gathering-of-authors-and-readers

Readers enjoy entertainment and food, served by famous authors!

On the heels of Sunday’s post, Author Marketing Mastery #4: Include A Reader’s Guide In Your Book! I wanted to share some fun I recently experienced during a wild weekend with book clubbers from across the country.

This is about the power of creating community and camaraderie between authors and readers, and no place was this concept more evident than at the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas, January 14-17.

Authors Mary Arno, Pattie Welek Hall, Kathy Murphy (The Pulpwood Queen), Shari Stauch, Kathleen Varn and Brenda McClain at the ball...

Authors Mary Arno, Pattie Welek Hall, Kathy Murphy (The Pulpwood Queen), Shari Stauch, Kathleen Varn and Brenda McClain at the ball…

Created by and run by Kathy Murphy, the Pulpwood Queen herself (read more about her in this prior post), the weekend is open to anyone with a love of books, with discounts to members of the Pulpwood Queens or Timber Guys book clubs.

Authors invited to participate are those whose books have been chosen by Kathy Murphy for past or upcoming reads. And participate, they DO… On the opening night’s barbecue it’s authors serving up the readers their food and drinks, in costume, no less!

Then, two amazing days of author panels, awards, and a silent auction with cool items donated by the 50+ participating authors. And the wind-up (check out the video below from author Mardi Jo Link) is a big ball of hair costume ball (this year’s theme, Once Upon a Time…)

In between there was plenty of time to get to know the authors, get your books signed, and let your hair down. Authors, too, normally expected to be buttoned down and doing serious reads, were having every bit as much fun as their reading fans, totally getting into the enjoyment of each panel and the celebration of each gathering.

Author Mary Alice Monroe gets into "Woodland Faerie" character for opening night festivities!

Author Mary Alice Monroe gets into “Woodland Faerie” character for opening night festivities!

True, if anyone had told me I’d seriously enjoy donning a tiara and dressing up in costume for a weekend in Texas, I might not have believed them, but this event made a believer out of me! And when I stopped to look around, sometimes in contemplation, sometimes in amazement (I did plenty of both) the common thread, at every turn and around every corner… was the power of BOOKS… the people who write them… and the people who read them.

Upon returning home to deadlines I know we all felt refreshed by the time spent communing. But far beyond that big event in that small Texas town, we’ve seen hundreds of photos and posts about the weekend, tagging authors left and right, carrying a marketing message about having fun with favorite authors to new heights and vast numbers beyond the few hundred who actually attended.

The lessons? One – cultivate those book clubs! Two – do everything you can to enrich and promote your reading community so they too will want to share all the fun they had with you with their friends (and so on and so on). Three – remember that what we do, writing and reading, truly is an honor and a joy. And finally – sign up for next year’s weekend and join the FUN!

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ShariStauchpulpwood-queens-tiaraCreator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. She is also the principal author of the WWW blog, and speaks at conferences around the country. The Where Writers Win team’s newest collaboration is The Winner Circle – vetted book review directories, book clubs and other cultivated resources for emerging authors.

And yes, she too wore the mandated tiara at the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend…

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13 thoughts on “Creating a Community with Your Readers: Inspiration from the Pulpwood Queens

  • January 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm
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    Literacy is alive and thriving! What a relief! Goes to show when readers and writers unite anything can happen and did as all of you so eloquently described. Zany worlds of fairies and fairybook characters emerged igniting friendships both new and old. To say that this was a life-alternating affair insults my creative juices. Attending the Puplwood Queen’s Girlfriend Weekend, catapulted my hopes and dreams of risking my sense of self to reveal my own stories. Some will insist that money makes the world go round but I contend stories improve life. Finally, thanks to all of y’all who participated in GF Weekend. You enhanced my life and that of literacy. Till we meet again. Blessings, love and peace to y’all!

  • January 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm
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    On the heels of holiday duties, I pulled my wheeled suitcase through the Houston airport waiting on my co-hort in crime, Shari Stauch. Being a virgin Pulpwood Queen attendee… I can readily say that it was a joy to join in the silly and easily approachable readers and authors. I hope to stay in touch with so many quirky and amazing women throughout the year. Wonderfully put, Shari. Look forward to hanging out again with the gang. As dance brings together women I would never meet– books were the common thread last weekend.

    • January 26, 2016 at 11:26 pm
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      Yes, Kat – you’ve hit the nail on the head… Whether dance or books (or both at the big hair ball)… it doesn’t take much more than a shared passion to let us all passionately share of each other. It was a perfect way to build friendships and strengthen those that exist and so glad you could attend – Ameera was proud!

  • January 26, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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    NIce coverage Shari! Didn’t we have the best time? And best of all, we contributed to the love of books, the process of writing, and bonding with other writers and readers. As our queen, Kathy Murphy says,
    “Onward and Upward and as always back to promoting literacy! For more on our book club go to http://www.beautyandthebook.com to JOIN!”

    • January 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm
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      We DID, Mary Alice, and your fans so appreciated you and your continued generosity of spirit. Onward and upward indeed… see you on the author trail good lady!

  • January 26, 2016 at 1:41 pm
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    Shari
    I’m such an avid fan of your site and it was so nice to discover that you were there at Pulpwood Quuen weekend! It was such a whirlwind of activity that there was barely a moment to pause, but what you said is true. People were there to have fun and celebrate books, whether it was book clubbers or authors. Memorable would be an understatement but well worth every minute! Loved meeting everyone and hearing their thoughts on Dollbaby!

    • January 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm
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      Thank you Laura and was great to see you again! Thrilled that Kathy Murphy will be joining us at Words & Music in New Orleans this November, too… Stay tuned as we might have to “tiara-up” an event there in her honor 🙂 Write on, sister… always a Dollbaby fan!

  • January 26, 2016 at 10:59 am
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    Shari! Oh, the sweet memories you brought back to me. I underscore, bold and put in all caps EVERYTHING you said. Being among avid readers and writers…..ahhhh….nirvana. Big ole Texas-sized nirvana.

    Looking forward to returning next year!

    • January 26, 2016 at 11:55 am
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      Me, too, Bren – next year will be even more fun – was such a needed weekend!

  • January 26, 2016 at 10:57 am
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    Thank you Shari Stauch for sharing the Wonderful World of The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs! Nothing we love more than sharing our authors books and having some BIG TIME FUN WHILE WE ARE IT! As far as I know this is the ONLY book club festival in the world where you get to hang out with all your favorite authors in the world! Onward and Upward and as always back to promoting literacy! For more on our book club go to http://www.beautyandthebook.com to JOIN!

    • January 26, 2016 at 11:56 am
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      Thanks, Kathy and YES, big time fun and the only one I know, too! Working w/ a group down here in Charleston promoting literacy too – we’re putting 10 new little libraries in needed areas in town (and I have some PQ books to put in ’em as they get installed!) Happy reading, good lady, and thanks for all you do for readers and writers!

  • January 26, 2016 at 10:05 am
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    The best part was being with a community of people who absolutely, positively, LOVE books and reading them … people to whom you don’t have to go through lengthy asides in a conversation because they don’t read good fiction (or nonfiction). And it was fun — I think somebody at the Great Big Ball of Hair called it “Comic-Con for Book Geeks.”

    • January 26, 2016 at 11:58 am
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      Comic-Con for book geeks – I LOVE that! I agree wholeheartedly, Mary — hundreds of people in the same great hall who just GET IT! Write on and good luck with those upcoming book clubs reading Thanksgiving!

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