Over the years, I’ve introduced my book club members to authors they’ve never heard of. The reason they joined a book club in the first place was to force them to read new authors. I’ve also seen book club members make a real connection with an author after they’ve heard them talk about a book they’ve written. Learning the author’s passion and how this novel affected them while writing, makes a lasting impression on readers.
Finding Hope Book Club (where I’m the leader) has had Denise Hildreth Jones speak to our group a couple of times. She recently talked about her new book, Hurricanes in Paradise. Denise came early and asked if it was ok to listen in as our group talked about her book. I was amazed at how open and honest the ladies were in discussing this book while the author listened. I struggled but they jumped in and shared from the heart with no problem!
After the discussion, Denise spoke. I could see she had tears in her eyes and had to gather her thoughts together before she began. She told us how touched she was to see her story had moved so many. She was humbled that God would use her to touch people’s lives in a real way.
Denise shared of how she got the idea for this book and how her life had changed dramatically since we’d seen her last; all eyes were glued on her. Everyone was enthralled by her honesty and enlightened when she told us how God helped her work through some issues when she wrote this novel. This author made a lasting impression on all of us. We’ll never forget what a special time we had.
Unlike Denise’s story about women’s relationships that members connected with instantly; there was a book about animals no one wanted to read. Honestly, the ladies thought I had lost my mind when they saw the book cover of the up-coming book pick. It had a picture of a sweet baby ape on it, which I felt was endearing and quickly captured my heart. But no one wanted to read a book with a monkey on the front cover; surely there wasn’t a thrilling story inside. Case in point, Angela Hunt's book Unspoken.
No one in my group had read an Angela Hunt book before and hadn’t a clue about the amazing stories she writes, but I had. I told them to trust me on this one. I promised their soul would be stirred and they’d never look at an ape the same way again! They loved the book. Especially after Angela Hunt told of how she got the idea and why she wrote it. She became their new favorite author.
So, is it worth an author’s time and effort to speak to book clubs on a regular basis?
Yes! You never know who you will touch when you tell why you felt lead to write this book in the first place. I do know that you’ll leave a lasting impression on readers you couldn’t other wise. This leads to direct sales of your current book and others that follow.
One way to connect with book clubs is to join The Book Club Network. It’s a network of book clubs gathered together to meet authors and other book club leaders and members. I'm the co-founder of this group and it’s exciting to see how authors have learned from book clubs, and leaders have discovered new authors and their books. I’ve also seen other book clubs inspire one another to check out the books they’ve been reading at their club.
It’s a great way to get the word out about your book signings and other book events. The Book Club Network has monthly giveaway events which B & H, Bethany House and some authors have sponsored.
TBCN just celebrated its one year birthday party in a big way. The party was on Monday, June 13th. Thanks to B & H and about 40 authors, who helped sponsor this event, where we gave away more than 40 books, over $200 in gift cards, and a Kindle. What a celebration it was! Nearly 400 people participated and for a long time we had 60 people talking to each other in a crazy”live” chat.
Many of the authors who sponsored the event were in attendance for the “live” birthday party, joining in the “live” chat, and responding to everyone’s comments left on their author page. It was thrilling to watch the interaction as people discovered new books and new authors.
So, is talking and mingling with book clubs worth your time? Let me count the ways! I know my group and I appreciate it. Many of my members have had the courage to branch out and try genres outside their comfort zone discovering new authors. I’ve also seen them buy the first book in the series for book club and go on to purchase the rest of the series as the author writes them. Just saying, I think it’s a win, win for everyone.
Until next time
HAPPY WRITING & READING!!
The Book Club Network http://www.bookfun.org/