Austen Authors: A Retrospective & An Anniversary

Austen Authors: A Retrospective & An Anniversary

Once Upon a Time . . .  while visiting a magical land inhabited by fairytale princesses and a peppy talking mouse, an ambitious and inspired concept was hatched by authors of a relatively new romance sub-genre: Jane Austen literary fiction. The idea was fairly simple conceptually. How about creating a group blog for published authors of this new genre to share their novels, love for Austen, knowledge of Regency Era history, publishing journeys, and whatever else sounded good?

Perhaps this group blog concept was strengthened by the “where dreams come true” atmosphere of Walt Disney’s World mingling with the celebratory theme of the 2010 Romance Writers of America National Conference (see image right). I can confirm (as the one who conceived of the group blog concept) that the location was definitely influential, but the RWA Conference itself deserves a greater portion of the credit for what, obviously, became Austen Authors.

You see, the year before at the 2009 RWA Conference in Washington D.C. was when the idea had first been broached. Why did a whole year pass? Alas, we were fledglings in the publishing biz and (as amazing as this is to believe now) “blogging” of any kind was a fairly new activity. Fast forward just one year, blogs were gaining popularity, particularly those with several authors joining together to share the workload. In fact, by summer of 2010 I had been a contributing author on the Sourcebooks Publishing House supported Casablanca Romance Authors blog – which remains active to this day – for over a year. HINT: Search my name to read my first forays into blogging!

The experience gained in one year of being published authors, running personal websites, and blogging made all the difference in the world. Additionally, the Austen literary genre had grown a lot. Determined to make the dream come true, we immediately set to work! By the end of September 2010, Austen Authors, the first-ever group blog for published authors of Austen literary fiction was launched. I can’t recall the exact number of authors who were on the roster for our opening month, but it was around ten to begin, with more joining over the subsequent months of 2010 until we reached our maximum of twenty.

What I DO remember is that Regina Jeffers was the first non-Sourcebooks author to jump in with both feet, and from day-one Regina volunteered to help administrate the group’s “behind the scenes” chores. It is extremely important to me that Regina’s tireless, selfless, and faithful efforts from the earliest beginnings of this blog are emphasized. Equally as critical, to me especially but also to where we are today with the Austen Authors blog, is Regina’s unfailing, sincere friendship. I promise I won’t divert into a lengthy message on “friends” who turn out not to be friends after all, but suffice to say, I’ve sadly experienced far too many heartbreaks from those I trusted. Relevant to the history of this wonderful blog, one such heartbreak came in January 2014 when a series of events led to the closure of Austen Authors.

For close to a year, the blog did not exist other than as an archive. It was a depressing period that would have been a thousand-times worse if not for the steadfast friendship of Regina Jeffers. Finally, after months of gentle prodding, she convinced me that together we could revitalize Austen Authors with a whole new crop of incredible Austenesque authors. In point of fact, it took more than “gentle” prods! I was quite skittish, to be honest, but when a person proves their loyalty through the tough times, it is much easier to trust and take a leap of faith.

Starting fresh with a revamped look to the website, the AUSTEN AUTHORS GRAND RE-OPENING DAY was on January 24, 2015. Click the yellow balloon image to read our first post with the new and improved Austen Authors. Eighteen authors, including Regina and me, were amongst those who re-launched this fabulous blog FIVE YEARS AGO!

Final note on the “retrospective” portion of this post: The years administrating Austen Authors have exceeded my expectations and been wonderfully exciting, even with the hardships leading to the hiatus in 2014. I am proud of what has been built and sustained for ten years by a host of authors and readers into one of the longest running blogs in the world of Jane Austen websites. This is why I wanted to share the entire history (a truncated version) for those who may not be aware of the journey Austen Authors has taken. A great number of our visitors have been a part of the AuAu family since 2010 and I want to express my appreciation.

 

Now! On to the “anniversary” portion of this post! As far as I am concerned, Austen Authors began in earnest on January 24, 2015, largely because my partnership with Regina has been an absolute joy and immeasurably superior in every possible way to the “old” AuAu incarnation. Together we laid the foundation. Together we keep the structure intact and processes running smoothly. This is critical, but our skills would matter naught if not for ALL of the incredibly talented authors who previously and currently contribute to our blog. Furthermore, all of us blogging our hearts out on an aesthetically pleasing website would have mattered naught without a steadily increasing audience of visitors (And book readers, hopefully!) encouraging our efforts.

As a way to show just how amazing these five years have been, what better way than with some statistics? Get ready for some wild numbers!

 

A Round of Applause for the Austen Authors

At this time, we have 25 published novelists contributing to Austen Authors with blog posts daily, Monday through Saturday. Over the course of five years we have had a total of 41 authors participating, meaning 16 AuAus have left for various reasons. All of the posts by our former authors are intact on the blog and can be accessed via “Blog Search” at the bottom of the far right sidebar.

Gone, but not forgotten (in no particular order): Anna Elliott, Barbara Silkstone, Brenda Webb, Cecilia Gray, Elizabeth Adams, Georgina Young-Ellis, Elizabeth Ann West, Jeanna Ellsworth, Jennifer Petkus, Joana Starnes, Karen Wasylowski, Melanie Schertz, Rose Fairbanks, and Sarah Price.

I want to give a special shout out to Rebecca Jamison and Katherine Reay, our departing authors this year. Both committed before the 2015 relaunch, so are amongst the original group who got us off the ground. Bidding adieu is always painful, but the sadness when Rebecca and Katherine moved on to new endeavors was especially profound. They had become true friends and given so much to Austen Authors. We wish them well.

Below is the current roster of Austen Authors, in order of their debut blog post. We have a large number of committed “old timers”!

Sharon Lathan ~ debut blog post on 1/26/15   (88 total posts)
Alexa Adams ~ debut blog post on 1/30/15   (76 total posts)
Regina Jeffers ~ debut blog post on 2/2/15   (186 total posts)
P. O. Dixon ~ debut blog post on 2/12/15   (106 total posts)
Diana J. Oaks ~ debut blog post on 2/16/15   (68 total posts)
Leenie Brown ~ debut blog post on 9/1/15   (87 total posts)
Zoe Burton ~ debut blog post on 5/2/16   (67 total posts)
Victoria Kincaid ~ debut blog post on 6/21/16   (58 total posts)
Elaine Owen ~ debut blog post on 6/24/16   (54 total posts)
Sophie Turner ~ debut blog post on 7/8/16   (52 total posts)
Collins Hemingway ~ debut blog post on 9/8/16   (46 total posts)
Renata McMann ~ debut blog post on 9/29/16 .  (38 total posts)
Gianna Thomas ~ debut blog post on 10/3/16   (50 total posts)
Jann Rowland ~ debut blog post on 10/15/16   (45 total posts)
Summer Hanford ~ debut blog post on 11/24/16   (21 total posts)
Don Jacobson ~ debut blog post on 3/18/17   (46 total posts)
Eliza Shearer ~ debut blog post on 5/12/18   (25 total posts)
Nancy Lawrence ~ debut blog post on 5/19/18   (23 total posts)
Catherine Bilson ~ debut blog post on 5/24/18   (21 total posts)
Bronwen Chisholm ~ debut blog post on 6/9/18   (23 total posts)
Paisley James ~ debut blog post on 8/4/18   (19 total posts)
C.D. Gerard ~ debut blog post on 1/26/19   (13 total posts)
Allie Cresswell ~ debut blog post on 8/24/19   (7 total posts)
Bella Breen ~ debut blog post on 1/18/20   (1 post)
Jayne Bamber ~ scheduled debut blog post on 2/8/20

 

Time For the Numbers!

Total Published Blog Posts = 1,723

Total Blog Post Comments = 35,220

Total All-time Blog Views = 1,042,809

Total 2019 Giveaway Prize Winners from Individual AuAu Blogs = 90

Total 2019 Quarterly Giveaway Prize Winners = 140

Total Giveaway Prizes from ALL Giveaways since 2015 = 1,096

Total New Novel Releases from Current AuAus = over 150

 

Austen Authors Beyond the Blog

We attempt, to the best of our ability, to extend our reach to social media platforms. Below are the four places where we can be found, each one offering unique content. Click the name or the image to connect directly. PLEASE like, join, or follow!

 

Facebook Group 

1,540 Members

Pinterest Boards

15 Boards with 1,935 Pins

 

Twitter 

677 Followers
Special thanks to Nancy Lawrence who manages the Austen Authors Twitter account.

 

Goodreads

128 Members

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone for being a part of Austen Authors.
Whether a long-time visitor or a recent discoverer of our blog, we would have no reason to continue with this blogging adventure if not for those who love Jane Austen and the unique writings from our authors who strive, above all, to keep her world alive.

Please share your thoughts of our blog and our authors.
What can I say? We love the accolades!

 

25 Responses to Austen Authors: A Retrospective & An Anniversary

  1. First, Congratulations Austen Authors on your anniversary. Here’s to so many more! The more I learn about Regina the more I’m convinced she is Super Woman. And Sharon, you two together are just a Dream Team. I think it was around 2015 that I discovered my first Austen literature blog, but then that led to discovering AuAu almost immediately thereafter. I only have some niggling thought creature running around my brain regarding a blog closure, for some not very nice reasons but just cannot remember. Well we all have been extremely fortunate to have you come back. This is an incredibly rich site with so many amazing contributors.

    Obviously I love the posts or I wouldn’t comment as often. It’s getting to reading all the lovely blogs I’m signed up for that I struggle with. So, yes I do miss some. But the history fascinates me. So many have been deeply thought provoking. Also, unlike a strictly review blog (I love those too,) this site has something extra when an author is presenting his/her new book coming out. For the authors from AuAu they are always the guest when it comes to their own books. I eat that ‘how I came to write….’ stuff up with a spoon. So, best of luck Sharon and Regina, and to all the authors now and previously on this wonderful blog.

    • Thank you for the wonderful feedback, Michelle!

      First off, Regina IS a Super Woman! A lady never tells her age, so I shall simply note that Ms. Jeffers is a *few* years older than me, which is relevant only in that she puts me to shame in regards to her energy! I always say I aspire to be like her “when I grow up” although I fear that ship has sailed. LOL!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our blog posts. I have always believed that our strength as a group blog is not only the different “voices” from 25 authors, but that we all have our different interests. This means are posts are widely varied. Something for everyone!

  2. Congratulations!! I had not realized it has been that long! Time goes so fast. Thank you to all the authors for sharing their time and wonderful writing with us. Wishing you many great things to come.

  3. Thank you for sharing the history of the blog. I love it and visit regularly. I love everything historical and, of course, glimpses of new books!

  4. Happy Anniversary!!!!We thank you all for your time and generosity. Love your insightful and enlightening posts. Everything you do deepens connection esp to to the stories. Thank you so much!

  5. Happy Anniversary, Austen Authors! Congratulations on your accomplishments. Regina, I so appreciate my Christmas card from Austen Authors.

    • The cards sent at Christmas to our most faithful visitors was a purely Regina idea, and (correct me if my memory is faulty, Regina) something she began during the “old” AuAu period. A wonderful gesture!

  6. Congratulations and thank yous to current and past Austen Authors for your contributions! Love reading the posts from each author – so diverse and informative. Special thank yous to both Sharon and Regina for their love of Jane Austen and her works!

  7. Happy anniversary! When I first started reading Austen inspired fiction this was my go-to blog to read new stories and discover new books to buy. Now that I’m part of this talented and supportive group of authors, I couldn’t be more proud. Congratulations! Here’s to ten more years!

  8. I’m sooo happy you revived Austen Authors! I hadn’t realized until today what year you all came back online, but I’m sometimes a little clueless. 😉 I really, really wanted to be a part of it, and prayed for it to happen, so I was over the moon excited when you asked me. Here’s to another 10 years! <3

  9. Oh-My-Goodness, what a history. I’ve mentioned this before… ‘Once upon a time’ I stumbled upon one of Regina’s books while cruising the stacks at Barnes & Nobel. I didn’t even know Jane Austen Fan Fiction [better known as JAFF] even existed. Man… have I had a journey since that day. I’ve devoured everything I could get my hands on. After I retired I was invited by another reader to the GoodReads site and then I found the blogs… including AuAu. Oh, man. Have I had fun. When someone says they are bored after retiring… I keep thinking, they aren’t doing it right. I am certainly not bored. Congratulations to you Sharon and to you Regina for holding the fort… even when you had to reboot. No shame in that. This time you have gotten it right. Bless you both and a big thank you to all the authors past and certainly present. Well done guys. I hope you have a long history yet to come.

  10. It was just a couple of years ago I discovered this site. I love it!! I read every post and enjoy looking back at old ones. Congratulations on your anniversary and long may the blog last.

  11. Congratulations! I do try to read as many posts as possible (although I think I do miss a few)
    I love posts about the fashions of Regency time along with the jewellery and accessories, also the ‘guess what this is? posts.
    An impressive list of authors indeed. Long may it continue!

  12. Way back, years ago, shortly after my mother died and before I started writing seriously, Austen Authors was part of what introduced me to the world of JAFF and helped spark my love of writing into something wonderful. 🙂

  13. I was there from the beginning. My Austen obsession was ramping up around 2009. Always searching for more. It was a thrill and a relief when AuAu launched. It was a community of friends. I was so happy 5 years ago to see you back! Thank you AuAu for all you do!

  14. Thank you for the accolades, Sharon. Here I thought I was the number person. (You forgot to mention how I wore you down when we shared a table at the Southern KY Book Festival.) LOL!

    • LOL! Our SOKY time together was definitely in my mind when referring to the “more than gentle prodding”. I am thankful you did not give up on me, my friend. I can’t fathom working with anyone else but you. Well, I guess I can “fathom” working with someone else, which is why I SO better appreciate having YOU as my partner. Much ?? ? ?

  15. Here’s a shout out to thank all of the authors who post on AuAu. My favorites include photos of historical homes, clothing and the “guess what this was used for back in the day” game. Also want to thank Regina for sending me holiday greetings from AuAu!!

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