Monday, 2 June 2014

Goodreads group get together.

By Jenny Blake

Continuing on from last weeks blog post on readers responses to Goodreads this week I am writing about how a groups can bless both authors and readers. 

Last week I mentioned both the Love Inspired Historical group and also Janet Tronstad - Dry Creek & Other Stories groups. Both these books have been a blessing to me. About 2 years ago I ended up in hospital after collapsing at home and the LIH group were so caring after I got back home. It was like having an extended family around the world. Then when my mother passed away they blessed me with a small gift. The group has also supported others who have had a loss or illness in similar ways. The reason this group is such a caring group is that the members share with each other and support each other. It is more than just a group where readers communicate with authors instead we see them as friends. 

Last year a group of us meet in Spokane last year in May. This came about with my going to America for a holiday and planning to visit Spokane. Both the LIH group and Janet Tronstad's group were involved. A group of about 12 of us meet in Spokane for a weekend. The meeting took place over 4 days with most arriving on the Friday and leaving on the Tuesday morning. I was doing a tour so couldn't arrive til the Sunday afternoon which meant I missed out on meeting Camy Tang. Below is a photo of 10 of us take by one of the 2 husbands who were also there.  This is not long after I arrived and at this stage I was extremely exhausted and overwhelmed. One of the other ladies had to leave early but am so glad we got time to meet.

These groups have been there for me in many difficult times and it was so good to finally meet some of the ladies. We had a great time getting to know each other better. We had time to visit on the Monday had a special lunch thanks to Janet Tronstad and Jillian Hart. This is where we had to say good bye to two of the couples which was sad to do.  My biggest regret was not having longer with the group but it was definitely worth the visit. As a reader meeting authors is exciting and can leave us a little tongue tied but having known these ladies online it was more like meeting friends. 

As a reader having a chance to meet other readers and authors who we have gotten to know online is a privilege and I hope to be able to meet them all again at some stage. This came about from a Goodreads group and I wrote this to show how a group can be beneficial.

In America there are many reader appreciation luncheons where authors and readers have a chance to meet and in July we will be hearing more about this from an authors point of view. I would love this sort of opportunity in Australia also.

Have you ever been to an Author/Reader event? Or would you be interested in participating?
Would love to hear what others think. 

JENNY BLAKE (aka Ausjenny) is an avid reader. When not reading she enjoys watching cricket, in fact you could call her a cricket fanatic, and jigsaws. Her book blog is where she reviews books and interview authors. Her goal is to help promote new books and encourage authors. Her blog is at http://ausjenny.blogspot.com and is Co-Founder of http://acrba.blogspot.com

14 comments:

  1. What a wonderful idea, Jenny! Some of our NSW authors met together At my place which was central to most and we had a great time of fellowship. But I'd never thought of including readers, that would make it SO interesting. Authors would probably love to meet with those readers who were kind and interested enough to form such a friendship.
    Mind you in the US they have many more choices, but who knows what may come of your suggestion?

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    1. Rita while there are more choices in the US the reason this get together happened was because of interaction between readers and authors on a group. Orginally I have emailed Jillian Hart about how much I liked a book and we became friends that way. With the interaction on the groups with the others we all became friends.

      The same can happen in Australia with interaction between authors and readers and this group can be a good start where readers and authors feel like they both are important. The other issue in Australia is less readers seem to be active on forums and fb groups etc. If you have a good response at a book signing it would give an indication readers are interested in meeting authors.

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  2. What a fantastic trip, Jenny!

    Based on what you've written, I suspect the key to successful author/reader groups (and meetings) is friendship - in this case, based on a common love of books.

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    1. Yes Iola I think that is the key a common love of books and mutual respect. The LIH group has had virtual trips and written fun stories where each person takes a turn writing (readers and writers and no judging). The other key is not to be seen marketing books, sharing what you write yes but not pushing buy my book all the time. Because we have come to love these authors there books are on the auto buy list. Not because they ask but because they are now friends.

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  3. What a great experience Jenny. These good read groups have obviously worked very well. Out of interest, how big is each group? I am a member of a couple of Good Reads groups but both are rather big and perhaps not as focused so I haven't made links with particular people. Perhaps too, I'm not as active. The idea of readers and authors connecting like this is a good one.

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    1. Thanks Jeanette, The groups have a lot of members the LIH is over 500 but most are not active probably around 40 or so are active on them. I am on some groups that are bigger but I don't comment or read them much partly cos they are so big and are just not me. The groups that start slowly and have interaction are the ones that work best. I have seen the same on FB groups and blogs. I will be posting more about meeting people because of blogs in July I think it is.

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  4. Great post, Jenny. That trip to the US sounds amazing. I'm so glad you had the chance to meet people who mean so much to you. A love of story really connects people. Thanks for showing us what that looks like in a practical way. :)

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    1. Thanks Dotti, The trip was amazing and meeting authors as well as this get together was amazing.
      These people mean a lot to me as they were there when I nearly died (well after I got home) and then when mum passed away and I was able to help Mel when her mother passed away 6 weeks later as did the whole group. They were there for both Mel and I when our mothers were sick. When others have had health issues we have supported each other and there is a prayer thread people post on. We have been with one member as she finished her teaching degree and then when she got her first and second jobs. We missed a few of these special ladies who couldn't come but we did remember them.

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  5. Jenny, excellent post! I love how your Spokane meeting happened organically because a group of online author and reader friends wanted to get together and meet in person. A lovely part of your trip and I know you'll treasure the memories :)

    Your post, and the comments, reveal why authors who view readers as sales targets for buy my book promo are really missing the point.

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    1. Thanks Narelle, yes I agree that readers hate being targeted with buy my book promo's. There was another author who lives in the area who I meet and she was such a lovely lady and I have gone out to buy her books since.

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  6. I think a reader appreciation lunch is such a good idea, too. I've seen these mentioned in the USA but everything seems to be about meeting the authors and not so much about appreciating the readers - who keep the authors and publishers in business! Something to think about here in NZ as well. Great post, Jenny - warm fuzzies from reading it!

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    1. Thanks Joanne, I agree about appreciating readers. I know they have a big one which a guest will be speaking about in the eastern states think in Georgia and they call it a Readers Appreciation Luncheon. I loved the time together and its a memory I treasure.

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  7. Jenny, I had no idea you had been in Spokane. I will have to find out about this readers' group. I have two brothers who live in Spokane, and I occasionally visit there. I would love to talk to this group when I am there.

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    1. Hi Merrillee, it was so cool last year. It started with me wanting to meet Jill and then snowballed. The LIH group and Janets are more active than the LI group but most of us are members of all three groups. Jill is the only Spokane native but Janet often goes to Montana. Most of the others flew in and a couple drove from Oregon and Idaho. They do want to do it again (maybe different venue). I know I wont make it over for several years again (health issues and money) But I want to go again.

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