I wrote about being a member of an author’s book club as part of my series covering beginning and building an author platform. I wanted to go back to the subject to discuss my own membership in more detail. What I’m working on here is to help both new and prospective members with how to get the most out of membership through involvement.
I’ve been a VIP member of Rave Reviews Book Club since late last year. This club is based mainly on supporting independent authors from a group perspective – strength in numbers provides greater reach for everyone. As such involvement through a minimum of four reviews of member books per year – which is quite reasonable – is a requirement to having books listed in the club catalog. Other involvement is highly encouraged.
So at it’s most basic level, RRBC is about reviews for authors. But there are expectations for the whole process as indicated in the club rules. Reviews for new authors are hard to obtain so getting honest ones is very important. Being in the club catalog is a member’s gateway to getting reviews from other club members.
It’s very important to note that membership means you are part of a group of authors promoting each other. Involvement brings returns from other members in a variety of ways – retweets, tweets, reblogs, reviews, etc.
Here’s how I approach being a member. I’m actively working on my main requirement of reviewing four other member books this year to remain an active member with my book on the member catalog. Otherwise, I can’t do everything so I do what I can. I participate in the PushTuesday events and recruiting days. I also retweet other members via our Twitter hashtags. I participate in chats whenever my schedule allows. Lastly, I host blog tours for other members whenever I can.
In return, I’ve received a number of gracious reviews that were invaluable for promotion and gaining insights about my writing. I’ve received lots of tweet support for my blog and my book. I’ve also encountered a number of interesting, talented authors from whom I’ve learned various writing-related tips. Overall, the club does more for me than I can do for myself. I look forward to adding a few more books to the catalog as well as reading more books from my fellow members.
But wait! There’s more available for club members! RRBC has just started an internet radio network to further promote members. This is incredible for all of us since we have the opportunity to gain professional experience doing live interviews. Likewise, the network increases the club’s reach and thus the exposure of every member.
And speaking of professional opportunity, involvement in club activities teaches us about professionalism. Being kind, gracious, patient and thankful are all traits authors need to successfully work with the public. This means that involvement with various activities where the prize is some sort of special spotlight is a treat for the winner. I’ve had the humble opportunity to be the winner of a PushTuesday and Member of the Week. These aren’t just handed out for being a member but rather for involvement. If others are chosen, then I congratulate them or retweet those sentiments. Learning professionalism teaches you to interact with readers and the club is a great place to learn this trait.
So why is all this involvement important? In the digital age it’s hard to promote by yourself. What makes it harder is that books don’t sell from advertising but rather from word of mouth. In the world of social media, self-promotion is quickly ignored – though must do this regardless. However, promoting others gets you promoted. This is important since books mainly sell by word of mouth. When you promote others, that’s word of mouth. With a club like RRBC you get a lot of word of mouth. The more involved you are the more the club of more than five hundred members is behind you.
I hope this helps any new or prospective members. These are just my views on being a helpful member and gaining the most benefit you can from membership. I encourage other members to relate their views of what it means to be involved and how it benefits them. The main idea is to think of yourself second and others first and you will receive more club support. I’ll share more in the near future about my own expectations and what I’ve received.
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