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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

Discussion: Working Effectively With Bookclubs


Bookclubs are an excellent way to introduce your book to new readers.

Let's discuss working with bookclubs with:


Tee C. Royal - RAW founder

Jean Holloway - Author

30 comments:

Shelia Goss said...

How should an author go about letting book clubs know about their new releases? What if they don't have a publicist?

Tee C. Royal said...

Hello everyone! I'm Tee C. Royal, the founder of RAWSISTAZ Literary Group. (RAWSISTAZ stands for Reading and Writing SISTAZ). Our group started online almost 9 years ago and we've worked with thousands of authors, supporting & promoting their work. We also started one of (if not the first) review organizations specializing in African-American books. We have an online chapter and chapters across the U.S. Feel free to post your questions and I'll be in throughout the day to address them.

-Tee C. Royal
Founder, RAWSISTAZ.com

shawna said...

There are so many book clubs out there...so my question is is how do you choose which ones to go to? It can get expensive sending your review copies out to everyone that you are wanting to get a review from.

Tee C. Royal said...

Hi Shelia!

I've worked with authors with and without publicists and I don't really think it matters on the book club side of things. At least for me it doesn't. I actually sometimes prefer working directly with the author.

With the internet, email & social media networks, it's pretty simple to interact with book clubs and let them know about your books. I would suggest creating an email press kit in which you give a short introduction of who you are, your book title, publication data (including the genre & theme) and links to your website, social networks, etc. And, do all this embedded in an email. Do not attach large files and expect book club members to open them. If you have a file you want to share, link it to your site instead.

One of the key things for me is to know right up front if the book fits in any of our themes. That way it can be added to the nominations for Book of the Month when we select them quarterly. So it's also good for an author to know up front what the club's themes are/if they have them.

-Tee

Tee C. Royal said...

Shawna,

While I realize it can get expensive to send your books out, this should be built into promotion and marketing plans/budgets done before the book even goes to print.

But, to cut down on these costs, I would say research the book club or reviewers first--do they have a website, do they post their reviews on Amazon.com or other online book stores? You could also contact the founder to find out how they select books. Also know if you're looking for a review or a selection as book of the month because not all book clubs do both. And while some may review, are those reviews distributed in places which will get exposure for you and the book?

Lastly, check to see if an electronic version is accepted. With the Sony Reader & Kindle available now, some reviewers will accept electronic formats.

Hope this helps!

-Tee

faith said...

TC, is their a central location that is kept current where an author can get a list of book clubs with their contact information and genre the read? I have found one site with some clubs but many were no longer valid. Thanks!

Jean Holloway said...

Mornin' everybody,
I'm Jean Holloway, author of the adult romantic thrillers, Ace of Hearts & Black Jack. I started writing in 1980 & had my debut novel published in 2007. My motto: NEVER GIVE UP YOUR DREAMS.
Hey Shelia,
I've gone online for book club info & create my own email blast offering a special for signed copies. Got my 1st multiple book order last week. Even with a publicist, don't think that means you won't be involved. In fact, you should now be a team. Getting your book into readers' hands is a full time job.
Hi Shawna,
1st, I send mine to online book clubs that post reviews. The price is usually a book (maybe 2) & postage. The costs of review copies should be included in your budget. Some R: APOOO Books, AALBC, MidWest Book Reviews,
RAWSISTAZ (Hi Tee! ;o) SORMAG Magazine, of course & Urban-Reviews. It may take months, but the increased online presence can't hurt.
I'll B back...
Take care,
Jean

Jean Holloway said...

Sorry, Faith,
I know, I've run into that too many times, but the worst is so some of them bounce back. If anyone knows of a central location, please share.
Jean

LaShaunda said...

Welcome ladies :)

What are some fun things writers can do with book clubs?

Shelia Goss said...

Thanks Tee & Jean. The email press kit and email blasts to book clubs are good ideas.

I sort of got behind on the social networking because I was busy trying to meet deadlines, but I'm trying to get better with the use of facebook and myspace.

Lyn Cote said...

I'm interested in any answers to LaShaunda's question. Please?

Jean Holloway said...

Hey LaShaunda & Lyn,
I've done a couple of contests, Name the genre & why & Where's typos? (my version of Where's Waldo ;0) The best time I've had in person was when I went to dinner with SistahsNSync. It was like hanging out w/old friends! I'm hoping to do more of that nexy year. I also IM chat w/clubs that have read my book.
Any other suggestions?

Jean Holloway said...

next(See what I mean?) LOL

Tee C. Royal said...

Hello again everyone!

Faith, I ditto what Jean says on the list of reviewers. There are quite a few places online that have lists of book clubs, but I can't validate whether or not they're updated, but would like to share them. You can Google to get direct links: MosaicBooks, Book Clubs Central done by Marlive of TheGRITS.com on MySpace, NiaPromotions has a book club listings.

Jean, so good to "see" you! Great information. Keep it coming... Would you share, from the author perspective things you've found that do not work? Things you wish book clubs would do, etc.?

LaShaunda, some of the fun things I've done with authors are teleconferences & online chats--kinda basic, but being online we were a bit limited. I really love being able to talk to authors one on one; especially if we loved the book. :) Our annual event, which has been held offline more than on was also a wonderful time to hang out with authors, participate in Old School Jams, Pajama Parties and just hanging out. I love literary-centered trivia too.

-Tee

Shawneda Marks said...

Awesome ideas and information. I'll be implementing as many as possible and putting my own spin on it.

Jean Holloway said...

Thanks, Tee, good "seeing" you too! I wasn't aware of some of those listings.
I agree with Tee's comments re: ebooks. I always ask reviewers if they would accept that 1st. Hey, if they say no, you're only back where you started.
In today's economy, it's hard to get book clubs interested in events that cost the reader to attend, but try to find inexpensive literary events in your area that you can attend. So far, book clubs & I get along very well, just wish I could get to know more of them.
What doesn't seem to work for me any more are book signings @ local independent stores, although I still do them 'cause they were the ones who helped me get out there in the 1st place & I'm eternally grateful.
Although I'm on facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc., I wanted to mention GoodReads.com. If you are not a registered author there,you should be. It's a great literary network site. I've connected with over 1,700 (no typo this time!) people inc. book clubs & have gotten reviews from Canada & England thru GoodReads. It's my favorite networking site.

LaShaunda said...

Jean,

What do you do on goodreads? I've joined but haven't figured out the concept.

shawna said...

I just signed up for goodreads.com too.. what is next?

Jean Holloway said...

Once on GoodReads, look @ their groups, find folks interested in your genre & invite them to be you friend or fan. When they accept your invite, send them a short welcome message telling them a little about your book. You'll find readers, reviewers & other authors looking to network. You can set up an app that will post your GoodReads updates to Twitter or facebook to save time.
Hey, invite me:
http://www.goodreads.com/jeanholloway & I'll send you my welcome note.

Author Shelia E. Lipsey said...

This is a wealth of information. Shelia Goss you posed a great questions and the flood gates of information poured. I too want to find out the niche of getting in touch with book clubs. Tee, of course is always accessible and does all she can to help authors! (Kudos to you Tee). I said yesterday in a comment that I would like to find out more about where bookclubs are and I'm gaining some valuable info. Thanks everybody. And of course I'm going to join goodreads.com.

Author Shelia E. Lipsey said...

I have had great experiences with online book clubs. I've also found several on myspace. I know you are probably going to frown on me when i say I'm not on facebook yet, but I am part of soooo many social networks that I'm not staying involved with many of them because of my writing and promoting schedules and deadlines. I do as much as I can. Online bookclubs have been great to me. I also know a few that I have actuall visited and they were great also. I really have not had a bad experience with any, it's just that I want to keep them in the loop as much as possible so they will know about my work.

Karen C. Brown said...

Hello Everyone, I have a question regarding the various book conventions, fairs/festivals that are hosted throughtout the year. Is there anywhere that is a "one-stop-shop" for finding whose hosting what and where. I believe most of the high profile ones are schedule a year in advance and it would be nice to know when these events are schedule in order for me to plan my attendance.

Tee C. Royal said...

Shelia, don't feel bad about not being on Facebook. There are a lot of social networks out there and while I do advise everyone to give them a try for networking & promoting your work, you have to find the balance. If you spend all day in these outlets, how can you get any writing done? LOL. So, find what works for you, but I wouldn't write any of them off.

The partnership between book clubs and authors can be a wonderful one. I would offer up the following additional advice:
- Be respectful of a person's time. If you email someone and don't hear back, send another inquiry as it may have gotten lost.
- Don't do the "you will love my book" please. LOL. It's your book, so you're biased. Just present the book and let us decide.
- Even if a book club doesn't love your book, continue to be gracious. Readers do remember those authors with negative attitudes and they will tell fellow readers.
- Did I mention not sending those super-large attachments?
- Also, offer to host contests. This gives you exposure you may not have gotten otherwise AND it may encourage someone to read you work who may not have otherwise.
- Don't take yourself too seriously. While writing a book is a lot of work, have fun with your readers.
- Learn how to pitch yourself. This should've been first on the list. But, learn how to describe your book in 25 words or less. This is especially helpful if you're at a conference and want to tell someone about your book. Just imagine you have 10 seconds to do it and go for it.
- Don't limit yourself. Try online book clubs, reading groups, and local book clubs as well. Many of them are not aware of authors in their area, so reach out this way and offer to join them for a meeting.
- Also...join a book club, if you have time and can commit to reading the book. It's not just about you, right?

That's it for now. I'll be back to catch the evening crowd.

-Tee

Tee C. Royal said...

Karen, I once kept a listing of literary events on the RAWSISTAZ site, but haven't updated it in a while. (Looks like something I need to do).

Two of the best resources I've seen for literary events is via TheGRITS.com and ShawGuides (for Writers).

- http://www.thegritsbookclub.com/Content/Events.html
- http://writing.shawguides.com

-Tee

Tia Hines said...

Just tuning in. I am Tia Hines author of "Poison: A Desire to Burn". I am overwhelmed right now with the information I have recieved. Thank you everyone! Hello Tee happy to meet you. LaShaunda this is great.

Jean Holloway said...

Wow, I hope I've contributed half as much as I've gotten out of this discussion. Tee, you're like the mother lode! LOL
I'll be back later after my live chat.
Thanx,
Jean

Jean Holloway said...

My telechat isn't until 10:15 p, so I'll be here til then.
Jean

Tee C. Royal said...

Thanks everyone for taking the time to participate in the panel and LaShaunda, thanks for the opportunity.

-Tee

Rachel Berry said...

Jean,

I stumbled upon GoodReads a month or so ago. I signed up but haven't been back since. The suggestions on how to make it work are great. Thanks for the suggestions!

Rachel Berry - Author

Rachel Berry said...

Ladies especially LaShaunda,

This has all been great and helpful. Thank you for your time & information. What a great way to increase our skills!!!!

Rachel Berry - Author of "Family Pictures" a novel

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