As I prepare to market my soon-to-be released second novel, I’m stretching back out of my comfort zone to that vulnerable place where I try to convince people to buy my creation. Book store signings, a necessity to get the book out there, require me to stand behind a table, plastic smile plastered hard on my face, and talk up my book to people who mostly shuffle by and pretend I’m not there.
On the other end of the marketing spectrum is the Book Club Appearance.
Attending book clubs is a joy. When I was promoting my first novel, Unprotected, I was invited to over a dozen different book clubs where all I had to do was drink a glass of wine and chat.
After seeing so many clubs in action, I also discovered a few truths about our monthly pastime:
- Many Book Clubs are small–often 5 or 6 regular members. They would apologize for their size, like their group didn’t count because they comfortably fit in a living room. My own book club (approaching our 10 year anniversary!) currently sits at seven members, though many months only 3 or 4 may attend.
- Knowing how my own book club struggles to figure out what to read, I would ask the clubs I attended what they had read over the years. The lists were remarkably similar: Water for Elephants, Unforgiven, The Secret Life of Bees, Gone Girl. A fair number sheepishly acknowledged 50 Shades of Gray. A few mix it up with non-fiction or politics, but most stick to the genre broadly known as “Women’s Lit” that can usually be found on the shelves at Target.
- While there is a book of the month (that about half of the members actually read), Book Club is rarely about the books. Sure we all like to read, and most clubs usually spend a few minutes discussing the book, or as much of that dang thing as anyone can remember. Someone always remarks about how the details fade so fast, but the feelings about the book remain. And then the book falls into the background and as club moves on to discussions about kids’ sports, ailing parents, workplace drama, health scares, and everything else that most of us are dealing with every day.
- Book Club is about the beautiful desserts. So many decadent pinterest recipes served on the good dishes. Always apple crisp in the fall, strawberries in the spring, and chocolate most other months.
- And then there’s the wine. Obviously.
- A few of the clubs had historians who could pull out a notebook and list every book they had read. Impressive, and more organized than my group, who can barely remember what we’re reading from one month to the next!
- More than the books, the desserts, and the wine, it’s really about the commitment–every month– take a break and be with friends.
So, book clubs, if you choose Unattached for a monthly selection, thank you! And if you’re local, I would love to be invited back to your book club to chat about my book, for the allotted 8 minutes or so. Then I will happily settle into my chair with a glass of wine and delicious dessert on my lap, and listen to you chat about kids and parents, work and life.
Introducing…the cover of “Unattached” to be released in September! Photo credit to uber talented photographer, my husband, Gary.