Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Clubs and Readers

Book clubs remind writers why we write – for the readers. Some writers begin writing because they have a story to tell or a story that is bursting to get out. Some writers begin because they are inspired by a story they loved or, conversely, by a story they hated. Every writer begins their race down the rabbit hole from somewhere, but once we're down there, we're writing for the readers.

Discovering Your Audience

A book club meets twice a month at my local bookstore. The group is boisterous, fun and very well read. Book references bounce around the circle of their meetings like a mad game of pong. These ladies (and one gentleman) enjoy a wide range of book choices and authors. What is fascinating about visiting the group is remembering how much I love to read.

I sometimes forget how much I love to read, to invest in the characters and to debate their motivations and where they are going. As a writer, creating and exploring characters is part of the job, but readers can experience the books they love through reading and sharing with other readers. Most authors of even the most complex series can point to their readers as the subject matter experts because they can quote chapter and verse when and where something occurred.

Remembering Your Audience

As a writer, you need to remember that we're not writing for agents or editors or publishers – we're ultimately writing for the readers. Sure, we spend a lot of time honing our craft and toning up our technique, but it's the readers we want to enjoy what we write. Nothing is more satisfying to me than a note that says: the scenes in that chapter were perfect or I was so engrossed in the characters I hated when the story ended.

What this tells me is that the reader connected with the story, with the characters and that gossamer bit of connection gave them an emotional tug. Those emotional connections are the why I write.

So thank you to all the readers out there, to the DFW Tea Readers and to the Books That Bite book club – I really do appreciate you.


  1. I LOVE book club! It's awesome seeing how excited everyone gets over the stories and characters. But it's terrifying, too! It would be so surreal for people to talk about my characters like they were talking about Gena Showalter's. That's the dream, though, to have readers fall in love with my heroes. God, if even one person ever loves Aren and Kyol as much as I love them... Well, I could die happy.

    See you in two weeks!

  2. I've never been to a book club but I love to read. Maybe I'll check out my local bookstore to see if they have a club.