If you’ve been reading my blogs over the past few months, you’ve seen me refer to #RRBC, the Rave Reviews Book Club.

I don’t know how I found this group, but I must admit, my entire approach to writing and publishing as an independent writer has changed, thanks to the expertise that the members have offered. RRBC has people from all over the world, not just the United States, whose experience and technical know-how in writing, marketing, composing and even dealing with Amazon and now KDP have answered so many of my questions. I believe providence shone upon me as an author.

A couple of years ago, when I offered my first book, Empty Seats, on the open market via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and my own website (www.wandafischer.com), I thought I had all my ducks in line. Since I’ve been associating with RRBC, I’ve discovered that all the marketing and public relations I had done in my 40-plus year career of doing that for not-for-profit and government agencies, while valuable, was so different from blowing my own horn.

I lined up several radio and television appearances, including one on a nationally syndicated radio show. I did interviews with local and regional newspapers. I set up bookstore and library appearances. All of these worked out well…

Until…

COVID19 reared its ugly head.

No longer were bookstores amenable to personal appearances. Libraries closed. (This was a particularly bad blow to me, since I’d written a great deal of my first book inside the Guilderland Public Library, which is the library closest to my own home). Staying inside the house, only venturing out once a week to do my radio show also took its toll. I’d been working on a sequel to Empty Seats, and yet, my “get-up-and-go” got up and went, as folk singer Lee Hays once said.

With no new product to present to the public, I started feeling defeated. Lethargic. Incapable.

I turned to the creativity of RRBC. I began to attend regular meetings–on Zoom, of course–where they reviewed member books. One monthly session, called “Let’s Talk About It,” tackles controversial issues, such as homelessness, different aspects of research, economics, etc. I listened as RRBC interviewers and reviewers discussed these issues without holding back. Everyone was/is entitled to his/her own opinion, and everyone’s allowed to speak. How refreshing in these polarized days!

I also got to know people from all over the globe. I was introduced to genres of writing that I never thought I’d read–science fiction, historical fiction, dystopian fiction, for example. I never thought those books would appeal to me, but because they were written by RRBC members, I picked them up and actually liked them.

I don’t want people to think that everything is sunshine and roses; in fact, RRBC members will be honest with you about your writing. If it’s never-ending praise you want and your book is, well, let’s say only something your mother would like, you won’t get an RRBC member to extol its virtues. Instead, you will get the honest truth about how you can improve your book or the next one. You will get ideas about resources that may help steer you in the right direction for your next book or short story.

But most of all, if you’re like me, you will get to know people who are just like you–only perhaps different in where they live, the genre they write, they age they are. You’ll find people who have written dozens of books or published short stories as well as novice writers and everything in between. If you have questions about publishing as an independent writer, your fellow members can help.

RRBC does have membership fees, it’s true. However, I have discovered that you get what you pay for. What you cannot put a price tag on, though, is the camaraderie and connections you will make. I urge you to check out this extraordinary group. I feel as if I’ve gone to publishing/writing college since having become a member. You can do the same.