Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 3 months ago

WB S1E6: Ron Block with MJ Rose and Pauline Hubert

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS' BLOCK: MJ Rose talks about her journey to publishing and her expertise in marketing, while Pauline Hubert discusses the growing importance and influence of Book Clubs. They both also explore the involvement of publishers and authors to the community of book lovers.

...the most exciting part was the timemagazine article was Stephen King is the king of the publishing. An M. J.Rose is the Queen when lip service came out via Simon and Schuster. I was onthe Today Show which was really kind of wild. Yeah. Mhm. Welcome to the Friends andfiction writer's Block podcast. Five new york times, bestselling authors,one rock star librarian and endless stories join mary Kay andrews,Christine, Harmel, Christie Woodson, harvey paddy, Callaghan, Henry, mary,Alice Munro and Ron block As novelists. We are five longtime friends with 85books between us. I am Ron Block. I am so glad you've joined us forfascinating author interviews along with insider, talk about publishing andwriting. If you love books and are curious about the writing world you'rein the right place. Friends and fiction podcast is sponsored by MamaGeraldine's bodacious foods. Cathy Cunningham was a successful butunfulfilled radio executive in Atlanta one night while sipping wine andsnacking on expensive cheese straws. She realized her mama Geraldine's owntree straw recipe was far superior. The idea for Cathy's company was born MamaGeraldine's cheese straws now come in six varieties and they are the bestselling cheese straw in the US, plus the cookies are melt in your mouth,Delish yummy snacks and a woman owned empire. Now that's something we canreally get behind and Friends in fiction. Try them. You'll be glad youdid get 20% off your online order with the Code. Fab five. Mhm. Welcome to a new episode ofFriends and fiction Writer's Block podcast. Today we'll be chatting withtwo powerhouse book influencers, pauline, hubert and M. J. Rose each hashad an interesting journey to reach the top of their game. I'm Ron block. Andfirst up we'll be chatting with Polly Pauline has been in the book Businesssince 1995 as an English major at Barnard College. She worked in theeditorial department of Artisans, a division of work. After graduating shejoined the William Morris Agency, first in the literary department and then inthe new media department. Along the way, she saw an opportunity to aggregatebook clubs online. She learned from traveling to book festivals around thecountry and interviewing over 1000 book club members based on their insights.Book movement was born to give clubs a better way to communicate with membersand find great books based on ratings of other book clubs. Her company hasnow grown to be huge and is perhaps the biggest book club site and app. So inorder to help grow the company. However, along the way she went to realize herfull potential, she went to business school at NYU. and received an MBA infinance and entrepreneurship in 2009. There's a lot there. Welcome to theshow Polly. Thank you and thank you for that wonderful introduction. Always.I'm so impressed. I'm so impressed all the time. So can you tell us a littlebit more about what book movement is and where the original idea come from?Yes. Well, way back in 1995 when I was at William Morris, you know, I saw thatbook clubs were creating bestsellers, but there was no way to reach them. Andthe only websites available on the internet where editorial websites andno website was kind of leveraging the power of the internet to connect thesebook clubs together. So that's what led me to go to book festivals, travelaround the country and interview book clubs at book festivals and ask themwhat they wanted in a website and they told me they wanted to know what otherclubs were reading. So I invented a...

...system of private web pages that canfacilitate a book club meeting in person. Book club meetings. Said thatreminders and give them reading guys and discussion questions. But then onthe back end we can rank The books that clubs are reading nationwide andprovide this ranked list of top 100 book club Picks, which is updated everyweek. That's fantastic. And I've done a lot of looking at the website andthere's just something for everybody there really. I think that you havegrown into an amazing website and congratulations on that. Thank you. Yes,I'm always fascinated by the top pick slips. I mean, I'm always interested tosee what's popping and what clubs have noticed and there's a lot of dynamicsin the list. So it's really interesting to look at. Even for me after all theseyears, there is and as a librarian too, I think I know what people are going towant and stuff that some of these titles that may seem obscure, but theyreally latch onto. And then when they start sharing information and talkingabout it, it just brings it right up the ranks. Yes, exactly. So tell meabout the process of actually getting it off the ground. I can't imagine itjust poof happened. It had to be something, I think you're financingentrepreneurship background had something to do with it. Yes, it did.But technically I was very lucky. I found a developer that was also adesigner. His name is Gabriel, but he was kind of my angel Gabriel, and hereally was kind of the technical brains and we helped give birth through ittogether and you know, when we built an app um, and launched it several yearsago and I had a similar really technical genius. So you know, youreally need the technical aspects for it. Um, and you know, consistentlytalking to, to book clubs and to customers and seeing what they wantedand, and then also, you know, changing as people's tastes have changed. I meanI've noticed, you know, I've noticed in the last several years that thedynamics of book recommendations have changed in terms of what book clubswant to hear from. And I think readers as well, you know, it's turned fromthis kind of crowdsource lists and even though the top club sex is still agreat resource, I think that people have gravitated more towards, um, kindof the instagram model as uh, not just celebrity book clubs model, but kind ofthe personal testimonials about how books have affected you. So I thinkthat's why, you know Jenna Jenna um, Book club is so powerful and recentbook club is so powerful, particularly Jenna, Jenna has a wonderful way ofdescribing the books and saying how it personally affected her. So it's reallykind of gravitated more towards that. So in terms of um, so the sponsoredbook promotions and giveaways that we do, we really try and gravitate towardsum, facilitating that as well as, as well as uh, other other types ofpromotions that um, are both useful to authors and publishers in terms ofintroducing books to the book club audience and also exciting andinteresting for book clubs um, to help them discover books, but also windbooks um, as book clubs, which is very, which is unusual. It is, it is, and Ithink people are more into all of this than they ever were before. Do youthink that has anything to do with the last year of the pandemic? Yes, I mean,certainly the reading went, went off the roof. Um But also, you know, wethere was a there was a bit of a lag in terms of people kind of facilitatingtowards online and I helped, I really wanted to try and actively bridge thatgap for people. Um so I really encourage them to use zoom and westarted hosting kind of virtual book event and now, even though people canmeet in person again, you know, we're slowly getting there. Um I think peopleare remaining, at least my book club is with the virtual book club because wecan now have members that have moved away locally, but we can have them umthey'll meet all across the country. So it's kind of an interesting dynamic. II think you're right, some of the events that I've hosted really justgained new followers from everywhere. So it's, I think it's it's here to stay.How do members actually join and...

...participate in book movement? Well, Imean, most of the state has really grown from word of mouth, um which isreally extraordinary. Um people just either they look for for reading groupguys or discussion questions, or they're looking for a way to managetheir websites. Um or they're looking for an app to help manage the website.And so that's how they, you know, the membership is free and you sign up andyou get a free web page and you list your upcoming elections or you look atthe top Club six or, you know, we entered to win and give away. It's it'sthat easy just download the app. It's a book lover's Paradise. For sure. Howyou seem to grow into a one stop shop for readers, but also you are creatingpartnerships with authors and publishers to do you think did you everthink that you'd be such an influencer in all aspects? Well, thank you forsaying that. I mean, I don't think of myself as an influencer, but reallyit's a facilitator as as kind of magnify the voice of Book Club, bothcollectively and individually. You know, I think it's really special to be ableto um trying to be able to have a collective voice of what book clubs arereading through the top club picks list, but then also in the virtual events, Ilove seeing my members and I love hearing from them and I love being ableto see kind of the book clubs being able to connect with the authors. Itreally is very special. So I like that I've been able to um make it easier forfor authors to reach book clubs and and vice versa. So I think I really don'tthink myself as an influence, but more of a, like a Fairy Godmother book closemaybe. Fair enough, and Fairy Godmother fits perfectly perfectly. Um so I'mimagining that you probably have a big team behind you that helps keep thecontent and the access and the technology brush, you know, it's it's afairly, fairly small team, but, you know, we keep it lean and me basically,um were there when we when we need to be, but we are we are definitely umlean and say, yeah, it's nice, efficient, compact and efficient. Okay,so let's dig in a little bit. Um I always like to know about people'sbackgrounds. What was your reading and book journey growing up? Oh gosh! UmWell I would say yeah, from a very young age um It's the learning curve,the learning to read was a bit of a was a bit of uh I had a kind of an 80 yearold woman who was trying to teach me to read before I entered first grade. Andum I would throw books across the room in frustration, but then when I got itI was off to the races um and dropped out of the Brownies to join the GreatBooks Junior Great Books program and just went from there and um you know,it was an english major and once I went to Exeter and wanna want an englishawards there, so it kind of got honours at Barnard and started working inpublishing at Barnard and and kind of continue from there. Um and you know,love the editorial process, but the, the enticing element of being at anagency, kind of seeing all the different kind of media interact andseeing the deal deal flow. Um and seeing how kind of the sausage getsmade from a different perspective was really interesting. Um but then Ireally was drawn to this kind of opportunity that the internet presented.Um and this opportunity to kind of um magnify the power, the voice of bookcalled. Nice. Yes, it did. Um So can you tell us what are some of your alltime favorite books are? Oh gosh! Uh in the last year, and I hosted a a sixweek virtual book club. It sounds it sounds very involved, but it was reallymore to um kind of help us. I really loved the splendid in the vial by ericLarson. Um Yes, I was really drawn to...

...when the pandemic first happened. I wasreally looking for kind of um a voice to kind of lead me through this thistime. And I thought of Winston Churchill and I looked at the speechesand um through the Winston Churchill Society and the website I found thatfunded in the bile, and I kind of threw it out there to the membership saying,you know, I'm looking I'm going to read this and kind of, it sounds wonderful.And I was looking to put some Churchill's words to help guide methrough this and if you're interested, join me. And we had a really great time.Um and I compiled a slide show based on the research, so we could see all thefigures um in the, in the book and all of the, you know, all of this umcharacters around him. So it was really, I mean, I really loved really lovedthat book. Um but I also love The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is allone of my all time favorites. Um Shantaram is one of my all timefavorites. Uh, yeah, I think he's going, yeah, well, couldn't we all, I keepthinking more, Oh, that was, I forgot that one. Yes. So what's what's nextfor Book Movement? What is next for Book Moment? Well, actually in thislast year, Born really from the, from the virtual book event. Well, we've gottwo things going on. One is um born from the virtual book events. I noticedthat clubs were just really loving to here. If they if they want to, if theyloved one of an author's work, they want to know about all of them. So, welaunched a new kind of book giveaway and um we did, you know, introducebooks, the book clubs called The Deep Dive. So we have a give away and thenwe have we list the anti author authors, entire works or the mysterious, we listthe series and orders. So it's super easy to see read the books in orderread the books in the series and author's work chronologically, which Ithink is always fascinating. Um And then secondly, we I have commissionedan illustrator who I found interviewing an author, um Elizabeth Weitzman, whowrote Renegade Women in film and television. Um this wonderfulillustrator who illustrated her book called Austin Claire, I commissionedher to do an illustration as kind of a love letter to books. And so she did awonderful illustration of a bookshelf um with kind of these um spirit,animals and talismans, to what everything that books give us likecasinos there and I call her Lady Athena, you know the kind of patrons ina book club. Um she's the goddess of wisdom and um David is there and andjade horses and ginger jars and really wonderful. So we have a series of umproducts that we put it on, so it's on mugs and its on air phone cases andit's done and all sorts of things. So I'm really excited about that. We'relaunching it in a couple weeks. Oh my God, they're going to eat that contentup. It's great. What a great new twist to it. Are there any other trend trendsthat you're seeing in in general and publishing? You know what? I think M. J.Is really the person for that. Um, I think she'll be able to tell you a lotmore than I can. I rely on her intelligence to really tell me what'sgoing on. Gotcha. Okay, next I'll be talking with the fascinating M. J. RoseM. J. Rose grew up in new york city, mostly in the labyrinth galleries ofthe Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of CentralPark and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. Shebelieves magic and mystery are all around us. But we're too often busy tonotice books that exaggerate mystery and magic, draw attention to it andremind us to look for it and revel in it. And Rose is the new york Times WallStreet Journal and USA today bestseller as well as an international best seller.She has published more than 19 novels and three books on marketing. She'sbeen published in more than 30 countries and sold over 1.5 millionbooks. The Fox tv show Past Lives. They were all based on Roses novel. TheReincarnation Ist...

Roses Co president and founding memberof the international thriller writers and the founder of the first marketingcompany for authors, author Buzz, which we're going to take a deep dive intotoday. She also runs the blog Museum of Mysteries in 1998. Her first novel, LipService, was the first e book and the first self published novel chosen bythe literary guild doubleday Book club, as well as the first e book to go on tobe published by a mainstream new york publishing house. Rose graduated fromSyracuse University and spent the 80s in advertising. She was the creativedirector of Rosenfeld, Sura wits and Lawson and she has a commercial in theMuseum of Modern Art in new york city. All of that to say welcome, welcome MG.I'm so thrilled that you're here with us today. Thank you so much for havingme. My first question for staying all those things that I did. I forgotthey're so fascinating. And I just I had to say them all. My first questionfor you is when do you sleep? I do I sleep? I sleep six hours a night. Idon't have kids. I've never had any kids. So I have a lot of time. Thereyou go. Okay, so, I really want to start out with this story about Lipservice and how it came to be in your path to publication. It's just sofascinating. And it sounds like it's taught you so many things. Can youshare that journey with us? Sure. Um, it was all an accident. I had an agentin 1994 and she submitted my book, not lip service to a lot of people. And wegot back rave rejections, but all the rejections basically said that my bookcrossed too many genres. It was to literary to be commercial was toocommercial to be literary. It was too much of a mystery, But not enough of amystery. It was erotic, but it wasn't erotic enough. And in 1994, cross genrebooks where nobody was doing that and I only knew about good books and badbooks. I didn't know anything about genre books. I was in advertising. Iwas very, very well entrenched in advertising at the time. So shesuggested I write another book and try to stick to a genre. So I tried and theexact same thing happened and we get all these rave rejections for the samereasons. And she said I should try to write another book. So, um I started towrite another book and I realized that I oh, no! So I wrote another book. Idid. I write, wrote the third book. The third book was lip service. So sheshowed lip service around and got exactly the same responses. And nowwe're like in 1998 and the internet had started to be a thing, and I was doinga lot of research and work on the internet and um finding out a lot aboutit. And I was sort of fed up at this point with what publishers were saying.I didn't know publishers, I didn't know the industry at all, but I knew what Iread and what they were saying made no sense. So I told my agent, I was gonnado a marketing experiment. I was gonna put the book up on a website as adownloadable pdf word file. There was no such thing really as e books. Therewere no e book readers, nobody was talking about e books. And I was alsogoing to make and make a click where you could buy the book. And I would goto Kinko's and I would all 350 pages copy it and send it to you. But Iwasn't trying to publish the book. It was a marketing experiment becausethat's what I and that's what I was, was a marketing expert. And the goalwas I was going to ads for the book and put them on the internet and show thepublisher that you could take a crush on your book and you could market itcorrectly and you could sell it. And then I was going to give the results tothe agent and let her go back to the publishers. She fired me because shesaid I was self publishing the book, which at the time was pretty much likemurdering a dart um in the literary world. And I was like, fine I'm doingthis experiment because we're not...

...getting anywhere any other way and thisis what I write. So I didn't add that was can an erotic book be intelligent.And I had the book cover designed by a friend who was fabulous. And we put theI started putting the book on websites and I put it up on amazon, which at thetime was the only place that would sell quote unquote a self published book wasthe only place that as long as you had an I. S. B. N. Number, which is a codeum number for people who aren't in the business. They had a program called theadvantage program. And it was, Jeff Bezos was amazon was a small company atthe time, Jeff Bezos said he they only sold books and he said he wanted tolevel the playing field for anybody who had a book. So you could put your bookup at amazon, they would buy five copies, they didn't sell the books, Youbuy five copies of the book. And if anybody ordered them they'd reorder oneof the copies of your books. So in order to do that, I had to print somebooks. So I printed some books. I, you know, went to found a small printer andI printed some books and everything was going really nicely. And then somebodytold somebody about the book And all hell broke loose. And I got 3000 ordersfor the book and the double day book Club in literary guild somehow heardabout the book and contacted me because I had come up with the name of aprinting of a publishing company just so I didn't publish it. As M. J. Rose.I had Lady chatterley's library which I still own as a name. And Ladychatterley's library published lip service. And so I got this letter thisemail from somebody at the doubleday Book club saying we read your book, webought it on amazon and we want to make it a featured alternate selection atthe doubleday Book Club can you please contact us? So I of course thought thatwas a joke and um but I called the person and sure enough it was a realperson and they had heard about it from somebody and read it and they offeredme a book deal and I took it and it was because I was an advertising, I askedthem I said I told them it was self published, I told them this is amarketing experiment and they said well we don't care. So I said well if do youma have you ever done this before? And they said they'd never bought a bookthat they discovered on the internet before and that had started life thisway. And they never bought a book that wasn't from a novel that it wasn't froma publisher. So I asked them if they minded and they said no, and so I putout a press release, they sent it to Bloomberg and ap and I just I knew whatto do, so I did it all and it got picked up and it was basically itbecame the first e book discovered on the internet to then go on to getpicked up by new york publishing because of course my agent contacted meand offered to represent me again and sold the book to one of the people whohad rejected it originally at Simon and Schuster. And since then I've published21 books with Simon and Schuster or with Uh two Other publishers,traditional publishers. And then this year, um a couple of years ago I openeda company with Liz Berry, which is a publishing company. It's a marketingpublishing company. And this year I decided that since I owned a publishingcompany, I should start publishing my own books. So I turned down my contract,my new contract from Simon and Schuster. And we're now publishing my booksthrough Blue Box Press, which is our publishing company. So that's the story.That is unbelievable. You are a pioneer and I guarantee you there's so manypeople that are so inspired by you. It's like opened the floodgates. Yeah.Actually the most exciting part was the time magazine article was Stephen Kingis the King of E. Publishing an M. J. Rose is the Queen. Because at the sametime he did a serialized e book In 2000 called or 1999 writing the bullet. Andso the two of us had had this cover...

...story and when when lip service cameout via Simon and Schuster, I was on the today show which was really kind ofwild. Um and there was Jeff Bezos hired a PR company to get me Pr because I wasthe was also the first book discovered at amazon. And so Jeff was reallyexcited about the fact that he leveled the playing field and he had created aplatform where somebody could use that platform to launch their career andlaunch their book. The company has become a little bit bigger now. Itsells a few things more, but it was very exciting. That's fantastic. Oh myGod, what a story. So let's talk about your books a little bit more. How doyou categorize that you said they've crossed genres? And I know that they'renot always about the same thing and they do they do expand beyond that. Buthow do you categorize them? There's sort of two different kinds of books Iwrite I write suspense in um contemporary suspense or I writehistorical suspense. So um the last 12 books have been historical suspense,but at the same time I write novellas with steve barry. I've written four ofthem that are very much contemporary thrillers. And I have a new series ofnovellas coming out with C. W. Gardner that take place in the 19 fifties thatare old fashioned capers like jewel heist books. So I still am writing allover the place. There's not really a genre where I fit or a category where Ifit much to my publishers. My old publishers dismay it's easier to sellan author that fits in the slat. But I never wanted to fit in a slot because Ithought it was boring. And I always said that if when I got into publishing,when I sold, got my first contract from Simon and Schuster and it was a twobook contract and I was no, I quit my job in advertising and I was going tojust be a writer. And I said that the minute I had an editor who told me thatif I changed what I was writing, I'd sell better, I'd go back intoadvertising because I didn't want to write to the marketplace. And ithappened after my fourth book or I hadn't. The editor said, if you do this,this and this, we'll publish you no matter what. But we know we can sellyou better if you're willing to change what you're doing. And I opened authorBuzz and I went back into advertising because by then I had I skipped a stepwhich was that when I did get published, when when I did self published the book,I also went to wire dot com and got a job being the e publishing columnist.Because for those of us who remember 1999 was like The Wild West. And inpublishing all of a sudden e publishing became a thing and became enormous andwired, needed a reporter to cover the industry and basically my whole careeris a result of having it. How involved I got as a reporter real briefly, couldyou just give everybody the down and dirty about author bus? Yes. Authorbuses in advertising marketing agency. And I work with authors, all kinds ofauthors directly and we create marketing plans and advertising andpromotion for their books. We also work with publishers and we exclusively sellpromotions at book movement dot com at pauline site. And we do very extensiveum, plans for how authors can get their books to book clubs as well as othertargeted audiences. And you can reach me through author buzz dot com. Reallyeasy to find. We've been in business since 2000 and five and we worked witheverybody from debuts two best sellers. Amazing. And it's such important workand I don't think everybody benefits from that. Um, let's talk about yourbooks. Let's go back to their where tell me where you find the inspirationfor your plots and characters. Um that's always such an interestingquestion. Every book is different. Um,...

I focus a lot on the arts and I seem togo in stages for a while I was doing. Um I've always been fascinated byreincarnation, and I've written six books that touch on reincarnation. Andum and then I got one of those lead to umwhen I was in advertising, I worked on a lot of perfumes and I was fascinatedwith perfumes. So I have three books that take place in paris and new york,and the lead characters, a perfumer. And then um I went from perfume tojewelry is another fascination. And so I've written 37 books that have to dowith jewelers or jewelry or a piece of jewelry that catapults the whole storyand gets it started. I seem to need an object or a thing, rather than a personlike the reincarnation books started with the idea of the butter of thebutterfield, the phoenix foundation, which is a place that studiedreincarnation that I made up, but was based on a real place at the Universityof Virginia. And so all the books centered around the phoenix foundation.Before that I was writing about a new york city sex therapist who worked at aplace called the butterfield Institute. So I seem to like find a place and thenwork around it. And one of the weird things about me is that I always haveto buy something that belonged to my main character. And I've written a lotabout that online and anybody who wants to write me at M. J. Rose dot com, Ican send you an article about creating um creating books through an object andbuying something from my main character. In the last book that I wrote, The lasttiara was inspired by an article I read About how in 2012 Uh it was discoveredthat there was a Tiara that had belonged to the Russian Romanov familyand that that Tiara had been missing since 1920 and nobody has any ideawhere it has gone to or where it went or what happened to it. And that becamethe idea for the last er like what would happen if A woman in 1948discovered the skeleton of that Tiara meaning the Tiara without any of itsstones in her mother's estate. Like how what would, what would it mean? How didher mother get the tiara? And that's how that book started the book beforethat was Cardi is Hope. And that one was inspired when I read a littlearticle about how Pierre Cartier of the Cartier family owned the Hope diamondfor 11 months And that during those 11 months he was a master marketer and hemade up a lot of stories about the bad luck, about the Hope Diamond. That itreally wasn't that much bad luck at all, but he was such a marketing genius. Hethought that the bad luck would help him sell it. So things little thingslike that become like an impetus to write a novel. Yeah, it sounds likethey jump in there. I obviously get the sense that I think anybody who's readyour work knows that you're such a student of history and you're reallytied to a lot of historical events and objects. How do you do research to putthe books together? Well, the thing that I try to do the most is to getsource material from the period, because I find that that's very hard tothrow yourself back into another period. So I tried to get a lot of sourcematerial. I read newspapers and magazine articles from the period. Iget novels that were written during that time by people who were livingduring that time. And then I find research, you know, if I have to go toa university and find um a student, you know, somebody who's doing graduatework in that part of of Russian history, I do that too. So, a lot of different,varied ways. That's really fascinating. So, I always hear about authors gettinglike, ah ha moments as you're doing your research, things kind of pop outat you that you incorporate into the...

...story. Does that happen for you? Or doyou kind of have it all set out before you begin? No, I I know where I'mstarting and I know where I'm going and I don't know the journey that I'm goingto take to get there and sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't gowell. Uh every book is like, you've never written a book before, A lot ofmy friends who are authors say this and the more books you write, the harder itgets, because I think that we're depleting Or what's in our minds, we'veused that plot, like I'm I'm working on my what is it, my 22nd book now, andit's like, I keep coming up with ideas and like, but I did that in, you know,the witches painted sorrows and I come up with another idea. No, but I didthat in the hypnotist, so it's becoming more and more difficult. But um I have a weird way of writing. I writevery early in the morning, I listen to Gregorian chants and I sort of don't,I'm not aware that I'm writing, I start writing and then I sort of get lost. Isee what I'm writing, like a movie in my head and I just write down what I'mseeing. I don't really feel like I'm coming up with it as much as thecharacters are putting on a little performance for me. So there are tonsof ah ha moments where somebody does something that I didn't know they weregoing to do, I write the whole book through without rereading any of it.And then when I get the first draft messy draft done, I go back and I readit and I don't remember most of it. I really did write it in the semiunconscious state and I'm like shocked by things that happen in the book andlike what? And it's a very strange process, I feel like I'm inhabited byother people. That is a great weight. A lot of authors will say, well thecharacter has just taken away from me, but this sounds like a little bit moremystical and I love it. It's almost a book of its own. Yes, I guess it couldbe. Uh um so I want to uh bring pauline back in and ask to have a couple ofquestions for both of you together because I do know that, as I said, bothof your work intertwines, but how did the two of you meet and decided tobegin working together? Yeah, I'm just go ahead. Um well, when I startedauthor Buzz in 2005, um, I was looking around for, I wanted to be able to doeverything and author needed and one of the things I wanted to be able to do inthat group of things was to get the right if the author had a book that wasa book club, book that had the potential for appealing to book clubs,I wanted to be able to um cell them that piece of marketing And I believethat, you know, pulling I'm not positive, but I think we had met beforein 2001 because you'd interviewed me for something you were doing for yourgraduate work or an article you were writing and you'd interviewed me. Andso when it was time to look for a book club site, I went back to you and askedyou if you'd be interested in partnering in Author Bus, is that right?It's possible. I don't remember that part. I remember meeting you in like2004 because the site launched in 2004. I spoke about it in 1995 when theInternet was invented, but that was just I was just speaking generally. Sosorry, I'm just saying I kind of miss book about that to it anyway. Um 2000yeah, I think we met at Virginia Festival at the book. I remember thatand then I think shortly afterwards And that may have been earlier than 2004.Um, and then you contacted me, which is great. So how did the convergence ofthe two manifest itself? Like what did you hope would happen for readers andauthors together? Well, when I um contacted polling, if Iremember correctly, it was once a month, it was once a month newsletter or Yeah,newsletter. And we just work together creatively brainstorming to figure outhow we could enlarge the newsletters and the site so that I could sellmarketing on the site. And we changed the number. We changed it from once amonth to once a week. And um, Polian...

...came up with add add um, blocks on thesite that I could sell. And it was pretty much, it was pretty seamless. Imean, we just started working together and it just started working and we'veintroduced so many things over the years. Book of the month, author of themonth, now, Deep dive, the virtual book launches. Um, just a lot of fabulouscreative things that we've just added. And what I said was, you know, I wasthinking about it from the Book club point of view, which was, if it's goingto be a book promotion, I wanted to be in an authentic way. So, um, I wantedthe promotion to be in the form of a book club giveaway. So if the bookswent a club or if, sorry, if the clubs win books or if clubs read it in thenewsletter are interested in about it, they're going to add it to theirpossible club pics, or there as a book club selection and then it will makeits way up the top club pick slip. So if we have a promotion that makes itsway into the top club picks list, that means it's basically an authenticvetted book club recommendation from book clubs, which I think is reallypowerful for both book clubs and authors and publishers. It's great. Andthat was my next question is talking about how book clubs seem to havegained a lot of influence over the book loving community. Can you talk aboutthat a little bit? I think last week's virtual book event it was said thatwomen in particular book clubs are saving novels, which I think is fiction.It's absolutely true. I mean, statistically they by 40% of books soldin bookstores, wow. So yeah, they don't just read 12 books a month. They read30 plus books a year. Right. And that's not even counting the books that theybuy for their friends, that's not counting the books they buy for theirfamily. So women are single handedly propping up and I think book clubs inparticular are propping up the fiction industry. So you know, I mean if you'reif you're if you're looking at the new york Times bestsellers list, guaranteedits book clubs that put it there, you know, I think that's amazing. We talkeda little bit about the pandemic already, but how did it impact your business inyour collaboration between the two of you? I thought that it was going tohave a greater impact than it did. It started off having an impact, everybodygot nervous and they put their promotions on hold. But then as people,I kept telling people you're all crazy because people can't do anything butread. So I think that every author should put extra money into theirpromotions right now and publishers didn't do it, But all of our authorsdid and our authors saw enormous sales increases and publishers have seen evenwithout marketing, a lot of these books sales have never been better. Thepandemic was a huge boom for the publishing industry, with sales goingup 30% or more for all publishers. And a lot of people, first of all hadincome to buy books because they weren't doing anything else. Andauthors had income that they could spend on marketing their books becausethey weren't going on tour and they weren't doing anything else. So therewas a lot more interest activity and excitement around books during thepandemic. And it hasn't really slowed down as far as I can tell. And welaunched our virtual book event series, right? I mean, it really helped keeppeople connected and combat the loneliness and isolation of thepandemic. And then it gave us a new way to have a really immediate dynamic,both interview but also conversation between my Book Club audience andauthors. Yeah. And I did a survey very early on the pandemic and I and I askedbook clubs my membership, are you going to read less more? Way more or way waymore? By far, the answer was way way more, way more. Yeah. I think over atFriends in Fiction to we've seen that thing, it mirrors exactly what you'resaying. People have just felt so much more connected. And I think the love ofreading has just grown deeper and deeper and I just think it's amazing.What do you think the trends are? What do you think the past year has meantfor the future of publishing authors...

...and book clubs? I'll let pauline answerthe part about the book clubs as far as trends in publishing. One thing I'mnoticing is that there's going to be a lot more diversity in the books thatare going to be published in 2022 and 2023. But other than that, I don'treally try to stand top of what publishers are going to be doing. Ijust have noticed that and what I've been reading in terms of readers, Ithink that we're in a golden age of reading, I think that the pandemic goteverybody reading again, and I don't see anybody walking away from it toofast. So I think we're in a really good spot for promoting terrific books andintroducing them to readers and having readers fall in love Well said, Wellsaid. And I think in terms of book clubs, I mean, I wouldn't say it'sreally a trend, but I mean, through the past year we really have rediscoveredif it's even possible, all of the gifts that books and reading bestow upon usin terms of being transporting and comforting and giving us wisdom andjust great stories, and also kind of being able to take a closer look atauthors in their work, at least in terms of our virtual events. And soyeah, I'm just I'm just looking at this illustration and thinking, yes, youknow, books books books and all those wonderful gifts that they give us. Ithink it's one of the good things, always members right to me after theevents and say it's one of the good things that come out of the pandemic isit's what books have given us. I couldn't have said it better. Thank youboth for joining me today. I know our listeners will be fascinated andthey'll be awed by your passion and your insight. Just as I was, I'velearned so much. I so appreciate you joining me today. Thank you so much forhaving us. Thank you. And just to remind everybody, if you're an authorand you want information, you can go to author buzz dot com and if you're areader and you want me to send you any articles about my books, you can go toM J Rose dot com and if you're interested in book movement, you can goto book movement dot com. It's all really easy. Yes, well, I think you'reboth going to get a deluge of requests and I'm very happy about that on behalfof the fab five mary Kay, Kristen, Kristy patty and mary Alice. Thank youall for listening. It means the world. Please be sure to subscribe. So you getnew episodes every friday and tell a friend, have a great week. Thank youfor tuning in to Friends and fiction writer's block podcast. Please be sureto subscribe rate and review on your favorite podcast platform, tune inevery friday for another episode. And you can also join us every week onfacebook or Youtube Where you can see our live friends and fiction show thatairs at seven p.m. Eastern Standard time. We are so glad you're here.

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