Today was one of those delightful days where you get to discuss your books, the reasons for your characters, why you write the way you do, and above all what excites you about writing. I sat down for a discussion and tasty lunch with seven of my fans at their monthly book club meeting. It’s also fun when they are all women and you are out numbered eight to one (my wife and muse also attended). This was the second time I’ve met with this group, the first was soon after the release of 12th Man For Death (Book Four).
Every author must cultivate the local book clubs to both develop a solid following of loyal and local readers as well as practice the fine art of self-promotion. In today’s marketplace it is all about self-promotion and never passing up the chance to talk about your books and the business of publishing.
I am always surprised by the questions. By the second visit we are past the questions about how long does it take to write a book (I really haven’t a clue) and where do you get your fanciful ideas (ask Johnnie W. Red). The questions now are about the characters and story. Why are they doing this or that at certain parts of the story? Why did you choose Rotterdam? Is that bar in Lafayette the one you were thinking of as Geno’s? It is enjoyable to listen to readers talk about your characters in the second person: Is she going to do this in the next book? She really should fall for Clive Barrington (now that was a new one – got me thinking). Did you know that Bobby Gillis is exactly like a friend of mine?
I am grateful when they suggest new story ideas for my characters; they get me thinking about what my audience wants. I am also surprised when they want to discuss the business of publishing – especially self-publishing. What is POD? How are ebooks created? Are printed books going away? I discuss covers and ask what they like to see. What kinds of books interest them? To be honest, the scheduled two-hour talk and lunch quickly went to three hours.
What was really fun was that these seven women had read most of the books in the Sharon O’Mara series (5 total). They even remembered parts of the books (and secondary characters) I’d forgotten. One even read parts of my book she liked to the group. That was a wonderful first.
Book clubs are so, so clubby. We sit in civilized living rooms, with iced tea or coffee, with no time limits or limitations on the subject matter. The relaxed atmosphere (instead of tables and audiences with monitors and clocks on the wall), allows for a more thorough two-way understanding between the author and the reader. We both come away with a better understanding of the writer’s craft and the expectations hidden in a good book.
If I could I’d meet with two or three book clubs a month, they are that much fun. If you or you know someone who would like to book me for a session and/or lunch send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
More later . . . . . . . .