Rave Reviews Book Club – An Author’s Perspective
When I launched my first novel, The Place We Went to Yesterday, back in November of last year, I had no idea what to expect. I had no author platform. I had no experience doing anything like this. I thought, naively, that I’d write a book, click the publish button and wait for some mega Hollywood producer to contact me about optioning the rights. Silly girl, there’s so much more involved in getting your book out there! But a girl can dream, right?
I’ve heard it said repeatedly (and much to my chagrin as I’ve been battling a terrible case of writer’s block for months now) that “nothing sells your books like writing more of them”. And I’m sure that’s true. I wouldn’t really know because I haven’t been able to finish either of the two Works In Progress I currently have staring me in the face. But what I also didn’t know was just how much a supportive book club could do for you.
As a reader, I’ve been in several book clubs. We’d select a book, read it and discuss it ad nauseum. None of the groups I was in were ever lucky enough to have an actual author come speak to us about their book. Now, for those who love to read, book clubs are a great way to get exposed to new genres, new authors and meet people who share your love of words. For authors, though, there’s usually just an uptick in sales and no other benefit, necessarily.
As I floundered in those first few months post-launch, my editor (the amazing Harmony Kent) recommended that I join Rave Reviews Book Club. I didn’t wince, as some people do, at the $25 annual membership for authors. I chalked it up to a promotional expense and paid it. I dove right in, purchasing books and writing reviews. As a member, you need to read/review four books a year. That’s it. Since I’ve joined, I’ve read and reviewed 7 novels and have three more that I’ve purchased and are on my to-do list. And the reason I’ve gone above and beyond what’s required as a member is because it pays off.
Supporting our fellow members by sending a quick Tweet, purchasing and reviewing others’ books, showing up for discussions with authors, hosting authors on their promotional tours…none of this is a big time investment. I’ll admit that I’m not the best when it comes to Twitter and so I tend to shy away from it, but since joining the club, my followers have increased dramatically, getting to over 700 of them in a matter of months.
In May, my novel was selected as one of the Books of the Month and again, the outpouring of support from my fellow members was mind-blowing and overwhelming! Sales of my novel increased 500% between April and May. No, that’s not a typo. 500%. But even better, those sales actually resulted in reviews. Right now, I’m averaging about a third of people who purchase my novel actually leaving reviews. It’d be great if everyone who read it left an honest review, but no author (not even the NYT Best Sellers) have everyone that reads one of their books leaving reviews.
As authors, we have to get creative about how we spend our money and what we do for promotions. I can say with certainty that joining RRBC has been overwhelmingly beneficial. But it’s more than just the numbers. I’ve met some amazingly talented people as part of this group. People are supportive, not tearing each other down. People want to see each other succeed. There seems to be a mindset that when one of us does well, we all do. If you lift up others, you are not keeping yourself down, but rather, you are lifting yourself up with them. And that’s not something I can say about a lot of other indie author groups I’ve seen out there.
So, as a reader, if you’re looking for high-quality independent books, check out Rave Reviews Book Club’s catalog. As an author, I strongly urge you to join. My membership has more than paid for itself both financially and in terms of the connections and friends I’ve made in the group.
Lisa, what an awesome blog post and it was so inspirational! If I wasn’t a member of RRBC already, I would surely join thanks to what you’ve shared here! I’m personally thankful that you took the time to share your experience with the club, it means a lot and you never know when you’re going to touch that next person to become a little more involved and to become a little better at supporting others. Your book was an awesome BOOK OF THE MONTH! I read it personally and I LOVED IT! You just wait, some big-time producer is sitting at her desk, saying “Hmmm, I wonder if this Lisa Mauro would be willing to talk to us about turning her story into a movie.” When they call you, don’t forget us little people, Lisa! Kudos to you! You’re an awesome author!
Thank you Nonnie! You and your team do a really wonderful job supporting members! You’ve got a fan for life! Interestingly enough, I discovered that Taye Diggs started following me on Twitter, so perhaps a movie could be in the works one of these days!
Yes, I noticed he started following me about a month ago, as well. Hope he’s not just one of those random followers and latches on to what he views as substance. It’s the way I follow. LOL
Lisa, this is a great post, and I am THRILLED that your month as book of the month went so well! RRBC is an awesome book club, and it is great to be a part of it. Good luck with everything in your future! 🙂
Lisa, this is a wonderful way of telling it all about #RRBC. After reading your blog, I started thinking that I should write something similar to writers in my birth country to let them know how #RRBC can trow them wide open to the world. Thank you for being so insightful.
I think that’s a fabulous idea, Joy!
Well said Lisa 😀 Like you I didn’t begrudge paying for the membership (I joined when it was still free last year) and it’s certainly worth it simply for the contacts and support you get, not to mention some really great reading matter.
I’ve not had a BoM, but I’ve had a #PUSHTUESDAY while I was MoM and that doubled my sales and reviews, so these wonderful gigs are DEFINITELY beneficial and all you have to do is JOIN IN! lol
Wishing you continued success – I’m sure there will be a few heads turning towards RRBC for fresh and original stories in the very near future (if they aren’t already)!
Absolutely great post Lisa! I was so inspired that I decided to join… again! Hey, I’m already a member! (Sometimes boys can be silly too!)
Lovely post, Lisa. You have said it all. Glad it all worked and you are pleased to be a member.
Great! I concur! Love Rave Reviews Book Club!
The Place We Went to Yesterday was the first book that I chose to review – and what a cracker. Congrats to you Lisa and also to RRBC for bringing authors like Lisa into the light.
Lisa how lucky for you that you found Rave Reviews Book Club. Most of us floundered around for years before finding something like this. I was on the verge of giving it all up because I felt so alone out there even though I joined a couple of book organizations. Thanks for sharing your story with us.