Monday, October 10, 2011

speaking to book clubs

There's been a thread on the Guppies (Great Unpublished) list lately about the value of speaking to local book clubs. I'm all in favor of it. Granted the audience is small, but if they like you and your book, they'll spread the word. Tonight I spoke to the "Berkeley Babes," a neighborhood group with a name that some acknowledge as incongruous. One said to me, maybe it was appropriate years ago when the club was formed and the members were indeed "babes."
Tonight they met at a  local restaurant on the patio--a lovely evening and perfect setting. The friend who invited me said they made it a rule that visiting authors could not sell books, which was a bit of a disappointment, so I took bookmarks. Turns out I needn't have worried: all but one of the fourteen women present had read (and presumably purchased) my book, which made disicussion all the much easier. We drank wine, ate salads, and they munched on pizza, which I declined. Then I spoke about the book, finding that once I've done it, extemporaneous was easy for me. I had some notes that the dog chewed and I was going to take them as a joke, but forgot--and the gimmick wasn't needed. I talked about how I got the idea for the book, the publication process, agents, etc.--talked maybe for 15 minutes--and then opened it for questions. They had lots of them, and there was lively discussion for at least thirty, maybe forty-five minutes. At the end, I had one prospective sale (she'd been traveling and hadn't read the book) and ten new friends (four of those present are in my writing class, and I may have picked up some intrest in that). But those ten new friends will, I hope, tell their friends about the mystery they read and the author who spoke to them.
I have three more book clubs and a university employees book group coming up shortly, with the probability of at least one more book club. . Small audiences, but worth the time. And good practice in speaking to promote my book. Word may spread from those and garner me more invitations. Lots better than sitting at a table in a bookstore watching people walk by and avoid looking at me--though I may do some of that too.
I always remember Jane Roberts Wood's Train to Estelline. Jane made it a hit by talking to every small group she could find. I think she's a good role model. If you really want to promote your book, no group is too small, no effort not worth making--with a smile.
A note of confusion: last night's post about Spam was meant to go on Potluck with Judy. I get mixed up easily between the two, and it ended on Judy's Stew. So I hope you enjoyed it. Yay, Spam!

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