My book club formed less than a year ago. There are ten of us and we all live in New York. We are still establishing our own traditions -- sometimes we meet in restaurants, or someone hosts at their apartment and as is now the case with most book clubs, we are meeting virtually. Back in January we had the luck of having Ann Napolitano, author of Dear Edward, join our meeting. Dear Edward was our pick for January and we never imagined we’d get to sit down with her to discuss the book.
One of my favorite things to do after finishing a book is to devour any information I can get about the author. I read all the interviews, watch videos and look for any speaking events I can attend in my area. I love learning about a writer’s process and where they draw their inspiration. So the idea of having an author join my book club was exhilarating, but even with all my excitement I was nervous. Would having the author there change how we all talked about the book or somehow alter our lowkey vibe? Not the case at all it turns out. Ann was gracious with her answers to our questions and perfectly aligned with our unscripted agenda. Today Dear Edward sits on my bookshelf not just with the memory of the characters, but the person who brought them to life.
The Author Reader Connection: Keep the Spark Alive
Because of the Covid-19 crisis many if not all author events and tours have been canceled. Some are first time authors who had planned to be on the road, traveling from city to city to connect with readers and to promote their years of hard work. This past September I stood in line at Books are Magic in Brooklyn, hoping to see Jia Tolentino speak at the kickoff event for her first novel Trick Mirror. The line to get in was wrapped around the street corner. Jia approached the bookstore and in shock over the crowd, screeched with gratitude and exhilaration. I hate to think about the authors who will be robbed of this moment -- the chance to meet and connect with their readers, after years of writing and hard work.
Virtual Book Club Events: Extend an Invitation
Since it is nearly impossible for readers and authors to connect at library events, bookstore readings, and other in person public forums right now, book clubs can play an important role in keeping the author reader connection alive. Luckily there are many ways to get creative with virtual events. Band together with a few other book clubs and invite an author to join the meeting! Dream up the event you always wanted to attend but it didn’t exist. Maybe it’s three different authors in one panel talking about why they choose their characters. The thing about virtual events, is that what seemed like an impossibility is now an option. Get creative, feel inspired and engage authors! We are putting our matching making skills to use, here are some way Bookclubz can help you organize and manage these events:
1. Book club visits - consider having the author drop into your virtual meeting to spice up the discussion!
Here is a list of gracious authors who want to join your meeting:
Patricia Chadwick, author of Little Sister
Maggie Brookes, author of The Prisoner's Wife
Virginia Kantra, author of Meg & Jo
Brooke Fossey, author of The Big Finish
Emily Henry, author of Beach Read
Suzanne Nugent, author of Brunch and Other Obligations
Christine Meade, author of The Way you Burn
Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game
2. Virtual author events - if you’d like to experience something closer to a book event with a panel of authors and a moderator, those exist too! In May the Junior League of Richmond will be having their 75th annual Book and Author event online! You can learn more about the authors in attendance on our blog. We also plan to facilitate a few author panels in May, so keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned!
3. Join an author’s book club: it’s hard to imagine there is any time to read with all that writing, but authors are the most voracious readers among us. Your club can draw inspiration from their monthly picks or if you are looking for a club to join, consider an ‘author club’! You will soon be able to join an author club of your choosing via our “Join a Book Club” page. You may even get a sneak peek on what they are working on...
Are you an author that would like to join our list and are able to "pop-in" to a book club? Are you a book club willing to extend a warm invite? Email us we'll facilitate scheduling! We look forward to playing matching making to all your literary dreams.
Please write us here!
Photo Credit: Books are Magic
Photographed: Author Jia Tolentino in coversation with Doreen St. Felix at Books are Magic in Brooklyn, New York