Hands down, as an author there is no better way to improve craft than by writing your buns off and getting honest feedback, the first is within my complete control, the second is not. I can ask for reviews until I’m blue in the face and good or bad; most people won’t go to the trouble to write up even the smallest of blips on their reading experience.
What does work is getting invited to book clubs! They are the most fun for an author–getting to participate in the discussion and interact with readers is the best! Not only is it crazy good fun but I get instant feedback on my craft. Cool, right?
All of the book clubs I’ve met with have been in person, which isn’t possible for those readers on the other side of the country. So I’ve decided to make it easier all the way around. If you have a book club that would be interested in my quirky small town series, I’d love to be part of your book club experience and join you via Skype, Facebook Chat, or Google Hangout.
Bonus- here are some fun questions for book clubs to consider:
(exciting question provided by LitLovers!)
1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to “get into it”? How did you feel reading it—amused, sad, disturbed, confused, bored…?
2. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, and inner qualities.
• Why do characters do what they do?
• Are their actions justified?
• Describe the dynamics between characters (in a
marriage, family, or friendship).
• How has the past shaped their lives?
• Do you admire or disapprove of them?
• Do they remind you of people you know?
3. Are the main characters dynamic—changing or maturing by the end of the book? Do they learn about themselves, how the world works and their role in it?
4. Discuss the plot:
• Is it engaging—do you find the story interesting?
• Is this a plot-driven book—a fast-paced page-turner?
• Does the plot unfold slowly with a focus on character?
• Were you surprised by complications, twists & turns?
• Did you find the plot predictable, even formulaic?
5. Talk about the book’s structure.
• Is it a continuous story…or interlocking short stories?
• Does the time-line move forward chronologically?
• Does time shift back & forth from past to present?
• Is there a single viewpoint or shifting viewpoints?
• Why might the author have chosen to tell the story
the way he or she did?
• What difference does the structure make in the way
you read or understand the book?
6. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use symbols to reinforce the main ideas? (See our free LitCourses on both Symbol and Theme.)
7. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that’s funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there’s a particular comment that states the book’s thematic concerns?
8. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not…and how would you change it?
9. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask? Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others?
10. Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people or a certain part of the world?