When I lived in California I was a member of a book group/club for almost ten years and, once I became a published author, it became apparent that tapping into the interest of book groups like ours was a great way of connecting with readers. Flash forward almost a decade and I’m wondering, in a world where social media is so overwhelming and influential, if book clubs across continue to be a powerful force for ‘word of mouth’ recommendations and publicity for authors (?).
I am currently a member of a book group, but our meeting schedule and commitment to actually reading the books selected is less ‘fixed’ than it used to be. In many ways this reflects the greater craziness of lives that now involve kids, work and a multitude of other interests all competing for our limited attention. Still, I love being part of the group as it enables me to read books I would never have chosen on my own – and has thus exposed me to countless amazing books I would have otherwise never read. However, even I find myself stretched too thin to make it the group meetings or finish the book on time.
So I have a question for all you readers and writers out there – how important do you feel book groups are these days (in terms of generating interest in books and perhaps helping boost word of mouth recommendations). Are you in a book group at the moment? As an author, are you still making appearances or phoning in for calls to book groups (I spoke at one in December and I have to say, it was awesome!). For those of you who have a book coming out soon, are you targeting book groups as part of your marketing plan or is social media outlets more important?
I’m hoping that book groups continue to be an amazing force for good – encouraging reading, book discussions, and a general interest in all things literary, but I have to wonder, are book groups still as meaningful as they used to be (if, indeed, they were!).
My inquiring mind would love your input!