Monday, February 20, 2012

Not MY book club

I barely slept on Wednesday night.  The reason?  I was invited to the book club of an acquaintance, who had arranged that her book club read my book for their February meeting.  I. was. nervous.  I have taught at least a thousand days worth of (language) classes, I've spoken before dozens at professional conferences, and was not nervous about any of that.  Yet I was kept up at night in anticipation of sitting with around 10 women - three of whom I know - to talk about my book.  There is something about sharing my writing with others that scares me, and I don't know why.  I suppose that I like my book even though I realize it is not the Great American Novel.  I do think that the fact that it is self-published rather than backed by a traditional publisher could have something to do with it.  It's just me and my book.  Hoping people read it.  Hoping people like it.

It took me a good hour to shake off my nervousness.  My acquaintance - and I say this because as lovely and kind and fun as she is, the book club hostess is not a good friend of mine because we just haven't had that much time to get to know each other.  And yet she went to all this work to organize this.  She got the books for everyone, she had them over to her house, she prepared lovely food (and amazing cupcakes), and was one of the most gracious hostesses I've ever met.  People can just be so nice!  I read all the bad and sad headlines of awfulness in the world, but really there are incredibly nice and friendly people in the world.  And they were at this book club meeting.

A hundred questions were asked - is the book autobiographical?  Why is the main character half Chinese?  How long did it take me to write the book?  How much research did I do?  How does self-publishing work? How many copies have I sold?  Did I take writing classes?  I tried my best to answer them all.

So they have read my book, learned about the writing process, the publishing process, they drank wine, ate food, chatted with their friends... it was a lovely evening.  One of the people I do know who was a part of the club sent me an e-mail saying that I had done a good job answering the questions (whew!)  My only, teensy tiny wish that was not fulfilled is that I didn't get a good sense of how they liked the story.  A few of them made it clear that they had, but the vast majority didn't.  I asked them if they would write me reviews on Amazon.  There haven't been any new reviews since the book club, but I keep checking... then maybe I'll get a better idea of what they thought.

What an exciting, different experience.  Thanks Bridget!!!


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