Books Are Better Shared

Write Places, by PJ Colando

by PJ Colando

Goal: Become a 1%er

Welcome to 2017, OC Writers! Have you set your goals for the new year? How about a goal for being a 1%er?

I am not teasing, though as you well know, I am prone to satire and tongue-in-cheek. During prep for this column about writing events (as curriculum for my MFA-by-infusion) I learned that — gasp — 80 percent of people on the planet don’t consider setting life goals, as a New Year’s rite or ever.

Another 16 percent contemplate goals but make no record of them. Four percent note their goals on paper, computer, or phone.

Yet only one percent references their goals routinely. Those, the 1%ers, are the people mostly likely to achieve their goals.

That’s influential math, my OC Writer friends, though I don’t place myself among their host. God bless their single-minded souls.

In 2014 I enrolled in an expensive online social media course, my purpose to sift through the multiple options to optimize my author platform. The course was taught by Jane Friedman, so it’s gospel.

Week-by-week we explored the benefits and banalities of social media and how to reach one’s target audience. Mine was Boomers, and wonder of wonders, I found them where I already was: Facebook. I didn’t have to Twitter – yeah!

I’ve expanded my horizons to personal interaction for novel two. My goal is to interact with readers in book clubs.

Books Are Better Shared

If your goal is similar I have an ab-fab and inexpensive event for you: Books Are Better Shared. Its fee includes lunch, so it’s all good, especially because, after an early morning start the event ends with time for a nap before dinner out.

BABS Book ChatWhat would you call a girlfriend-style book event, an event staged like Oprah’s or Ellen’s afternoon talk shows, replete with mid-century chairs vaguely circled to encourage panelists to engage each other as well as the packed audience?

BABS is a remarkable moniker because it’s an easy to say-and-recall female name as well as the acronym of the event: Books are Better Shared. It connotes the casual intimacy of the speakers, the soft sell inherent in the pop-up bookstore run by Mysterious Galaxy, and the event’s focus upon book clubs. It’s an apt title because it is the tenet of book clubs to share.


BABS convenes once per year in the Norman R. Murray Community Center, Mission Viejo. The relatively new and well-stocked Mission Viejo Library partners with the owners of the indie bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, to sponsor the event. Another superstar sponsor is Simon & Schuster. Yes, them.

But, wait, there’s more! Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Random Books, and Source Books publisher representatives also attended the single day event, armed with numerous and specific book recommendations.

Gifts and Goodies Galore

The close collaboration of writers and readers was evident, with the affable, knowledgeable reps re-affirming the link. We attendees were given 54 newly published book suggestions, so that a book/week reading schedule could be accomplished, with two books per week during the holidays.

Further, each participant received a large, heftily constructed book bag seeded with a near-dozen hardcover books and ARCs, direct from the publishers as gifts. Plus printed handouts showing the covers and details of recommended books.

Book SigningsOne not only felt like an Oscar celeb, but also had a ready receptacle for purchases in the book shop, laid out like a playground at the back of the room, lots of light streaming in from floor to ceiling windows to showcase the assets.

Speakers and Sessions

There were keynotes and smaller break-out sessions, worthy of copious note taking—and there was lunch, where half of the attendees, in turn, shared tables with one of the fourteen authors. Thus, connection was personal and possible.

Each of these authors beamed like shiny pennies, exuding enthusiasm for their books. The mutual respect was endearing.

BABS is conveniently located in the midst of us, O.C. Writers, and halfway between the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore locations in San Diego and Redondo Beach. It’s also smack dab centered in a community of genteel retirees, people who moved into the area in the ’70-80s, perhaps, and have ample time, finances, and inclination to read, the mother lode of people who value literary work.

Bazinga! My target audience.

BABS was a wonderful, welcoming event, all about empathy and unifying humanity, the highest intention of books. Look for it next year and attend.

Better yet, get published and get yourself invited as one of the authors, O.C. Writer/reader of this column.


PJ Colando, Author

PJ Colando, Author

PJ Colando writes women’s fiction with preposterous plots and lively characters swirled amidst issues of social angst: entitlement, fracking, and medical marijuana use, though not piss-and-vinegar politics. She formerly called writing her elegant hobby—a premise that must be abandoned because she earned a fiction award at the recent Southern California Writers Conference. Join her on her Boomer humor blog on her author site:


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