“First of all and foremost, it’s sharing our stories. We are the only animal that shares stories, it’s what makes us human and more humane. We are educated, enlightened, entertained and you can read all by yourself or with others. The interesting thing is, if you read by yourself, that’s one dimension. If you share it with your book club that’s another, but when you bring the author into the mix, like we do with our Pulpwood Queen Book Club Selections Authors, you get the three-dimensional picture in full focus.”
Kathy Murphy, founder of the Pulpwood Queens book clubs
Wow! A book club with 580 chapters across America and 15 countries. That’s right: 580 chapters! Drum roll. It’s the…Pulpwood Queens book clubs: the “largest meeting-and-discussing book club in the world” — and it sounds like everyone’s having a ball! Not only do the clubs meet on a regular basis, but Kathy also hosts an annual convention that brings together avid readers and authors for a several-day love fest. Sounds like fun.
Kathy was interviewed about what she looks for in her book selections by Where Writers Win, a website offering great marketing advice:
1. New authors: Kathy likes to pick “an unknown author, one that is perhaps a first time/first book or one that hasn’t been discovered in a really big way.” She occasionally chooses popular authors who agree to keynote her annual convention.
2. Strong writing: “This is a given but it must be well written, free of flaws and my book club members do not like to read books with gratuitous violence.” Sometimes, she makes exceptions. She selected Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because “it was just such a great, well written story.”
3. Fresh angles: “Most important of all, the book must tell a story that has NOT been heard before or from a perspective that gives the reader a different view of a subject.” Some of stories Kathy especially enjoyed: The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King, The Dive From Claussen’s Pier by Ann Packer, Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman.
4. Uplift: “I want a book that changes people’s lives for the better.” She also wants books that are “discuss-able” and that includes book club questions written by the author.
5. Enjoyable reads: “I really don’t care who publishes a book, a good book is a good read no matter who publishes it.”
6. Real pages: Kathy likes “a real book to read, I’m on the computer so much, I want to cuddle with a book in bed!”
It’s wonderful to know there are so many passionate readers and book-club goers who are ready and willing to give new writers a chance, isn’t it? Write on!