Continuing my series of introducing readers to those special people I’ve met on my writing journey, today’s guest is Sue Baker. When you’re a shy, retiring writer like me you need people in your corner, especially people who have those social media skills you lack. Sue is one of those special people! She has just set up the Riveting Reads and Vintage Vibes Facebook Group after being an administrator for several other Facebook book clubs, sites where authors and readers gather and meet and discuss their love of books (and for authors that doesn’t just mean talking about their own novels!) These groups are invaluable to indie authors like me, providing opportunities to reach new audiences. To top it all, Sue organises some amazing online launch parties, all in her own time. So how does she do it – and why?
Sue, welcome to my blog. What prompted you to set up a Facebook book club?
For several years I have worked on Facebook book groups as an administrator or a moderator and I love all the amazing opportunities it gives me to engage with authors and other readers. (Not to mention the huge amount of brilliant book recommendations!) One of the aspects of moderating these groups that I particularly enjoy is the helping to set up the friendly communities, where authors and readers can chat together and support each other. When the last group ended, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and to create a group from scratch to run by myself and so Riveting Reads and Vintage Vibes was born, it’s the perfect mix for me as I adore all things retro and bookish. I’m so grateful for the support I have received , it’s been an amazing couple of weeks, and I have lots of ideas brewing for the coming months.
Your launch parties are legendary, they must take some planning. Tell us exactly what is involved.
Ahhh, the publication celebrations! They came about thanks to an author friend, Isabella May. Isabella did a similar thing on her Facebook page and she was kind enough to allow me to borrow her idea! It’s basically a day of sharing posts on the group linked to themes in the book being celebrated and I try very hard not to give away any spoilers! I read the upcoming book, taking notes of ideas for posts as I read, then I create the posts, which I always share with the author before adding to the group. They are usually a mix of fun quizzes, food/setting/music-based posts and my review. I love the challenge of creating the party, it’s always a fun day and I enjoy seeing the interactions between readers and authors.
The parties you’ve organised for me have been great fun and I love the way you take aspects from each book and turn them into questions and quizzes. It’s very much appreciated! What’s the best thing about running the book clubs?
I love the friendly community feel of the groups, where people pop on and end up chatting away with each other. It’s brilliant to provide a bridge between authors and their readers, I’m still amazed how lucky we are to get the opportunity to engage directly with the people who are writing the books we are reading! I will never tire of feeling excited when an author comments or messages little old me! I enjoy supporting authors, especially those who are just starting with their writing journey. It’s exciting being part of a books journey into the world!
I know you are a prolific reader, how many books on average do you read each week?
I am blessed to be a really fast reader! Even as a child I read books quickly, I’m sure my teachers thought I had pretended to read a book, but I could answer their questions about the story every time!
I read about three books a week, sometimes more if I’m off work or not got anything planned to do! I have an audiobook on the go and read a couple of either electronic books or paperbacks.
That’s answered my next question! I was going to ask what’s your preference, paperback, Kindle or audio.
I am addicted to audiobooks! I was very late to the audiobook party but once I tried them, I absolutely loved them! I listen in the car on my commute to work and in the evenings whilst I do my colouring in app, it’s the best way to relax! I also am a fan of using a Kindle, I have the app on my phone and so I always have lots of books available at any given time!
Can you remember the first book that inspired your love of reading?
Absolutely I can! It was The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was probably about seven when I first read that book and at 51 years old I am still reading her Little House books. I do enjoy reading books from my childhood, they are like a comfort blanket to me
Where is your favourite place to read?
At the moment my reading chair that faces our garden. In the summer, in the garden ( weather permitting) I do keep dropping hints for a summerhouse to read in but it’s yet to appear!
Hopefully you’ll get that summerhouse one day. Besides reading and running the Facebook groups, what other hobbies do you have?
I love walking, I have a gorgeous whippet called Mabel, so we get out and about most days. I also love connecting with nature, visiting a beach or woods is always a means to recharge my batteries. I do a lot of my planning for the groups on walks too.
Sue and Mabel the whippet
I enjoy walking too – it’s great for plotting! Finally, for someone who loves books so much, I have to ask – have you ever wanted to write your own novel?
Lovely Heidi Swain is gently encouraging me to try writing! I’ve had a go at her monthly writing prompts on her newsletter, and I have enjoyed the challenge! I do write poetry, my auntie was amazing at writing poetry and as a child she inspired me to try and so from time to time I do dabble with writing, but it’s for my own enjoyment really, I’m no Robert Frost!!!
Sue with author Heidi Swain
I’m Sue, I live in rural West Norfolk with my husband Simon and our two boys Joe (14) and Tom (10) with our dog Mabel and cat Gatsby.
I work part time at a veterinary clinic ( inspired by the books of James Herriot from my teenage years)
I have always loved reading and have embraced social media for its ability to bring people together. Sharing the book love has become part of my life now and I love every minute of it!
Many thanks for Sue for taking part. Becoming part of an online Book Club community is a great way to share your love of books and find out about new authors. Check out Riveting Reads and Vintage Vibes here https://www.facebook.com/groups/837160114481344/