I've sponsored/run/participated in a few book club titles here at LR, books that I'm actively publishing, or attached to in some way. What can I/we do to get more people to show up, to engage, and be a part of the discussion?
Do we need bigger authors and titles?
Do we need to give away more books, money, Amazon Gift Cards?
Do we need to focus on differnet genres?
Do you have a preference between novel, collection, or anthology?
Do you need more lead time from the release date?
Do we need to focus on books that are cheaper?
Do we need to focus more on authors that came out of, or a part of, LR?
Is it important that the authors (or SOME authors, if it's an anthology) be a part of it?
I'm looking for any and all suggestions on how to make these more exciting, to boost attendance, and to make something fun, that you'll all want to attend.
PS: Also, I've got two more DHP titles coming up, Echo Lake by Letitia Trent (novel) and After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones (collection). Would you attend either of those?
For me I don't think there is enough time from when the book is anounced for me to aquire it, and read it by the end of the club. Like with the New Black. I ordered it on the release date, but by the time I got it the discussion month was half over. Part of it is just me being real busy and not having time to read it(i did have an e-copy that I could had dove into), but in the past it usually takes me a couple weeks to read a good length book. And by the time it's anounced it takes two-three weeks to purchase the book and have it delivered. Most of the books I can't just get at the bookstore. I supose I could go the e-book route but I much prefer reading a real book. Is it possible to determine the next selection two months in advance rather than one?
More lead time would probably help me out. As long as the writing is strong and the subject matter is somewhere on the dark end of the spectrum, the titles aren't really an issue for me. A few of the past selections haven't been my flavor, but the last few have been really good books. The New Black is really good, but I haven't finished it. Anthologies are something that I like to read a single story at a time to let them sink in. Looking forward to picking up Toxicity, but don't know if I'll finish in time to participate.
thanks, JR and Devon, that was something i feared. what's a good time to do it, two months later, three? so glad you all are speaking up. if it's just me being stupid and booking it too early, than that's my faut. i worried interest would have waned if it was too far away from the release date.
More lead in time and perhaps a few prompt questions/topics of discussion provided by the book club moderator to start things out. Sometimes I feel like people don't know where to start so they say nothing and the thread kinda dies.
Or people don't realize they needn't have the entire book read before participating in the discussion. They don't post spoilers until near the end of the month, if at all, so just avoid the latter part of the discussion if this is something you fear.
I think the time frame is the biggest thing, I brought The New Black and haven't finished it yet, I brought Toxicity and haven't started it yet :(
Other than that prompt questions work well, and author input (or author's input in case of anthologies) is always appreciated.
You don't need bigger authors or titles, I like the fact we discuss our own people :)
You don't need more prizes or giveaways. C'mon, you shouldn't have to bribe people to read, right?
Besides the time thing, it's mostly because the community is a little dead of late.
I've only done one book club so far (TNB), but I agree with the time frame. Maybe 2-3 months lead time? Seemed like a lot of people had TNB but weren't done.
I don't think bigger names are necessary. I like that these books are connected to people here on LR.
Since we just did an anthology, I'd love to see one on Echo Lake.
I also agree with the site being pretty quiet--it's not just the book club. Maybe because it's summer time? Not sure...
@DB: I think the site being quiet is defintely due to it being summer, plus this weekend is a holiday; a lot of folks around here are makiing it a long weekend or taking the next week off.
I actually thought it had pepped up quite a bit. Several Thunderdome battles sparked up and there are a lot of people active in the Arrest Us contest. Before that it was all crickets.
Get me published and famous-ish so I can quit my day job and have enough time.
That said, lead time might help, too.
@JR: Several of the authors have lamented on the number of readers for the last two challenges. I'm new,so I'm not sure how this works. I will say if 20+ have signed up for the other writer challenge, then we need to get some of our people to read the great creative stories on this site!
@Thuggish: Know your post was tongue-in-cheek. That being said-----
Hate to disappoint, babe, but you should keep the day job---writers, musicians, etc.; all creative people need patrons (see ref. the Renaissance) or wives/husbands/significant others/indulgent parents/crazy rich friends to help them financially. And that doesn't include the many incredibly talented who fail.
Yeah, I've read the comments in the threads. The reader numbers haven't been that high in the thunderdome battles lately. But realistically they were never really high before. For the WAR tournments in the early rounds we get great turnouts. As the feild lessens most people stop reading. Some people like myself read every story no matter when they were eleminated. I enjoy it and usually have the time. But the thunderdome battles rarely ever got up to 20 votes. My point was though, that the comunity hadn't really been up to much until a few weeks ago when alot of writers started chalenging each other to thunderdome battles. THat thread had probably been dead for six months or longer, so I was pretty excited just to see that activity and read, and write and vote.
The other thing I mentioned was the official LitReactor Arrest Us chalenge that started at the first of June. That could be another reason the threads are kind of dead. The deadline was today and arround 130 stories have been entered. Many active members are actively reading and reviewing those stories including myself. So personally I believe that right now the LitReactor comunity as a whole is the most active it's been in months.
Yes, in terms of Arrest us the site is booming, only it doesn't filter that much into anything else. Although considering the amount of stories to read on Arrest Us, that doesn't surprise me either. And yes thunderdome did spark a little bit of an atmosphere. But on a whole the sites been a lot quieter for a good 4 months? 6 months maybe?
Also JR: I haven't forgotten that I promised you a critique of Foxtrot, it's coming :)
Would you prefer a book every other month? Because man, that will suck trying to narrow that down.
might not be a bad idea, pete. and now with my limitations, it really doesn't matter for DHP, right? lol :-)
that's why i'm not quitting until AFTER my seven-figure contract is signed.
@Thuggish: Good thinking!! J. Rowling was flat broke and almost homeless when she finally got her foot in the door; that should be inspiring
If you have any rich relatives in the family tree, trying cozying up to them. ;) Or CrowdRise!
Pete - no, I still think a book a month is the best way, just maybe two months notice, or a list of upcoming titles so people can order and read in time.
Yeah, maybe you could forecast out 4-6 months so that people could choose what appeals to them, read, and be ready.
At the cult we did a 6 month list before. The last 4 months were dead. People only discussed the first couple. I think there's a fine line. If you tell people the book too far ahead - sometimes they read it and when it comes to discussion time, it's no longer fresh in their minds.
The other problem with that is sometimes I end up shuffling the books around if something comes up or a release date gets pushed back. In fact, I shuffled the list around just last night and this morning trying to get it to work a little better.
I have the rest of the year booked though. So I wouldn't be able to do less than a book a month until next year.
Is BURNT TONGUES on there, Pete?
yes - for October.
To give people plenty of time to buy it and read it. ;)
I think that'll be a good one.
I already pre-ordered that one so I should be able to join the October club.
I like Brandon's idea of moderator questions (or crowd-sourced questions the moderator poses). I see that a lot in Harper-Perennial (?) pbks, with the questions for book clubs in the back. If nothing else, it gets the conversation started. More lead time would probably help too.
Personally, I haven't participated in a ton of the book discussions because I've been really busy, even if I do like the featured book/author. Most times I chime in if I've already read the book, or in the case of THEY DON'T DANCE MUCH, the allure of a hidden gem of noir novels and the comparison to Cain. But that's just me.
I think also more reminders (on Twitter, ect) would help a lot.
I buy the books when they are first anounced but then forget to read them (because of life).