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.
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.
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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Creator 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…