Book clubs take on a dynamic function for independent publishers

October 23, 2012 

Norwood and the Classie Bookies Book Club

I recently attended The Reading Divas Black Authors and Readers Rock Weekend an event bringing together writers and book clubs. As a writer I had the opportunity to introduce myself and my works to hundreds of new readers. It was also an opportunity to network with other authors and share marketing strategies.The participating clubs came from both near and afar with snappy names like Just Us, Sugar and Spice, Nooks, Books and Friends, and Body and Soul. Book clubs are no longer just readers coming together to discuss popular literature, but now take on a more dynamic function within the publishing industry. The decline of brick and mortar bookstores, offering popular book signing venues where fans met their authors, are being alternatively replaced with the intimate book club setting serving as an increasingly important marketing and distribution channel.

The weekend began with a Friday night reception and open club meeting featuring a discussion led by Karen Quiones Miller of her new book An Angry Ass Black Woman and a reading by the popular legal thriller author Pamela Samuels Young from her new novel Attorney-Client Privilege.  The program was standing room only as were the four Saturday morning workshops and panel discussions which included:  Is Urban Lit Really Literature, So You Wanna Write, What Impact has the Ebook had on Black Publishing, and How to Start, Improve and Get the Most Out of Your Book Club.  All in fun there were raffles for attendees and a fashion contest for the best dressed club.  Select clubs paraded through the banquet hall donning identifying distinctive outfits from custom tops and scarves to cable stitch sweaters.

The event highlight came when keynote speaker New York Times best selling author Mary Malone took the floor sharing her remarkable writing journey entertaining her spellbound audience with her compelling biography.  Her first novel, The Upper Room was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1985. She is best known for her novel, God Don’t Like Ugly  (originally published by Dafina Books in the fall of 2000), and the series revolved around the characters first introduced in this book. Her latest is God Don’t Make No Mistakes.

Pamela Samuel Young told how through a book club appearance she landed a guest spot on the The Monique Show.  Many authors appreciate that one on one face time with their readers many of whom do not hold back on their criticism.  The authors and guest book club members frequently expressed how valuable they found the event praising the The Reading Divas.  Many are looking forwarding to next year’s event expecting it be an even bigger and better event.

TaNIsha Webb author of The Ultimate Book Club Experience and founder the Book Club University is a great source for both authors and book clubs.

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