Book Clubs and Authors Need Each Other

Sources fo book clubsAre you in a book club in need of authors?  Are you an author trying to find someone to read your book?  Is a book club a possible answer to your solution.

The American Library Association (ALA)’s Book Club Central may have some solutions for you to at least consider.  Sarah Jessica Parker (yes, the Sex in the City SJP) is the honorary chair.   She selects books each month on a variety of topics.  If  you are not into celebrities picking out your books (SJP or even Oprah), Book Club Central offers other suggestions and ideas.  From their about page:

Book Club Central is a new online resource for book clubs and readers featuring book reviews, author interviews, discussion questions and more.

One of this month’s featured essays  is “How to Keep a  Book Club Alive”. Written by Susan McBeth, founder an CEO of NovelNetwork.com, she identifies three types of bookclubs:  1) the social bookclub where getting together is more important than actually reading the book, 2) the serious bookclub where there is no point in showing up if you have not read the book, and 3) the virtual bookclub where members don’t have the time or  are unable to find physical booksclub to join.  One way to breath life into any of three types of book clubs is with an author visit.

If author visits are such a simple way to breathe new life into book clubs, why aren’t more book clubs doing so? Surprisingly, many readers are not even aware that there exists a trove of authors who are amenable to, and enthused about, visiting with book clubs. Many book clubs don’t realize that if an author does not live nearby, that a video chat is still possible. Technophobes (like me) may think that virtual chats are only for the tech savvy, when they are really quite simple to plan. And finally, it can indeed be time consuming to research and inquire of authors, or their many layers of publicists and agents, to find out whether or not they are one of the willing book chat enthusiasts?

Not surprisingly, NovelNetwork facilitates connecting authors with readers. From their mission statement:

NOVEL NETWORK® is a global space dedicated to connecting authors with avid readers, an expanded professional network, and published peers. NOVEL NETWORK® was created to help authors find more innovative ways to connect with readers and promote their books to wider audiences.

Book Club Central can also help you find a book club, lead a book club, find books for the book club, toubleshoot a book club, be a book club member, or start an online book club.  It also offers book suggestions.

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Book Clubs–Not just for Reading

Do you belong to a Book Club?  If so, where do you meet?  Is it in somebody’s home, a library, or some food and/or beverage establishment?  Is the purpose of the group to discuss a mutually agreed upon title, to discuss books in general, to meet socially, or is it an excuse to eat and drink?

Book club-modern dayIf your book club is more social than literary, more defined by who you talk about or what you eat and drink than what you read, then you book club is following a fine tradition that goes back to the 18th century..

“Ever since the advent of book clubs in 18th-century England, when books were scarce and expensive, these organizations have been about more than reading. Book clubs were organized to help members gain access to reading material and to provide a forum for discussion of books the club held. But they were also about gossip and drinking. ”

Sometimes book clubs end because they  no longer meet the needs of the members:  books are not getting read, too much/ not enough socializing, differing objectives for the purpose of the club.

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