do often return to my favorite books/authors when i need a "comfort" read.

as for what's odd about this post? i'm going to jump on jeannie's woodbridge/mondavi comment because even though i'm wearing my monocle, i can't figure out what is odd with this post.

Shakespeare said...

I do not remember EVER seeing a lolcat picture in your post before... but the references to Oregonian wines work fine for me. Most people who do not live in the NW don't know that Oregon and Washington have some really great wines.

I do find it odd that waking up under the couch (presumably with a hangover) actually gave you positive perspective. My hangovers don't work that way. Give me a day AFTER the hangover, and I'm there.

In answer to the most pressing question, though, I like NEW authors. Too often I find authors (or their editors) pidgeonhole their works too much, so that they are too alike after the first few. I tend to eventually move on if an author doesn't come up with new stuff. I love finding diamonds in books, though, without having any previous knowledge of the author. It's the jacket cover that pulls me in

Seven said...

Aw. No sex jokes.

CKHB said...

Odd things I noticed:

It's the first time I think I've seen you mention a BAD consequence to drinking wine. I can't remember you previously writing about drinking to ease depression - usually you seem to drink in joy and celebration!

You forgot to put "(heh)" after the phrase "open to experimentation."

Are there wine bottles in a rack behind the LOLBunneh? That would be a wild coincidence...

And, the "bunneh" is not going to be the weird thing. Typos are de rigeur when it comes to LOLCatz images. See also the use of "yur" instead of "your." It's an internet thang.

Laina said...

You didn't giggle at kumquat and you volunteered to clean?

That's all I can think of...

Nate Wilson said...

Are you feeling okay? Your potential double entendres were barely even entendred. All we got were a few parenthetical hehs.

Such restraint. It's so... unbecoming.

Plamena Schmidt said...

All the (heh) : P

lora96 said...

What struck me was the lack of naughtiness in the post title. I can usually count on the name of the post for a giggle.

At least you said "penetrate" otherwise I'd suspect you were coming down with the flu.

Wendy Sparrow said...

I don't believe you can eat a banana with your toes... they don't look nearly sharp enough.

Anonymous said...

How about 'motorcycles have no doors'?

Laurie Lamb said...

Is it weird how you talk about Zinfandel in this post and link to a post where Jennifer Paris (a.k.a. Jeffe Kennedy) picked Zinfandel #28 in the Petal and Thorns giveaway AND it's EXACTLY 28 weeks until your book release?

Or...

Is it weird how subliminal messages run down both sides of paragraph 8? The left side reads, "in a bed", and the right side reads, "in out or in". But maybe you intended that.

Hee hee.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

She definitely posted twice - Dashboard doesna lie.

I'm an eclectic reader by nature. I'm forever branching out from my branching out. Where will it end??

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Oooh - I vote for Laurie Lamb to win though. She can draw meaning out of anything apparently! Perhaps she'll explain what exactly will happen in 2012

pensees said...

As for trying new authors, I say definitely YES. I am always looking for a new voice that can take the old and make it new. And I am stoked about Making Waves.

The odd thing I noticed was your title. It is usually a funny string of topics which is an instant tip-off as I'm scrolling that I've hit upon your blog post!

Cyndi

SM Schmidt said...

The only odd thing I can see exhausting all the other commenter's guesses, is you reference a report from 2009 when 2010's data would have long ago been collected, analyzed and published somehow.

But that's kinda a shot in the dark too.