If you’re looking for a way to liven up your book club meetings, you may want to consider inviting an author to connect with your group. More and more writers are looking for ways to meet and talk with their readers, and technology is making it easy to do so even if you don’t live near authors who write books you want to read.
What are some of the reasons you would want to ask an author to join you? You’ll certainly get insight into the characters you read about and their story, as the writer is the ultimate expert on the subject. You may also find out other fascinating facts about research she conducted before writing the book, and you can learn about how books get published.
You may have to do a little detective work to find authors who are willing and able to connect with your group. Here are a few places to do your sleuthing:
- The book jacket. Often you can find out whether an author lives near you and how to get in touch with her simply by reading her bio on the back of the book.
- Your local newspaper. Most newspapers list authors who are coming to town to speak at bookstores and libraries. If your group can’t meet with the author one-on-one, you can still have fun being in the audience when she speaks. Prepare your questions in advance so you can interact in some way.
- Local writing organizations. See if a writing organization in your area has a list of published authors who are members. Then look for books these authors have written that may be appropriate for your group.
- Websites. If an author is willing to connect with reading groups she’ll often say so on her website. You can usually find an email address there so you can send a message asking about her availability.
- Your own friends and acquaintances. If you know someone who knows an author, don’t be shy about asking for an introduction.
Even if the writer you approach doesn’t live near you or doesn’t plan to come to your town in the near future, you may still be able to connect electronically. Many authors are answering questions by email and using Skype to span miles and time zones so they can join reading groups.
Just remember to be respectful of an author’s time when you approach her with your request. Between writing her next book and being with her own family, she probably has a lot of demands on her schedule. So if the answer you get is no, don’t fret. Instead think about other opportunities you can pursue and you’re sure to find success.