When I say “author,” what comes to your mind?
Do you hear the clicking of a typewriter drifting from the open window of a cabin in the woods? When you zoom in through the window, do you see a room with a crumpled paper-littered floor, a half-empty decanter next to a slightly brown-bottomed glass and smoke rising from a nearby ash tray?
If so, you’re not the only one.
Authors have historically been these islands drifting on the sea of their own philosophy. That, or these little groups, closed off with their pipes and drams, debating spiritedly over the merits of various types of fiction.
For all our technological advances and global citizenship, we writers haven’t changed a whole lot. These days it’s hashtag games and Twitter chats and secret online groups—all of which I love and am thankful for, as you know.
However … that same international accessibility makes it far more possible and—I would declare—necessary for authors to reach out to and connect with readers.
No writer is an island.
Joy E. Rancatore
Certain contracts and genres seem to put the brakes on this newfound advantage—much more on that at another time, as it’s a topic that’s still sifting in my mind—however, those authors are missing out and, I fear, will be left behind.
So, how can authors best catch hold of these brave new opportunities? Possibilities abound! I’m going to focus on what I believe will be the most mutually beneficial venue—book clubs.
Within these clubs, an even larger literary community exists. For each active book club member, there are at least two dear friends just as passionate about reading. For every two of them are two more, and so the influence spreads.
Let me give you an example.
Said my dear friend Megan to me nine years ago, “You should read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society with your book club. You’ll love it!”
A few nights later, “Hey guys! What about this book with the weird title for next month? My friend loved it, and the library had a kit. Here are copies for everyone.”
One month later, “Wow!” In other words, a great book club discussion followed.
The following weeks to friends at church, at the gym, on the phone, on Facebook, “My book club just read this book you have to check out! Let me tell you all about it!”
Get the picture, authors?
I’ve probably established that focusing on clubs is beneficial to authors, but what’s in it for the readers?
And, that’s where many authors—particularly Indie Authors—are flipping the industry on its head. We’re breaking out of our cabins and running out to interact with the readers for whom we write. We want to experience the reactions of others to our words. Sure, we cried when we had to kill that character. We laughed so loud we woke our cat when we wrote that scene. We fell head over heels in love with that character, too. We want to watch those same reactions in the reader. We want to see when those emotions don’t come through, too.
Let us experience our words through your eyes, and we will become better writers for you.
Joy E. Rancatore
When book clubs and authors come together, readers get to ask their questions about the book, the characters and the author’s inspiration.
Readers may be surprised at who influenced that character or what so-and-so really meant when they said this or where they went after their fight or how the author envisioned they found closure after they went their separate ways.
Did you know some authors hide Easter eggs in their books of their own life? Names, birthdates, real life experiences.
Through the magic of science and technology, your book club can host a favorite author virtually and ask all those burning questions and learn even more details about the books in which you invest your time.
We can give you discussion guides with a personal note from us. Together, we can make the reading experience far more immersive and make it feel more like the partnership it’s always been.
You see …
Authors and readers comprise two halves of a beautiful whole—like the two covers that fold together to cradle the precious words between.
Joy E. Rancatore
It’s about time we strengthen our bindings through the power of interactive book clubs.
What about you? Are you part of a book club? Have you ever hosted a chat with an author? I want to hear all about it! Virtual or in person? What did you ask?
Authors, have you ever visited with a book club? How was it? What was the best part for you?
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