Writing a novel is a solo venture that I truly enjoy, but there’s nothing like connecting with readers. Attending the Go On Girl! Book Club’s 23rd Author Awards Weekend in Seattle gave me the chance to rub shoulders with current fans and connect with new ones. From the food to the dancing to the thought-provoking discussion of my novel Anybody’s Daughter, I had a ball!
I have two goals when I sit down to write a book: to educate and to entertain. It’s been quite a joy to see Anybody’s Daughter achieve both of those goals. When I first learned that young girls—primarily young black and brown girls—were being trafficked right here in the U.S., I was stunned. I was equally stunned that no one seemed to know about it. I immediately wanted to raise awareness about this tragedy. GOG book club members are helping me do that.
The bright, savvy, connected women who read Anybody’s Daughter weren’t just content to discuss the trafficking of our children. After nearly every book club meeting, I was always asked the same question: What can we do to help? As a result, I’m in the process of launching an organization called BLAST – Book Lovers Against Sex Trafficking. I plan to leverage the power of my fan base to provide resources for the many organizations who help young girls transition from the sex trafficking life. BLAST will donate toiletries, clothes, school supplies and funding to these organizations. I am proud to say that Go On Girl! Book Club was the very first book club to respond to my call to action by contributing toiletries.
I’ve met many authors who don’t make time to connect with book clubs. I think that’s a big mistake. Book clubs are my most valuable publicity tool. My career has continued to advance as a direct result of my book club fan base. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with over three hundred book clubs in person, via speakerphone, and Skype. These are the women I call on to purchase my book when it first goes on sale, who invite me to their community events, and who spread the word about my books to others. When I was a new writer, one of my dreams was to have one of my novels make the Go On Girl! reading list. I am proud to say that I’ve made it more than once and even had the honor of being nominated for Author of the Year.
While some writers think they’re doing book clubs a favor when they attend their meetings, for me, it’s the other way around. Book clubs motivate me. The love and support I received from book clubs kept me going after nine publishing houses rejected my third novel, Murder on the Down Low. Sitting in your living rooms laughing, eating, and listening to you talk about my characters as if they were real people showed me that there is indeed a market for the books I write. Your faith in me and my work gave me the confidence to take charge of my own writing career and independently publish my books. Having Anybody’s Daughter win the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction against four big-name authors at traditional publishing houses further reinforced my decision to step out on faith.
Thank you so much for supporting me, Go On Girl! Book Club. I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading.
See you next year in New Orleans.
Your fan, Pamela Samuels Young