Place: Istanbul |
Drink: sangria |
So, I not only survived but actually thrived on my first book club experience as guest author. A highly valuable encounter for a writer, I think, and credit goes to those who hosted, organized, and promoted last week’s event – big thanks, respectively, to Laura, Debbie, and Miriam! And, of course, to everyone who contributed your candid and extremely useful comments during the gentle dissecting of my first novel A Simple Game.
This was just the second book club outing ever for me, and like the first I was the only man present. I’m not sure what this says about the state of modern reading habits, but I’ve heard women are the ones buying most novels these days. If true, it certainly pays to pay attention to what and how they are reading. Sitting in the “hot seat” afforded me the unique opportunity to ask a sample of women readers whether I got it right when writing my female characters. The answer, thankfully, was a unanimous “yes.” Whew…
Without giving away any of the novel, I also was happy to learn that my dialogue rang true, the plot made sense, the central themes were well conveyed, and the story was a compelling one that most didn’t want to put down. If anything needed changing, some wished I had spent even more time developing my main characters. This all represented valuable information I hadn’t previously heard and will be put to good use on novel number two.
My favorite part of the evening – beyond spirited banter, good food, and free-flowing sangria – may have been the quiz we held at the end, in which I gave away a signed copy of my book to the winner. This innovative idea, courtesy of my wife and primary “publicist,” gave me the chance to ask a few questions designed to see whether some of the less obvious points woven through my story actually elicited their intended effect (most did). In the end, an excellent experience I wholeheartedly recommend to others!
interesting comment on “I’ve heard women are the ones buying most novels these days”. Is it something you read or just heard? I definitely think they have more book clubs, etc.
Thanks for the comment and apologies for the late reply. Since I couldn’t remember where I read the comment, I just did a quick Google search and found several articles backing up the statement. One article from the Huffington Post from a few years ago — titled “Why Do Women Read More Novels Than Men?” — had this to say:
“There is ample statistical evidence showing that adult women read more novels than men, attend more book clubs than men, use libraries more than men, buy more books than men, take more creative writing courses than men, and probably write more works of fiction than men. If, as a demographic, they suddenly stopped reading, the novel would nearly disappear.”
Strong stuff and a good reason (among many) to pay attention to women’s tastes!