Monday, July 04, 2011


Should an author invest time and energy in speaking to book clubs on the phone, in person or using Skpe? As the leader of two face to face book clubs in the Atlanta area and one on-line I say, "Yes!, whole heartily, Yes!"

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

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


Gina Holmes said...

Nora so happy and proud to have you part of the NR team!

Love you friend.

Rel said...

Nora ~ as a book club leader for over 10 years, I totally agree with you. Authors can connect with book clubs in a variety of way ~ telephone conference, email, video. Given I am in Australia, those are the options open to us in most cases. We have enjoyed talking with Charles Martin, Tamara Leigh, Jenny B Jones, to name a few and have had plenty of authors respond to our questions via email. My members now make a point of seeking out those authors' new books because of that extra connection they have had.

Bryan Davis said...

I will soon go on a nationwide book tour with my daughter (a newly published author). Do you know an efficient way to let book clubs know that we will be glad to stop and speak to their book club free of charge while I am in their area?

Bryan Davis

Ane Mulligan said...

Bryan, if you haven't joined TCBN (The Book Club Network) you need to! That's exactly what it does: connect authors and book clubs. You can find it at

Bryan Davis said...

I am on that network, Ane, but I have no idea how to use it to make the connections.

Marcia said...

Such a great idea. I'm going to check it out right now. :) Marcia

Gina Holmes said...

Bryan, I'm interested in what Nora says about that too. You do a lot of touring. Maybe you could come by sometime and share a little of what works (and doesn't) for you. Seems like you're always on tour! So how about it?

Bryan Davis said...

Gina, come by where? I seem to be easily confused. :-)

Yes, I tour quite often. For this tour, I am traveling with my newly published daughter, so I think she would add even more interest for a book club.

Gina Holmes said...

LOL. I mean here. Let us pick your brain about what exactly it is you're doing and the pros, cons, etc of doing tours. If you're interested, email me and we'll work out an interview. That's cool that you get to tour with your daughter. My boys aren't into writing or...gasp...even reading. Luckily all 3 of my step-daughters read...redemption!

Nora St. Laurent said...


I APPRECIATE YOU SO MUCH!! You've helped me when I was starting out and hadn't a clue about contacting authors. You helped me navigate my way, you encouraged me in the reviews I wrote and you were the first book club leader to let me interview them and share your group with us.

You are a BLESSING!! This is the spirit that is catching on at TBCN. Not only helping authors connect with book club leaders but other book clubs like Rel's being an Inspiration and encouragement to one another!!

If you are at TBCN you should check out REL's book club Page!! She posted a youtube video of Alison Strobel answering their groups questions. It's fascinating!! You are innovative Rel! Thanks for sharing!

THANK YOU for posting part of your interview at TBCN so that other book clubs can learn what they can do. Expand their horizons!!

THANK YOU MY FRIEND!! It's been a pleasure to get to know you over the years. I'd love to stop by your book club and talk books!! When I get your way I will!! You are a encourager!! I'm forever grateful!

Nora :o)

Bryan I'm still working on an answer to your question!! :o)

Nora St. Laurent said...

Bryan, this is exactly why my husband and I wanted to start TBCN in the first place. Authors would speak at my club and I had so much fun I wanted to help spread the word about their books to near by clubs - but where did I find them? It’s a problem we’ve been trying to solve!

How do I connect authors with book clubs? I asked many but none had answers. I knew that Barnes and Noble had a calendar of author book signing events listed on their website for all their stores near where I live. This helped me mark my calendar so I could meet the authors and get to know their books.

My husband and I envisioned a network similar to what Weight Watchers use. Hang in there with me – They have a main website you can connect to in order to find out where local weight watcher meeting are and get connected. In a SIMILAR manner we hope to have readers connect with book clubs in their area and authors to use this as a resource for getting the word out about their book signings and other events. It will ALL be listed at TBCN. We hope to be your one-stop book club place. Several authors have listed exactly the days, times and locations of where they will be book signings. The more authors that do this the more that book club members and readers will use this as a resource.

We have a FREE resource for authors and book clubs. If more authors shared their book club relationships with other authors at TBCN and they joined TBCN everyone would benefit!! We have hundreds of book clubs at TBCN right now with more on the way. Bethany House has just joined as a sponsor of the network and hopes to bring 500 book clubs along with them.

The exciting thing is that we have book clubs from all over the world at TBCN. Rel is from Australia, we have people from New Zealand, Africa and many places in Europe! They may not get to your book signing but they will learn about your event and tell others. Who knows who they know!!

This is EVERYONE’s network!! We need everyone to help it grow and be a great resource for all!

If you have any other questions for me you can email me. I’d be glad to chat with you!

THANKS for bringing this up!

Nora :o)

Rel said...

Nora! Thank you for your kind and generous words. I'd love to stop by TBCN a lot more but my blogging and reviewing takes up a lot of time. You are doing a fabulous work :)

Bryan Davis said...

Nora, I have been on the book club network for a while. I just don't know how to use it to connect to clubs. I created an event about my nationwide tour, but I don't know how to find out which clubs might be interested.

Bryan Davis said...

Also, I didn't see your email address. Mine is bryan (at) daviscrossing (dot) com.

Phyllis Johnson said...

I think book clubs can really enhance their meetings by inviting authors. Authors can explain why a character acted a certain way and I think it would be interesting to know just how much of themselves go into the tone and personality of the book. Just hearing the author speak after reading the book should add an element of depth and deeper understanding of what they've read. I've spoken to one book club so far and hope to visit more of them.

co-author of INKBLOT, YA suspense novel with Nancy Naigle

Julie Lessman said...


I'm with Bryan ... I don't know how to use TBCN to connect with book clubs either, but would LOVE to know how. Is it possible to have a idiot-proof (for me, not Bryan!) page where authors can go to set this up, with step-by-step instructions??

Keep up the great work, Nora, and Rel too!


Dan Walsh said...


Little late in responding, but I agree with everything you said about authors and Book Clubs. I've visited several this past year in person and talked with a few others out-of-state by phone (haven't done Skype yet).

I loved it, and they seemed to enjoy it too. I do a lot of interaction with readers over the internet. Book Clubs add a wonderful personal touch. Looking forward to doing this more with upcoming releases. Thanks for pulling TBCN together.

I've just finished a crazy writing schedule the last few months. Hope to get back on your site more now that things are easing up a little.