Why Every Writer Should Belong to a Book Club

Written by A Guest Author | May 19, 2016

Written By Ruth O’Neil

I had an epiphany the other day.

Maybe it won’t be one for you, but here it is: every writer should be part of a book club. Yup. Sounds simple, but it’s true.

What caused this epiphany, you may wonder? The ladies in my book club.

We were discussing the past month’s book, and not too kindly. These women gave all sorts of advice for things in the book they did not like. They gave ideas of what the author SHOULD have done but didn’t. There were many issues. There were too many characters. It took too long to get into the actual story. Too many loose ends. “Why were these characters introduced at the end of the book? They’re unnecessary.” The author only put in information when she felt it moved the plot along, not because that information was actually needed.

I could go on with their comments, but I won’t.

Readers, not writers, can give valuable feedback for your story. Sometimes writers get too caught up in the mechanics of the book, rather than focusing on what the reader will walk away with, if they finish your book.

There are certain things to look for when joining a book club.

1 – Look for groups with about 5-10 people. If there aren’t many people, you won’t get much feedback. If there are too many, you won’t get to hear everyone’s opinions.

2 – Make sure the group actually reads the books. It won’t do you any good to join a group to hear what they have to say about books if they don’t read them.

3 – Look for them to choose from a variety of authors. If they only read one author or one type of book, you won’t learn anything new. New authors encourage new discussion.

4 – Join more than one book club if you have the time. You can join a local book club, but you can also find many book clubs online. If you do join more than one book club, look for two that read different types of books and have different types of people to get the most out of your efforts. You don’t want to join two clubs that are exactly the same.

5 – Consider who you write for. If you write for children you may want to sit in on or have your own children join a book club. If you write chic lit, keep your book clubs to those mostly consisting of women.

If you are unsure of where a book club is in your area do a little research. Bookstores can often give you a list of book clubs in your area; many meetings taking place at the actual store. If you live in a college town ask the school if they have book clubs that non-students can join.

It is definitely worth it to you and improving your writing to join a book club and hear what readers have to say. Ultimately it encourages you to read some really great authors – which you should be doing anyway


Bio: Ruth O’Neil, born and raised in upstate New York, attended Houghton College. She has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications. You can visit her at http://ruths-real-life.blogspot.com/ or on her website at http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/.