How To Self-Publish That Great Novel Without Going Nuts! A Monthly Column for Aspiring Writers Delores Thornton, an Indianapolis Indiana native, is a member of several writers' organizations including: International Women's Writing Guild, Black Writers On Tour and Indianapolis Writers' Center. Thornton started novel writing five years ago and has self-published two novels, and is finishing drafts for her third. A motivational speaker, she gives workshops and seminars. In addition, Thornton publishes the online and hardcover Marguerite Press Newsletter. You can contact her via email at [email protected] or visit her website at Marguerite Press Tell A Friend! Book Clubs Your Greatest Ally! by Delores Thornton By now you know that you HAVE to network in order to succeed in this business. At times it seems as if nothing is panning out. Just keep getting your contacts established and network with the book clubs. It has been proven that book clubs get the word out and help with advertising. This fact can't be stressed enough. We are going into a season filled with marketing opportunities for the literary entrepreneur. There's the huge event--Book Expo America, or BEA, scheduled for June 1--3, 2001 in Chicago. The 'Go On Girl' anniversary celebration takes place that same weekend in Richmond, Virginia. This is one of the oldest book clubs in the nation, with chapters in most major cities. In July, the Black Writers Emerge conference will take place in Durham, North Carolina. And the Journey's End Literary Club will host their reunion later in July. During the summer months the Black Writers Reunion will take place in Dallas, Texas. And this fall the Summit Cruise will set sail. All of the above events should be of interest to authors. Whether it's traveling out of town, or just advertising in the sponsor's book, you should make your presence known. Try to contact as many book clubs in each area as possible. Some of the online book clubs have resource pages that list AA book clubs. You can also go to any of the search engines and just type "African American Book Clubs". And be sure to check with area bookstores about clubs that meet on their premises. If you're not able to travel to the book clubs, perhaps you'll consider offering to do a phone interview during the club's scheduled meeting. This can be done using a speaker phone at the host's home. The participants really get involved, and it's a very personal experience. I've also sent video tapes to the clubs. But the conference calls are an added touch. It's almost like being there. And it's fun, fun, fun!! Remember, book clubs sponsor MOST of the large-scale literary events in the African-American community! And even if they don't act as sponsors, they're behind the scenes making sure that things flow smoothly. If you contact them early, you will find your stay in their area a bit more pleasurable! And finally, June is a time to think of Father's Day, and also Juneteenth, our Independence Day (which is June 19). Be prepared to slant your articles and/or stories to cover both occasions. Well, that's it, short, sweet and to the point. Next time let's examine copyright infringement.