Book Clubs

Dear Book Club Members,Contact John Trudel

I've written and spoken professionally for a long time (two high-tech non-fiction books, and hundreds of columns and seminars over the years), but am new to novels and still learning. I've done many signings at bookstores and events, but never for a book club until my first Thriller was published. I have never been a member of a book club and had never spoken to a book club, so when GOD'S HOUSE came out and friends asked me to come and speak to their clubs, I was on unfamiliar ground.

When I got there I met well-informed readers with highly diverse viewpoints and backgrounds. They asked me questions I'd never been asked before. We all had a great time and I learned a lot. For GOD'S HOUSE, I set a goal to do all the book clubs I could, either in person or over the phone.

At public events I get about a 50/50 mix of male/female fans, but, for whatever reason, my book club experiences have been with women. They came from all walks of life, from busy professionals, to moms at home with small children, to grandmas. They ranged from PhDs and MDs, to women with no formal education past high school, but a lot of wisdom and savvy. The atmosphere at these meetings is relaxed, we usually have nice snacks, and sometimes really good wine. I can bring my wife along. She enjoys it and sometimes takes questions herself. I don't have to worry about business issues like selling books or taking orders, because they already have books.

Several book club members said they usually didn’t read Thrillers and were surprised that they liked mine. This was life-changing, so far as my novels are concerned. I discovered a surprising number of romance or women's mystery readers like my novels. They made great comments and gave useful suggestions for my future books. I was astonished to discover how many -- over 70%! -- had enjoyed my novel as an eBook.

My future plans are for Thriller novels exclusively. I have five written, one published, and will have at least one more (PRIVACY WARS) on the market in 2012. I'm published by a small press, the margins on POD paper books are thin, and my events are not subsidized by copays from a publisher. Therefore, I have to be very selective with my limited time and resources.

Some clubs have mentioned having me visit their area for a bookstore signing. That's fine by me, but it's up to your local store and this can be hard to arrange for an "Indie author." I cannot usually do in-store signings unless they can be planned well in advance, the store is stocking my novels, there is local promotion, and it is someplace where I have another reason to attend. I'm doing most of my signings at libraries and conferences and book clubs. Here's the good news: In some cases, I can reach where the big publishers cannot. Typically, they have their authors tour only the big cities, and limit promotion to the top 30 Media Markets (Portland, OR is # 22).

I like the small towns and am fortunate to be an instrument-rated multiengine pilot who owns a plane and loves an excuse to fly. I do signings in small towns and small airports. If a local book club can give me enough advance notice, I can possibly schedule signings at your local libraries and stores when I'm in the area to justify a trip. I've had local banks promote my signings, have done several at airport events, and even did one at a Barber Shop. I recently did a signing on an Indian Reservation, and it came about from a book group's referral.

I have decided book clubs are key to my future as a novelist, and learned that I can pay more attention to small book clubs than most big A-list authors can justify. If you belong to a book club and you’ve chosen one of my books to read, please let me know the date and time. I will do my best to either swing by or, more likely, call in at a time you designate. If possible, send me a photo of your group and tell me some things about yourselves (what your town is like, the best books you've read, your backgrounds, and why you selected my book). In any case, please contact me and put “Book Club” in the subject line.

I will personally read all your notes. You will get a response. I'll do my best to either meet you in person or call-in for a good discussion. I look forward to hearing from you. You, my fans, are what it's all about. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

John D. Trudel

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