Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Midday Edition

A Novel Matchmaker For Authors And Readers

Susan McBeth, founder of Novel Network, is pictured in this undated photo.
Susan McBeth
Susan McBeth, founder of Novel Network, is pictured in this undated photo.
A Novel Matchmaker For Authors And Readers
A Novel Matchmaker For Authors And Readers GUEST: Susan McBeth, founder, Novel Network

>>Book club seem to be becoming increase common way for people to get together and connect to share good stories. Such a part of our culture that we even started making movies about them and here's a clip from the new book club will be which is in theaters now. >> Hello, beautiful friends. I would like to introduce you to Christian gray. >> We started this book club to stimulate our minds. From what I hear this book is quite stimulating. >> [Music] >> Now while this book club may be focusing as much on glasses of good wine and gossip, they do remain a really good place to spread the word about a good book. Authors are now discovering they are a great place to network. There is an event this weekend in San Diego which is launching the novel network to connect authors with potential readers. In here to tell us more about it is the founder, Susan McBeth, thank you so much for joining us. >> Thank you for having me. >> Telus first of all what is this novel network? Novel network is an Internet-based service and actually really like a between the clubs and authors. And the goal is to help them find and discovery estimate and discover each other so they can arrange for the club visits and so authors and book clubs can go on novel and they can both join and book clubs register for free and once they register, they get access to our database of authors and then they can look at their calendar of availability and they can see where they geographically reside so whether they can choose to video chat with them or visit them in person. >> I understood you got the idea from novelist Jenna Bluhm who wrote the New York Times bestseller called those who save us. And she grew her following amazingly more than 800 book of into the year and I do know how she did that but here's what she says about the experience. >> At every book club I asked people if you like the book, please do me the favor of passing it to one other person because I figure, as my grandfather used to say, you don't ask, you don't get. Much to my surprise and total delight, and gratitude, people really did do hand-to-hand, mother to daughter, friend to friend and sister to sister. It just became so viral that the book jumped onto the web. >> This is what inspired you, right? Start the Novel Network . >> Exactly right, I foundered adventures by the book 7 years ago with the goal of connecting readers and authors and I create what I call a went to sensorial events and travels. And in doing that I hosted Jenna Bluhm at an event and she shared that remarkable story and she did that in one year and that was just in the Boston area alone. What I realized is that takes a lot of time that authors really do not have. Because it is true. >> Publishers are relying on others to network the book? >> Every day. >> Do think most authors are as confident and out there as Jenna Bluhm is? Be willing to do this? >> Yes, really quick question. Most authors I'm finding a really excited to connect with their readers and they love having one-on-one discussions with them. Writing is such a solitary sport, that they sit in their office until they publish a book and then they want to get out there and they want to hear from the readers, did I hit the mark? What is your feedback and how did you interpret this? Clubs are great way to do that you make >> To the book clubs have to have read the book before the author comes? Or does the author come and then read the book? Is this happening in other cities or San Diego unique ? >> Is absolutely happening everywhere and as Jenna proved it hundred book clubs at least in Boston alone so you can imagine how many there are nationwide or even worldwide. Our goal is to reach as many of them as we can. You can schedule book club visits in person if the author is in your town but you can also do that by video chat and effect just last week we connected a Denver-based book club with a LA-based author, general Brown, and they read her book and they loved it and wanted to talk to her and they discovered to Novel Network they could connect with her by video chat and all they did was set up the laptop in their kitchen, they poured a glass of wine, much like the book club movie of course, served some food and pulled up Jenelle on the video. And it was like she was right there in the kitchen with them. They could ask her all the pressing questions they had. In fact they actually told me afterwards that they are already scanning the network for the next book club and author pick because they love the idea so much of being able to interact with the author after they read the book. >> This event is not free but who is making money off this? >> Right, ticketed event includes lunch and a copy of Jenna Bluhm's book and she is an international bestseller and on book tour for her new book. All the proceeds from the book sales benefit the library shop at the San Diego library. Percentage of proceeds from the event will be donated to the library. >> Susan McBeth, thank you for telling us about this. >> Thank you. >> Author Jenna Bluhm will be giving the keynote next -- address at the Sunday, San Diego downtown central library and the event called club bingo featuring 22 authors and panel discussions and book signings.

A different kind of matchmaking service is launching in San Diego. Instead of making love connections, this one matches authors and readers. Novel Network is a website where book club members can sign up to be set up with authors, who will meet with them either in person or electronically to talk about their books.

San Diego publicist Susan McBeth was inspired to found Novel Network by novelist Jenna Blum, who launched her book, “Those Who Save Us” on to the New York Times bestseller list by attending more than 800 book club events in a year.

"At every book club I asked people if you like the book please do me the favor of passing it to one other person," said Blum. "Much to my surprise and total delight and gratitude people really did pass 'Those Who Save Us' from hand to hand, from mother to daughter, sister to sister, friend to friend and it just became so viral that the book jumped onto the list."


McBeth joins Midday Thursday with more on Novel Network.

A launch event for Novel Network takes place Sunday at San Diego's downtown Central Library. The event called Book Club Bingo will feature 22 authors, panel discussions and book signings. Cost is $85-$95.