~ Claudia Kwantini
Setting up a book club has many great benefits. Being among others like yourself could build your character as you learn from those who know a bit more than you, and as an author, it is marvellous for showcasing your talent.
A great way to utilize book clubs is in the form of community engagement. Gathering a community of writers and working with one another can give everyone involved exposure, and together you can nurture each other's talents.
Coming together and taking turns to read one another's work could help that person grows. Members of the group could share what their work meant to the listener, how the work could improve in certain areas, and why the written piece was good. It gives room for critical thinking as you nitpick your favourites and why it worked out, or why it's your least favourite. This, in return, can promote open conversation and can encourage individuals to listen and respect each other's opinions.
It was an excellent way to get others to get a taste of your work as you build your self-esteem. Having a group of like-minded people who genuinely like what you do that is legit, the percentage of people that you cater to is magical. As time progresses, you will see growth, growth in your work and your confidence. And it's a fun way to market yourself and even make money.
You would be surprised what community engagement could mean for you. If readers are what you want, chances are that you will find a group of people who love your work and will become avid readers of your work.
What is community engagement exactly? It is when we come together as one unit with one agenda, to better our community. And the writing community could benefit from these kinds of setups.
Many new authors are shy, or they don't know where to begin. They have no idea how their writing sounds and how to improve it, that's why you start a book club for either beginner writers or established writers. It depends on your end goal.
Beginners can meet with other beginners or with more experienced writers and learn from them. You get to learn the tricks, what your writing lacks and how to improve it. You get to learn more about language and how you can use it to write stories that grip your audiences.
More experienced writers, who already have a book out, can use book clubs more like a beta reader/proofreader system where they can get input from book lovers. They can find out if their story flows well, the pace, and how it sounds and can determine what their overall weakness is. This could be their first step before actually going to a professional editor and print.
But why is community engagement important? And how can I engage with my community?
Being involved in your community, and engaging with them, makes you more than just a cardboard cutout. It brings character to you the author, makes you recognizable and makes you relatable. People love supporting people who care about others, and their environment and are more selfless. Coming together as authors, taking the time to also participate and involve yourself, your time and energy in someone else's work, is great for allying with other authors. And as authors, we need to work together towards the same goal. After all, you build trust within your community, which means that it can increase the level of satisfaction they can get from your work.
Why is it critical?
What are the chances of you finding others in your work field? Community engagement brings others like you to light and makes your customers aware that you exist. That this field and market exist. So, it's spectacular for brand awareness.
It promotes reading and writing.
Nowadays, the young aren't concerned about books any more. This would show them the magic of books, make them know how fun and significant reading is. And it would make them aware of the brilliance that they possess. Do you know how many kids or teens have no idea that they too can create art? Especially an art form such as creative writing that is overlooked?
It pushes you through.
Many people want to read, and have tried reading, but just can't seem to finish a book. Having a team of other readers with you would motivate you and walk with you through your journey.
You get to hang with other book lovers.
It's great to have all kinds of people in your life, and as a young person, finding other bibliophiles is hard. I mean, where are they hiding? No wonder, reading seems so uncool to these youngsters, it's because the other bibliophiles aren't in sight. Book clubs will sniff them out and who knows, perhaps they fall in love with your book and buy it.
And one of the main reasons is that it will expand your reputation as a writer. If you're meeting with other bloggers or authors, that's networking. You all could benefit from this relationship and shine a light on one another. It's great for exposure and could mean lots of popularity and sales.
It was great for bettering your art as well as making new friends. We were each other's mentors, and we helped one another a lot.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to recognition and sales. Sure, community engagement through book clubs is great for individuals as a whole, but as an author, it could be a gold mine. It's a safe space to market yourself and your book and also keep the community in mind.
Overall, book clubs can be a powerful tool for community engagement, promoting reading, social connections, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and open communication.