By Nora St. Laurent
Having run two book clubs, inside of a book store, and one that met on-line, I have witnessed the excitement felt by readers, firsthand when they can either meet with an author, or speak with them on an IP (Computer) call. The energy in the room is palpable and this becomes the reader’s version of meeting a “Hollywood” Star.
The readers get share in the journey with the author by learning:
- What inspired their book
- What issues the author overcame during the creation of the book
- Some fascinating facts that were discovered in research that never made it to the book can add a depth to the story
- In a sense, the readers have a chance to bond with the author on a deeper level, which can create a “Fan” dynamic, as they become connected in ways that leave an impression on everyone, that can last a lifetime.
The author can experience how their characters and stories have touched the heart of the reader. In one meeting, a reader was tearfully recalling an event from the book, and was asking the author to give this one character another chance. The author smiled and gently said, “You do know the character isn’t real right?” To this reader, the character was as real as her neighbor.
Most Book Clubs vote on books and pick them out a year in advance. This gives everyone a chance to purchase the book and/or check it out of the library. Or request that the library buy it.
I liked putting books on the voting list that most of my ladies would never have heard of, but I loved, and were stories I thought they’d like. One of those books was “Unspoken” by Angela Hunt. The cover was a picture of a sweet baby ape. The expression on the ape’s face was endearing, and I was captivated by it.
Honestly, my ladies told me that they’d never pick up, nor read a book like this, just based on the cover alone. I asked my ladies to trust me. I promised them that this was going to be a book they wouldn’t soon forget. They decided to trust me.
None in my groups had heard of the author, at that time. I told them that the book was well worth reading and, would make them think. Essentially, touch them in unexpected ways. I promised them, that they would never look at an ape the same way again!
Both book clubs I ran at the time, whole heartily agreed that this book stirred their spirits to the depths of their soul, and made them think about specific passages of scripture in new ways. This was a great introduction to a new author for all of them however, after we took the time to speak to the author on the phone and, they learned about why she had written this incredible book, and in the process got to know Angela Hunt, she became their newest favorite author.
To sum this up, is it worth an author’s time and effort to speak to book clubs?
Yes! You never know who you will touch when you agree to speak to them personally and, tell your “side of the story” or the “back story”.
Until Next Time, Happy Reading, Productive Writing!
Nora St. Laurent is the COO of The Book Club Network Inc. You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings and about TBCN giveaways on the blog she created called The Book Club Network blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com. Nora also does author interviews and reviews for Book Fun Magazine http://www.bookfunmagazine.com. Nora has also run book clubs face to face and online with more than 100 members. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a CSA.