by Donna MacMeans
One of the best things about publishing is the opportunity to address bookclubs. What's not to love? A gathering of women (sometimes one or two men) who not only appreciate a good read, but also enjoy a good meal as well. My kind of people.
I LOVE speaking to bookclubs. I thought I'd share some of the experiences and modus operandi of some of clubs I've visited this summer.
My neighbor invited me to speak to her book club, a group that has been meeting
monthly for ten years. In that club, the hostess selects the book to be read and purchases copies for everyone. The members then pay the hostess for their copy of the book. I spoke to them in advance of their reading of The Education of Mrs. Brimley. I asked "how many read romance?" Only two people in a group of twenty raised their hands. So we discussed the genre, the expectations, and specifics surrounding my book.
Now in this club, the rule is that the members are expected to start the book, but they don't have to finish it. The book they discussed at this particular meeting was Obama's book, so you can see - this wasn't specifically a romance reading group.
The following month, I checked back with the hostess to see the reactions. She said everyone liked it and more importantly, for the first time in the history of the club, everyone actually finished the book! Hopefully, if I'm invited to speak again, a few more hands will acknowledge romance.
In August I visited the Heron Bay Bookclub. The weather was beautiful so we sat and ate outside and talked while the husbands toured Buckeye Lake in a boat.(Darn, can't get the photo to upload - trust me - it was beautiful and a perfect setting for romance).
My next bookclub visit was a writer's dream. I was invited to speak to a group of ladies who read The Trouble with Moonlight. I arrived at the hostess's house in shorts and was greeted by a man in a tuxedo with a rose in his lapel next to a name tag bearing the name of my hero: James Locke. Inside, all the ladies were wearing long dresses. One had a string around her neck with
a cowbell attached to signify the little brooch with a bell that my hero gave to my heroine. The menu included tea and crumpets (iced tea and english muffins) along with finger sandwiches, brownies and salad. This photo is a bit dark, but I hope you can see the dresses. At one point, the back door opened and a bunch of people trooped in with filled wineglasses. They posed for a photo (not this one) then left.
Last week, I spoke at Novel Tea. They meet at a local library and read The Trouble with Moonlight. If you look carefully, you can see the teapots and munchies on the table. Once again I had readers come up afterwards to say they hadn't read a romance in years and now planned to start again. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
So my question to you: Do you belong to a book club? If so, tell us about them. Have you spoken to a bookclub? Tell us about the experience. What's the best book you've read in a bookclub? I'll send a bookclub tote bag to one commentor.