How to handle a book club discussion of YOUR book – Hint: Not like I did #WriterWednesday #AmWriting

book club 2

Trust me. There was tons of booze you can’t see in the picture. 

Last week, my book club featured one of my books, Buried Appearances. Sure, I was nervous, but I’d done this before. A previous book club I was in had read and discussed Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker. I could totally handle this, although I did buy lots of booze just in case.

The result? In short, it was not a roaring success – vast understatement. Don’t get me wrong. No one was mean. And therein lies the problem. Because I knew the ladies in my book club – had known them for some time and gotten rip-roaring drunk with them on more than a few occasions – I didn’t properly prepare. Which was a problem since I’m the fearless (Ha! Ha!) leader of the group and usually bring discussion questions to each meeting. Added to my nervousness about the discussion, this was a HUGE mistake on my part.

I’ve been in several book clubs in my life and they all have one thing in common – it’s easy to get off the topic of the book. As I’m a book addict and am a member of a book club to discuss books, this irks me. I don’t think gossip is completely bad. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some gossip. But I think the book should take central stage. I usually handle the off topic chatter by using discussion questions to bring the book back to center stage.

Because I didn’t have discussion questions prepared, we didn’t actually discuss my book that much. We kept veering off of topic. Eventually, the meeting ended up being more about books for future discussion than the actual book we were supposed to be talking about. Color me disappointed.

So, how do you handle a book club discussion of your book?

  1. Be prepared. Make several discussion questions about your book in advance. Make more than you need! Sometimes questions you think will take hours to discuss are quickly tossed aside. If you need help, check out this article from book riot to get you started.
  2. Leave time for questions. Your fellow book club members will have questions about the book and writing. Some of which you would have never expected. (Someone asked me why the main character in my novel didn’t ask a man she meets up to her hotel room. It’s a historical fiction novel with a teensy weensy bit of romance. Not a question I was expecting.)
  3. Create an open atmosphere. A tennis partner asked me yesterday if it was even possible to have a book discussion of my own book as surely everyone would just be nice. Ha! Bloody ha! Most likely people won’t be mean – on purpose. But they will ask questions, some of which will make you feel uncomfortable. Aside from the sex question above, my fellow book club members were upset my heroine didn’t go looking for her mom at the end of the book. Spoiler alert – I never even considered it. Of course, I started doubting myself. Why didn’t I make that the end of the novel? Should I have? And on and on. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.
book club 1

Snacks are VITAL to a good book club discussion. I did typical Dutch snacks as the book takes place in the Netherlands.

Considering the above, you’re probably wondering if I would still recommend discussing your book at a book club. The answer is yes. Despite being uncomfortable, I did learn a lot from the experience. So, yeah, I’d do it again.

What is your experience with discussing your book at a book club?

6 thoughts on “How to handle a book club discussion of YOUR book – Hint: Not like I did #WriterWednesday #AmWriting

  1. annabellefranklinauthor says:

    Recently, my book club seems to spend more time discussing disastrous UK politics than books – and yes, it irks me too! As for having my own books discussed, I don’t think I’d risk it. The stories are already published and out there, and I don’t think I’d find it helpful to hear what I could or should have done with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.E. Haggerty says:

      In this day and age, it’s almost impossible NOT to discuss politics – especially for Americans and Brits. BUT we have a policy not to discuss politics and that mostly works. One of the book club members had read my book and was pretty insistent we read it as we are Americans living in Holland and the book is about Dutch history. I objected but was overwhelmed by everyone wanting to read it. It was one of my earlier books, so this was the push I needed to go back and edit it. Since I’ve edited it, I’ve started marketing it and selling more copies. Overall, a good result.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hilgart, Venus says:

    Dena , I am shocked you weren’t prepared with questions. We have discussed 2 of your books at my book clubs and I have e-mailed you for questions. I think we even discussed Buried Appearances and you wrote questions for this. Hope you had a good time anyway.

    Venus Hilgart RN, BSN

    HYMC OR Charge Nurse

    715-356-8200

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Crystal says:

    I have some questions for you. Where do you mainly get your ideas for your books? If someone wanted to write and possibly publish their first book do you have any advice? Do you have both heroes and heroins or just heroes and why?

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.E. Haggerty says:

      Wow! Those are some big questions. Ideas for books are everywhere. My muse is constantly throwing ideas my way. If you want to learn about writing and publishing, I recommend checking out thecreativepenn.com by Joanna Penn. She’s got great advice on her blog in her podcast

      Like

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