I am Dixie Dawn Miller Goode. My favorite protagonist is a young boy with Cerebral Palsy. "Duffy Barkley walks on four legs," the kids tease, because he uses crutches. There are many things Duffy has to work extra hard to accomplish, but no-one can tell him "No!"
This Blog has things that somehow tie into my Duffy Barkley books, or into my writing, including the time twisted, Double Time: On The Oregon Trail and my various kids picture books.
Friday, March 6, 2015
Talking to book clubs about my book
I like to think of myself as a writer. Ever since I was a child that is one of the happier labels I have applied to myself. When I was a child, a preschooler, I was a talker. My Dad said I had been "vaccinated with a record needle and never stopped talking since." Yet, as I started school, and learned that the other kids didn't like my non stop talking, and the fact that as an only child until just before I started school had created a child with no idea how to play well with others. I got slapped down hard, and rejected many times and it wasn't until the end of high school that I started to make friends and realize that I could both talk and listen.
So in school my best friends were the characters in books, and I have always considered myself an introvert. It goes well with being the person who observes and records instead of interacting. I curled up with my notebook, or hunched over a desk, and rarely made eye contact or had to speak.
Oddly enough though, when my brother was born with Down's syndrome and I learned to work with him, I also learned to be a teacher, and to work in front of large groups of children. But that was separate. I could talk to a class, and I could write - but I was too introverted to talk about my books out loud, so on-line I talked, in person I listened. But Marketing books means you have to believe in them, AND you have to be their loudest, most vocal word of mouth advocate. If I believed someone would love my story, nothing would happen until I would open my mouth and tell them why they would love my book.
Double Time On The Oregon Trail
So I wrote Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, and very few people read it, even though I loved it, and the ones who did read it were positive. Then I wrote Double Time on the Oregon Trail, and I started talking about it to 5th grade students who were studying the Oregon Trail, and then to a 5th grade teacher, who passed it to a School District Director of Curriculum who authorized the Instructional Media Center to order a class set of 38 copies. Then another 5th grade teacher convinced her book club to read it and asked me to come to their meeting and talk about it. I was scared, but brought my handwritten draft, and some research, and some old storied I wrote in 5th grade myself and talked, and they listened and asked questions and it was fun.
This year I am in a book club myself, and we read The Invention of Wings and ate dinner at one members house, and then read The Orphan Train and ate dinner at another members house, and it was my turn to be hostess, and I never invite people into my old house, decorated in Early American Yard Sale. But I'm a good cook, so I said I can do it, and we chose my first book, Duffy Barkley and I cooked and they came over.
My old, chilly, very Green living room
But what did I learn? I learned you can't point out where the glasses and the garbage can are, and serve the food, and sit down and present about how you wrote a book, or ask the questions you want your readers to answer about what worked and where they loved, or hated my book. Going into classes as an author presenter has been fun and satisfying. Presenting in someone else's home as an author at their book club, I was focused and had planned ahead what to tell them and which questions to ask. In my home I kept wandering out of the conversation, and still missed a lot of what they said about my book
Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog
So, when you want to market your book to book clubs, it is a good idea. You do get a group of people willing to spend time and money on your book, but if you find yourself thinking about hosting the book club, find a partner, and focus for that evening, on being a speaker, speaking passionately about a book you really believe in.
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