Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Club Exchange: John Shors & Giveaway

Yesterday, I reviewed a very touching book called DRAGON HOUSE by John Shors. I was so excited when Mr. Shors agreed to write a guest post for Book Club Exchange. I can't think of many authors who spend more time involved with book clubs! I hope you enjoy his essay as much as I did. Make sure you read the entire post because Mr. Shors has a special treat for Booking Mama readers!

My Connection to Book Clubs

Happy holidays, everyone. I thought readers might be interested in how and why, over the past five years, I’ve spoken with about 2,200 book clubs.

In 2004, the hardcover version of my debut novel, Beneath a Marble Sky, was released. I was blessed because, over the next year, Beneath a Marble Sky did quite well—garnering wonderful reviews, winning a national award, and attracting significant interest from Hollywood. Due to all of these events, I was able to quit my day job and become a fulltime novelist.

I was grateful to readers for their support, and decided that I wanted to do something to support readers in return. So, when Penguin released the paperback version of Beneath a Marble Sky in 2006, I decided to add a letter to the back of the book that invited book clubs to invite me to their evenings (all they needed was a speakerphone). I included my email address.

Well, due to the novelty of what I was doing, my book club program started to get a lot of media attention, and was featured in Newsweek Magazine and on The CBS Evening News. I wasn’t sure what kind of interest the media coverage would generate, but now, about three years later, I am happy to report that I’ve spoken with about 2,200 book clubs. Most of these clubs were based in the U.S., though I’ve spoken with groups in Canada, France, Columbia, and Kenya. I’m fortunate in that readers enjoy Beneath a Marble Sky, and are therefore happy to talk with me about it (I spend fifteen minutes with each group). This simple fact allows my program to flourish on many levels.

During the past three years, I’ve learned a great deal from readers. For instance, some clubs have said that they would have liked a map to be included in Beneath a Marble Sky (which is based on the story behind the creation of the Taj Mahal). And because of that feedback, there is a map of Vietnam in my new novel, Dragon House (which is set in modern-day Saigon, but also features other parts of Vietnam).

Talking with up to eight book clubs a night hasn’t been easy, but it’s been important. I’ve done my best to give something back to the readers who support me. And in this age, when books have so much competition with other forms of entertainment, I feel that authors need to go the extra mile to encourage reader/author interaction. I’m trying to get other writers to create similar book club programs, as my experience has been so positive.

I continue to do book club calls, usually several each day. I have also created three videos on YouTube that readers can access. This way, people don’t have to be in book clubs to see and hear me answer questions about each of my novels (Beneath a Marble Sky, Beside a Burning Sea, and Dragon House).

If readers, librarians, booksellers, or authors are interested in my book club program, I may be contacted through my web site at

I wish everyone the best.

John Shors


John Shors is an internationally bestselling author, whose books have won multiple awards and have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

I am so thankful to Mr. Shors for sharing some information about his book club experiences with us. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.

Mr. Shors has been gracious enough to offer a copy of DRAGON HOUSE to one very lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment (with your e-mail address) telling me why you want to read his novel. To increase your chances, you can blog and or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This contest is open to those of you with a U.S. or Canada mailing address only -- no p.o. boxes please. I will accept entries until December 20th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. Good luck!


Sandy Nawrot said...

Anything that has something to do with helping disadventaged children is high on my list. Not only that, but I've seen a couple of Shors' guest posts, and he seems like one of the most down-to-earth, real kinda guy. Please sign me up! rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com. Thanks Julie!

bermudaonion said...

He has talked to 8 book clubs in one night! It sounds like he is really devoted to his readers.

Linda said...

I'm glad to hear that Mr. Shors listened to his readers, and now includes a map. I read lots of historical fiction, and a map is a real asset. My son-in-law served in Vietnam and I'd love to become better acquainted with this country and its people.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I am interested in learning more about Vietnam. Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

wmmahaney said...

I would love to read this book. The idea of starting a school in Vietnam sounds very interesting.

Serena said...

Wow, 8 book clubs in one evening. I really enjoyed this guest post. I'd like to win a copy of this book for my shelves.

savvyverseandwit AT gmail DOT com

I like that he wants to give back to his readers.

Serena said...

I've posted this in my sidebar for you!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book because I love books with Asian themes!! Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

Lee P said...

I think anyone that helps needy children get educated deserves admiration and Mr. Shors is doing a great thing for Vietnamese children. I'd love to read Dragon House to become more educated about Vietnam. Thank you for this nice giveaway.

chinook92 at gmail dot com

Lee P said...

I tweeted:

chinook92 at gmail dot com

Ryan said...

I'd like a copy because the story sounds good, I love that he does interviews with book clubs and free books are always great. Thanks for the interview!

Natalie said...

i've been to africa and seen some of the misfortune those children experience...i would be very interested to read about the vietnam experiences. i'll be reading this book even if i don't win!

thanks for the giveaway!

JoanneR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoanneR said...

Would love to win a copy because this author has so supported his readers.
Have become a new follower. Thank you.

Caren said...

First hearing the title made me think "fantasy fiction". Now that I know a bit more, it's gotten more interesting. There is a big information hole in this country regarding Vietnam and what has been happening there since the 70s and what life is like there. I look forward to books like this to help fill in the gaps in my understanding. I would feel priviliged to read this book.

Karlie said...

My friend adopted a little girl from Vietnam about a year ago. I would love to read this book. Thanks!

Margie said...

I enjoy books about other cultures, and the theme of this one sounds very inspirational.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I'd love to read this book, because this is the type of thing I'd love to do. As a little girl, I didn't just play with dolls-- I pretended all of the dolls were orphans that I was taking care of.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Reading said...

I would love to hear more about Veitnam. Please enter me. Thanks for the chance.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Sue said...

I'm fascinated with Asia and I'd love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

minishoes1 said...

i love to read heartwarming stories and if its about children its even better. Thanks! jacquecurl1(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonnie (JB) said...

I would love to read this book because your review made it sound like such a thoughtful story.


justpeachy36 said...

Please enter me in the giveaway. I think this looks like a great book and I have not read anything by Shors before.

ABCD Diaries said...

I would love to read this because it sounds truly inspirational:) Thanks for the chance!
christinbanda at yahoo dot com

Sarah E said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!

I would love to read this book because I live in Little Saigon in Orange County, CA and would like to learn more about the people and country from where my neighbors originate.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

Sarah E said...

I tweeted:

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

Anonymous said...

would love a copy of this book. sounds great...libbysutherland forty-six atgmaildot com

The Book Chick said...

I would love to be included in this giveaway, especially because I love reading books set in foreign places (it's how I travel!!), and also because John Shors is a new-to-me author.


The Book Chick said...

I've added your contest to my sidebar at :)


lag123 said...

I have heard a lot about this book and would love to read it!

lag123 said...

I tweeted: