Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm sure you're wondering about the title of this entry. Actually it has two meanings.

Yesterday afternoon I met with a book club called S.U.R.E. (Sisters United Reading Everything), which had read Have You Seen Her? as their August club selection. I was invited by the wife of one of my former writer’s group members. When she extended the invitation a couple of months ago, I was nervous at the prospect of my first in-person book club visit, so nervous that I sent out Facebook messages to some of my favorite authors asking for advice. Author Beverly Jenkins’ wise guidance was absolutely wonderful and made all the difference. Thanks, Bev for being so forthcoming.

When my husband and I arrived at the beautiful suburban Atlanta home, I was expecting munchies. Sheila, the hostess had mentioned on the phone that they would be having something to eat. What I wasn’t prepared for was a spread that included crudite' and salmon hors d'oeuvres, an incredible spicy, homemade jambalaya (with chicken, sausage and shrimp), rice, salad, garlic bread, margaritas made by her husband, wine and luscious strawberry cream pie!
We ate first then Sheila introduced me to the group, told them how we met and even read the long version of my personal bio. The members of the group, which is fifteen strong, opened by sharing their thoughts and opinions of the book in general. I sat there blushing, as I’d never had a room full of people telling me how much they enjoyed my work. It was truly humbling.

The members, all women over forty, shared their feelings and personal experiences with spousal abuse, the theme of Have You Seen Her? They also talked about what they liked/disliked about the book, which I appreciated. Feedback tells me what I need to do in the future.

One issue they brought to my attention was that Barnes & Noble Nook has the book listed as 900 pages! I was stunned, especially after I had struggled to keep the original manuscript as close to 400 pages as possible. Of course I’ll be checking with PubIt! today to find out why. I don’t want anything in my book descriptions that might scare readers away.

I had put together a quiz with questions about the book and brought a few trinkets with me to give out as prizes for those who wanted to participate.

It was SO much fun!

After experiencing this wonderful meeting, there are a few things I am even surer of now:

  • reading is still alive and well
  • I am building a loyal fan base
  • African-American readers are moving into electronic reading
  • Camaraderie among women is unique, soul nourishing and necessary

Thank you, Sheila, Mike and all the ladies of S.U.R.E.
for making my first book club appearance absolutely great!


MJKane said...

I'm goad things worked out so well for you! I hope you've been inspired to find that next elusive ms your dying to write!

Sharon Cunningham Cooper said...

Wow! It sounds like a wonderful experience!! I too enjoyed Have You Seen Her and would've loved to get in on that meeting! :).

The book club sounds interesting as well. I haven't been apart of a dynamic book club since I left Milw. (over 8yrs. ago). There I was a member of Souls of My Sisters (an amazing group of women). So maybe in the near future I'll check out S.U.R.E (if they have open enrollment).

Big congrats, Chicki! I'm sure this was the first of many book clubs for you!

Jackie H. said...

Glad you're getting out and's not THAT CONGRATS:)

LaShaunda said...

What a wonderful way to begin your bookclub experience. They sound like a very nice group. They know how to show a writer a good time.

Congrats :)

Chicki said...

Yes, they displayed the best of southern hospitality!

As more local readers become electronically inclined, I believe more opportunities to chat with book clubs.

PatriciaW said...

Fantastic! More AA readers will move into electronic reading as more AA books get the heavy FREE promotions from their publishers/Amazon that we see for other books. There's nothing like a free ebook to get someone to try a new author. Your strategy of low cost is a good one, though. Most of the AA books I see are at or near the regular book price.

Chicki said...

Patricia, most indie books are priced between 99 cents and $4.99. It's the books put out by publishers that carry the hefty price tags. That's why Amazon has resorted to adding the disclaimer, "The price was set by the publisher" to let readers know Amazon isn't the one trying to screw them!

Monique DeVere said...

Aww, Chicki,

I love this post! The experience must have been amazing. I can see why it humbled you. I felt that way just reading about it. :)

Author of humorous, feel-good romance