TopShelf Magazine February 2017 | Page 9


by Sarah Noffke ( www . SarahNoffke . com )
Book clubs have always been a popular way to draw people together who have a common love for books . However , times have changed , and people are busier than ever . Finding the time for readers to congregate at the library or bookstore is not an easy job . However , that desire for readers to discuss their favorite characters or a major plot twist hasn ’ t disappeared . Have book clubs died ? No , not at all . They just need some renovation .
Recently , I was given an idea by a fellow author . She created a “ reading marathon ” for her three book series . The whole thing was set up on Facebook and readers started the series together and finished it together . Because the idea was such a success , I was asked to marathon my own series afterward . Well , I took the idea one step further . I created a group called Awesome Reading Marathoners . I invited authors to join the schedule , and the group took off . Readers loved that from the comfort of their home they could discuss their favorite and not so favorite parts of books . Now , these readers , I know from asking them , still go into bookstores and libraries to pick up their books , but they do that on their own schedule . Then they jump online , follow the reading schedule for the current book series that we ’ re reading


and interact . There are daily prizes , games , discussions and best of all a community of readers who love interacting with authors . It ’ s been a huge success because unlike the periodic meetings of book clubs , the group has a chance to unload ideas and opinions when they happen . And it ’ s perfect for the shy bookworm who usually has an insightful opinion on a book , but is too nervous to share it in person .
So how can this model help
bookstores and libraries ? Well , I teach college classes , and more and more we are seeing hybrid models . The students and instructor meet once at the beginning of the class , then the middle portion is taught online , and the final class is in person . That could be a wonderful option for brick and mortars . Or just creating an online forum and posting events in stores could give readers a place to find friends . “ This month we ’ re marathoning the Blank series . Indie Author Blank will be holding discussions daily and offering awesome prizes and special inside secrets . Join the group here and grab the book .”
These groups can be hosted on Facebook , Goodreads or a website . And the options for creating the marathon are limitless . Mine , which is
going on right now , takes over my life because I ’ m constantly online answering hundreds of readers a day . It ’ s a bit daunting , but there isn ’ t a more rewarding experience for an author . This model encourages interaction and readership , which at the end of the day is the goal . If you ’ re interested in checking out the marathon group I run , find the links below . The group has grown quickly since it began in the summer . And the schedule of authors set to marathon their series is booked out through 2018 . It ’ s a model that readers and authors love . Also , if you have specific questions then feel free to email me . I have manuals and guidelines that help with the construction of the group , and I ’ ve assisted many authors and readers set up virtual book clubs .
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TOPShelf magazine FEBRUARY2017