In the deep dark recesses of TBC there is a basement…a dark, damp, dilapidated room inhabited by a few unlucky souls. They all answered the siren song of a FB temptress named Tracy F…or Queen Traceeeeeey as these poor souls refer to her – when they think she is not listening! Sumaira, Helen B, Teresa, Helen C, Carol, Loo, Melissa and Sharon all found themselves duped one day when they answered a cry for help on TBConFB:
“admin required, not much work involved, just checking posts and helping with moderating the club” said the advert….no mention of selling your soul, sleep deprivation and endless thankless tasks directed by She Who Must Be Obeyed and her depraved sidekick Charlie Fenton. I was lucky enough to gain access to the basement for one hour only to question the “admin” team who lurk behind the bright and bubbly façade that is TBConFB.
I found the team lurking behind their screens “in their pants” awaiting instruction from SWMBO and CF – they shivered with fear when I walked through the door but soon perked up when they realised I was friend and not foe….read their exclusive stories here!
Can you guess who is who of the admin team and what do they all have in common!! (hover your mouse over the pics for a clue)
Not only that I have an exclusive scoop from Charlie Fenton (I was forced to wear a pink ostrich mask and purple leather suit with thigh high boots before he would talk to me – don’t ask why – I did and the answer gave me the fear!)
Before Charlie’s exclusive interview, let’s hear from the admin team:
Chapterinmylife: “Why did you answer the advert in the first place”
Helen C: I wanted to give something back to the group that made me feel that my love of books wasn’t boring or dull, and of course the lure of free books helped sway me slightly.
Loo: Advert? It was more a call of nature. “Loo” it said, “Loo, come play with us. We have books”.
Sharon: I got hooked on TBC as soon as I had joined it and spent most of my time on there anyway, so I kind of figured it made sense to apply to be part of the admin team (plus I wanted to fly the flag for the Scottish members!)
Teresa:I was one of the first members to join TBC after the #Tracygatesaga on the ‘other’ page, and always wondered what went on behind the scenes of a group that had become a resounding success in such a short space of time, when the admin vacancy post appeared I enquired as to what was involved, as working full-time, i didn’t know if I would have the capacity needed to fulfil the role. I never imagined that I would get picked, I was gobsmacked, excited and nervous all rolled into one and the rest, they say, is history!
Carol:I answered the advert because I love, love, love TBC and especially the indomitable TF. She had been a huge asset (and I’m not talking bra sizes) in a previous on-line book club that can’t be named and every book she reviewed was a winner. I realised that we had quite similar tastes in reading and started to look for her posts. Then DISASTER Mrs F just disappeared….. No phone call, no letter just puff into the cyber ether she went. Devastated wasn’t the only word. I messaged her privately and she told me about TBC. Obviously I joined ASAP.
I loved TBC and what it brought to my life so when Tracy asked for extra help in the spring of 2015 I literally jumped at the opportunity to be part of something I felt so passionately about.
Helen B:I didn’t! I was lulled into a false sense of security, when there were only 12 of us Tracy asked if I’d be an admin with her — we were talking of capping the group at 50 😨
Sumaira: I was one of the original admin when TBC was set up
Melissa: Technically I wasn’t applying, but I did think that TBC needed more weirdos. I love reading Speculative fiction and I noticed it was the least preferred genre in the club, but that there was a fantastic group of people in TBC who enjoy it too. When Tracy asked if my comment was an application for the job, though, I jumped at it because… Well, who wouldn’t want to play an integral role in such an amazing group? #rubbingshoulderswithcelebs
CIML:. “what are Tracy and Charlie like in real life?
Helen C: Both are sharp-witted, passionate about books and fun to be around – they could in fact almost be twins they are so similar
Loo: Tracy and Charlie aren’t alike in any way. I mean, for starters Charlie has an “e” and well, we wont talk about what happens when you put an “e” in Tracy. They compliment each other really well. He’s there with a Tena Lady whenever she gets over excited because an author puts her name in their book for example.
Sharon: Both are very passionate about books, reading and TBC and they are committed to keeping TBC as the best book club on FB! But they are also quite different too – Charlie is a bit of a wild child and party animal whereas Tracy prefers to be tucked up in bed by 9pm with a cuppa and a book! However, they both need some lessons on “Glesga” slang – claiming they couldn’t understand me at Harrogate 😉
Teresa: I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting them yet but that will all change come October at the TBC party, but I think Tracy is really a pussy cat and I’ll be watching out for Charlie’s wandering eye….and hands!!!
Carol: Charlie is a darling; pretty quiet but masterful. Someone who just gets on with his job and doesn’t have a lot of banter. Charlie is the only male on the Admin team so probably doesn’t voice a strong opinion as we’d probably shout him down, or worse, castrate him. Tracy, on the other hand is feisty, fair and forward thinking. She has created a mood and vibe for TBC which is very nurturing but uncompromising if anyone attacks.
Helen B: Tracy is just as you’d expect, takes no shit, funny as hell, extremely determined and a heart of gold. I could tell you all about Charlie but would then have to kill you so its better you don’t know.
Sumaira: Tracy is very quiet, shy and retiring in real life; I don’t know Charlie that well, but it’s a bit like Charlie controls us all and we are his angels.
Melissa: They’re so like-minded I sometimes wonder if they’re having an affair 😉
CIML “what are the best and worst things about being on the admin team?”
Helen C: Best thing has to be the kudos that adding the words TBC Admin automatically seems to give you, the worst thing so far has been my data allowance running out due to increased usage on phone, admins are constantly glued to one device or another.
Loo: I’m the noob on the team having only been brought on board in the last week but so far I love watching the way they have each other’s back, the friendly banter, most of all the way they care about each other. It’s no wonder TBC is such a warm and safe place for readers and authors to co-exist. This team genuinely cares about each other and it’s members.
The worse thing for me is the time difference with me being 4 hours behind the UK in Canada. They usually have the world put to rights by the time i wake up.
Sharon: The best thing is when I’m at events and people ask me if I’m Sharon from “The Book Club” and being part of a brilliant behind the scenes team, the laughs, tears and snotters makes my day every day! The worst part – not really a worst part of it – other than I spend even more time on TBC and I have to hide my phone to stop me checking and let me read even more!
Teresa: The best thing about being on the admin team is being part of such a fab team of ladies (and Charlie) who I now consider friends and they actually get me!!! The worst thing about being on the admin team…… real life and work get in the way!!
Carol: The best and worst things about being Admin are exactly the same: great discussions and chats but if you’re off-line for a while, there’s a real FOMO when you log back on and find 173 messages. Sometimes I have had to turn off my notifications just to save my marriage. There is also the love of POWER over nearly 6,000 people!
Helen B: Best is the behind the scenes laughs and camaraderie and the sense of pride and involvement in this fabulous club. Seeing an author grow from launching their first book to becoming a TBC favourite and seeing just how much the members get from being part of this community.Worst – the notifications, the frantic catch up after being away, total FOMO and the total decimation of my reading time that these result in.
Sumaira: The best thing is the giggles we have as a team, we all gel really well together and understand each other. The worst thing is missing a day or two or going on holiday and the thousands of messages we return to!
Melissa: The best thing is without a doubt what goes on behind the scenes. These women are FUNNY, like, pee your pants funny, and incredibly supportive. The TBC “family” vibe is not an act… Everyone is passionate about the club and they really care about each other.The worst thing: it’s so addictive!! Sometimes I’ll spend a whole morning browsing through posts and reading through the admin chat only to find I haven’t done a stitch of work and it’s already time to fetch kids. I’m pretty sure behind the 9 lady admins there are 9 disgruntled husbands 😂 It’s only Charlie who doesn’t have to answer to anyone #itsamansworld
CIML “how does Tracy manage to keep you all in order”
Helen C: Charlie and the basement threat usually works..
Loo: She doesn’t pull any punches. I’ve been a TBC member since the very beginning and that’s what attracted me to her in the first place. You never have to wonder what she’s thinking and that’s a quality I admire hugely. Don’t tell her but when I grow up i want to be just like her! (I’m gonna get it for that one eh, she’s only a couple of years older than me lol)
Sharon: Oh that would be the big whip she keeps at her side – seriously though – I’m from Glasgow, I’m female – do you really think anyone could keep me in order 🙂
Teresa: She doesn’t, we are always being sent off to the naughty step, but no seriously we all know our boundaries and that’s why TBC works, because we are all singing from the same hymn sheet (well most of the time anyway)
Carol:Well when she’s on-line we are pretty sensible, but the moment she tells us she’s off on holiday or going to the hairdressers, or getting nails done, or shopping for boys clothes (for her sons, not herself!!) then the mice come out to play and we tend to be a bit silly, particularly behind the scenes.
Helen B: Weren’t you at Harrogate??? 😂😂
Sumaira: With her virtual whip!!!
CIML “If you could change one thing about TBConFB what would it be?
Helen C: Nothing as it is about as good as it gets in my view, the members are welcoming and slight eccentricities are understood not ridiculed. Everyone is valued and not judged and apart from the odd slip up the rules are adhered too making it a safe place for people to be in and a little bit of escapism or support for many from the everyday trials of life.
Loo: I don’t think I’d change a thing. That sounds like a platitude but I really love everything about it. It ticks lots of boxes for me. #marypoppins #practicallyperfectineveryway
Sharon: I’d not change a thing – other than to make an hour of your working day compulsory TBC time!
Teresa: I don’t think I would, I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s as near as damn it!
Carol: Change TBC? No never. I think it’s pretty perfect. However my bank manager would probably say that I should have my click finger amputated as I don’t seem to be able to control myself and have to buy all the fabulous books that are constantly recommended.
Helen B: Truly can’t think of anything TBC is constantly evolving and changing what we do – it’s never felt stale and I can’t see Tracy, any of the team or the members letting that happen — I think that’s partly because we do take on board people’s comments and suggestions.
Sumaira: Nothing, to me TBC is the epitome of perfection!
Melissa:I’d really like to see more SFF posts. Speculative fiction is so broad – fantasy, horror, dystopia, science fiction, paranormal romance – they all fall into this broad genre but for some reason they’re lumped into one on the club.
CMIL: What does TBC mean to you?
Helen C: TBC has opened my eyes to so many new books and authors whilst giving me a real sense of belonging to a family ( a very large family admittedly) that has generally improving my quality of life. Also, it makes a very real contribution to the book world.
Loo: It’s a place where I get to be me. I have to present a fairly conservative version of myself to the world in so many areas of my life, i feel like our TBC members get the real me. Warts ‘n’ all. (Not those kind of warts, eeewww)
Sharon: It’s the place where people “get me”, evidence that I’m not the only book freak out there! It’s the best place to find out about new books and authors, it’s the support and escapism it gives folk from everyday troubles and stresses and knowing that whenever you log on there is always someone there! (and of course it’s a fab place for a stalker to pick up new victims mwahhhhh – oops I mean for me to find new authors to follow and support!)
Teresa: Where do I start? It’s my escape from the real world, it’s the first place I go to when I pick up my phone every morning and the last one before I go to bed every night, it’s my virtual family full of like-minded book nerds and amazing authors. I love how it’s brought people together both online and in real life through their love of books and has produced real friendships. In a nutshell, clicking on the TBC tab on FB is like opening the door to my home…….it’s where I belong!
Carol: As I said above, TBC means everything to me: it’s my world, it’s where I go to feel the love of books with like-minded people who don’t think I’m strange because I read avidly, I prefer to read a book than a magazine or newspaper. I feel understood.
Helen B: It means the world to me, the friendships, real and virtual, the shared love of books and the great fun that we have behind the scenes!
Sumaira: It’s a community, not just of book lovers, I have made some very close friends for life through TBC.
Melissa: It means a place I can go to talk about books and fangirl to my heart’s content without anybody looking at me funny!
CIML:What’s your funniest/proudest moment on TBC so far?
Helen C: Close call between becoming Admin and getting my 1st mention in the weekly highlights.
Loo: That has to be getting more likes on my highlights. #justsayin #sorryboss
Sharon: oh it has to be all the behind the scenes typos on admin chat – some of which make their way onto the page! That and Loos highlights getting more likes than Tracy’s (sorry Tracy) oh and of course the time that I mucked up the auction endings and almost sent poor Noelle Holten into a meltdown! Proudest part has got to be just being a part of the admin team of such a brilliant group!
Teresa: My funniest moment so far has to be the ‘genital’ sucking post by Loo Elton after I got a sore tongue from eating a whole family bag of Maltesers at work one day. It still makes me chuckle now .My proudest moment has to be helping to raise an amazing amount of money for Cancer Research in the Book Auction last year.
Carol: My proudest moment was when I was appointed Chief Lurker. I don’t post a lot but I read all the posts and I was particularly chuffed to be recognised for my lurking ability. I also had a warm glow last year when Tracy and Charlie were away and I broke my MABS posting cherry. Loved it so much I volunteered to do the Happy Publication Day posts which also give me a feeling of happiness that I’m sharing some breaking news with the members.
Helen B: Funniest (replace with most embarrassing) are when typos are posted (shitting rather than shutting down PC etc.) Proudest so far was the Northern Meetup earlier this year – we went from around 18 attendees in June 2015 to 85+ in February 2016 the build-up and actual day were just fabulous and the friendships and bonds from these meetings are really important to me.
Sumaira: the proudest moment for me has to be the TBC Charity Auction for Cancer research.
Melissa: Oh gosh, when I first started I was tasked with rapping the knuckles of a shameless self-promoter. I was so determined to get it right and in record time (look at me I’m so efficient!!) that I ended up making a whole bunch of typos and even getting the TBC acronym wrong! Tracy was very kind about it, but I’m pretty sure there were a few eye-rolls from the other admins!
CIML “do people really know WHO Tracy Fenton is”
Helen C: Yes, they genuinely do (apart from Jamie Lomax) and she has the most amazing ability to make sought after books appear at will.
Loo: She’s just a woman who loves to read, who lives to read. She cares about people, but really she’s a private person who just wants to share her love of literature with anyone who wants to listen. If you want to talk to her, make sure it’s about books 😉
Sharon: of course they do, she tells them all the time hehe! Just kidding #bosslady!
Teresa: TracEy who?
Carol: Good question …. She is a pocket rocket of literary passion, a whirlwind Wonderwoman who seems to have one eye on TBC and the other reading a book. I think she probably doesn’t sleep because she seems to pack more into 24 hours than anyone I know.
Helen B: Who???
Sumaira: Yep, everyone knows that she is a book goddess!
Melissa:Actually, yes. Tracy is exactly who she appears to be. There are no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get!
CIML “Can you disclose any secrets about your fellow admin members?”
Helen C: I couldn’t possibly give away any secrets or I’ll be back in the basement.
Loo:I haven’t really got to know them all yet “behind the scenes” but i think that Helen Claire is probably a model in her real life (have you SEEN her profile picture?) #wow! Can I change my mind, can I be HC instead?
Sharon: Loo’s guilty secret – she has a #girlcrush on Charlie….but don’t tell Alice, nobody will see this post anyway will they….
Teresa: Carol’s guilty secret is that she’s a WAG
Carol: we have a few who like their books with a good glug of alcohol; we have all at some point expressed our love for our family and particularly our children who we would defend to the extreme; when shit happens, we support each other; there is more than one stalker in Admin; we are united in our potty humour and most importantly we are an awesome team.
Helen B: I could but then you’d know.
Sumaira: Helen Boyce is a bigger lush than me!
Melissa: Tracy Fenton is a paid ambassador for tena lady
Charlie Fenton Exclusive!!!!
I am delighted to finally be asked to give my side of the story to everyone about what goes on at TBC HQ and how I keep the group going.
I was invited to join THE Book Club by Tracy Fenton when she created the group two years ago. Coincidentally we aren’t related even though we share the same surname – she actually found my details in the personal ads in the back of Fetish Monthly and thought I would fit perfectly with the rest of the group members.
I must admit to being slightly reluctant at first – especially as I don’t actually read myself, but her passion and enthusiasm actually started to get on my nerves so I thought I would join just to shut her up. To begin with she used me purely to add new members putting me out there as the point of contact (I think it’s because she’s actually really unfriendly and miserable in real life and didn’t want all the friend requests). Suddenly I was more popular than her, which she is really upset about now but I love to make her feel inferior anyway so it’s a win/win situation. Over the past two years we have got together for social events, however it is rather uncomfortable because her husband Jason and my wife Alice have history together. (I mean they were “involved” not that they studied History at school). So even though Tracy and I do get on (tolerate would be a better word), you could sense the sexual tension between Jason and Alice which makes our Strip Poker evenings rather awkward.
I’ve subtly (or not so subtly) taken over most of the admin responsibilities because I actually do intend to take over the group for my own personal gain but don’t tell anyone else.
If I have to list my best bits obviously I would say my eyes and according to Mel Comley my little finger is rather extraordinary too.
Not much upsets me as I like to think I am an easy-going, happy-go-lucky person, but it really does wind me up when the other admin get thanked in books and on the group and I am overlooked again. #choppedliver
How do I relax? That’s easy… I’ve just taken up Extreme Cheese Rolling and Bungee Jumping – it’s a really great way to unwind after a particularly stressful day of deleting self promotions on the group.
Did you seriously just ask if the fame has gone to my head? Don’t ask me.. ask my chauffeur and maid.
What do I get out of TBC – well after the weekend away with Heide Goody and Amanda Prowse unfortunately it was fungal STD but after applying ointment for 7 days I was back to full health.
Chapterinmylife: Wow Charlie, no wonder the admin team are so in awe of you! Thank you for opening up your heart and your…(oops sorry not allowed to disclose what else Charlie opened up to me!!!!) to CIML Blog Exclusive! It’s been insightful and rather exhausting – I think I may need a little lie down after our session there!
I do hope this behind the scenes look at the TBC admin has given you a little glimpse into what goes on in the day-to-day running of TBC! The team are really a great bunch and truly committed to ensuring that TBC remains one of the friendlies, supportive and welcoming book club on-line! We all love our roles in the team and it gives us great pleasure and pride when we get to share our passion with others with similar interests. We really are like a “wee family” with a huge big massive extended TBC family and I’d like to thank all the team for participating in this exclusive!
Now enough fun stuff and it’s time for me to make my way back to the basement…
Not already a member of TBC – you are kidding right! Well, do you love reading, recommending and reviewing books? Do you have a sense of humour? Do you suffer from too many books to read but you can’t stop buying more? Do you want to join a dynamic book club with over 5800 international members and over 800 authors? With daily recommendations,monthly Book of the Moment Events, personalised, signed book giveaways and the opportunity to read books months before they are published THE Book Club (TBC) is THE group to join. As it’s a SECRET group on Facebook you need to be added by an existing member or send Charlie Fenton a friend request.