I had a dream. I had a dream of a place where authors and readers could gather together in community to talk about their love of Christian contemporary romance. I thought about it on and off for several years, wishing such a place existed. In the fall of 2013, several authors began talking about the possibilities. That place didn’t exist… but it could… and we could make it happen.
After some research and discussion, we settled on some parameters. Our new site would be built on self-hosted WordPress, which would cost money. We agreed that authors would chip in to pay for the domain name and hosting. We discussed available URLs, and I purchased http://InspyRomance.com in November, 2013. We knew it wasn’t the perfect name, since “inspirational romance” doesn’t necessarily mean Christian in content. But “better” URLs weren’t available, and it was short and catchy, so we went with it. We bought a theme (Beautiful, by Studio Press, which I also used on this site until recently), and began working on how the site would look, whom we’d invite, how it would work, how we’d actually form that community we envisioned.
We launched on Valentine’s Day, 2014. It only seemed fitting! Although the number of blogging authors has varied (I think from 22 – 27) and has had more turnover than I’d wish, we have succeeded in building a community where readers feel free to comment and where authors reply in dialogue. We encourage that conversation with bribery. I mean, incentives. Part of our authors’ annual dues covers running the website itself, but part goes to monthly gift card giveaways, part facilitates our semi-annual celebrations, and part is reserved for advertising.
The most amazing admin team has gathered around me. I assure you that, if left entirely to my own devices, Inspy Romance would not be HALF as cool as it is now. It is a tremendous amount of work to coordinate a site with twenty-some authors, all the giveaways, all the social media and the Facebook group, as well as author care and maintaining the website itself behind the scenes. Our admin team has morphed slightly over the five-plus years, but not a lot, and I’m incredibly thankful for the three women who currently serve with me.
All that to say…
Happy Fifth Birthday Inspy Romance!!!!
To get in on our amazing Fifth Birthday Bash, come on over! Every comment between February 14 and March 16, 2019, is an entry. We have a paperback bundle for international readers! We have several paperback bundles for US readers, and ebook bundles for readers anywhere. Plus we have an amazing Grand Prize for a US-based winner.
You’ll find the giveaway details here. (Be sure to read the fine print!)
I can’t wait to see you at Inspy Romance.