WWIV Book 1

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lessons from Book Club

About a month ago, I was the star at my daughter's book club. Well, I was the star in my mind. The only reason for my presence was they had read my second novel, WWIV - Kids at War. My daughter thought it would be a good chance for me to hear honest views about my writing. Though I was a little nervous, I agreed to attend (it did include a meal after all).

I have to be honest with you, I've never been part of a book club before; much less a discussion at said club about one of my books. I didn't know what to expect; I had no idea of any lessons to be learned. But learn, I did.

1. Everyone was polite, and honest

Since I knew most of the women in attendance, the conversations flowed easily. Some of these gals I have known for 15+ years. The cutest comment I received went something like this: "I just couldn't get over the idea that you had written this. I mean the whole first two or three chapters I stopped several times and said 'Erika's Dad wrote this.' " (Erika being my daughter)

2. Everyone had opinions

I guess I was a little shocked by this. Most book clubs that I know of are more a Friday night wine party than an actual book reading club. But, it seemed to me, they had all read the book - the whole book. I was flattered.

Some liked Theresa. Others found Hunter an interesting character. One of my daughter's oldest friends really liked Sara. Most felt the nun was portrayed alright, but not 100% accurate. At least not in this post-apocalyptic setting. They all seemed to like the location I had chosen. Overall, the collective group rated it somewhere between three and four stars. I was happy with this result.

3. To a person, this was not their typical genre

I think I knew this going in, but it was still interesting to hear what their preferred genres were. Many, if not all, usually read standard literary fiction most of the time. None were big romance readers. One nice person, Julie, told me her boyfriend loved sci-fi and post-apocalyptic books. I was happy to provide her with paperback copies of both novels that are published at this point.

Though they didn't necessarily seek out this genre, most said it was a good book that held their attention to the end. That was important for me to hear. If I can write something that keeps readers interested, even though they wouldn't normally read this type of book, I figure I've written a decent piece of fiction. And that is extremely satisfying, my friends.

4. No one believed the title was all that bad

One of the things that my team and I have wrestled with since the day of publication has been the title of this book. Being honest, this one hasn't made the progress that book one has (WWIV - In The Beginning). We don't think the cover is bad - at least no one has told us that so far. So we've decided, unscientifically, that it must be the title. But when asked, the group as a whole shrugged and shook their heads.

Maybe it's because it's not their typical genre. Or perhaps the book blurb is decent. It could even be as simple as they didn't want to hurt my feelings. But trust me, I asked for their honest input. And they gave it; they honestly answered every question I asked. So maybe it's not the title. I'll keep fishing for an answer on this question.

All in all, this was a great experience for me!

I want to thank each of the ladies who participated and gave their honest views. Kari, Megan, Molly, Julie, Sarah, and Erika - thank you all. Your openness and honest input made the whole night worthwhile for me. I have taken to heart everything you mentioned. We had a great time - and they admitted at the end that they "never talk this much about the book they've read."Again, I am flattered and humbled by your participation.

If you are a budding author, I recommend you get your book in front of a local book club. The experience, if anywhere near mine, will be great for your career. And bring some paperbacks. People love freebies. And they might even ask you to sign them - as my group did. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to signing my creations? Perhaps someday it will become monotonous. I hope not though, I really like the thrill.

Want to win signed copies of my two current novels? Click here to enter a contest to do so. Next drawing is May 1st; there's still time to win.

Until next week, keep reading!

e a lake

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