Skip to content
50% OFF All Writers WORKSHOPS!! Click here to go there
Welcome to WMG Books!! Such Joy to You!
Friends With Benefits | How To Find (Great) Indie Books

Friends With Benefits | How To Find (Great) Indie Books

Lonely Reader Seeks Novel Nerd Buddies

Desperate for some good book talk right after a move that left me bereft of new book resources, I screwed up my courage to the sticky-bun point and did something a little crazy…

I posted an ad on Craig’s List.

To start a book club.


(Yep! I did that.)

I proposed a fantasy/science fiction-y lovers group where we recommend books to each other monthly and then meet in a house rotation, with snacks and extensive geek-out time to thrash or gush about said book, and pretty much have a solid book nerd-out evening.

And lo, dear readers, I had responses!

I weeded a couple interested parties out of the line-up. (Questions like “Is clothing optional?” made that pretty easy.)

But two stuck.

We were all at three different ends of town. We’d never met. We tentatively talked, circling each other looking closely for any signs of creepiness or fake love of books. (Not sure which is worse.)

And then the final meeting day.

I bit the “let’s meet at my place first since it’s my brilliant idea” bullet. I made snacks, I actually mopped. And reviewed my bookshelves as an organizational check. All alphabetized and series were in order.

I had a bit of a book org (organization) thing at the time.

(OK, still do.)

(They look so much better all in order. And grouped by series…in order.)

(They are happier that way.)

(…I see you looking at me like that.)

I dressed comfy casual. Tried to feel like I looked. And I waited for my potentially new book buddies to arrive.

"Pretty much after, “Oh my god this book!” just say “Sold!," pull out your phone and buy it."

New Friends Are Born

Friends are one of the greatest resources for book recommendations that you have.

You already have a rapport; you often like similar things. You talk and see each other rather regularly (with your own definition of regularly).

Though with texting now in these days, seeing seems to be optional. However you also feel about that.

(I miss people.)

So you can, on the regular, do a shout out in text or across the room, or over the scraping sound of metal hangers on clothes racks in JCPenney (Are there still JCPenny’s?) as you try to find pants that help you fluff up one side of you so it less resembles something from a diner you should put butter and syrup on, and deflate a side of you that looks like something you’d buy at Les Schwab as you ask said friend “Whatcha reading?”

And since you are friends, you know instantly if you may have a potential book on the hook if their eyes meet yours — bright and glittering — their smile widening. They lean forward and practically shout, “Oh my god, this book!”

And if you’ve read my previous blog, you know that it does not matter what they say after that.

Even if they describe a book about moon rats that believe they are reincarnated Superman and Batman clones that have come together as a colony to train until the day they have grown in skill and numbers to go down to Earth and use their skills to take all the dents out of cars – you need to just get the book and read it.

Pretty much after, “Oh my god this book!” just say “Sold!”, pull out your phone and buy it.

Then give it a good solid chance, and most of the time you will like it. Probably even love it.

Forget the genre or the reviews, or whether or not you worry you may not like it.

Just read it and know for sure.

If your friend loves something that hard, then the chances are very good there is Your Next Favorite Book potential!

The Meeting

But I was a little low in my friend tank and was generating friendergy (friend energy) for my book loving side.

(I also needed new pants, but that was secondary.)

They both arrived and it was awkward.

That was fair.

Then I showed them my books.

And friends were born.

At least the tiny sprouts of friendship as they perused my shelves and gushed and geeked, and we talked and talked and talked.

So at that time I worked at a used bookstore and buying nicer quality used books in mass market paperback of every book I loved was a total hobby/fun thing for me. I even had a friend build special bookshelves for me that fit just the mass market size so I could, and did, line the walls of both bedrooms with precisely ordered, and also genre-sorted, books. Of course.

(I worked in a bookstore for goodness sakes. I ORGANIZED my books.)

So my house had a bit of a bookstore feel, but curated to me and mostly — what? — Yep! Fantasy and science fiction.

They loved it, and it inspired them to talk about their own shelves and what we shared and what I was missing. (Yes!! The gold I was looking for. EUREKA!!) And spouting ideas for which books who was recommending first. And yes, monthly was too long to wait. And, and, and…

We sat down and listed out our first few biweekly meetings and what books we needed to read.

It was the start of a beautiful little book club of three that generated some of my very favorite books, even to this day.

We met for years. And then more moving and life happened. We’d reconnect sporadically or just for recommendations.

And then it was the last time.

Now it has been years again since our last book recommendation. But I still think of them and the reading joy they brought to my life.

Wherever they are, I am grateful for what we had and what they shared.

Not just the books. They gave me some of themselves as well.

I went seeking My Next Favorite Book, and I got two friends.

Beyond Friends

Ask and ye shall receive, dear readers.

Ask your friends about what they are reading. Do it frequently. Make that part of your conversation check-in.

How’s your mom? Your cat? Your kids? Your underwater jiu jitsu class? How did those BBQ eclairs turn out?

What are you reading right now?

Start mining your sources, for in there you will find book resources.

And if you are low on friends…

Make New Ones

Put out an ad even. (Carefully!)

But what do you have to offer them? What about your ideas?

What if someone asks you what you are reading?

Or if you have a recommendation?

What if you get the holy grail of a book lover’s question?

Are you ready for it?

Well, let’s do some training and get you prepped next week!

Can’t wait, my dears.

Have a wonderful week!

Stephanie Writt

Writer, instructor, graphic artist and all around lovely soul, with a generous sense of humor  (yes, I am totally writing this myself), takes delight in sharing her geeky knowledge and ridiculous joy in reading, writing and business. As the current Director of Operation at WMG Publishing Inc., she has the privilege and mischievous pleasure in writing this blog every week. 

Two Friends? Two Friend Stories!

A Golden Dream: A Jukebox Story by Dean Wesley Smith

Sometimes very special friends, even friends you can’t remember, give you a chance to change your past by following the memory of a special song. Should you take the special Christmas gift, take the trip, and change your own history? Or maybe take a look at tomorrow and change that instead.

Cat Leading the Way: A Pakhet Jones Story by Dean Wesley Smith

Pakhet Jones works as a superhero in the world of cats. In the Poker Boy universe, every detail on Earth functions with superheroes and gods watching over that area of life.

Pakhet, through her cat, discovers that her best friend and lover vanished without a trace. And Pakhet, with the help of two cats and other superheroes, must find her.

Previous article Are You Ready If They Pop THE Question? | How To Find (Great) Indie Books
Next article Borrowing Beware | How To Find (Great) Indie Books

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields