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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Monday, October 24, 2005

PANEL: Online Book Clubs

WELCOME TO THE ONLINE BOOKCLUB ROOM

OUR PANEL TODAY IS:

LaShaunda C. Hoffman - SORMAG Book Club, Marina Woods-Good Girls Book Club, Tee C. Royal-RAW Sistaz Book Club, Tara Green-The Romance BookClub

Come learn about the hottest online book clubs.

Post your questions in the comments section.

Please read the previous comments before you post, so we don’t have duplicate questions.

Please address your questions to a panel member or all panel members.

19 comments:

SORMAG said...

SORMAG's Online Bookclub was started because I couldn't interview everyone in the magazine and there is always a good book coming out each month.

This a FREE opportunity for authors (fiction and non-fiction) to promote their books. We feature two books a week. A chapter excerpt is posted and the members of the club get a chance to win a copy of the book.

I usually pick the winner from those who post comments about the book.

We will be celebrating our first year anniversary in November.

This bookclub is great way to learn about the current books without spending money. You can read the excerpt and see if the book is something you want to buy.

We currently have 95 members.
To join send a blank email to : sormagforum-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Authors we are filling slots for 2006 - send an email to sormag@yahoo.com for more information.

SORMAG said...

Panel Members,

Please tell us about your book club and how can one become a member.

BlackButterflyReview said...

Do you all have detailed discussions as a group regarding the books that are being read?
Eleanor (#17)

Renair Amin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Renair Amin said...

Also how does a writer go about submitting novels or requesting reviews from your club. ID#133

rootwomin said...

hi panelists,


have any of you ever hired a professional bookclub facilitator?
if so, why or if not, why not?

any tips about how to keep a bookclub lively and engaging?

thanks,
meri#129

Tempie said...

Good Morning!!!

My questions are directed to each member of the panel:

1). How has starting your online book club effected your personal writing and/or reading career?

2). What is your vision for your bookclub say five years down the road?

*** A special thanks to Tee Royal-RAW Sistaz...we appreciate you!!!

I joined Memphis-Raw Sistaz April of this year-Alisha Yvonne-President.

We have 16 members and of those, 5 are published authors (2 new authors books about to be released including myself...smile). One other member, a published author Badge # 158 is attending the conference. All other members are aspiring writers or avid readers. Come and meet us at: www.memphisrawsistaz.com

* We all inspire and encourage one another and can feel the growth!!!

*Not-I posted these questions under reader sites by mistake (although we are reviewers as well...smile)

Thanks
Tempie Badge #151

angeleque said...

Is there any restrictions to having a book reviewed by your book club?

For example: No Erotica or No interracial couples (the hero and heroine), a certain length or No e-books

Danielle (#21)

zavi said...

The rawsistaz book club is it organized by states, is there a Atlanta, GA chapter or group??? Any book club info relating to Ga would be appreciated #162-Zavi

Tee C. Royal said...

Greetings all, I'm Tee C. Royal, founder of RAWSISTAZ Online Book Club. I'm also a panelist on the Reader Sites panel and have introduced myself there, so I won't be repetitive:
http://sormag.blogspot.com/2005/10/panel-reader-sites.html

LaShaunda, I love what you're doing with the author excerpts, that's a really great service! Kudos.

To answer the questions already on the floor:
Eleanor, RAWSISTAZ Online Book Club usually has monthly chats to discuss the book in detail. We also have discussion questions posted via email that we answer and comment on other areas of the group. Atlanta RAWSISTAZ meets face to face in the ATL-metro area and we meet normally at each other's house and discuss the book, sometimes with the author in person or via telephone.

Membership to both these groups are currently closed but we will be accepting new members in January. (Zavi, contact me at tee@rawsistaz.com for more info).

Renair, there is a link on our website to submit a book for review. Basically, you send it, we'll review it. But please make sure you send the publication information requested as it helps the process. Books are mailed into one location and I log them in and then repackage them mailing them out to our 15 reviewers.

Meri, I've never utilized a professional book club facilitator, I guess because as avid readers, we can normally keep things going pretty well. Lively and engaging? I think the key is communication. Let members know that it is THEIR club so they will feel more free to open up and share their thoughts, even when they may be in the minority. Incorporating the theme of the book with day-to-day experiences also helps build rapport and closeness amongst members...helping them feel at ease to be more lively and engaging.

Angeleque, RAWSISTAZ has no restrictions of what we review. We have taken eBooks in the past and continue to with the request that they are printed out and mailed to us.

-Tee C. Royal

Linda said...

These questions are for all.

1. What do you feel is the responsibility of a book club to authors invited to attend their meetings in person or via teleconference?

2. Should book clubs solicit authors with an expectation of free or discounted books in return for reading their novels?

3. What is your take on authors soliciting book clubs to have their books read/reviewed?

Linda! Badge #141

SORMAG said...

Do you all have detailed discussions as a group regarding the books that are being read?
Eleanor (#17)


Eleanor in our group I ask the members to tell us what the chapter did for them. Sometime we get into some discussions about the book. Usually if I don’t hear any feedback, I believe the chapter didn’t grab their attention.

Also how does a writer go about submitting novels or requesting reviews from your club. ID#133

Hi Renair,

Our bookclub doesn’t do reviews. We introduce readers to authors and their books. I have eight slots for each month. The author introduces themselves to me or if I’ve heard of them, I’ll send them an invite to participate. Our payment is an autograph copy of the book one of the members wins.

have any of you ever hired a professional bookclub facilitator?
if so, why or if not, why not?

any tips about how to keep a bookclub lively and engaging?

thanks,
meri#129

Meri I have never hired a professional bookclub facilitator. Can you explain what they do?

To keep a bookclub lively and engaging actually depends on the members. When I first started the bookclub, the members didn’t say much. I picked the winners by random picking emails. Then I changed the way I picked winners. To be eligible to win, you had to have some dialogue about the book. When I post an excerpt, I ask them to tell me about it. Those who talk about the excerpt have a chance to win the book and I also know they are interested in reading the book. I do contests too and ask questions to keep the dialogue going.

You have to always come up with fun ways to keep the group active, also ask them what they want. You’d be surprised by what they want from their book club.

). How has starting your online book club effected your personal writing and/or reading career?

2). What is your vision for your bookclub say five years down the road?

Hi Tempie,

Glad to see you enjoying your bookclub. In my real world I don’t have time for a book club, so the online has been a blessing to me. As a writer, I’m always learning from everything I read. As a reader with little time to read, the excerpts help me find books that will hold my interest.

My vision for the bookclub. WOW haven’t even thought that far to be honest. We celebrate a year next month and I can’t believe it. When I first started, I had to ask authors to participate, now I have to put authors on a waiting list, we so far booked ahead.

If I dream a little, I would like for it to continue to grow, which means we are introducing more readers to more books. Hopefully one day, the members can meet in person. I know we’ve come to care for each other, and it would be nice to put faces together with names.

Is there any restrictions to having a book reviewed by your book club?

For example: No Erotica or No interracial couples (the hero and heroine), a certain length or No e-books

Danielle (#21)

We don’t review books however the books we feature my only restriction is that the chapter you send doesn’t have any graphic language or scenes. Only because we’re a yahoo group who doesn’t have an adult restriction. I don’t know how old some of our members, so I try not to send across any loves scenes or a lot of cursing.

Other than that, all books are welcome (fiction and non-fiction, ebooks self pub etc)


LaShaunda - 00

rootwomin said...

hi,
this is directed toward sormag.

a professional bookclub facilitator is someone who is paid by the number of participants for a certain amount of pre-agreed upon sessions ( like 10) to organize syllabi, discussion questions, and to keep the bookclub moving forward on certain topics. in large cities i understand their fee is around $25 per participant for a minimum of around 10 sessions.

i'd never heard of the position myself until a few weeks ago while researching book club ideas and so forth. imagine my surprise when i found a book outlining not just bookclub organizationaal tips but the whole industry of folk who make a living as bookclub facilitators.

meri#129

SORMAG said...

Thanks Meri,

I've never heard of a book club facilitator. However with all the bookclubs popping up, I'm sure there must be a need.

Thanks for explaining.

LaShaunda - OO

Marina Woods said...

Hi Everyone,

I'm Marina Woods (#56) Founder of goodgirlbookclubonline.com. GoodGirlBookClubOnline.com offers way too much to type hear but we promote, feature, interview, place and discuss authors such as Jacquelin Thomas, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Patricia Haley, Stephanie Perry Moore, Angela Benson, Kim Brooks, Vanessa Davis Griggs and many many more. Our goal is to inspire young and adult women with inspiring, uplifting yet entertaining fiction and nonfiction books. We currently have over 12,000+ members, 700 which are nonfiction and fiction discussion paticipants. Everyone is welcome!

Marina Woods said...

Hi Linda (#141)

You've asked some good questions!
I think running a book club or reader site can be challenging. A love for books and promoting authors is just not enough. It's demanding, and with over 175,000 books being published each year not every book can be reviewed. To answer your questions specifically, I'd like to see authors and publishers show more appreciation and understanding for book clubs and reader sites. Many book clubs (from my experience) launch with the intention of serving both readers and authors, but, I think it is important for readers, publishers and members to be aware and keep in mind that there is a LOT that can go on behind the scenes to run an online or physical bookclub and to keep this in consideration when it comes to spending marketing dollars, etc. In other words, showing not just verbal or written support (which is great and encouraging for those of us who burn the midnight oil) for book club founder and leaders, but truly understanding what all goes into it to bring this invaluable service to authors so that readers can discover and buy the books. I don't think free or discounted books is all that should be considered in many instances because there are many book clubs who have to send the books to reviewers (costs for postage, mailing materials, time to send, follow up, edit, etc).

With regard to face to face reading groups, in the Chicago chapter of GGBC we don't extend an invitation to an author unless we know that at least 50 people are committed to showing up and buying the book (or) if the author is already going to be in the city/area. I think that authors and publishers should be prepared to cover travel expenses to attend book club meetings, because again, there is often upfront and behind the scenes costs to put a meeting or event together that is not passed on to the author or publisher, yet, the author or publisher is being promoted and supported and able to keep all book sales. I think that's only fair.

With re: to authors soliciting book clubs, I think authors should be judicious and considerate and take the time to understand the process of each book club, their submission steps and anticipated review time (if they offer this service free or for cost). Not all book clubs and reading groups run the same, so taking the time to understand the clubs requirements for reviews, etc should be as carefully done as querying an editor at a newspaper to have a press release run or to pitch a story or place an ad.

I hope this helps.

Marina Woods (#56)

BlackButterflyReview said...

Hi Renair,
Having Black Butterfly Review Group review a book is easy. Check out the web page and the mailing info is there www.clik.to/BlackButterflyReview.

Eleanor (#17)

Stuff Happens! Event Planning said...

What do you think is the best and worst thing about being in an online bookclub?

Renee Williams #102

Felecia Ellis said...

Hi Renee,
I'm a member of Memphis Rawsistaz, the same bookclub as Tempie. The best thing about our bookclub is the friendship. Rawsistaz is not just a name for us we truly are sisters in every sense of the word. We help each other professionally, emotionally and spiriturally. The worst thing about it is that sometimes members have to move away. We miss there presence at the monthly meeting, but we do keep in touch online. The other bad thing is that if you miss checking your email for a couple a days it could take you a week to read through them.
Felecia Ellis #158

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I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.

I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.

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