I visited my first book group yesterday. I’ve done library events, the kind of thing where I stand up and talk about my books, read a passage or two, take a few questions, but that’s different. Those events can often feel more like a sales pitch – a new author trying to create some interest in his books – but a book group is different. Going to a book group is a bit more like stepping into the lion’s den. You see, the assumption with a book group is that everyone has read your book and wants to discuss it, and that’s a worrying prospect becasue maybe, just maybe, they didn’t like it.
‘Impossible!’ I hear you cry. ‘How could they not love DRY SEASON?’
Well, yeah, I know, it’s hard to believe isn’t it? But really, I’m not so naive to think that it’s for everyone. People’s tastes differ so widely. And on those occasions when I’ve turned to the all conquering behemoth that is Amazon to read reviews, I can only wonder at bad reviews for books I love like ‘The Road’, ‘The Old Man and The Sea’ or ‘Lord of The Flies’, but people are different, they like different things. The world would be a pretty dull place if we were all the same.
So, I took a deep breath, toughened myself and . . . well, it was actually really good fun. I enjoyed talking to a group of people who had read my book, and it was a thrill to see so many well-read copies. I was also very pleased that most of the group seemed to have liked Dry Season. There were one or two constructive criticisms, but that’s fine – you can’t please everyone, we already know that, right? – and it was interesting to hear different opinions about the same characters and aspects of the plot.
So, thanks to Darlington book group for inviting me along to their meeting, and thanks to all the members for buying my book, taking the time to read it, and for throwing some questions at me that really made me think about my writing.
Next week – bear bating.