You know that book you read that you adored, and you really wanted to talk to someone about it? Maybe you got some of your friends to read it just so you could compare notes. Maybe you suggested the title to your local book club…
Oh. Wait. You don’t have a local book club? I don’t, either. Then how on earth are we going to chat about the books we love with other fans? Such a dilemma!
As you may have noticed, Facebook has been invented, and with it came the ‘groups’ function. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Many of the authors you know and love are introverts. Yes, even on social media. Most of the time, I just can’t think of anything spontaneous and clever to say on Facebook. I like to think it’s because I’m saving up my amazing words for my novels, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, I just don’t know what to say and think maybe I’ll post tomorrow. Or possibly next week. And then a month goes by.
Last summer, I decided to start a reader group on Facebook, basically a book club centered around my own books. I talked to my street team about it, and some of them were very interested. (Others probably yawned and kept scrolling!) Problem was, I didn’t really have a good idea of the shape I wanted the group to take. Maybe we could talk about a different book every week? After all, I was about to release my twenty-somethingth title, so it would take a while to get through them all. Then we could figure something else out. It was all pretty vague.
I’ll tell you the truth. The thought of consistently coming up with several conversation starters a week, even centered on a specific title, had me shaking in my boots. But then God sent me a miracle whose name is Paula. Over the course of a few weeks, Paula pretty much took over my reader group, and I definitely mean that in the nicest possible way.
Most of you probably know I had a heart attack near the end of October. That totally stopped me in my tracks for more than six weeks. Since mid-December, my brain cells have finally started clicking together again, and I’ve been able to complete the first draft of Wishes on Wildflowers — the Urban Farm Fresh Romance I’d intended to finish the first week of November, before we left on a cruise. A reservation that was oh, so canceled!
But I digress. While I was truly incapacitated and then slowly getting back to my game, Paula kept my reader group humming along. She communicated with me as needed, gently prodded me when there were decisions to make, and kept both the reader group and street team updated to pray for me and my family. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve come to appreciate and value everything that Paula has done for me! She’s done such a great job that I thought I’d ask her a few questions about the experience.
Valerie: What makes a good group leader?
Paula: To be honest, I have never done anything like this before, and I have never been a part of an online book club before either, so this is all new to me and I am learning as we grow!
I think you have to be passionate about the author and books in order to be a good leader. I have always been a very organized person, so that certainly helps keeping everything on track! I have a very out going personality and love to share the things that make me happy with others. I love to TALK, lol, especially about books, so this is a perfect outlet for me!
Valerie: Why should the readers of this blog post join our reader group?
Paula: I am going to be very open for a moment, and tell you that I have personally dealt with some tragic things from my past through this book club. Honestly, Valerie may not realize the extent to which she has touched my life and helped me heal parts of my soul that I didn’t even know were still broken.
I believe everyone can benefit from this reading group, if you love the stories, being able to communicate with people around the globe gives us all new perspectives on things we might have missed, and opens the door to so many new friendships! We have giveaways of free ebooks and even hard copies sometimes!
Plus you get to have real conversations with the author! I mean, really, how often do you get to do that?
Valerie: Why should readers visit a group like ours often?
Paula: There is always something new going on, we have so many members from all over the world and everyone has something to contribute!
We share our own passions and recipes and friendships! I look forward to learning new ideas and gaining new insights. I have truly felt God’s love through this group of fellow readers and enjoy the camaraderie of being part of such an amazing group of people!
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love of reading and cooking and God with so many other people from all over.
It is my hope that you will take ride on this journey and grow along with us into the New Year!
All that to say, if you enjoy my stories — the Farm Fresh Romance series, the Christmas in Montana Romance series, the Arcadia Valley Romance series, the Riverbend Romance Novella series, or the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series — you might be interested in joining the reader group on Facebook. I can assure you that the conversations are lively… because Paula leads them and encourages everyone to take part, including me.
Friends of Inspy Romance: are you part of any authors’ reader groups? What do you like about them? Or… what do you wish would happen in a group like that? Paula and I are always up for new ideas!
Authors of Inspy Romance: if you host a similar group, feel free to post a link to it in the comments below. Maybe some of our friends will pop in and pay you a visit!